StromTrooper banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just to be sure, are you confident that the clutch had some free play before this episode?
Fair question to be sure. But yes, I'm pretty cognizant about checking free play periodically.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Charlie1982

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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.
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:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ouch, now I'll be worried about my '18 clutch :oops: :rolleyes:let's hope that bits and pieces of your destroyed clutch, didn't contaminate the engine lubrication
Good question. Well, I rode it home for three hours in that condition on the interstate and no engine hiccups that I could notice. I just dumped the brand new oil that I put in in the autoparts store parking lot and didn't see any particles coming out. The broken fiber plate looks to have been enclosed in the clutch basket when I took off the clutch cover, and I sprayed everything down with WD40 to clean it out, so will keep my fingers crossed that when I put new clutch in everything goes well. Not sure really what else to do?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dado8

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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.
Well, I’m going to replace the clutch, and stick to gravel hardtack dirt roads for now in with the DL. I agree about first gear and gun it, but a steep sandy long hill won’t allow for that unfortunately. Have to play with friction.
Currently on a list for a Ténéré T700 at a local dealer. My Wee and I have had 3 great trips in LATAM together, but this experience sure was a first. Not sure about a comparo between a T7 and a DL clutch.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Methinks “ADV bikes” should have beefier clutches then. Agree about suspension, but this wasn’t a rocky hill. (BTW, I have the Cogent Dynamics upgrade on the forks. Albeit that doesn't help much with keeping power to the ground in the rear.) It was really deep powdery sand. Learned my lesson. If there is a next time, it’ll be with knobbies at least and maybe back down to a 15t or maybe even a 14t front.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
This doesn't mean you can't abuse the clutch some, but you have learned that you can't keep doing it over a short period of time. You just have to think about how much friction and heat you are putting into the clutch over a short period of time. Shorter gearing will help a lot.

I had a similar incident on my DR650, but after disassembly when I got home everything was fine - I just had not heated it up as badly.
So what did you do? Did you let it cool and after that it came back?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Decided to stick to OEM clutch replacement vs. a Rekluse. Just next time will avoid sand traps. High RPM and slipping clutch apparently bad juju. Learned the hard way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brockie and Nicad

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Like you said, knobbies. Traction is everything.
Trouble is, knobbies don’t last worth a damn on the multi thousand mile trips I take every winter south of the border. I can get 12,000 miles out of a set of Trailmax Missions. Unfortunately corded knobbies won’t help much if you’re sitting in a hotel room in a foreign city waiting a couple weeks for a set of tires to clear customs at a $1k shipping cost. Such is my conundrum.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #32 ·
So question on clutch adjustment. Will post on a separate thread also.

Got new clutch installed, and adjusted the push rod at the pressure plate per the manual. Plus I cheated just a little bit and ran the rod in maybe a 1/4 turn tighter. Problem is, without running both the cable adjusters almost full out, there's too much play. With both cable adjusters at full extension, that doesn't leave any extra for further adjustments if necessary.

The only way around it is to cheat and run the push rod at the pressure plate clockwise in farther than you're supposed to. I guess the danger with doing this is that if when the oil gets hot, the clutch plates could expand enough to start rubbing continually if there isn't enough free play there.

Only other solution I can think of is to adjust the clutch cable connection position at the push rod on the engine left side. However the shop manual doesn't address this at all, even though it looks adjustable. Not sure why the shop manual doesn't want us to use that as an adjustment too??? The bike only has 25,000 miles on it so I doubt the cable is stretched.

Has anyone ever adjusted clutch free play down the engine left side where the clutch cable connects to the push rod on a 2017+ 650?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #38 ·
When stopped on a steep uphill, don't just sit there slipping the clutch. Turn around, and go back down knowing where the problem is and use more momentum (speed) next time to get up.
Why would you need to slip the clutch in soft sand? Clutch out, keep the throttle open. Momentum and revs will get you up steep hills or through soft sand - not slipping the clutch.
I didn't know that a modern clutch would destruct like that after just a couple times reviving and slipping it. I tried what you suggested above the first time, but with 50/50s instead of knobbies and my 16T front, that didn't work. Hill was too long, too steep, with really deep talcum powder like sand.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top