1985 VT700 Clutch Problem - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 06-18-2008, 10:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1985 VT700 Clutch Problem

Just got a great deal on a 1985 Shadow 700. Bike is in great shape, new paint, no major problems, engine runs perfectly. However, clutch is giving me issues. After riding for awhile and it warms up, the clutch all but quits working. It won't engage completely, so the bike won't go out of gear. Obviously it's nearly impossible to come to a stop at a stoplight/sign, unless you can get it in neutral quickly before it dies. Getting back in gear and taking off is even harder, as well as shifting while cruising. Never realized how much I took the clutch's job for granted until I didn't have one...anyways...

I thought maybe there was just air in the lines, so I bled it out completely, and topped off the fluid. It ran perfectly, better than ever, for a few hours. Then it started again. I thought maybe there might be a leak, but I can't see fluid anywhere. The seller I got it from, a good friend of mine, said that he had some issues, but the shop told him that the clutch was fine, it just needed a new gasket kit, so that was installed.
I'm not sure where to start now to find the problem. Has anyone else had this? I'm new to the cruiser world, so I figured I might find someone who has had the same issue.

Thanks!
Jared
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the group, and the world of vintage motorcycles!

The 1980s hydraulic clutched are FAMOUS for holding air. That top banjo bolt especially!

It's possible that your master cylinder could be pulling in some air as well. Hit email, and you'll find folks selling rebuild kits for the clutch master cylinder. It's possible that the slave cylinder is sucking in air or leaking fluid, but it's much less likely since it's always under pressure.

--Justin
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Justin. I'll re-bleed it out and make sure everything is tight.

I think the master cylinder was already rebuilt, if I recall correctly. I remember the former owner saying that he bought some kind of gasket/rebuild kit for the clutch that was supposed to fix this issue. Since it didn't, I'll be double-checking everything else, like the banjo bolt as you suggested.

Thanks again,
Jared
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had a lot of troubles with the clutch on my 85 vt700 when I first got it. When it got up to temp the clutch wouldn't engage at all. I drained the oil and took the clutch assembly completely apart. Everything looked okay so I just put it back together, put in new oil, and have had no problems with it in the last 3 months.

I think it must have had some bad oil in it, maybe some of that "energy conserving" stuff or something.

So, yeah, check for air in the lines and all, but maybe also give it an oil change making sure you use the proper oil.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How to go about changing the clutch oil?

And what type clutch oil to use?

I just changed the engine oil, that was cake.


Or, is the clutch and engine oil the same, like on my sport bike?

Don't laugh, I'm new. I'll admit that I'm ignorant!
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The clutch itself, transmission and engine all share the same oil. If you change the oil, you've changed it all.

If you're looking at changing the clutch fluid (the stuff that gets pumped through the hydraulic hoses when you squeeze the clutch lever) then you're looking at DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid. NEVER use DOT 5, it's not compatible with DOT 3 and 4. Maybe if you took the whole system apart and cleaned it out it might work, but I'd stay away from DOT 5 no matter what.

If you changed the engine oil with something that's not "energy conserving," then you should be in fine shape as far as clutch slippage goes.

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Old 06-20-2008, 11:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, I just changed the engine oil, so that should be taken care of.

And I've bled the clutch line out so many times now that I've filled the reservoir twice now with new DOT3 fluid, so it's basically new as well.

It seemed to hold up better yesterday, but still wasn't acting right. When I first start out, the clutch lever has alot of travel and the clutch gradually grabs when letting out. After riding awhile, it doesn't fully dis-engage when pulled in all the way, and grabs and jerks when let out just the slightest bit. After bleeding it again, it works correct for a short time.
I still can't find where air is getting in.
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hmmm, those are the symptoms for air in the line, but dang if I know where it's coming from.

Hmmm...

--Justin
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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There seems to be two lines going to the clutch assembly on the handlebar, a send and return, correct?
One of the lines, the smaller one, has quite a kink, possibly to the point that it may be broke and letting air in.

Maybe?
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Old 06-20-2008, 02:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaredMTFD
There seems to be two lines going to the clutch assembly on the handlebar, a send and return, correct?
One of the lines, the smaller one, has quite a kink, possibly to the point that it may be broke and letting air in.

Maybe?
No, there should be only 1 hydraulic line, the larger one IMO.
See drawing http://www.hondaparts-direct.com/fic...ion_detail.asp

I don't know what the smaller line could be except the choke cable which is nearby.
Or there is the electrical wires for the turn signals and the horn.

Hope you get it sorted out.
I would (skip if you have done yourself, don't depend on the PO):
1. rebuild the clutch master cylinder
2. replace the hydraulic line
3. rebuild the clutch slave cylinder.
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