Shift Results and Dreaded Oil Thread

Terry Packer packertl2 at
Sun Sep 16 21:08:15 PDT 2007

I reported previously that even though my bike’s
shifting was improved by fresh oil, it didn’t seem up
to normal Japanese standards and was consistent with
some underlying mechanical issue that fresh oil and
shift technique could make tolerable. This past week I
dove into it. 

With the clutch cover off, I could see that the
pressure plate moved substantially so I discounted the
possibility of a problem with the slave cylinder etc.

It’s not practical to take the tranny apart so I did
the easy thing first and took the clutch apart. Pretty
much all the fingers of the basket had significant
impressions from the clutch tangs. To my surprise, the
tangs on the friction plates also had rough lateral
gouges like they’d been worked with a toothy file. 

I’ve seen much worse in the past so I didn’t expect
much benefit to dressing everything smooth. But I
figured it couldn’t hurt and grabbed a fine tooth
file.  Doing every worn face on the basket and every
friction plate tang turned out to be a somewhat more
tedious job than anticipated.

The gasket on the clutch cover was difficult to clean
off and I couldn’t be certain I retrieved every bit
from the open crankcase. So I decided to fill the bike
with cheap oil (5/w30 car dino oil) and run it a
little to flush the engine while waiting for premium
oil that I have to order.

To my surprise, even with the 5w-30 dino, clutch
action and shift quality were immediately into the
normal range. Definitely something Japanese engineers
would be satisfied with. Probably 90+% of previous
notchiness was gone. Engagement of 1st  while stopped
also improved.

The last step was oil selection. I’ve tended to
discount expensive oils in the past. But
I bumped into the link below to an older independent
oil analysis that appears to be pretty authoritative.
Anyway, I decided to experiment with 15-50  Motul 300V
synthetic which I have yet to order. It’ll cost about
$40 but I expect even the marginal improvement of a
premium oil will result in shifting that’s truly
“buttery”. I’ll report again after I’ve had a chance
to run the 300V and find out if it makes a difference.

Fortunately, most everybody on the list who responded
to my initial post seemed happy with his bike’s
shifting. But my results indicate that even “normal”
clutch basket wear can take away that new-bike feel. 
If you want to check it out on your own bike, the
clutch cover gasket was about $7.50 and the rest was
just my time.

Arroyo Grande, CA

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