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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I have a 2007 Mean Streak with almost 25,000 miles and I'm getting slippage. I've tried to do a search, but I have more questions than when I started.

There is a kit on eBay: 302-45-20018 CLUTCH FRICTION KIT CARBON KAWASAKI VN 1600 Vulcan Mean Streak 2007 | eBay but I don't know if this is overkill from just replacing the clutch plates.

I've heard that Barnett springs can be stiff, which is fine, but they have standard and heavy duty.

Then there are the Judges washers. Mean Streak springs. Barnett springs. I'm trying to compile all of this stuff together to see what it is I need to get. If anyone can provide me with the pluses and minus that they've had to deal with, that would be great. I just want to see what the common knowledge that is out there.

Thanks for any info!

Cheers,
Robert
 

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First thing. Check to see where your clutch handle is set at. These hydraulic clutches have engagement right at the end for some reason. If your clutch handle is set to something other than "1" I have seen them slip because of it. 25,000 miles is not very much on these clutches so though not impossible, hard to imagine it would need new clutch plates unless it was really abused in some way. The more in line culprit would be the clutch spring. Since you already have a Mean Streak, you won't need to buy a specific mean streak spring. The judges washers are used mostly on earlier model 1500's maybe some classics, don't know for sure. But you won't need them on your scoot. Kawasaki already incorporates one of those judges washers in there design after 2004. So unless you just want to add an extra one on the other side (which would be overkill), you have no need. You can also use a Barnett Spring. Some guys report a heavy clutch pull after installing them. Others say it's easy to get used to. So if you prefer an easy clutch pull I would recommend staying with the OEM. I do also recommend that if you are going to the trouble of tearing it down. Then rebuild the clutch master cylinder and the clutch slave cylinder. Kits are readily available and reasonable at around 20 to 25 bucks. Also good time to check the clutch push rod and rubber seal too.
 

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OP, I'm following this since I have a somewhat new to me Mean Streak and was wondering if a worn clutch at 25k was common. RetroBagger's post gives me some peace of mind.

What part of SD are you, I have lived in Chula Vista, Escondido and Poway many years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
RetroBagger,

The clutch setting was at "5" when I got it. I set it to "1" as I was having some difficulty shifting and I thought I could use more clutch movement.

sfair,

The slipping is always hot, not cold. But I don't keep "testing" the slipping as I don't want to burn out the clutch plates.

More info on the clutch/shifting. When cold, I can engage 1st from neutral easily. When the engine gets hot, it takes multiple tries to get the bike into 1st gear, even when going from 2nd to 1st. I either have to keep trying with the shift lever, or just slam the lever down to engage 1st. Upshifting is a little tougher than downshifting. Downshifting is usually really easy for all gears except to get into 1st when the engine is hot.

So with the slipping that I've noticed twice and the difficulty getting the bike into 1st gear when hot, I was thinking that replacing the clutch plates and springs would be a good way to go. Hopefully I'm on the right track there. If so, I just need to know the best items to get. Barnett clutch plates and Mean Streak springs? I know the Barnett springs are stronger and take more effort on the clutch lever, but the clamping force has to be much better as well.

I'm hoping to see what others have done so I can make the changes and get the bike to good working order.

Reptilicus,

I live in the Serra Mesa area, just north of Qualcomm Stadium.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm sorry, but I'm a newbie with this bike. Does this take rebuild of the master cylinder or just a cleaning to get the relief port cleared.

Thanks,
Robert
 

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1. Remove master cylinder cover.
2. Peer down to the bottom and there you will see two very small holes.
3. Run a piece of copper wire CAREFULLY through the holes to make sure they are clear.

Now, the hydraulic fluids in front and rear brake, and clutch systems, probably have never been changed, so now is a good time to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info. I'll do that this weekend. I was wondering if maybe there was a little air in the clutch line, so I'll clean out the master and change the fluid out of the line.

Cheers,
Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
That is very true. But I was thinking maybe it was causing 1st gear not to engage because the engine was hot and there was a little air in the line to keep the clutch from fully disengaging.

But this weekend I will clean out the holes in the master cylinder and then use my mightvac to clean out any debris. Add fluid and then start at the slave cylinder to pull the old fluid out and hopefully clean it all out.

With the clutch slip, I'm guessing either the plates/steels are worn and/or the springs are not allowing to keep full grips for the allowable power. For all I know, the previous owner rode the clutch mercilessly and burned it out.

I'll start out with the master/slave and fluid to see if that fixes anything. If not, I'll work from there. Luckily I have time!

Cheers,
Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, I cleaned out the master cylinder as directed. I didn't see any debris loosened, but I still sucked out the fluid. Added clean brake fluid and started pulling fluid out through the slave cylinder. Cleaned out the system twice.

Unfortunately, results are still the same. Shifting into first is fine when the bike is cold, but really problematic when hot. So next I'm going to replace the clutch plates and springs unless there is a suggestion that someone might have.

I'll probably get the Barnett carbon plates, but I'd like suggestions on the best replacement springs. I've heard good and bad about Barnett standard springs, but wanted to see if there are alternatives or stock Mean Streak springs still a good choice.

