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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Alright well I had this write-up almost initially completed, and the forum crashed on me and I lost everything. So I'm going to not go in depth as much with my initial description of the issue, why it happens, but it can be found if you jump on the VTX forums.

Issue Background:

When cold, in first gear, on startup, the bike will "jump" or "lurch" forward when releasing the clutch, and make a terrible grinding/metallic noise. It usually only does it once.

Theory of Why:

Not enough oil getting to the center of the clutch pack. The disks and plates will stick together. When you release the clutch that first time, the disks are a big spinning mass. The pressure plate, instead of catching each disk then plate sequentially, allowing for a smooth engagement, will essentially catch the spinning mass of disks/plates and slam the bike into engagement. That's the lurch/jump. After it does this once, the plates will be broken up, which is why it doesn't happen again.

Theory for Solution:

Drill inner clutch hub (not basket) evenly with a 3/16" drill to promote oil flow out through the parts of the clutch pack that don't normally get oil (center). Promotes lubrication for the wet clutch, as well as cooling and separation at startup.

Now whether this works or not, or this is the issue is up for debate, so take it with a grain of salt, but it seems to have worked for everyone who has done it for their VTX 1300/1800. I decided to go for it. It can't hurt, it's an old MX trick as well.

I'll skip the instructions for draining the oil and removing the exhaust pipes/platichrome. Some say you don't have to drain the oil if you put her on blocks and lean on the kickstand, but for me it was just as easy to drain.

Drain the oil and remove the transmission cover bolts. There are long and short bolts. They are easy to remember where to go, as there are only 2 lengths. You can tell where they need to end up by the thickness of the cover.







Next pry the cover off. I had to use a big 1-1/4 box end wrench. There are tabs on the transmission cover. I used the one by the rear cylinder head and leveraged off of the fins. It will come off with a "pop". Note that behind the cover are 2 pins that will come out with it that locate the cover on the block.



This is what you will see: the clutch pressure plate and bolts are on the left:



Remove the 10mm bolts:



Closer look after bolts and springs removed:



Pop the pressure plate off and you can see the clutch pack. In the center of the clutch pack is the pushrod keeper, which rides on that bearing and actually pushes the pressure plate off:

 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Remove the disks and plates and set aside. I only removed as many as I could get to with the pick, as I am pulling the hub. The remainder will come out with the hub once the lock nut is off. I unstaked the locknut by just taking a small, sharp punch and splitting the actual staked part. This weakened it enough to spin off. The nut is 1-1/4, or 32mm. They both will work.



I highly recommend this clutch holder tool from EBC I got on Amazon for $18. I could have spun it off with an impact, but this worked great. I rested it on the ugly bracket for the Cobra Sweeps. It took a cheater bar to get it started because of the stake.



Remove the hub assembly. There will be some rubber dampeners behind the hub, and a couple large washers on top of the hub. Don't lose these. This is what you will see when you remove it:



The hub all cleaned up:



All of the plates and disks laid out in order. Left to right, top to bottom = outermost disk moving inward:



This is the outermost disk and plate (and the rubber bumpers are above). The outside ones had decent oiling, but you can see the discoloration:



Example of an inboard/middle set of plates...dry as a bone:



Example of outboard/middle...pretty damn dry:



Alright well that's where I got for now. I'm hopefully going to drill the hub today/tonight. I will post where and how to do that, and then I will button it back up. Gotta let it sit overnight to let the RTV set when I get to it, so it may be until after the weekend until I know the results as we may try to get to Whistler or Stevens Pass this weekend to ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok here is the marked hub of where I am going to centerpunch and drill. I basically measured with calipers, and then chose where to put the mark to make it easy. You can see the inboard mark is right at the 3rd wear spot from the disks, and the outboard mark is between the wear spots. Made it easy to mark without having to hold a ruler or calipers.

The third photo just shows the 2 circled marks in reference to each other to give an idea where they land.







More to come tonight.
 

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Very interesting ! I've got a few questions on this subject. How does the oil get in the center of the hub ? Where do you place the holes on the circumference ? Is that just opposite a spring post or exactly in between spring posts ? What's your opinion on why some bikes "Lurch" and some don't ? While you're there, are you pulling the clutch release rod too ?

My bike does this too when cold, sometimes. And not always on the first clutch release. It sometimes happens anywhere the first 5 minutes of riding. :confuzed::confuzed::confuzed:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Very interesting ! I've got a few questions on this subject. How does the oil get in the center of the hub ? Where do you place the holes on the circumference ? Is that just opposite a spring post or exactly in between spring posts ? What's your opinion on why some bikes "Lurch" and some don't ? While you're there, are you pulling the clutch release rod too ?

