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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 VTX1800 and I'm on my 4th clutch with only 17.5k on the odometer. I'm starting to believe the clutch isn't the problem, but I'm at a loss as to where to turn. I PRAY someone here has an idea or two.

Clutch 1 - Original Clutch from Honda. Lasted to about 13k. Started slipping and figured it just needed to be replaced. Found a guy of craigslist to replace it for me.

Clutch 2 - Craigslist guys clutch lasted about 200 miles before it started slipping so bad the bike was not rideable. I was pretty angry, so I learned my lesson and took it to my local Honda shop to have them put in a new one. The guy at the shop told me that he agreed that the bike was un-rideable, but he couldn't find anything wrong when he inspected the clutch and the basket. He replaced it anyhow.

Clutch 3 - The clutch from the shop lasted about 2k before it started slipping. It started subtly,and got progressively worse over time.at 17.5k the power loss was becoming drastic. This time I decided to do it myself and see what was going on. I tore the clutch apart and found nothing wrong. The clutch looked good, the steel plates looked good and the basket looked good. I took pics and emailed them to other people who knew better than I and they all said it all looked good. New friction discs, new steel plates, new springs and a fresh oil change. Everything torqued down to spec.

Clutch 4 - 50 miles into clutch #4 and it starts slipping. 100 miles in and it's near un-rideable again.

I am at a loss. I first thought it might be as simple as bad springs and that the other guys just didn't replace them, but new springs didn't do the job either. And I am using Honda oil specifically designed for wet clutches.

I throw myself on the mercy of the VTX gods. I hope someone has a "Hey Bonehead! Did you check XYZ!" I just talked to am mechanic buddy of mine who also looked at everything when I had it out and he's at a loss. It really doesn't seem that difficult of a system.

Thanks in advance!
 

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WildBikers.com Owner
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Check your Cable!!! I tooo am on my 4th Clutch Mainly abuse (Hole Shots Constantly) thats the way I roll. But one of them was way too premature - Like you. I could understand as I wasn't being aggressive at the time. Had to change it but then decided to check cable and I was down to a few strands left. Changed it and so far so good - Lasts as long as it should for me LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would be looking at the hydraulic system since 4 times the disk and plates have been in spec.
Were the springs replaced any of the repair times.
Someone on another board suggested the same thing. I can't speak for the other clutch replacements because I wasn't educated enough to ask those questions at the time, but this time I used all new Barnett clutch parts and springs. All torqued down to 9 ft/lbs. I'm going to look into the hydraulic system this weekend and I'll keep you updated.
 

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Pursuing Perfection
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My only Thought - wrong gear - full power.

Or explain gear changes from stop - to freeway cruising -

Then Passing from 55.

What gear is slipping first noticed?

So make it as if riding along side, so we get the full picture, or video sample of leaving the stop sign.
 

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If after this teardown, the clutch looks good again, I'd look at the lifter piece in the center of the clutch hub, and pull out the lifter rod with a magnet, or by removing the slave cylinder on the other side, and check that.

If the lifter rod or piece is bent slightly, it will move enough to lift the spring plate, disengage the clutch, but may get stuck when it should retract, and engage the clutch. Foreign material, or burrs from manufacturing may be inside the transmission mainshaft, and is hanging up the lifter rod, preventing clutch engagement.

Roll the lifter rod on a piece of glass to check that it's not bent. Put the lifter piece in the clutch hub, and push and pull it while rotating it to see if it binds.
 

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Pursuing Perfection
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2003 VTX1800 and I'm on my 4th clutch with only 17.5k 1 - Original Clutch from Honda. Lasted to about 13k.
2 - Craigslist guys clutch lasted about 200 miles
3 - The clutch from the shop lasted about 2k
4 - 50 miles into clutch #4 and it starts slipping. 100 miles in and it's near un-rideable
If clutch looks good
I'd look at the lifter -
the slave cylinder
That's huge insanity to not have gone through all of that.
More than likely - no one qualified has any clue on the system touching it.

There's a wide time slot we're not seeing within this 2003 & 2014 & 13k miles.
How long it sat unridden - where very possible slave has corrosion line -
behind piston, holding slave piston to edge of clutch release = pack not able to clamp.

Where & how the machine was kept - was it ever in a garage out of the weather?

Until update - no idea/ condition of fluid / clutch master/ bleed process result, etc.

At 4, obvious piston has now advanced corrosion line & seized even further outward -
releasing more of the clutch pressure to barely engaged.

The fluid must be mud at the bottom of master - simple test of twisted paper towel & wiped across the bottom.
If it comes up mud vs clear - No need to explain any further.
 

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I'd have to bleed the clutch system & check the master & slave cylinders
 

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El Chupacabra Lives!
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I'd have to bleed the clutch system & check the master & slave cylinders
Should be done anyway ... but ... it isn't failing to disengage, only to engage (maybe).
 

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As mentioned by someone else the "slave or master cyl" could be "gummed up" & not releasing the pressure all the way!
 

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To add to what everyone else said. It sounds like a hydraulic issue. Does the clutch start working after the bike sets for awhile? When it is slipping have you cracked the bleeder at the slave cylinder? Was there pressure at the slave cylinder with the clutch lever at rest (not pulled in)? The rubber lines that feed the slave cylinder and brake cylinders can separate inside and can keep pressure on the cylinder. This will keep the clutch disengaged. To look at the hoses they might look ok but be separated inside. I would check this first before tearing back into the clutch basket. One other issue I can think of is the number of friction plates and the number of steels could be less than the original clutch pack. Although possible I would assume the dealer would have found that.
 
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