Thanks for any advice!

Cheers,
Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Replaced the front and rear brake oil today, so all of the clutch and brake lines are cleaned out.

Haven't heard from anyone about springs, so I'm going to get OEM springs and the Barnett carbon plates. If anyone has any late information, let me know. Otherwise I will get the replacement parts this week.

Cheers,
Robert
 

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??? But, but, but .....

The symptoms you are describing are the opposite of slippage. Slippage would be "clutch is on the verge of disengaged." What you described indicates your clutch is not disengaging.

The key symptom of slippage is "engine revs, less go happens than should." Are you experiencing that as well, or is it just this shifting problem?

Before you go ordering parts and splitting open the clutch, check your clutch free play. While looking at the front of the clutch lever, lightly press the lever. A gap will open up between the lever itself and the piece that holds the lever. That gap should be less than 1/8 inch or a maximum of 3mm. I'm not 100% sure about the Mean Streak, but typically you adjust the free play with an adjuster on the handle. Check your service manual for more info and for the free play spec for your bike. In fact, that info may even be in the Owner's Manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the reply. Sorry this question is confusing, because it is two separate items, and I should have split it that way on the forum.

Slippage: I can get the clutch to slip by using a lot of throttle in 3rd, 4th and 5th gears. I try not to repeat that as I don't want to burn the remaining material off the clutch plates. But they are slipping. So I'm guessing that the material is fading or compromised. So either the springs aren't fulling clamping the plates or the plates are bad. Only one way to find out.

I did look at the free play in the lever. The clutch lever was set at the "5" position when I got the bike and I put it at "1". Still don't know why they would have a lever position for the clutch side. You would think you would want it so that the level into the handle fully disengages the plates. Basically my rule-of-thumb for free-play is to be able to slip a nickel in the gap. But getting into 1st is a major hassle. When the bike is cold, I can shift into 1st easily, stopped or moving. When the bike is hot, 1st is I either have to keep tapping the lever down and hope it engages or slam it down because I'm holding up traffic. I try not to do the latter so I plan ahead as much as possible. So I'm guessing heat is the issue, and thus would think the problem lies in either the clutch pneumatic which now has clean new fluid with no air in the line, or something in the clutch area.

I'm wondering if maybe one or more of the springs aren't working at their full potential and causing a bind and maybe a load on the gearbox? That's the only thing I can think of at the moment.

I could rebuild the clutch master and slave to eliminate that side of the equation. But with less than 25k miles, I wouldn't expect them to be an issue. I don't want to just throw time and money at it, but I know it's slipping. So that's a clutch plate material or clutch spring problem. Looking to use carbon plates to fix that. Now do I go with OEM Mean Streak springs or go with the heavy duty Barnett springs. I know the latter will definitely clamp the plates down and slippage should no longer be an issue over the long term, but is the spring strength so strong that riding in traffic becomes and issue when trying to feather the clutch lever constantly?

I'm narrowing down the areas, but I'm not sure which direction to go next. Part of me wants to go full Barnett and just get a totally cool hand-muscle workout, but I'm not quite that young anymore and San Diego traffic is getting really bad, even for a motorcycle than can lane-split.

So that's where I'm at now. Looking to see if anyone has these issues, especially with a 1600 Mean Streak and can say "yeah I did this and it works great now".

Cheers,
Robert
 

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Ah. I may have been insufficiently caffeinated. Yes, it does sound as though your clutch is neither adequately engaging nor disengaging. (I'm assuming that when you try to shift into 1, you are grinding the gears, which would indicate the transmission is spinning. I have not see you mention that, though -- is it just blocked, or ...??? Bad assumption on my part?)

Welp, here's hoping a 1700 expert shows up.
 

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"I did look at the free play in the lever. The clutch lever was set at the "5" position when I got the bike and I put it at "1". Still don't know why they would have a lever position for the clutch side."

Robert[/QUOTE]

That Adjustment is for hand reach not clutch travel. So the bike can fit people with large and small hands. Operation is the same, that is why its on both brake and clutch. :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
When the engine is hot and I try to go into 1st gear, there is some grinding if I hold the lever down. So if I keep lightly tapping down, eventually it will engage first gear. I'm guessing that there is still movement in the clutch package. Still not sure where but I would guess the clutch springs. Got slippage and there is still movement in the drive which doesn't happen when cold.

Hoping to hear if others have had something like this and seeing what course they took. I'm leaning towards Barnett carbon plates and OEM Mean Streak springs and see how that goes.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Looking to get the OEM Mean Streak clutch springs soon. Sorry to ask this, but how many do I need? I think it's eight.

If anyone can let me know the correct number of springs to get, I'd really appreciate it.

Cheers,
Robert
 

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Looking to get the OEM Mean Streak clutch springs soon. Sorry to ask this, but how many do I need? I think it's eight.

If anyone can let me know the correct number of springs to get, I'd really appreciate it.

Cheers,
Robert
You need (1) Clutch spring.

 
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