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Clutch drag and hard to find Neutral sorted on XJ600


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My 1991 Pre diversion XJ600 now runs well, after sorting out the carbs, ignition and exhaust problems - see elsewhere for details - and as I was starting to use it, the one remaining bugbear was that gear selection was very clonky into first, tended to drag with the clutch pulled in and the bike in gear, and last but not least - when the bike was fully warmed up it was next to impossible to select Neutral from either first or second when at a standstill - eg in a traffic queue or waiting at the lights.

As I said at the time - "The clutch works OK, but drags enough to make selecting neutral on a hot engine very difficult.  I should probably just change the oil, but I don't know the state of the plates, and given the things I've found elsewhere, it's worth a look just in case - could be a warped / burnt plate!"

So I drained the oil and took the clutch plates out.


The oil drained out was slightly dark -  though it had only been used for 500 miles it was 12 months since its last oil change.  The clutch plates themselves seemed in good order.


The steel plates had imprints from the friction plate pads, and had a varnish-like coating, as seen above on the left, on the right are some of the same plates cleaned up with scotchbrite scouring pads - they all came up like new, and were unburnt and with no warping.


The pull rod and bearings had brown deposits on them, but the roller bearing was smooth and unpitted - so after cleaning, they were reused.  All springs were the same length as each other, and although out of spec (free-length out of tolerance according to haynes) referring tp the Clymer manual, they were fine, and since the clutch wasn't slipping, and the lever pressure seemed fine, the springs were aso re-used.  The friction plates were all 3.0 mm exactly to spec, and seemed in good condition, so they also went back in.



The only things I took off were the clutch cover, pressure plate, springs and bolts, pull rod and wafer bearing, and the plates themselves.  The clutch basket was in good order with no notching, so I left it where it was - no point making work!

Once the clutch was back in, with a fresh gasket and everything torqued up (8Nm for the pressure plate bolts, 10Nm for the allen bolts holding the cover on), The oil filter element was renewed (Though the old one looked fine, it would be stupid not to change it for the sake of £6).

2.6 litres of Silkolene Super 4 10w-40 semi-synthetic 4-Stroke Motorbike Oil went in and the clutch cable was re-attached and adjusted.

The transformation was dramatic.  There was much less of a clonk on selecting first, there was no clutch drag at all, and neutral could be selected easily at a standstill.  My test run out coincided with nose to tail traffic on the M6 South past Walsall, and the bike remained faultless despite a 20 minute crawl to the M5 south exit, when the queue evaporated.

Result!  No parts replaced, and for the sake of a bit of elbow grease to remove the sticky deposits of varnish on the steel plates, and a quick rub on 600 grit wet and dry for both sides of the friction plates, plus an oil change, the bike is now well mannered and a joy to ride in traffic, without the numb clutch hand previously experienced when having to hold the clutch in when queuing in traffic.

Job done!


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Always nice to find a cheap fix, nice job.

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same thing for my fz600 clutch, you should have checked the pinion gear to the clutch basket as mine was loose and the oil pump gear was loose too but I use a mini door pin to fix that.

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Good write up and handy to know! :thumb:

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 18/12/2015 at 2:38 PM, mrcbody said:

it looks like broken aluminum in the pic of your clutch plates...where did that come from?

(just asking;)

Nah, just broken newspaper ruffled up with the scotchbrite while working on the steel plates.  No alloy was hurt during the refurb of this clutch :-) . . 

(if I don't use newspaper when sanding stuff, the kitchen table gets refinished in a way that upsets SWMBI).


Happy New Year to all !!

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