My bike does this too when cold, sometimes. And not always on the first clutch release. It sometimes happens anywhere the first 5 minutes of riding. :confuzed::confuzed::confuzed:
So the diagram shows the oil path, but it's kind of sub par as far as seeing what's going on:



This post is from LEE over on the VTX forum explaining really what is going on, and why it works:

The spining force spins out the oil between the clutch plates, and is dam hard for the oil to flow back in between the plates while spinning.
If you look closely at the whole assembly AND at the pictures of the stock plates I posted, the center plates get hot from lack of oil, as they are all locked together and ALL slip the same amount. But only the center ones get hot.
By drilling the inside of the drum, then the oil that flows out the center from around the push rod, then flows down to the center of the drum and into the holes. Normally it can not get to the center of the plates, only flows outward to the edge of drum and then OUT completely.

This is NO spur of the moment idea by no means, people like myself have been doing it on dirt bikes in racing since the sixties and early seventies!!!


I'll post some pictures of the circumference location after I drill, but it's pretty easy to locate. There are features that you can use on the face of the hub. And yes, the rod comes out as well as the keeper. It's behind the pressure plate. You have to take it out to spin the staked nut off as it slides thru the shaft.

My opinion on why this happens with some bikes and not others would have to do with the shape of the clutch. My bike had 2 owners before it, and it looked like, after I pulled the clutch, they used it pretty hard (discoloration...or they didn't know how to use it). It's my belief that this symptom gets worse as the shape of the plates and disks worsens. I think if I owned a bike brand new, I probably wouldn't have developed an issue like this, as I tend to be pretty nice to clutches.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Home Stretch

So here are a couple photos from the front of the hub so you can see the clocking. There will be 6 sets of the (2) button looking things on the face of the hub. This is nice because you will be drilling 6 holes. Our hubs are not the exact same as the VTX 1300, so it doesn't matter which hole you put here to start (either the 5/8" from the back or the .700" from the front face.) I apologize for the blur, got kinda shaky last night. I cleaned up the edges with a file.





Soaking the new Barnett disks and steels in fresh oil: I did this overnight although you probably don't need to do it that long






Time for reassembly. The first shot is the keeper behind the hub that holds the rubber damper in place, and you can also see some oil ports. 2nd photo shows the rubber dampers on the back of the hub. You need to pull that keeper off, install the dampers, then put the keeper on the back of the hub and slide it over the splines as one unit. If you don't and you leave the keeper on the splines, and just try to install the hub with the dampers behind it, they will just fall out of place...





Install the disks and steels. Disk first, then steel. Repeat. The last should be a disk, and it will sit in the shallow slot on the clutch basket. All of the other disks will sit in the deeper groove of the clutch basket (outer). Once again, I used my handy tool to torque the lock nut down to 137 ft-lb. Ensure that the washers that came off go back in the order that you took them off. There is a washer that goes under the lock nut as well, and it is directional (it's curved). The concave side should go towards the hub. Convex side will be against the lock nut. Don't forget to re-stake the nut.



Put the push rod back in the shaft and install the rod keeper. Then it's time to install the pressure plate, springs, and bolts (as seen in the next pic). The Barnett clutch comes with new springs. They are a hair longer than stock, and they are slightly stiffer. Torque these down to 9 ft-lb, in a start pattern. Don't go over, these bolts are not that big...again, the blurr pic, apologies



Finally, clean up all the mating surfaces to the case. I used Permatex Ultra Grey. It was recommended if you're not using the Honda specific RTV, and grey has a higher temp than the black does. Lay a bead along the sealing surface, not too much though. I used my finger to kind of flatten the bead a bit. Line up the dowel pins in the holes, and press the transmission cover on. I went around and hand tightened all the bolts in an alternating pattern the best I could. Then I came back and torqued them down...these bolts only require 7 ft-lb as well.



Put the crank plug back in. It's torqued to 7 ft-lb as well, or once you feel resistance, basically stop.

The hardest part of the whole thing was getting the old exhaust crush gaskets out. I used a screwdriver to "punch" opposite sides of the gasket to make it bow outwards to me, then was able to hook underneath it to pull it out. The first one took me forever, and I kinda marred the sealing surface a bit, but nothing that the gasket couldn't take up. Second one went a lot nicer.

Re-install your exhaust pipes if you took them off, and install the plastichrome covers back on, and fill with oil if you drained.

You have now completed this mod!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
So one thing that I would do over if I had to do it again was check the clutch actuation with the transmission cover off. I didn't actually pull the lever until the bike was filled with oil...and my lever was loose compared to the stock clutch. I got scared and thought that I had messed up the install, but I had checked and re-checked everything.

