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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Don't know if this is normal or not for a wet hydraulic clutch, but when my engine is cold, I barely have to let out the clutch lever before it grabs. But once the engine is fully warmed up, the clutch won't grab until the lever is almost completely out. Actually, it seems to pretty much be linear depending on the engine temp...the hotter it gets, the further out the lever before it will grab. Kind of annoying cuz sometimes I won't know where it's gonna grab and end up revving alot off stoplights expecting it to grab and it takes longer.

I'd like it to grab like it does when it's cold all the time. Any ideas?

Thanks
 

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This isn't normal. Sounds like you need to flush and bleed the clutch. If you need some good instructions, just do a search on "bleeding the clutch." Be sure to bleed the banjo bolt at the master cylinder as the first step of the bleeding process; otherwise, you will spend a long, frustrating time bleeding it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
litnin said:
What kind of oil are you using?

A very thick oil could easily cause this...
Yeah I use 20W-50 because it's an old engine with wear and burns a lot of oil. Plus it's never that cold here. The FSM says you can use 20W-50 as long as it never gets below 15degreesF.

So how would the thicker oil cause this? I thought about whether it's because the oil is thinning out as it gets warmer, but that will happen no matter what weight you use.
 

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Aviator said:
So how would the thicker oil cause this? I thought about whether it's because the oil is thinning out as it gets warmer, but that will happen no matter what weight you use.
Because when the oil is thick (when it's cold) and gets between the clutch
discs, it will transmit rotating energy through the discs (like a torque converter). As the oil thins out, its viscous enough to be squeezed out
easily as the discs engage (when you let the lever out).
The clutch will seem to not grab as quick.

Next oil change, try going to a 10-40 or lighter and see if the problem
goes away.
If it does, it is most likely the oil... if not, then consider looking elsewhere.

20w-50 isn't going to really hurt anything. But I would suggest a wider
viscosity rating... I personally would go with a 0w-40 or a 5w-50.
The less viscous at startup is best... and then the protection of
the higher viscosity at operating temp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
litnin said:
Aviator said:
So how would the thicker oil cause this? I thought about whether it's because the oil is thinning out as it gets warmer, but that will happen no matter what weight you use.
Because when the oil is thick (when it's cold) and gets between the clutch
discs, it will transmit rotating energy through the discs (like a torque converter). As the oil things out, its viscous enough to be squeezed out
easily as the discs engage (when you let the lever out).
The clutch will seem to not grab as quick.

Next oil change, try going to a 10-40 or lighter and see if the problem
goes away.
If it does, it is most likely the oil... if not, then consider looking elsewhere.
Yeah, got ya, thats kinda what I was thinking too. But if I switch to a thinner oil, it's just gonna act like it does when it's hot now. I want the clutch to grab without having to let the lever out practically all the way. The FSM does say that air in the line can cause this kind of behavior to I'm gonna try bleeding it first. I kinda want to have the extra protection of the heavier engine oil.
 

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Aviator said:
Yeah, got ya, thats kinda what I was thinking too. But if I switch to a thinner oil, it's just gonna act like it does when it's hot now. I want the clutch to grab without having to let the lever out practically all the way. The FSM does say that air in the line can cause this kind of behavior to I'm gonna try bleeding it first. I kinda want to have the extra protection of the heavier engine oil.

Yeah, air will cause that as well. The only reason I didn't mention that
as a first look is because you didn't say anything about recently
changing the fluid or anything...
I assumed that this just started or so...
Just curious... what brand 20w-50 do you use?

The oil protection is definitely a good idea... just keep in mind that thick
oil (like the 20w) is harder to pump and get circulating when cold.
That's why I suggested a 0w or 5w. That gets the oil circulating quicker
and then the high number on the (-40 or -50, etc) gives you the t
better protection when warm.

Good luck with the bleeding. Hope that takes care of it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
litnin said:
Aviator said:
Yeah, got ya, thats kinda what I was thinking too. But if I switch to a thinner oil, it's just gonna act like it does when it's hot now. I want the clutch to grab without having to let the lever out practically all the way. The FSM does say that air in the line can cause this kind of behavior to I'm gonna try bleeding it first. I kinda want to have the extra protection of the heavier engine oil.

Yeah, air will cause that as well. The only reason I didn't mention that
as a first look is because you didn't say anything about recently
changing the fluid or anything...
I assumed that this just started or so...
Just curious... what brand 20w-50 do you use?

The oil protection is definitely a good idea... just keep in mind that thick
oil (like the 20w) is harder to pump and get circulating when cold.
That's why I suggested a 0w or 5w. That gets the oil circulating quicker
and then the high number on the (-40 or -50, etc) gives you the t
better protection when warm.

Good luck with the bleeding. Hope that takes care of it!
I go with the Valvoline motorcycle oil because it's easily available at the auto parts store near me and I go through a lot of it. 20W-50 seems to be the popular viscosity for motorcycle oils here. Though 10W-40 is also usually available.

And yeah if I lived where it was cold a lot, the 20W would definately worry me at startup, but here in San Diego "cold" is 45 degrees. I definately want the 50wt protection when warm on this engine cuz the internal clearances are probably pretty high.
 

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Hi,

I'm experiencing the exact same problem with my clutch. It grabs differently hot versus cold and as a consequence I have stalled the bike a few times at stop lights.

The issue is that my bike is cable operated. I have a 97 VT1100C2. I appreciate any suggestions.
 

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Hi,

I'm experiencing the exact same problem with my clutch. It grabs differently hot versus cold and as a consequence I have stalled the bike a few times at stop lights.

The issue is that my bike is cable operated. I have a 97 VT1100C2. I appreciate any suggestions.
Check/refill or change your engine oil. When the oil was low in my VT1100, the clutch would get grabby enough to make me stall the bike when the engine was cold. As it warmed up, the oil would thin out and expand and the clutch wouldn't be grabby anymore. When I checked/refilled the oil, the problem would go away entirely.
 

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My clutch does the same thing and grabs early when cold and later when hot. It caused me some issues with revving the engine for awhile but I have gotten used to it. I was told that it was normal for hydraulic clutches to grab towards the end of release when hot.
 

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HMMM. on my 98 T The opposite is true. the clutch grabs further out when cold and earlier when hot. Cable operated and oil type and viscosity make no difference. I just adjusted the clutch to be somewhere in the middle with enough play when hot and cold.
 

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HMMM. on my 98 T The opposite is true. the clutch grabs further out when cold and earlier when hot. Cable operated and oil type and viscosity make no difference. I just adjusted the clutch to be somewhere in the middle with enough play when hot and cold.
I had the same problem where when cold, the clutch would disengage (no transfer of power to the drive) with only 1/2" travel on the clutch lever (i'm trying to be as descriptive as possible). When the engine warmed up I had to pull the clutch lever almost all the way down to the handle-grip to get the clutch to disengage. I'm also using 20W-50 but in my case I think my hydraulic fluid had too much water in it and was also getting too hot. After taking my clutch slave apart I realized the heat-plate was missing (i bought the bike used) and i also doubt the fluid had been changed in the past 2 years prior to me buying the bike. So I got a heat-plate and flushed the fluid and put in DOT4 (less hygroscopic and higher temp) and now the clutch is working consistently when cold/hot. I'm still using the 20w-50 oil. Hope that helps.
 
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