StromTrooper banner

Blown clutch on 2018 Wee.

4086 Views 39 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  WingVetteStrom
Attached is a picture of the first fiber clutch plate just inside the pressure plate.

I was off roading on the Washington State BDR. We ran into a fairly steep hill with super deep and silty sand. I quickly lost traction and tried to slip the clutch to get up the hill. After several attempts with the clutch all the way out and the engine revving the wheel wasn't spinning in 1st gear. "Oh crap", I've blown the clutch I'm thinking. We ran into some help and pushed the bike up the hill and let it cool for 1/2 hour. Bike felt fairly normal but noticed there was zero play in the clutch handle so ran the lever adjuster nut all the way inn and got a tiny amount of play back. I remember distinctly checking for proper free clutch handle play recently. It's something I do on a regular basis. I'm OC about maintenance as I take this bike to LATAM every winter.

After limping into a hotel in Cashmere, WA, I changed the oil in an autoparts store parking lot, and the bike seemed to be operating normally. However to be cautious I cancelled the trip and drove three hours back home on pavement, but noticed a couple times the bike stalled out when starting out like normal in first gear, and I also heard some "chattering" noises.

When I got home and took the clutch apart, this is what I found. The top/outside fiber plate, the first one just inside the pressure plate was "melted" and broken into lots of pieces. How I was able to get home is beyond me.

So going to replace all fiber and steel plates and springs, but question remains why? I spent maybe only four for five attempts to use clutch friction to get up the hill before this happened. Not very much in my opinion. Can't understand why a modern clutch would do this. If anyone has any ideas I'm all ears. I know there's several people on this forum with a lot of Wee time.

For more info, I was on Dunlop Mission Trailmax 50/50s (knobbies next time!) and I had moved to a 16T on the front sprocket vs. the OEM 15T, which didn't help matters any obviously. I had also completed a few months ago a 7K mile trip to Mexico and Central America that included some off road with no problems.
____

Edit: Checked the fiber plates at a few random locations and they're in spec greater than minimum thickness. Still had plenty of life left in them.

Also thinking about installing a Rekluse if anyone has any experience with them.

__
Edit again. Decided on reloading clutch with just the stock plates, not a Rekluse. Fiber and metal, and for good measure new springs and throwout/needle bearing. Also new pressure plate as the existing one has fused fiber plate stuck to it.



Eye Light Automotive tire Art Automotive wheel system
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
5,543 Posts
Usually it's the clutch slipping, i.e. no free play and in some cases doing things like slogging through soft sand.

That'll destroy clutches on any of the big bikes. Sorry but there are things you simply can't do with these bikes (and I don't just mean DL's) that you might get away with on a smaller bike and slipping the clutch at decent rpms is one of them.

It's something I deliberately avoided doing when I was doing a lot of dirt on DL's and the clutch was noticeably slipping on seal when hard on it at 60,000k's.

From your description of what happened I suspect trying to do something that the clutch simply wasn't capable of was the cause. You can try Barnett components, their friction plates have a lot more meat and the springs are stronger but the result is pretty feral. "Be careful what you wish for".
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,543 Posts
Saw a KTM 1090 and an Africa Twin out there doing the same trail. I agree with you completely that these aren't dirt bikes, but there are lots of heavy ADV bikes that seem to be able to do it? I wouldn't think that this clutch is any different from those, but I'm not an engineer. :cool:
There are a LOT more reports of KTM's with fried clutches than DL's, they have an additional problem with the oil feed to the clutch though. F800's are real prone to this as well. The older GS's with dry clutches you had to be real careful even at low rpm's because they'd smoke the clutch really easily. And yeah, 'smoked' is the right description there, very memorable and a very distinctive smell as well.

You can slip the clutch just fine at low rpm's, but once the rpm's go up a fried clutch is pretty typical on any heavy bike.

I got used to just sticking it in gear, concentrating on line and being brave on the steep ones. It did help having really good suspension because having the wheels not bouncing around makes that a lot easier.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,543 Posts
Very likely it has essentially the same problems, this isn't unique to DL's. It's slightly lighter but slipping at elevated rpm's will probably do similar. Use Mr Google and check.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,543 Posts
If you haven't worked it out. DL650 probably has ~50HP going through the clutch when the rev's get up (I'm assuming you weren't at full throttle, just up there). With it slipping only ~10HP make it to the rear wheel, the rest ends up in the oil and clutch plates. That's a very small space in which to dump 50HP.

That's why I'm saying any of the large bikes can have this happen and the larger the bike, the more likely it is, it'll also happen on smaller bikes but with say 12HP and maybe only 5 ending up in the clutch slogging through soft sand or mud it takes longer. And yes, we did that to small bike clutches back in the day, not as spectacularly as your effort but it still happened.

It's technique, changing bikes won't change the physics other than bikes with better suspension behave better and you can keep the speed up without slipping the clutch.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,543 Posts
I've used Barnett clutches in two DL650's. They certainly don't slip :). Be prepared for 5000k's of misery being unable to change into neutral when stopped.

If you do go that way, I'd suggest using three Suzuki springs and three Barnett springs for quite a few k's.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,543 Posts
Same issue as WingVetteStrom above. I adjusted my clutch once on my 2012 DL650, hit exactly the same problem, came up with the same solution. Next time it needed adjusting, dropped in a Barnett clutch pack. That has it's own issues. It works and has far more bite than the Suzuki clutch, problem is it also has far more drag than the Suzuki clutch as well.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top