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Clutch Drag When Cold

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by dps650rider, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. dps650rider

    dps650rider XS650 Addict

    I have been having some issues with my clutch dragging when cold. Even if I let the bike warm up for several minutes after starting it often stalls the engine when I put it into first. Needless to say this is not so great for the transmission either.

    I had it apart over the weekend and cleaned up the worn points where the friction and steel plates mesh with the basket and hub. This made a world of difference when it is warmed up but cold is still a problem. When I had the cover off and disengaged the clutch several of the plates stuck to the pressure plate and the others stayed put. Really looks like the stickiness of the cold oil is the culprit here, has anyone else had this problem?

    BTW, running Valvoline synthetic 20-50 motorcycle oil, was thinking about trying something else to see if it makes a difference.
  2. gggGary

    gggGary When a whole one is just too much. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Noticed about the same on both Madness with 8 plate and the XS1 WJL stock clutch it's cool in the shed and VR1 20-50

    GlJ had same comment on his 72 with 8 plate conversion and VR1 20-50.
    Mailman and GLJ like this.
  3. Jan_P

    Jan_P XS650 Junkie

    I am thinking an adjustment issue
    I put mine on the central stand rear wheel in the air.
    Start the engine pull the clutch and put it in gear
    if difficult adjust some more
    Do it over again
    When it is about right I pull in the clutch with gear in and running engine and try to stop the rear wheel with the foot
    against the tire.
    If No success adjust
    Until is OK
    If to far adjusted it will be noticed on kick or slipping clutch out on the road
    gggGary likes this.
  4. GLJ

    GLJ Never go faster than your guardian angle can fly. Top Contributor

    My small issue is similar but different. I make sure the clutch is not stuck by kicking it over with the clutch pulled in before starting. It just drags when disengaged for the first couple of miles. He may just need to kick it over with the clutch pulled until it won't turn the motor before starting.
    timbeck, gggGary and Mailman like this.
  5. bosco659

    bosco659 XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter

    What temperatures are we talking about? Cool for you might be warm for us Canuks. I’ve had my bike out several times in 60 degree weather (very warm for us in the springtime) and haven’t had the clutch stick (8plate). Running 20W40 oil iirc.
    gggGary likes this.
  6. I have had the same issue recently, running 20W50, early morning start ups perhaps about 50 degrees F. The problem goes away completely when warmed up. I figured maybe I was just not warming thr bike up enough before starting out?
    I rebuilt my clutch completely about 600 miles ago, but will try Jan P's advice.
    gggGary likes this.
  7. dps650rider

    dps650rider XS650 Addict

    Bike sits in my basement garage around 70 degrees. Let it warm up for 5 minutes and still not good enough.

    Tried the kick start trick today, kick until it releases but if I engage the clutch and then disengage I find it is dragging just as bad again.

    So what I did today was to let it warm up on the center stand, pull the clutch in and give it a couple good revs hoping to break them loose. Then put it in first while still on the stand, apply some throttle and the rear brake to unstick the clutch. Then off the stand and off I go. Quite a process but it works.

    Still wonder if different oil or clutch plates would help.
  8. gggGary

    gggGary When a whole one is just too much. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Depending on year, the clutch release arm had different distances from cable mount to center, closer to the center, = harder pull but greater plate separation. Also the amount to slack off on the adjusting screw "by the book" IMHO is a bit generous. I snug down then back off maybe 1/16 of a turn (or not much) Have you carefully inspected the nylon portion of the worm gear? They are known to crack greatly reducing amount of clutch movement. Try extending the adjuster at the perch see if it improves cold action, may point at one of the issues above.
    Not real common but warped steel plates happen, adding to drag.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
    GLJ and Jan_P like this.
  9. timbeck

    timbeck XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter

    I have always used GJL's method of clutch lever pulled in and kick till the engine will not turn over.........

    GLJ and gggGary like this.
  10. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Hey, Dps650rider.

    Yup. I've noticed that clutch plates take on a stickiness, like sticky notes. I figure it's something in our modern oils, 'cause we didn't experience that back in the '70s.

    Have a look in here (and follow any imbedded links).

    timbeck, GLJ and gggGary like this.
  11. Greyandridin

    Greyandridin Got nothing to do and all day to do it XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Do you want to run synthetic oil (too slippery)
  12. Jan_P

    Jan_P XS650 Junkie

    Yeah Well Thinking out loud ..
    Valvoline synthetic 20-50 motorcycle oil,
    Who knows what modern additives is in there ..
    A synthetic chemical with additives not in Oils Back then and Perhaps plates not designed to withstand.
    Cannot say if it is a problem here
    But it can go wrong using modern things in old technology
    I use mineral oils .. With the opposite problem for certain brands .Slipping clutch
    Slipping clutch is also a problem on modern bikes so a fair assumption could be that a Modern synthetic oil is formulated to prevent slipping and there you are Plates glued together
  13. GLJ

    GLJ Never go faster than your guardian angle can fly. Top Contributor

    I'm not using synthetic oil. Valvoline VR1. Not motorcycle specific, but comomnuly used.
  14. Greyandridin

    Greyandridin Got nothing to do and all day to do it XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Same here never any clutch drag issues
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  15. dps650rider

    dps650rider XS650 Addict

    Really like the synth because it doesn't get watery when worn but I think I'll try something different next change.
  16. Greyandridin

    Greyandridin Got nothing to do and all day to do it XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I didn't think running Synthetic oil worked for these old bike (could be wrong about that)
    But I think we shouldn't be running the oils that are for higher mileage cars or to help them get better gas mileage as they would be to slippery for the clutch
    Although I run full Synthetic in my 2001 Triumph and 2005 Honda Sabre with no issues (might even be recommended by the manufacturer
    timbeck likes this.
  17. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    gggGary likes this.
  18. dps650rider

    dps650rider XS650 Addict

    Tried removing some free play and it seemed to help a little, basically I have no free play now but the clutch doesn't slip so OK there.

    I have a theory on the free play, I have heavier springs so the clutch cable is going to stretch a little more that it would with softer springs when the level is pulled all the way. Still last time I had the cover off it seemed like I had plenty of movement but maybe not enough.

    One more thing, my bike is a 78. Which arm length does this have?

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