Tech Tips: Clutch Plate Replacement 8

Get some quick tips on how to change out your motorcycle's clutch.

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Transcribed Version:

"Hey, this is Michael Lindsay from Vital MX. We're in Chaparral Motorsports today and we're gonna show you how to check your clutch to see if it needs to be serviced, and if so, we're gonna show you how to pop a new one in. Just because you're not a heavy clutch abuser doesn't mean that your clutch plates don't need replacing. So we're gonna flop this KX450 on its side, get in there and show you if you need to replace yours. Tools you're typically gonna need for this project are 8 and 10-millimeter T-handle or sockets. You're also gonna wanna torque wrench to tighten back down the clutch springs. Screwdriver, I'm gonna show you how to help pull down the brake pedal with. And you're gonna want a clutch plate removal tool or some O-ring picks to get in there and get the clutch plates out.

So first things first, gotta have the bike on its side. If you don't, you're gonna pull the clutch cover and you're gonna make a complete mess of things unless of course you've already drained the oil out of the engine, then you can do this while the bike is on the stand. So before we get into taking the cover off, we need to get the brake pedal out of the way. Instead of actually removing the brake pedal, we're just gonna go over here and compress the rear master cylinder, freeing up the pads, so you can then take the brake pedal and compress it freely. Then you're gonna take a screwdriver. In this case, it's got a little bit of a shoulder on that'll hold it down and outta your way so you can now access the bolts that were normally blocked by the brake pedal. 

Now we got all the bolts out, we're gonna pop the cover off here. First things first, check to see where your gasket ended up, sometimes it sticks to the cover, sometimes it sticks to the case, sometimes it sticks on both, you wanna just be really careful taking it off. So now we're gonna get in here and get the clutch springs broken loose. So now that we've got the springs out to expose the clutch plates, we gotta get your pressure plate off here. Once you take it off, you wanna be careful and make sure there's no washers on the inside. If there is, just be careful that you don't lose it. 

Okay, so now it's time to get the plates out. In some cases, there are some special tools to grab all of 'em. In my case, you can just use, like, O-rings, little flat blade screwdrivers to grab the whole pack. You do wanna be careful if you do have gasket material here, not to compress too hard against it and damage it or even ruin the surface that the gasket would sit on. So you just wanna take things kinda gently at this point.

Sometimes taking the whole pack out at once isn't an option if one of 'em starts to bind up. Sometimes you can get 'em all out at once. So now we have this clutch out, it's not really in bad shape. Personally, not a clutch abuser, so not too hard on these, but, you know, you sometimes pull these out, the metals will be purple, black, they'll basically been warped over heat. And you wanna also check them to see if there's any roughness still left here, see if they're perfectly smooth or not. And then fiber plates, you'll start to see some heavy wear and discoloration when they've been abused. Some people pull 'em out seeing this color and go, "No, it's completely fine to put them back in," but you also wanna take a set of micrometers and measure the actual fiber, the thickness. There is an OEM spec for each bike, and if it's under the thickness, it's actually not doing its job. So in this case, we will be replacing the fibers and metals. So sometimes you buy 'em separately, this pack we got from Henson has 'em together and already set up, metal, fiber, metal, fiber. You just pop 'em out and you wanna soak these in oil, specifically the one that's already in the engine. So got a little...just find an old Tupperware or container here. As I said, if you did get 'em separately, it's really good to set 'em up fiber to metal as you're gonna put 'em back in so when they're soaked, you can just pull 'em out and go one at a time without having to slop through 'em all and pull the wrong ones out and everything. Now, as long as you don't contaminate oil, you can always reuse this when you're done. 

So once you've let 'em soak for a while, sometimes I let 'em, you know, soak 10 or 15 minutes, people let 'em soak overnight. I hear a lotta people have different preferences, but I've never had any kind of problem after just soaking 'em for a little while. Gonna start putting 'em in. It's better to not be a hero and try to put 'em all in at once and just take your time and put 'em in one at a time and not make a complete and utter mess. And now that we have our plates installed again, we're gonna put our pressure plate back on. And we're gonna start putting our clutch springs back in now. 

Once you got the clutch springs torqued, it's time to put the cover back on. Make sure you set it on and line up your gasket, try not to pinch the gasket with the bolts or damage it in any way. Now the cover's back on, get our screwdriver here out of the way and make sure to pump up the brake pedal a little bit so first time you don't go riding it, it doesn't go to the floor and cause a problem for you. So now that we have the fresh clutch installed, you should notice a pretty good difference on your next ride. Make sure to check back for more tech tips on"

Credit: Joe Carlino
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