Fix your clutch How to change plates

Fol­low these sim­ple steps to keep your bike’s clutch in tip-top con­di­tion

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News -

1 Un­der­stand the plan

The clutch smoothly trans­mits the power from the crank­shaft via the pri­mary and sec­ondary gears to the gear­box. But the fric­tion plates can start to wear. Symp­toms can be slip­ping un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion, and/or grabby feel. On a lot of bikes these plates can be changed quite eas­ily. Try to source a work­shop man­ual and have all your tools laid out be­fore you start.

2 A drain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence

On most bikes the clutch is on the right-hand side of the engine, and the Yamaha engine shown in this pic­ture is typ­i­cal of most lay­outs. In this case we need to drain both the engine oil and coolant as the right-hand cover also houses the water pump. First of all re­move the sump bolt and let all of the oil drain away into a suit­able tray.

3 Re­move hoses and ca­bles

Drain the coolant and re­move any water hoses go­ing to the clutch cover cas­ing. On our Yamaha we also needed to dis­con­nect the oil pump, so there was a ca­ble to re­move, as well as an oil-in pipe and an oil-out pipe. The clutch ca­ble is then dis­con­nected. On this engine it is on the other side of the crank­case, and the move­ment is trans­mit­ted via a pushrod.

4 Re­move cover care­fully

Evenly undo the bolts or screws that re­tain the clutch cover, re­move them and lay them out in a se­quence that helps when re­fit­ting. Gen­tly re­move the clutch cover. Oc­ca­sion­ally they can be stub­born, so check all bolts are re­moved. Some­times there are pry points, use these care­fully to avoid dam­ag­ing the cases.

6 Put new plates in place

Clean the empty clutch drum and bas­ket, then soak the new fric­tion plates in oil. Steel plates just need to be smeared with oil. In­stall the plates, in the cor­rect se­quence – usu­ally fric­tion, steel, fric­tion. Make sure the steel plates go in with the round edge fac­ing the engine. Re­place the pres­sure plate, fit new springs and tighten up.

8 Get every­thing in line

With a new gas­ket fit­ted, of­fer the cover up and gen­tly place it against the engine. There are usu­ally sev­eral things that all need to line up si­mul­ta­ne­ously for the cover to go on. On this Yamaha there are two dowel pins that need to line up, as well as the oil pump and water pump drive gears. When it all lines up there is usu­ally a clunk as it sits squarely on the gas­ket sur­face.

5 Rate your plates

The clutch pres­sure plate is re­tained by four to six bolts that tighten inside springs. Re­move these and pull the clutch top off. Re­move the plates and in­spect them. Your bike’s man­ual will say how thick a fric­tion plate should be, so mea­sure them. Worn steels become dis­coloured, blue and scorched.

7 Clean up your act

When the clutch cover is re­moved the gas­ket of­ten gets dam­aged. This needs to be scraped off and cleaned back to a bare sur­face. You can very gen­tly pick or scrape the re­mains of a gas­ket off with a blade; don’t be tempted to dig in too hard. Any stub­born bits can be lightly abraided off with a scotchbrite pad.

9 Fin­ish­ing touches

In­stall the bolts that se­cure the cover, mak­ing sure that the dif­fer­ent length bolts go into the cor­rect holes. Tighten them all up evenly, then tighten up to the cor­rect spec. Fill the engine up to the cor­rect level with oil. Re­con­nect any­thing that was re­moved. Fi­nally check the clutch lever freeplay, and ad­just to spec. Test ride the bike care­fully and check for leaks.

Sus­pen­sio n ad­just­men t tips

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