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Do I need a new clutch?

4895 Views 46 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Nucking Futs
OK, the past week i've been posting threads in regards 2 my transmission on my 99R1/5800 miles; here R the threads incase U missed them:



I now think I may need a new clutch or maybe friction plates or both, not sure. But I wanted 2 post what my bike is doin in order 4 U guys 2 help me diagnose this problem. I have NO $ 2 invest right now on my bike so ur help is appreciated since I will probably buy what parts I need and install everything myself.

Besides the difficulty I have goin through the gears while stopped,with the clutch fully engaged, when I start 2 rev the bike over 5K rpm's it begins 2 move 4ward as if i was letting the clutch out (but I am not)!!! Does this mean I need a new clutch or can it be the friction plates R worn out, or maybe something else. I almost feel like i'm gonna bend the shifter from all the force I have 2 put on it. I am not a mechanic nor have I ever taken a tranny/clutch apart b4. I have only changed the oil on it and put a new air filter. Just letting u know my degree of knowledge on motorcycles. I have been reading the service manual & familiarizing myself with internal parts of the tranny and clutch so I can perform surgery when ready.

Thank You 4 all your help, I couldn't do this without everyone's input.

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if the shift would be bent and you actually got a gear in you would be moving from the very first point you start your engine or roll the throttle.. you wouldn't be able to even stand still with a gear in... umh.

I'm pretty sure that all you need to do is to change the clutch (maybe friction plates only). That shouldn't cost more than $110USD.

I also want to see what other here has to say.

whats up, I am a mechanic at a bike shop, It sounds to me like your clutch basket has grooves worn in it this will not let your friction plates to be pulled apart all the way. thus your bike moving forward when reving it up. also sinces the petals of the friction plates are sitting in that worn in groove it would be hard to slide them out. thus your clutch being hard to pull in.

Those are my thaughts.
In any case if your going to be doing the work yourself then start by removing the clutch assembly.

Check the friction plates carefully for uneven wear and the metal clutch plates for signs of overheating (blue streaks).

Also check to see that the clutch damper assembly circlip is still there and that it hasn't broke off and gotten jammed within the clutch assembly.

I own a 98 R1 and my circlip did come appart while I was going for a 290 km/h run down a highway.
I had to slow down due to traffic up ahead I noticed that pushing down on the shifter normally would not engage the trany. I accually had to raise my leg and jam it into gear. I did this from 6th gear down to 1st. Once I was stopped with the clutch lever fully squeezed the bike would shake and try to advance.

Anyway it was the circlip that broke! The clip had broke into many little pieces and so I had to remove the lower engine cover (oil pan) in order to get all the pieces out.

Remove the clutch assembly (easy).
Take your time and same $$$.

Good luck!

P.S. Remember we're all here to help one another.
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funat185, had the exact same thaught that the plates weren't going apart correctly. something is maybe up with your feather...
just take the clutch box off and see if you notice anything unusual in it.

Be sure to order a new gasket.
My vote is with funat185. If the clutch plates were simply worn, you would have trouble going forward (slipping), which is the opposite of what you are seeing. The clutch is not fully disengaging, making it hard for you to shift and causing the bike to move forward when the clutch is pulled in. More than likely the problem is a worn basket. The only way to truly know is to pull it apart.:yesnod
99R1 said:
My vote is with funat185. If the clutch plates were simply worn, you would have trouble going forward (slipping), which is the opposite of what you are seeing
99R1, I understand what you are saying, but I should of mentioned this before. I don't have trouble moving forward once in 1st gear but the clutch does feel like it will start to slip soon. For example if I do a burnout or two, I can kiss my clutch goodbye. The clutch feels like it has just enough life to get me to the Yamaha Dealer where I will be dropping off the bike to fix the three recalls associated with 99 R1's. I am also going to ask them 2 take a look at the tranny/clutch. Even though I will do the work cuz labor is 2 expensive 4 me right now, do u agree with me that it is a good idea 2 get the dealer 2 look at it, diagnose the problem and then afterwards i'll just order the parts and do it myself. I'm trying 2 take the initial guess work out of this dilema since I have never opened her up b4!

Thanks again 4 all ur replies. My R1 and I are very grateful for all your help and opinions. TY:thumbup
In the same way the clutch gets stuck slightly closed, it could also get stuck slightly opened because the spring is not actuating the plates together the way they should be. I would still agree with funat185 that the basket has groves in it causing the plates not to engage and disengage freely.

Personally, I would not take it to the dealer, just because I don't like anyone else messing with my stuff. But I've been working on this kind of stuff all my life and I'm comfortable doing so. If you have doubts, take it in, but just don't let them "take you for a ride" and let them tell you things are wrong that really aren’t (not that would ever happen). :p

It will be very apparent to you, if you were to open the clutch up yourself, if the basket is worn. It definitely sounds like a clutch issue and not a tranny issue.

What recalls are out there for the 99? I haven't really checked into it since I've had no problems with it.
Oh yea, and be careful about riding it too much in this condition. With you having to force the bike into gear like you are, a non transmission problem will soon develop into one. When you jam it into gear or when it is excessively hard to shift, you causing excessive wear to the shift fork and are taking a chance at bending a shift fork. Just my 2 cents...... :(
Clutch Problems

I would be really suprised if the basket had notches in it deep enough to cause you any problems. It does happen, but not often on street bikes. Happens alot to dirt bikes.

I would be about 90% sure your pressure (steel) plates are warped. They get hot and then warp. When they warp they take up more space than they should, witch causes the bike to always have a dragging clutch. This will make it not want to sit still in gear, and usually make it a biotch to get into neutral.

