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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I have an 05 1600 classic with 19000 miles. Long story short, over the last year my clutch has become increasingly sticky, to the point where i have to rock it back and forth up to 5 minutes before it will unstick the friction plates. Needed a new diaphragm spring so I figured an oil change would fix it when I replaced the the spring. It did not. I even have to rock it after only being parked for ten minutes. I generally ride to work every day so the bike doesn't sit for any period of time. When I changed the spring the plates and steel rings both looked ok, still oil grooves on the friction plates. Any thoughts? I'm running 10w40 dino oil. Runs and shifts fine once it's broken free. While it was open a pull of the clutch lever showed seemingly proper clutch basket release.
 

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Just wondering if you inspected/lubed the clutch cable?

So, you had it open and operated clutch and it released just fine?

Has the clutch been worked on or replaced in the last year or so? Is it the original clutch? If it is I would consider changing it. At the very least you could inspect the clutch plates more closely.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
1600 vulcans have hydraulic clutches. Aside said in my post all the friction plates still had oil grooves, I had every plate and steel in my hand to check for problems. Friction plates have 15000 miles on them, EBC brand of I remember correctly.
 

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I didn't know that.

I suspect it's likely a hydraulic pressure problem. Possibly contaminated fluid or an air bubble in the system.

Your description is a 'sticky' clutch. Air would likely make it more of a 'spongy' feel. But my experience with Aviation and Auto hydraulics has taught me to never underestimate the weird symptoms it can create!

Is there a test fitting where you can test the pressure?

Your description makes it an intermittent problem, i.e. sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I had a car where the system was intermittent. It drove me nuts for awhile. It finally turned out to be the fluid cap! It had a hair line crack in it. Sometimes it allowed the system to pressure up correctly and others times not. Replaced a $12 dollar cap and it worked perfect.

I've seen some weird clutch problems arising from certain types of wear or damage to the plates but since you have inspected them and found none it is unlikely they are the cause.

Contaminated fluid can come from the tiniest foreign matter introduced into the fluid. Most times it will cause the fluid to darken in color. But if it's the case then it would most likely create a set of consistent symptoms. Which means rocking it back and forth would not change the condition.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
By sticky I mean, the friction plates and the steels stick together which can be a common trait of a wet clutch, but this is next level. Generally a wet clutch will be "sticky" after a long sit and by putting it in gear and rocking back and forth it breaks the plates free so they can spin, otherwise when you start the bike and put it in gear it "lurches" forward and dies. It's almost like my plates are to dry so I'm getting a greater amount of vacuum between the plates and steels.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, as I said the clutch functions properly once the plates are initially broken free. It's like the bike has been sitting for months when it's only been 10 minutes
 

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I had an 06 classic that stuck badly and I went in and inspected the clutch plates and basket. The basket is aluminum and tends to get worn at the notches causing the plates to stick badly. I filed each groove smooth again and while it was already apart replaced the plates and spring. Never had another problem. That was at about 30,000 miles and I sold it at 84,000. The basket might be your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I just ordered a new friction plate set, when I crack her open tomorrow evening I'll take another look at the basket. Thanks all.👍👍
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok, update. The friction plates were polished to a high shine. When I removed them I had to actually wedge the steels off of the friction plates. The liquid vacuum was really strong. I guess as my diaphragm spring came to the end of its service the clutch was slipping enough to polish up the friction material. Anyway carbon fiber Barnett frictions and she's good as new. Thanks to everyone that helped
 

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Thanks for that analysis, as it makes perfect sense. The liquid seal made between the steel and friction plates is unique to a wet clutch, but until you described it I wouldn't have thought of it. The clutch on my VN1600 (that I just bought this week) was hanging up slightly when I first rode it, probably because the bike sat unridden for a number of years. This winter I need to pull the engine and split the cases to fix the failed 2nd gear issue. When I am in there I'll update the clutch also.
 
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