Clutch troubles - Yamaha FJR Forum : Yamaha FJR Owners Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Clutch troubles

I just got back from a trip to ne Ohio for a total mileage of a little ove 800mi. I did some maintenance on it prior to going ( plugs, coolant and flush the brake & abs system ) after this was all done the clutch was slipping and the clutch lever was much firmer and the engagement wasn’t until the last 1/2”-3/4” of the lever travel. I thought that maybe the fact that I had filled the reservoir nearly full was keeping the system slightly pressurized so I bled it down to the top of the reservoir fill glass, everything seemed ok for the first 10-20mi and then I tried to give it gas to pass and it just Rev’d up with no acceleration. I nursed it the 300+ Miles to the meet and once there changed the oil and bled fresh dot4 through the system including bleeding the clutch Mc. It has never been that good ! Engagement starts about 1/4-1/2” off the grip and it just ripped,,,,,,,,, until I left today and got about 10mi down the road and swung out to pass and it felt almost like being in neutral.

So we went back into nurse mode and about 200mi or so later it was having trouble climbing the hills on the Ohio turnpike and I had to pee so I swung into a rest stop. I took care of the important stuff and then cracked the bleed screw on the slave and got a drop or 2 spurt.

Getting back on the bike I stopped at the gas station and filled up, the clutch seemed better but not good, I nursed it the remaining 100+ Miles and when I got off of the toll road in Indiana the engagement was now mid travel on the lever about where it’s always been and seemed to not be slipping. Wtf! I should mention that I also had cleaned and lubed the clutch lever pivot(s). Also changed the engine oil from the Royal purple in it to Rotella 10w-40, not happy with the Royal purple at all and not sure if it isn’t part of the problem. I do also have 5qts of yamalube 15w-50 full sun coming.

I’m thinking that something is holding pressure in the slave or Mc so i’m Thinking of taking the clutch slave and Mc apart, inspect & clean everything to see if something jumps out. But i’m Asking if someone has seen this before and if they found what might be causing it. Ideas ? Suggestions?

Additional input is that the lever is stiffer than normal when it is slipping and engaging near the end of lever travel ,, conversely if it start to engage near the grip it is very light. So what do you think ?

Steve P
Red 2014A, the fastest color !
Ride more,, worry less !

Last edited by passx; 09-08-2019 at 08:21 PM.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 08:37 PM
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Well, I saw it coming... the red FJR's just get slower and slower until they die.

Seriously, Steve, I'm not sure. Sounds like clutch slave is slightly pushing, keeping the clutch partially disengaged, or more accurately, the plates are not being pressed fully together.
If the master cylinder is not releasing pressure..... if the clutch slave is somehow hung up... if the spring (bolts) have somehow worked loose..... if the clutch plates are indeed worn (not that likely).... if the oil had friction modifiers in it..

All I can recommend is a thorough check of the whole thing.... now, didn't you have clutch work done early on (clutch slave??) where the dealer may have had the clutch apart trying to diagnose... if you are confident in the bleeding, not losing fluid (leaky clutch slave), then I would pull the right side cover off and disassemble the clutch, paying attention to the order of removal, inspect and clean all the plates for any residue, measure for wear. If all looks good, coat them with engine oil and reassemble... ensure the clutch basket slots are not worn (take photos), ensure little ball bearing is present, put it all back together. All this will take a good hour, but if you find something out of the ordinary, let us know.
This is a bit unusual, so perhaps a good cleaning and oiling is all it needs. What I'm describing is basically a clutch soak and ensuring everything's assembled properly.

Ray
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Dang Ray you have a Good memory !

Yes when the bike was new they replaced the clutch several Times (4th in there now) because it wouldn’t release and would drag, which is different than this. When I bleed the system and it seems to have a proper feel aNd engagement point it will grab just fine so I think the plates are ok,,, I think.

The oil (Royal purple) is a big question mark, I had trouble with it in my 81 cbx as well, wouldn’t shift well and the clutch was funny but not like the fjr is. That’s why I went back to the Rotella because I have tons of miles with it in my bikes w/o issue.

I think something is not fully releasing, in the original dragging the clutch problem Yamaha claims it was machining chips that was blocking the ports and not allowing things to fully release so that’s kinda why i’m Thinking of taking the clutch Mc off and disassemble and inspect/clean it and then the same with the slave, something is keeping the plates partially released it seems. I was hoping someone had experienced it and would just pipe in and tell me to just clean the thing-a-ma-jig and all would be good.

Could also be the hose is separating inside and creating a check, i’ve Seen that a lot in the rubber brake hoses over the years.

It’s probably good that today was a Sunday or I may be riding something else but with all the hours today to think about this I can’t really think of anything i’d Rather riding than this fastest color pos!

Steve P
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Ride more,, worry less !

Last edited by passx; 09-08-2019 at 09:25 PM.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 10:37 PM
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The fill is a reservoir. Very little chance that overfilling would have any adverse affects. All that matters is that their is fluid available to pump when you push the lever.

Aren't all of those oils automotive?

The fact that the engagement point changes feels like an improper fluid change procedure. Specifically air in the system.

That mixed with car oil? Could manifest like this.

In any event, I'd start from square one personally before I did major surgery.

As stated above. A clutch soak and proper motorcycle specific oil. And a total flush of the clutch hydraulic system with a lot of attention paid to small bubbles.

If you still have problems after that, dig deeper.