I had to make a pretty decent adjustment down at the barrel (not the lever adjust). The clutch felt smooth after that, but I was still a bit worried.

I haven't gotten to ride it yet because of the weather, but I did some garage tests. The time of truth. She was in neutral, fired her up. everything started great, oil light went off, golden.
pulled the clutch in to put her in gear...had my thumb on the kill switch just in case it decided to try to take off, and popped it into first. Didn't go anywhere...that is good!!

Didn't let it warm up or anything, gently released the clutch, and she wanted to take off. No bucking, lurch, or any of that. Fine tuned my clutch adjustment, repeated this many times in first (didn't actually let the bike go out the garage door. No lurching or grinding, just wanted to take off like normal.

Time will tell if this mod works, but it feels a bit better having a baseline to work with since I am not the original owner. I will keep this thread updated, but I hope it can help anyone who wants to go for this mod!
 

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Very nice. TYVM !
The only time my clutch gives me any feedback is in the Winter. For the first 5 mins after startup, the clutch will give me a grinding noise when I downshift. But after 5 mins, the noise goes away, and all is quiet again.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Very nice. TYVM !
The only time my clutch gives me any feedback is in the Winter. For the first 5 mins after startup, the clutch will give me a grinding noise when I downshift. But after 5 mins, the noise goes away, and all is quiet again.
Yeah this issue never originated from any type of shifting problems. The bike has always shifted great. It had 100% to do with what was happening during the lever release between the clutch pack and the pressure plate; the jump/lurch (with the terrible noise). It was scary just in the fact that if you didn't know it would happen (say you let a friend ride the bike), and the bike was cold, it could easily get away from you if the rider was unaware of the problem. There was potential for damage or injury. Now, granted I probably wouldn't let people ride my scoot, but I was sick of it happening as well. Makes me look like a rookie!!:biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update:

Bike has been sitting all day and night. Went for a worst case scenario. Fired it up, let it sit for a second, hopped on, and took off.

Smooth as butter. No issues on the ride at all. Can def tell the springs are a bit more stiff, but I like it. The clutch has a different feel. Like you're releasing your clutch hand into pillows. That smooth. Gonna break it in for a bit before I torque the hell out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, it's been a couple weeks now with a lot of time with the new setup. No issues whatsoever, bike is running better than ever. No sketchy lurch/jump anymore at the first clutch release:)

If anyone who has experienced what I have, would highly recommend it. It's pretty easy to do as well!
 

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... my lever was loose compared to the stock clutch. ... I had to make a pretty decent adjustment down at the barrel (not the lever adjust). The clutch felt smooth after that ...
I think this is normal since the new plates are likely thicker than the worn plates and are pushing the pressure plate outwards resulting in more freeplay in the linkage and cable.

The pressure plate, instead of catching each disk then plate sequentially, allowing for a smooth engagement, will essentially catch the spinning mass of disks/plates and slam the bike into engagement. That's the lurch/jump. After it does this once, the plates will be broken up, which is why it doesn't happen again.
As far as I know, the all the clutch plates normally engage simultaneously but gradually as you gradually release the lever allowing the springs to push the pressure plate against the clutch plates and squeeze them together.
When in gear with the clutch lever pulled in all the driving friction plates have to be free to spin next to the driven steel plates otherwise the bike would be forced to move forward even if only two plates were stuck together.


I wonder if the wear points on the clutch hub 'splines' that the driven steel plate 'teeth' have to slide over are getting hung up a little during engagement and causing the lurching.
When I say 'slide' the movement of each steel disc is very slight, probably less than a thousandth of an inch but enough to notch in and jump out considering the pressure on the teeth as the clutch tries to push over 850 lbs into forward motion.
New parts would probably sit a little differently and possibly not hang up ? Can't see if there were any wear points on the 'fingers' of the basket but the same reasoning might apply there as well.
 

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I've had so many bikes that do this I just normally go to second gear then back to neutral during warm up.
On the VTX 1800 I have one and the main reason they go to that clutch pack is because the engine has so much power you can literally burn the clutch out just by over throttle!! they will slip in all gears while under high torque loads. :flamebike:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've had so many bikes that do this I just normally go to second gear then back to neutral during warm up.
Believe me if this would have solved the issue I was having then I probably would have just done this rather than come up with a solution to fix the problem. This was not a "clunk into gear" issue. I covered this earlier in the thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wanted to follow up on this a year and a half later and say that I have had zero issues since this mod and the clutch is as smooth as the day I finished everything up. Always nice to have a long term follow up on things like this
 
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