Partzilla Live Q&A with John Talley – September 24, 2021

Partzilla Live Q&A is back again with John Talley answering your motorcycle and ATV repair questions.

Clutch problems popped up several times during this session. Check out some excerpts from Partzilla’s latest live Q&A session below, and tune into our YouTube and Facebook channels every Friday at 3pm Eastern for the next edition. 

Partzilla Live Q&A with John Talley 09/24/21

Partzilla Live Q&A Highlights – Clutch Problems

I have a Yamaha YFZ450. Can shifting without using the lever damage the bike? 

John Talley: If you’re shifting without the lever, because that’s actually disengaging the clutch, and in essence that frees up or destresses the transmission, and yes you can jam it in there. And it will shift for a while, but you keep doing that and you’re going to start putting extra stress on the shift forks, the shift drums, everything in there as long as the way the gears interlock with each other. The dogs that actually engage and hold them in place, those are going to get rounded off. So even if it’s just a tap on the clutch, I mean if you’re just banging it because you’re having to go through it so quickly, a little bit of effort is better than just forcing the shift down below. Unless you’re just a magician with rev matching, and very few people are. So yes, you’re going to have long-term damage eventually.

I’m having trouble bleeding the clutch on my 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500. Any suggestions? 

John Talley: I know the older Vulcan 1500s, I thought they were cable clutch for some reason. But on any system that you’re trying to bleed, and we ran into it on [our Honda CRF450] because we started out with a completely new braking system, front and rear, and we couldn’t get it to prime up at all, so what we used was a vacuum on the caliper and in your case it’s going to be the slave cylinder. Invest in a decent vacuum for it and that should draw it down through. 

I had a 96 Polaris Magnum 425 lock up on me. The engine stayed on but it wouldn't move. I took off the belt cover and discovered that the belt turned itself inside out and burned up some plastic. Any thoughts? 

John Talley: That makes me think that maybe your primary and secondary clutches were getting worn. It would allow it to flip because that is an extremely loose condition that would give it enough room to do that, because when you put the belts on, you actually have to open up the driven clutch to get it down in there far enough and then put it over the drive clutch as you’re putting it on the output shaft. So I’d take a look at your sheaves and see if they’re completely worn out. I know we’ve done a couple of videos where I go through some of the wear characteristics of how the CVT system works and what to look for when it’s getting worn out … all of them do the same thing, they’re just built a little bit different but they all basically function the same way. On your drive clutch, it starts to squeeze it together as the weights go out, it goes against the spring and then it changes the gear ratio from front to back, so to speak. But if those weights start to wear or if it’s not moving smoothly through its stroke, then what you’re describing can happen …

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See all of Partzilla’s Live Q&A sessions here.  

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