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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all, the previous owner of this gen 1 had the clutch cable adjusted in such a way that there's no free-play in the lever, so I decided to follow the manual to try to get it adjusted properly.

I've set the adjustment at the lever end correctly, but I'm not sure which way to pull the cable (3rd bullet point in pic below), do I pull it to the right or left? When I pulled it to the right and tightened the adjusting nuts, the lever has some free-play, and the clutch is overall lighter, but the bike stalls immediately when I put it in gear, which I think means the clutch is not disengaging properly.

I can always tighten the cable way way up again, but it doesn't feel right with the heavy feeling lever and no free-play..

TL;DR having any free-play at the clutch lever stalls the bike when I put it in 1st gear.. How can I tell if I need to replace the cable or start troubleshooting further?

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I'm so confused!!!
 

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OK, let's back up a bit. No, you don't have the perch adjustment set right if you don't have the proper freeplay. It's that simple. There isn't some magic position for it. You either have the freeplay or you don't. If you don't, then you easily adjust it at the clutch perch. If you don't have enough adjustment there, then you move to the cable mount bracket on the clutch cover. The service manual is a guide on how and where to find the adjustment points to get to to the freeplay. You have to adjust one or both of them until you get the proper freeplay. That's all there is.

You should be able to pull on the clutch lever and pinch a nickel coin in between the lever and the perch before you have any tension on the lever. That's the proper freeplay. If you don't have enough, then you have to loosen the tension on the outer sheath. Whatever amount that is doesn't matter until you run out of adjustment.

To create more slack, you have to tighten the adjuster at the clutch perch and/or make the sheath go towards the disengagement arm on the clutch cover. If you need to take up the slack, then you turn the perch adjuster out and/or the cable sheath towards the front of the motor. If you spend more than 5 mins adjusting the cable, you're not doing it right. ;)
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks SkyDork, but when I had the right amount of free-play in the clutch lever, the bike would stall when I put it in gear, whereas tightening the cable and removing all the slack lets me put it in gear without a stall.

That's why I'm so confused about this, mainly because I've been riding the the bike all year with no clutch freeplay, I'm worried I've damaged something now.

If I put it in gear and try to roll the bike with the clutch lever pulled in, I should be able to do that smoothly, right?
 

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Thanks SkyDork, but when I had the right amount of free-play in the clutch lever, the bike would stall when I put it in gear, whereas tightening the cable and removing all the slack lets me put it in gear without a stall.

That's why I'm so confused about this, mainly because I've been riding the the bike all year with no clutch freeplay, I'm worried I've damaged something now.

If I put it in gear and try to roll the bike with the clutch lever pulled in, I should be able to do that smoothly, right?
Right. So then that leads me to believe you are using aftermarket adjustable brake/clutch levers or your clutch lever is bent. Am I right?

The clutch lever should have the freeplay and still disengage the clutch when pulled in. The OEM clutch lever is not adjustable for a reason. The adjustable ones will hit the clip-on before the clutch is disengaged fully and cause exactly what you are describing. Unless they are set to the maximum adjustment point. You can't adjust the cables to make up for that unless you do what you've done. Then the clutch will never fully engage when the lever is released and the clutch will wear down prematurely and start slipping. A bent OEM lever will do the same thing.

Yes, with the bike in gear and the clutch lever pulled in, it should be able to roll the bike easily the same way it would in neutral. If you can't do that, then the lever or throw arm at the clutch isn't moving the correct distance it needs to.
 

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Measure the distance the lever travels until it touches the clip-on. Measure it from the ballend of the lever. It should be in the ballpark of about 3 inches (7.6 cm for you ;)). Roughly that distance. Anything less than that will cause your issue.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, that's cleared a bunch of things up for me.

It's the oem lever, and it's not bent. The only thing I can think of that may have changed is the position of the lever mount on the handlebar:

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Yes, you should be able to relocate the lever perch as needed to put the lever where you want it. That shouldn't be a issue moving it. But it may be still hitting something. Bigger diameter grips can cause the same issue.

If you've checked out everything at the clip-on and it all seems right, then the next step would be to pull the clutch cover off and inspect the throw rod. If that is slightly worn down or has a dimple in it, then the clutch plates can't disengage without basically making the cable longer like you've done already. Check that out next if you're still having issues.

This is the clutch release shaft that the cable connects to and goes into the clutch housing. You want to look at slot A in the shaft.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Man, I'm annoyed that I need to fix this issue now, but I'm also happy that I went to adjust the clutch properly and discovered there WAS an issue. Do you think some wear on that rod could've arisen from riding without cable free-play? I understand that doing so can wear the clutch components more quickly because the clutch is never fully engaged.

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That's a little bit scary, maybe I should try replacing the clutch cable first? :eek:
 

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Yes, it's possible that way have done some more damage to it. The shaft has a slot in it that is supposed to catch the pusher (puller) rod. If there is extra tension on the cable, that will always be dragging slightly on the rod. That could create a dimple in it or at least expand any dimple already there.

Don't be concerned about that warning. You're not going to pull the rod out. All you need to do is take the clutch cover off completely. The rod will come off with the cover. Then you can flip the cover over and see the shaft going through it. Spin the shaft around to look at the edges of the slot A in it. You don't have to take the shaft out unless you're going to replace it. At least that's how I would inspect it quickly without taking that shaft out from the seal. Lots of little bolts on the cover, but it should pop right off.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Follow up: There was no issue, the only issue was within my impatient manchild brain, I didn't stop to consider the effect the cold weather might have on the clutch.

I wasn't warming the bike up before writing it off as a clutch issue, when in actual fact it was a cold oil issue..

I've adjusted the clutch free-play back to it's proper amount, and it's fabulous, no stalling after a few minutes of idling and shifting feels great.

Good learning experience though, thanks again for your help SkyDork.

Patience patience patience..
 

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Im going to ask this because I know Skydork would have. I lurk, mostly, but became a member here, many years ago. The info on this site is excellent,, and I'm on to miss Skydork.

Are you using stock clutch plates? The reason I ask is because aftermarket plates...ebc, Barnett, etc are basically garbage. They swell up, when hot and cause more problems than they solve.

If a person uses them, the clutch stack height is often times not correct. Stack Height is just what it sounds like. Stack all of your plates together.....friction and steel. Push them together, and measure the thickness.

On your first gen zx10, this is supposed to be 53.6mm. Double check this figure as I don't have a manual, but I think this is correct.

When they say 53.6, they mean this. The tolerance is usually .5mm....yes...1/2 of a millimeter, so you don't have much wiggle room. Notice also that this doesn't leave much room for wear.

If you buy aftermarket plates, and they don't fit into this spec, it is a problem.

Notice how you move the clutch lever about 2 inches to separate the clutch pack by a few millimeters. There is a lot of angles and leverage things happening here. If the stack height spec is too short, or too tall, the geometry of these clutch pieces are not correct. This makes it difficult to set freeway, and keep it adjusted, properly.

The story you gave makes me think EbC plates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi rcannon, thank you very much for the insight!

I don't know if the clutch plates are stock, it was a very low mileage, un-abused bike (before I got my hands on it), so I would be surprised if the clutch plates were changed out.

As mentioned above I had come to the conclusion that the cold oil in the bike was making the clutch plates stick together or something along those lines, as once the bike has been idling for a few minutes it stops stalling when I put it in gear.

I think I'm going to just dive in an take a proper look myself, I even bought a new gasket and sealant in preparation to take the cover off. Now would be a good time to do it anyhow, the weather here is pretty awful for riding right now :)

And yes, SkyDork's wisdom is going to be sorely missed.
 
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