Workin' them angels overtime ...
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 10:40 PM
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Did you replace the lever correctly? If the master cylinder pin isnít engaged correctly into the pivoting socket on the lever, youíll have all kinds of strife. That would be the first place Iíd look.

Cheers,

Anthony
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 06:47 AM
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I have been using Rotella T6 oil i my 2013 from the beginning. Never had any problem, so I am inclined to think it isn't that automotive oil.

2013 FJR1300A
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 07:45 AM
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I took care of the important stuff and then cracked the bleed screw on the slave and got a drop or 2 spurt.
I focused in on the above statement. With the clutch lever fully released the pressure in the system should release back to the reservoir. You shouldn't have pressure on the slave at that point. Pressure on the slave releases, or partially releases, the clutch. There's a tiny hole in the bottom of the reservoir that should be open when the clutch is fully released and equalize the pressure between the system and reservoir when the lever is fully released.

In my case, I'd replaced the lever, and there was a tiny bit of debris in the hole in the lever keeping the clutch master cylinder push rod from seating properly. This kept a tiny bit of pressure on the lever.

I'm thinking you may have a bit of debris in the vent hole in the master cylinder.

Just keepin' up with traffic, Officer.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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Mr Zappo, I worked in brake engineering for almost 30yrs so I am well aware of the difference between brake fluid (vegetable based oil that Is hygroscopic and absorbs water vs mineral oil that is used in your engine/tranny/power steering) mineral oil, and yesvery bad things happen if you. Mix the 2. Good points though and well taken, thx.

On the “bike” oil vs “car” oil thing i’ve Always believed for my nearly 50yrs of riding that it is all just advertising hype to charge you more money for your oil, still do somewhat. Never had any issues doing so, but the Royal purple that I in my 81 CBX & 14 FJR has left me a lot less confident in that belief. On a warmer day the cbx shifted quite hard and the clutch (cable actuated) felt soft, kinda hard to explain, so when I came home I dumped it and went back to my go-to Rotella t6 10-40 and all is well.

On the fjr it hasn’t shifted as well and i’m Not 100% sure that my clutch woes are not from the Royal purple oil. As far as bleeding the system, I have done that at least 6 times now with no joy from doing it, I am 100% certain that there is no air in the system, but there is something going on there.

Doc, i’m Kinda wondering if something is incorrect in the lever/pivot/pin and that is where i’m Going to start and then start taking the Mc apart to clean & inspect and then the slave but maybe not today since the “tight” butt to foot knee bend has my repaired knee screaming at me from the ride so I think it’ll be a bit of a lazy, knee friendly day today, maybe sit and load some boolets.

By the way,, thanks guy’s for your responses. I am beginning to believe that the superior power of the fastest color red 14’s is more than the marginal fjr clutch can handle ������

Also I did monitor the speedo vs gps speed variation with the speedo being 1-2mph slow to the gps (Garmin Nuvi 260w) depending on the particular speed I was going up to 110mph. So how much is Yamaha and how much is Garmin? Having called and asked Garmin in the past they are very non-commital on that subject and quite frankly I don’t care all that much so long as it just runs correctly. Every Japanese vehicle I own is typically 2mph slow, so I think it’s engineered in.

Steve P
Red 2014A, the fastest color !
Ride more,, worry less !

Last edited by passx; 09-09-2019 at 07:58 AM.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 08:08 AM
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Doc, i’m Kinda wondering if something is incorrect in the lever/pivot/pin and that is where i’m Going to start and then start taking the Mc apart to clean & inspect
I'm betting the problem's in the master cylinder or in that lever.

Do you have any free play at the lever? There should be some.

Just keepin' up with traffic, Officer.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 08:32 AM
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The hydraulic system of course could be hanging up and the easiest thing to check. If the mechanical parts (clutch lever, brass bushing in the lever, master cylinder pushrod) are all free to move/not gunked up, then all should be well. The only other thing, assuming the slave is good, is the rubber components in the master that may not let fluid return to the reservoir (swollen rubber, or insufficient travel not allowing the pushrod in the m/c to return, possibly blocking the hole). It may be intermittent/on the edge, so to speak. If all is clean, then perhaps a master cylinder rebuild kit is in order.... but again, not common, lots of FJR's with high miles that never needed this... except a good cleaning and light lube of the lever parts with silicone grease (won't wash out).


The other half of this is the clutch plates/spring pressure.. some have had some contamination of the plates (early on), dragged, needed the clutch plates cleaned and "the soak". I can't speak about Royal Purple, but one would think a m/c specific oil shouldn't have caused the issue. Rotella won't be a problem, tons and tons of people use that on every kind of bike without issue. The Gen3 clutch basket has extra holes to allow a bit more clutch plate lubrication, but I'd check all that out anyway... it's a simple job really, not what I'd call major surgery, but it is surgery that takes an hour.... well maybe a little longer on the slower red FJR's.


Once in there, you can see if the notches on the clutch basket are worn or if the clutch spring bolts are loose, etc. Can't hurt at all. As with most things, one would like to identify the specific issue, so perhaps don't do all things all at once and not know which one fixed it.


The true fix of course is get yourself one of the superior Root Beer bikes (not available in the US) or almost any other colour than red. The blue ones really go too, unless you have the matte finish.
Take your time, Steve, the suggestions to look into the stuff up at the lever and master is a good one, start there.......

Ray
Keep yer stick on the ice....
2014 FJR1300A - Root Beer
2009 CBF1000A - Sienna Red
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