1. Enjoy Your New Clutch


To remount the clutch cover, apply a thin coat of gasket sealant to both gasket mounting surfaces. A pliable, non-hardening sealant works best. If you are unsure of where to apply the sealant, look at the shape of the gasket itself. After allowing the sealant to skin over for a couple minutes, place the new gasket in position on the engine case. (Remember, the money you save by reusing the old gasket will seem inconsequential if you have to remove the cover to fix a leak.) While you’re waiting on the sealant, you can install the dowel pins (if any) in the case. The sealant should hold the gasket in position. Reinstall the cover bolts in the same order that they were removed, but do not tighten more than finger tight. Once all the bolts are installed, torque them to the factory specified setting in a crisscross pattern.

Let the bike sit for a half-hour or so to allow the gasket sealant to set before taking your bike out for a ride. Your new clutch will most likely engage in a slightly different lever position, and you may need to adjust the clutch cable freeplay. Hopefully, you’ll also notice how much more positively it engages when compared to the tired old clutch you removed.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Thank you for the helpful article.

    The soaking the plates step in oil is important. I know of a guy who did not do that and the clutch released so much fiber and junk that it clogged his oil screen and badly damaged his motor. As shown by the article, this job is not rocket science, but it does need to be done correctly.

  • Old MOron

    Thanks, Evans. I hate working on my bike for at least two reasons.
    1. I’d much rather be riding than wrenching.
    2. It takes me for bloody ever. I don’t trust myself, and I wind up triple checking everything I do. I suppose ultimately that’s a good thing, but I still hate it.

  • JMDonald

    One can expect to become one with the universe doing their own maintenance. I have a Clymer manual if I feel the need. A well done synopsis. Become one with your clutch. Something in your heart wants to know.

  • DickRuble

    Good article. Hopefully more of these in the future. Next ones could be: How to check and adjust valve clearance. How to install steel brake lines.

    Before carbon fiber or Kevlar, what was the material for friction plates?

    • Evans Brasfield

      Asbestos was used but has discontinued for obvious reasons. Other than that, I don’t know.

      • DickRuble

        Upon researching it, one class of modifiers still used is comprised of “organic and mineral fibers” bonded by resin, with some friction modifiers. Asbestos was part of this class, which is purportedly suitable for low to moderate power and torque, with frequent engagement and disengagement of the clutch.. Several classes of material exist for various applications.

        source: http://www.dwclutch.com/D&W/D&W%20Clutch%20&%20Brake%202/Friction%20Materials.htm

  • Jon Low

    Roll the clutch pushrod on a sheet of plate-glass. If it is perfectly straight, it will roll very smoothly. If it is even slightly bowed it will wobble along, and then it’s best to get a new one, as it is near-impossible to bend it straight, and a bowed pushrod wrecks the smooth action of any clutch.