Clutch Adjustment or (*gasp*) More - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Clutch Adjustment or (*gasp*) More

Today I noticed that my clutch lever has to come all the way to the grip before it is engaged (or is it disengaged). Even fully squeezed, the bike will creep ahead if stopped while still in gear - and it's becoming more difficult to shift. The 1st 3/4 of the travel of the clutch lever does nothing.

Is this just a simple adjustment? Is there such a thing as "simple" when dealing with a clutch? Or is this something I need to take to the local mechanic - and start saving for?

I'm riding an '85 Honda Shadow 750.

I'm off to consult my manual but I thought I'd seek the wisdom of this forum 1st.

Thanks in advance

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 06:43 PM
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Re: Clutch Adjustment or (*gasp*) More

Originally Posted by 85 Shadow 750
Is this just a simple adjustment? Is there such a thing as "simple" when dealing with a clutch?
If it is cable operated, then yes. You may have too much slack in the cable or (*gasp*) it might be stretched and on the verge of breaking.

If it's hydralic......then it's about like the operation of a disk brake system.
If you don't feel comfortable with that......then a dealer visit might be in order.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 12:46 AM
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I know my '86 VT700 has a hydraulic clutch, I recently went through hell with it. I bleed and bleed it through the bleeder at the slave cylinder, nothing. Turns out the banjo fitting on the clutch master cylinder needed to be bleed, 5 minutes later I had a fully functional clutch again!
Thank you HSN!

'86 VT700C Shadow - Mine
'00 Suzuki Savage - Hers
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 02:16 AM
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It's a hydraulic clutch on the '85, chances are you need to flush and bleed the system. I'd recommend getting a large bottle of brake fluid (whatever is listed on the master cylinder cover, but I use synthetic DOT5 myself) and a clear tube that will fit over the bleeder valve on the slave cylinder. Put the tube on the bleeder and stick the other end in a bottle or something. Open the master cylinder and top off the fluid. Then crack open the bleeder and start pumping. DO NOT let the master cylinder run dry or you'll have to bleed it fresh. Keep pumping and refilling until only clean, clear fluid runs out, then tighten the bleeder valve and recap the master cylinder. Rinse any spilling with clean water quickly. Then take it for a spin.

If that solves it, you're set. Chances are you might be low or the fluid is old and cruddy. If not, you may need to rebuild the master cylinder and/or the slave cylinder.

I seriously doubt it's the clutch itself unless you feel the clutch slipping or the bike is revving too high in gear without accelerating.

txironhead is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 08:58 AM
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Just a small but important error in the above post.

When "Pumping" the lever DO NOT release it until you close the bleeder.

Open bleeder
pull lever
close bleeder
release lever
repeat until no more air comes out or fluid is clear whichever you are trying to do.

If you release the lever with the bleeder open you will suck air or dirty fluid back into the system.

1998 VT1100T A.C.E. Tourer
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 05:01 PM
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Honda's manual recommends against squeezing the clutch handle all the way when bleeding. Says it will cause "piston overtravel", as I recall. Squeeze to about 3/4" of the handle, no closer.
You'll also want to bleed the banjos as someone else mentioned.

By the way, I've bled the clutch on my '84, following these recommendations, and still am not quite happy with it. Just as you're seeing, it engages late and will try to creep ahead a bit, even with the clutch handle squeezed all the way. Maybe this is just how this model works, or maybe I need to rebuild the cylinders. I can live with the problem though, it's not too bad.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by scottrhodes13
I can live with the problem though, it's not too bad.
You can live with it, but can your clutch? If it's not completely disengaging, it's dragging, and causing undue wear and heat on the clutch and plates.

Didn't know that about the 3/4 travel, I'll keep that in mind. Never had a problem with it before.

Yes, the banjo fitting is troublesome, both on the clutch and brakes. Bleeding it is simple, maintain pressure on the handle and crack open the fitting just enough to let the pressure off. 2-3 times should be sufficient to remove the air bubble there.

Rebuilding the master and/or slave may resolve both posters' problems, but keep in mind that old rubber lines weaken over time, and expand more than they should. Not a common problem on clutches since part of the line is steel, but it does happen. Also, corrosion in the steel lines may keep the clutch from working properly.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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OK - I tried. I got my bottle of Dot 3 Brake Fluid and a clear vinyl hose.

I opened the clutch reservoir and it was empty. I put the hose on the bleeder valve, topped up the reservoir and began the open, squeeze, close, release procedure. At 1st I got quite a bit of air, then the air stopped. I re-assembled the reservoir and ... nothing.

So I tried again but this time I may have emptied the reservoir. There was still some fluid in it, but it was pretty low. So I tried again and again got some air bubbles, but then they stopped. I must have put 2 reservoirs of fluid through the system and ... nothing. There's zero resistance to squeezing the clutch lever. I thought maybe the bike needed to run so I fired it up but of course it stalled as soon as I kicked it into gear.

What am I missing? Someone suggested bleeding the banjo valve? Is that the same as the slave valve? Do I have to disconnect more of the clutch system? Did I just not bleed enough fresh fluid through the system?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
85 Shadow 750 is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 03:20 AM
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Clutch reservoir dry - think you've found your original problem.

Okay, the banjo bolt is the bolt holding the clutch line to the master cylinder. Fill the master, pump a few times, hold it almost to the handlebar, then crack open that fitting. 1/4 turn loose and then tight again should do it. Repeat about 5 times and the main bubbles should be gone.

Then crack open your bleeder fitting and pump until most of the air bubbles are gone. Make sure to keep the master topped off. Tighten the bleeder and bleed as normal, 5-7 pumps, hold, crack the bleeder, tighten, repeat until there are NO more bubbles and the handle feels firm.

If it absolutely will not get firm, you may have to get a vacuum bleeder pump like a Mityvac.

If the master was completely dry, I'd highly recommend rebuilding both the master and the slave cylinders. The reason being is that brake fluid crystallizes in the lines when exposed to enough air and/or water and can really gum up the works. You may not even need to buy new seals unless the old ones are cracked or damaged. Also inspect the master plunger and bore and the slave cylinder parts for scoring or pitting. If they are damaged, new seals will just fail, so they need to be in good shape. 90% of the time I only need some parts cleaner and brake fluid to rebuild a hydraulic clutch system. While you have it apart, go ahead and use compressed air to blow any crystals and debris out of the clutch line.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-16-2010, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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txironhead - you ROCK! you are the man - you rule

I could go on, but you get the picture.

It was the banjo bolt. One crack of that bolt and it spit some fluid at me, but I immediately got results - pressure against squeezing the clutch lever. I re-assembled the reservoir and went for a spin - and it works like a charm.

My question now is - Why did my reservoir run dry in the 1st place? Is it something that needs to be checked & topped up from time to time? What about the brake fluid reservoir?

I chose not to take the master & slave components apart this time - maybe another time.

It's such a rush for someone like me to actually start a repair on my bike and finish it with proper results (last summer I replaced the stator - with a lot of help from this forum of course). Thanks again to everyone.
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