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I have a DL650A 07 with 63.000 km. At around 50k I had noticed that I had problem switching to neutral when I was fully stopped and the clutch lever had a lot of free play before it would engage. So I used the adjuster nut on the lever to reduce the free play. That fixed the switching to neutral problem. I could switch all gears very smoothly now. But after about 3-4K kilometres I had to adjust it again. And then another 3-4k kilometres I had to change the cable because there was no more room for adjustment anymore. Since then I have adjusted once again and now at 63k it feels like it's time to do it one more time. The cable is new so I don't think it's the cable, and the old one upon inspection was also fine.

Someone suggested to me that it might be time to replace my clutch plates. Does this symptom really point to worn out plates? Is it normal to have worn out plates at 60k? Please note that I don't feel any slipping of the clutch at high or low revs.
 

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Typically under normal driving circumstances at 63,000 KM's the clutch would not need replaced. But not know how the bike was ridden it hard to tell.
 

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Did you do the adjustment under the primary sprocket cover?
This. Adjusting the cable is only one of the 2 adjustments you need to do. It's outlined in the service manual, or maybe there's a thread here on how to do it, it's simple. Do this before digging deeper. I adjust my cable pretty frequently, I like to keep the .5'' of play.

Not likely the plates are worn at 63K km, but possible depending on how you ride. I just recently had odd increasing and decreasing slack on my old Harley's clutch lever. Opened it up expecting big problems, but discovered only that the clutch nut had loosened up, just had to Loctite it and torque to spec. So strange things happen, start with the simple stuff first.
 
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Sorry, I should have clarified, there's 2 adjustments under the sprocket cover. Adjusting the pushrod is one, but you can also adjust the cable down there if you run out of adjustment up at the lever.
 

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It's outlined in the service manual, or maybe there's a thread here on how to do it...
Go to SVRider.com and look for Andy Augers Clutch Mantra. Best write up I have ever seen on this adjustment procedure.
 

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First of all if your clutch is not fully releasing (dragging) that isn't clutch plate wear. If the plate wear worn out the clutch would slip, not drag. (At over 202.000 km the clutch on my 2006 DL650 was working fine.


Make sure nothing is stopping your clutch lever from being fully pulled back. Is anything interfering?

Now if your clutch is dragging make sure you have the proper slack in your cable. This is done with the adjusters at either end of the cable.

If that doesn't work take a look at the clutch adjuster which is under the front sprocket cover. Check that it is adjusted properly. If it is adjusted correctly you might want to check and see if the actuator lever has play. I had the spot weld that holds the actuator lever break and that gave symptoms like yours (OP). See if that lever has play. If it does you need to replace it and it isn't a ton of money. (I don't know if you can just spot weld it again to secure it ).

If none of those fix the issue you might also look at the pivot the clutch lever pivots on. Is everything there okay? Loose bolt or excessive wear can cause problems. (I haven't talked about fraying ends of the cable since you replaced the cable an that didn't fixe the problem )

..Tom
 

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I had that symptom on a dirt bike many years ago. Turned out to be the cable started to go. A few of the strands had broke loose causing the cable to stretch.
Modern, lined cables can get stiff when the inner cable wears its way through the lining. When you lube a cable & it doesn't seem to help, it could be a consideration.
 

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Remember the clutch cable inner, on the Wee does not require any lube, only the pivot points require a light coat of grease. The cable is designed with a lube free internal sleeve. Lubing the inner may cause the inner material to become sticky.
 

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Go to SVRider.com and look for Andy Augers Clutch Mantra. Best write up I have ever seen on this adjustment procedure.
Andy Auger's Clutch Mantra

Here's the solution to most clutch and shifting issues. This includes hard shifting, slipping clutch, frequent missed shifts, etc. It's always a good idea to have a shop manual handy just in case.

1. Adjust the release mechanism.
- Remove the front sprocket cover.
- Loosen the clutch cable using one or both cable adjusters so you have lots of slack.
- Loosen the jam nut on the lever arm that the clutch attaches to under the front sprocket cover. Use a box end wrench.
- Leave the wrench on the jam nut and turn the screw (actually the release rod) counterclockwise until you are sure it no longer is in contact with the push rod (tip: use a screwdriver with a tip the same width as the screw to avoid conflict with the jam nut). You need a little clearance between the release rod and the pushrod. Now gently turn the rod clockwise until you feel light pressure. Now turn the rod counterclockwise 1/4 turn. Leave the screwdriver in place to keep the rod from turning and tighten the jam nut. This sets the end clearance of the release rod.

2. Adjust cable slack.
- Screw the cable adjuster at the lever in pretty much all the way. Back the adjuster at the engine case out until you have about 1/2" free play measured at the end of the lever. If you can't get down to 1/2" slack using the engine case adjuster alone, use the adjuster at the lever also.

This puts the release mechanism and the clutch lever where they're supposed to be for best function. Consider lubricating the cable while you're fooling around with it. It's easy to remove it from the lever when the adjusters are all the way in.

3. Change the oil.
If your oil is old or has a lot of mileage on it (6 months or 3,000 miles) change it. Consider changing the filter, too. Don't overfill. (Note that if you always ride an hour or more every time you get on the bike the oil can go more than 3,000 miles, but if you don't ride much don't go more than 6 months regardless of mileage).

4. Check the oil level.
The proper way to check the oil level is to put in the appropriate amount, start the engine and let it run about 30 seconds, stop the engine and wait about two minutes. Now stand the bike up vertically and look at the level in the sight glass. The oil level should be BETWEEN the marks. Overfilling will make the clutch drag and cause hard shifting.