Pull the clutch plates out, wash them off, then lay the pressure plates on a CLEAN piece of glass. If they rock at all replace them ALL. I bet you have a few that are not flat. I would also replace the friction plates at the same time. It will be money and time saved down the road.

Make sure you get a clutch cover gasket, if you don't order one it will rip when you remove the cover and you will be waiting that much longer.

You can change the clutch without changing the oil. good luck.
JAYSTENSEC4CYL, i'm due 4 an oil change right about now. Should I drain the engine oil b4 i begin this project, then when all is done put new oil in. Besides the clutch cover gasket and any parts that need 2 be replaced, is their anything else I will need 2 order in advance that cannot be reused once I open her up? Just want everything 2 go smoothly since I am new 2 all this. And also, are their any special tools I will need?

Correct me if I am wrong, but most of the work will be done on the right side of the bike where the clutch resides unless their is a transmission problem which is on the left side, right? I won't need 2 take the carbs out or drop the engine out will I?

PS, i'm looking at the service manual as I type and cannot find what the clutch basket looks like, does any1 have a pic or maybe can tell me what page it's on the 98 service manual/pdf format?

JAYSTENSEC4CYL, thank you very much 4 ur unsight on my problem.
On martinc's web page there is some clutch info/pics:


Jay brought up a good point about the steel plates being warped. That is definitely another possibility that didn't cross my mind and should have, because it is more likely.

Let us know what the problem ends up being. Good luck.;)

P.S. As far as special tools go, you will need something to hold the clutch still when removing the nut for the basket. I'm sure some of the guys have some tricks/experience on how to pull this off. I know you can fabricate a tool out of 2 pieces of stock by bending the ends up and bolting them together to make it look like the factory tool. I guess the guy that wrote the clutch removal detail on martinc's site just puts it in gear then holds the brake while removing the nut.
why not just trying to tighten the clutch cable before attemting a full disassembly of the motor?

martinc said:
why not just trying to tighten the clutch cable before attemting a full disassembly of the motor?


MartinC, your refering 2 clutch cable adjuster on the handlebar or the other side of the clutch cable by the engine? Either way, I adjusted both of them and my shifting is still SHOT!!! I'm taking that puppy apart tomorrow. Is engine oil gonna spill all over the place when I start 2 open the clutch? Do I need 2 drain the oil first b4 I begin?

TY 4 ur reply!!!

With the bike on the side stand no oil will spill out. You can change the oil when ever you want, but it might be easier to drain the oil, and then soak the new friction plates in the old oil as you work. They just need to soak for 5-10 minutes, not a big deal. The warm oil will soak into them faster.

I use an air impact to remover the clutch main nut, so I do not have to hold the basket. With out air tools you might have to find a way to hold the basket while you are trying to take the nut off of the basket.

Work slow, and take special car with the "piano" wire. Do not bend it all up, and when reinstalling it, Make damn sure it is in place securly.

I will warn you lining up the piviot arm with the arrow on the cover is a pain in the ass. It never fails, I have to try it about 5 times before I get it.

Make sure you have 2-3 mm of free play at the lever, that is between the lever and the perch, not at the end of the lever. You MUST have free play in the clutch lever. If you do not your clutch is being disengauged all the time. That makes it slip, and get very hot.

Yes I know I am a no spelling MOFO...lol
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All I can say is WOW.

After reading this post, the amount of knollage out there is great. Truely educational.

Hope you can sort out your problem..............:thumbup
Took clutch apart....

Before I begin, just wanted to say thank you to all that replied to this thread.

I was able to remove the parts starting from the clutch cover through the clutch boss (part #'s 1-14 on page 4-41 of 98 service manual). After careful inspection of the 7 friction plates and 6 clutch plates, I noticed some "Blue Streaking" on most of the clutch plates. The steel pressure plate seemed fine but I have not checked it for warping since I don't have a piece of glass to lay it on. I also noticed that the final clutch plate, the one behind the piano wire had a grove along the diameter from the clutch dampner spring which lays on the clutch dampner seat. I read on MartinC's site that when reassembling the clutch, I should substitute those 2 pieces along with the final friction plate with a regular friction plate (which has a smaller inner diameter therfore not needing the clutch dampner spring or the clutch dampner spring seat).

What do you think MartinC?

Should I put it back together this way even though this may not be the problem? Also, I would like to remove the clutch housing (basket) but do not know how to correctly remove the thrust washer which I think is holding the clutch housing in place. How do I correctly remove the clutch housing? Seemed like everything was pretty simple until I got to that point and I would like to see the rest of the internal parts within the clutch!!!

Quick Tip: When removing the clutch boss center nut, you can easily do so by installing one of the six spring plate retainer bolts all the way in and holding it with a rachet while the center bolt is then taken off. This method spares you the purchase and invention of a clutch holding tool.

The parts that I need to remove now!!!
Thrust washer through starter clutch idel gear (part#'s 15-22 found on page 4-41/42 of the 98 Servive Manual)

I have posted pictures below and will post the clutch basket when removed and other parts that may be faulty. Thanks again for all your help. Sorry the reply was so long but I did not want to miss anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pressure Plate...............


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the markings on the basket looks minimal even from that blurry pic;not the problem.

the fiber plates looks shot though,they are black and contaminated,and the pressure plates(metal)are very glazed;you dont really have to change the last plate(retained by the wire)as its only acting as a cushion;

change the fibers and buff the glaze on a wire wheel at an angle(not from center to outer)but dont push;just remove the color...you"ll be fine.
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