Fixing clutch on first gen

Randy Grein randygrein at
Sun Aug 26 14:51:33 PDT 2007

Zoran is right. (as always) Sounds like a dragging clutch, although  
it could be made worse by misaligned shift linkage. Make sure the  
linkage rod makes about a 90 degree angle with the shift lever tab  
and shift lever arm. I'm sure you have never taken the clutch out,  
but it really is a simple job. Could be the clutch is badly adjusted,  
so I've included the relevant part on the actuator arm:

Check the cable routing. Make sure it goes where it's supposed to.
Check free play, dirt, and mechanical hangups on the clutch cable.
Take the countershaft sprocket cover off to access the actuator  
mechanism. (That's the rotator arm part the clutch cable is connected  
to.) If it's adjusted correctly it will make an acute angle with the  
cable, around 80 degrees (just a bit narrower than a right angle). If  
not you need to adjust the set screw freeplay. Use a 10mm socket to  
loosen the locknut, and a blade screwdriver to turn in the adjuster  
until it just touches, don't bear down. Then back it off 1/8-1/4 turn  
and tighten the locknut. Make sure it doesn't move the adjuster  
If it's adjusted properly loosen the clutch cable and remove it from  
the actuator. Check for dirt and free movement; if it doesn't slide  
freely you'll need to clean and lube it.
If that's all OK, then move on to the clutch itself. Drain the oil or  
put it on the sidestand and remove the clutch cable.
Check for frayed cable while you have it disconnected. If it doesn't  
move freely replace it.
Remove the clutch cover. There's a lot of bolts, just take your time.  
Depending on the angle of the bike you may lose some oil out the  
cover; this might be a good time to change oil - at least have a pan  
underneath to catch overflow.
Remove the clutch spring bolts and clutch springs. The basket cover  
will come off, and you can start pulling the plates out. Keep them in  
order; the last friction plate is special and you want it to go in  
the same location.
Inspect the plates. You may have some broken plates; they may be worn  
- check the thickness. Use a flat plate to check warpage on the metal  
plates. Generally a grabbing clutch will be broken friction plates or  
warped steel plates. Replace as needed.
Assembly is in reverse order.

Now, if you really did mangle the shift shaft you'll need to remove  
the clutch basket. It's a lot easier with an impact gun - I keep an  
electric one I bought at Sears. Easy off for many items!. Flatten the  
washer tabs, get a 32mm socket, hold the basket and remove the nut.  
The inner basket should slide right off, then you can remove the  
outer basket.
The shifter mechanism is now exposed. On the left side of the engine  
there is a circlip and washer that keeps the shift shaft in place.  
Remove the circlip and slide the shaft through and out the right side  
of the engine.

After all this, and assuming the transmission itself isn't damaged I  
would get the Factory pro shift kit. Go to  
and check it out. It won't fix bent forks and hammered dogs, but it  
will help a tranny in good condition to stay that way. Oh, and buy  
one of Z's clutch cables. If you can route it correctly (in front of  
the forks into the right side of the frame) it's a lot smoother than  
stock, with an easier pull.

Randy Grein, WMRRA #41

On Aug 26, 2007, at 11:58 AM, Erik Weber wrote:

> Since I've had my bike the shifting has been pretty clunky. Many times
> it would not go into or out of first. That would sort of gradually go
> away sometimes. During my last races there were several times when I
> could not get it into fifth. Also it tends to slip into false neutrals
> between second and third at times, which is pretty scary, but I
> suppose this could be due to me not moving the peg far enough during
> shifts. I am using AMSOIL.
> One day I got pissed off and did something really stupid when it
> wouldn't come out of first. I reached down with my hand and grabbed
> the peg and yanked it upward, mangling my shift rod. I managed to bend
> it back and the bike will shift but that's about when it started not
> going into fifth. Maybe I caused more internal damage when I did that.
> Another thing is that the clutch lever is extremely hard to pull in.
> I've just learned to live with that. Not sure if that is a separate
> issue?
> So, I would appreciate it if someone out there could diagnose the
> problem and give me the most economical solution to getting my clutch
> back to "like new" or better. I would like to do the work myself if I
> can.
> Does the clutch need to be rebuilt, replaced or just repaired? What
> parts do I need and what is the general process? Can I get that side
> bolt off without an air wrench?
> 2001 SV650S.
> Thanks for your help,
> Erik

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