Clutch slippage - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Clutch slippage

Hey all,

So I noticed I'm starting to get a little bit of roll-on-the-throttle slippage if I roll it on full throttle in 5th gear at the right speed (say 45mph or so). Got about 20,000 miles on the bike.

Motorcycle oil as long as I've owned it (since 8,000 miles) so I don't think that's the issue. I did get sucked into the Castrol synthetic 15w-40 thing but I felt like it didn't perform like the Valvoline did and swapped it back. But that's JASO-MA rated so it should be good for wet clutches, and it seems like lots of people use it without issue so I'm sure that's not the problem.

Gonna go ahead and assume it's going to be time for a clutch soon, right? Would anyone disagree? I don't think it's an issue on adjustment either the free play is within Kawasaki spec.

Any reason why the clutch is done so soon? It was my first bike so it got lots of time being abused in the parking lot and I certainly wasn't proficient with the clutch (hard to get used to using it on your hand instead of your foot) when I first got the bike. I'm just assuming I just wore it out early because I abused it early on. Is that a fair assumption?

Any suggestions on clutches, spring, etc. to go with? Any tips for doing the service? I haven't cracked the service manual yet but I swapped the stator on this bike, the clutch out to be similar just on the other side, right?

Final question, if this is an issue of the clutch being worn out, how long until it's really time to swap it? I don't have any issues taking off from a stop, riding, or even accelerating hard. But I can, in the right condition, FORCE it to slip with a roll-on test, so I know it's on it's way out. I'll get around to swapping the clutch this winter if that's what you all think it is, but I may take a few rides here and there while the weather is still decent.

Thanks guys!

John

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Well all those views and no response eh?

I'm thinking I may not need to replace the clutch RIGHT away, but I'm going to order a clutch kit here soon and do it sometime over the winter. I've noticed it really only slips when cold and my theory is that it's due to my oil being thinner when cold and perhaps allowing it to slip easier until it's warmed up! Doesn't slip at all once the bike is warm.

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ABS SE
iPod Connector Kit, Kuryakyn Highway Pegs, Mustang Touring Seat, Marvella's Hitch, Kuryakyn Trailer Wiring Kit, Haul-Master Tag-a-Long Cargo Trailer

2011 Honda Shadow Aero 750 (Wife's)

Memphis shades quick-release windshield, OEM Solo Seat, Mustang Fender Bib, Chrome Solo Luggage Rack

Past: 2006 Vulcan 900 Classic LT
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 04:21 AM
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No experience with a 900 in particular but when a clutch is shot it is shot. That means any slippage isn't right and any continuation may cause further damage as in introducing clutch fibers and steel particles into the oil system. If some of those particles come from the hub you'll spend more money. This is what makes early repairs worthwhile. For the average rider (not a racer) the EBC kits work well. My son just put one in his Honda powered bobber.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 04:30 AM
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Would think 20,000 is pretty soon for a clutch, but you dont know how the previuos owner road it and you said you may have abused it some while learning. If its slipping at all now, will only get worse, and may be more exspencive the longer you wait.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 04:48 AM
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Don't forget there are two places to manually adjust the clutch.....ya might just have to take up a little slack in the cable, hopefully. Do you feel like experimenting? Do an oil change with Castrol 10-40 dino (motorcycle oil, 4t)....I'm not gonna say why, it's very cheap...But, investigate your cable first...it could be binding..or stretching after 20k.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenthill View Post
Don't forget there are two places to manually adjust the clutch.....ya might just have to take up a little slack in the cable, hopefully. Do you feel like experimenting? Do an oil change with Castrol 10-40 dino (motorcycle oil, 4t)....I'm not gonna say why, it's very cheap...But, investigate your cable first...it could be binding..or stretching after 20k.
+1. that would be the first thing I would check to make sure it is working freely. Also if a clutch cable is stretched would it not pull the clutch enough and cause problems the other way?

If the 9 is located in the same spot as the V2K the adjuster should be on your front frame rail. I do not think that was mentioned in the owners manual but in the service manual.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 06:18 AM
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Doesn't matter how many adjustment points you have. As long as you have free travel in the cable when the lever is released the springs are applying all the pressure possible. If there is no free travel (cable tight all the time) then there is a possibility the springs aren't being fully released. Better to have a bit too much free travel than too little but if you overdue it the clutch won't fully release.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2012, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
Well all those views and no response eh?

I'm thinking I may not need to replace the clutch RIGHT away, but I'm going to order a clutch kit here soon and do it sometime over the winter. I've noticed it really only slips when cold and my theory is that it's due to my oil being thinner when cold and perhaps allowing it to slip easier until it's warmed up! Doesn't slip at all once the bike is warm.
Romans,

My bike has exactly the same mileage as yours but I can't detect any clutch slippage...
I would replace the cable first and check.

If ever you replace the clutch, please take shots of the procedure?
it would be invaluable for others (like me!).
Since I bought all these tools for the stator, I have decided to do all possible services, replacements and parts changing myself too.
For the clutch, do you have to get the whole housing or just the plates?
The manual does give all steps to do it but not what has to be replaced exactly...
Thanks
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2012, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think it's an adjustment issue. There is some freeplay in the clutch lever. I suppose I'll try and let out some slack and see if things change, but I doubt it.

Someone wanna tell me how to appropriately let out more slack from the lower adjuster? I know a total noobie question, but I'm a total noobie so it's appropriate right? There are a handful things I know how to tinker with (only because I've done it before) but the clutch is not one.

Once the bike is warm it really won't slip. And only in the absolute right conditions will it slip. (5th gear pull from a moderate speed. If you're doing 55 or so it'll pull 5th gear at WOT just fine) So I'm led to believe that either the springs are a little weak, or the clutch is just starting to wear past 'spec'.

Assuming the clutch needs replacing, and I'm fairly certain it does, then yeah I'll take pictures Frenchy. 20,000 is a little early for a clutch to fail, so I don't suspect you'll need to do it. The best way to test is to roll it up to 45mph on a slight up incline, 5th gear, and then run wide open throttle. Leave it WOT for a few seconds (so do this somewhere with a decent speed limit!). On mine, it'll accelerate for a second, then begin to slip.

Not interested in experimenting with oil. Since it hasn't had automotive oil in it that's not the issue, and even if I found some oil that stopped the slipping, that's only a band-aid masking the problem.

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ABS SE
iPod Connector Kit, Kuryakyn Highway Pegs, Mustang Touring Seat, Marvella's Hitch, Kuryakyn Trailer Wiring Kit, Haul-Master Tag-a-Long Cargo Trailer

2011 Honda Shadow Aero 750 (Wife's)

Memphis shades quick-release windshield, OEM Solo Seat, Mustang Fender Bib, Chrome Solo Luggage Rack

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-18-2012, 02:47 PM
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Creating more slack at the lower adjuster is a simple as rolling back the boot, loosening the lock nut and SHORTENING the collar by screwing it IN. You ultimately want enough slack in the cable to have a 1/4" gap between the clutch lever and the part on the handlebar. Anything less than that and the clutch doesn't release all the way and will slip. When the lever is at rest the end of the lever should swing almost an inch before you feel clutch pressure. When I first got my kawi, i pulled must of that slack out to make the clutch"faster", like I used to on my CB Hondas - big mistake, I was slipping the clutch on acceleration.

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