5. Clean, lubricate and adjust external linkage.
Take a look at the external shift linkage. Both ends of the tie bar should be clean and lubricated. The best way to lubricate is to pack the joints with something like Lubriplate (white grease) or similar product. Silicon greases (like Dow-Corning 111 compound) work well also. Plain old oil will work, but not last as long.

This next part isn't as common a problem, but it is a fine point that can cause trouble.
Look at the relative position of the "lever arms" at the foot lever and the transmission. They should be as close to parallel as possible. Sometimes when you adjust for good foot position the two "lever arms" are at a pretty steep angle relative to one another. Sometimes you have to remove the lever from the transmission and rotate it a tooth or two from stock position.

If all this doesn't work then the problem could be either in the clutch itself or in the internal mechanism. Good luck.
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Discussion Starter #12
WOW! That's why I love this community! So many useful replies just over the night. Thank you for that! :D

Here's a bit more info:
I was on a long trip last time I had this issue (about a month ago) so I went to a mechanic and he first tried adjusting the activator (I think) as described at Brookie's reply above but said that unfortunately this didn't work and that's why he changed the cable and suggested that when I get back home I take it to a mechanic and have it checked because it might need changing of the clutch plates.
When I was adjusting the free play myeslf, I did it both on the lever and on the engine side, with the adjustment nut that is exposed (not the one under the cover). Nut number 5 on Brockie's picture above. And now I have ran out of adjustment distance on both.

What seems odd to me is that I bought the bike used with 19.000 km and never had problems up to around 50.000 km. And then in the last 13k I had to adjust it 4-5 times. It's like it's very very slowly increasing its free play and once it reaches a point that I can't shift when stopped, then I need to adjust it again.

I will try all of your suggestions probably at the weekend and get back to you with the results.
 

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Everything points to the mechanical adjuster in the side cover. Worn plates would be more apt to show slipping under certain conditions.

Either a part broken, or simply not adjusted correctly, the main adjustment should be done first. If it is in good shape and correctly adjusted, the cable will hardly if ever need adjusted once it is correctly set.
 
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...the cable will hardly if ever need adjusted once it is correctly set.
I agree with this in theory.

I wonder if it is an inherent weakness in the design. When I had my SV, (2007), I noticed a need to frequenty adjust the cable free play, however the screw and locknut at the release mechanism rarely needed adjustment. Perhaps parts of the linkage was wearing. (The cable never needed replacement, original from new until sold at 86600 miles.)

My 2016 vstrom, with the 2nd gen design, has never needed cable adjustment since new, currently 17000 miles.
 

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I was on a long trip last time I had this issue (about a month ago) so I went to a mechanic and he first tried adjusting the activator (I think) as described at Brookie's reply above but said that unfortunately this didn't work and that's why he changed the cable and suggested that when I get back home I take it to a mechanic and have it checked because it might need changing of the clutch plates.
When I was adjusting the free play myeslf, I did it both on the lever and on the engine side, with the adjustment nut that is exposed (not the one under the cover). Nut number 5 on Brockie's picture above. And now I have ran out of adjustment distance on both.
You have a new cable and have ended up with both cable adjusters at maximum? That is almost impossible - unless there is something wrong with the actuator.

Remove the cable at the actuator and remove, clean and inspect the actuator. It is a simple worm drive which presses against the shaft which then opens a gap between the clutch plates and pressure plates so that they are able to turn independently. Surely that is not where your problem is.

Could the actuator be loose on its mount? Either that, or is the worm drive of the actuator damaged? I cannot think of anything else which matches what you describe.
When you move the arm of the actuator that part should move out of the shell half, pushing against the clutch rod.
Remove it carefully and inspect its action.
 

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Every now and then its good to take the worm drive apart to grease the tiny ball bearings, very carefully of course, they will try to get away from you, but the worm drive can also be installed in its outer housing 180° out, in which case the travel will become so great as to cause even maximum cable adjustment to be ineffective.
 

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If you remove the actuator do it carefully over a clean white rag, the worm drive contains ball bearings that may/will fall out. I've taken mine apart to clean and lube twice over 81K miles. I think I lost a bearing the first time, and the actuator arm appeared flimsy when the lever was pulled. I cleaned it again a month ago, I noticed 1 or 2 balls missing, flimsy operation and clicking. I replaced the whole actuator ($50) and the clutch feels great at the lever, like a brand new bike.

If you use a chain wax or non-fling chain lube the actuator gets gummed up with this stuff and the lever pull gets heavier.
 

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Could the actuator be loose on its mount? Either that, or is the worm drive of the actuator damaged? I cannot think of anything else which matches what you describe.
When you move the arm of the actuator that part should move out of the shell half, pushing against the clutch rod.
Remove it carefully and inspect its action.
I mentioned before that on my 2006 DL650 I had the spot weld that secures the arm the actuator break and that caused the effect of the cable running out of slack over a few weeks of riding. I actually had the same misleading thoughts of the clutch wearing out but realized after wasting some money that couldn't be the issue.

..Tom
 

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...the worm drive can also be installed in its outer housing 180° out, in which case the travel will become so great as to cause even maximum cable adjustment to be ineffective.
At the risk of repeating myself, this point is very important. Do not overlook it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'll have some time to look into it during the weekend but I have compiled a checklist with all the suggestions on this thread and I'm gonna go through all of them one by one :smile2:

Some of them I don't really understand just by reading them (eg. what locoblanco said about the actuator being installed in its outer housing 180° out) but I hope once I open up the side cover, it will all make sense.

By the way, any of you happen to live in Denmark? I'm offering cold beers to whomever can come and help me on Saturday :grin2::grin2:
 
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