RiderForums.com - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. Hoping you can help me diagnose the issue with my 2000 ZR-7 clutch. To my novice eyes, it seems like it sticks at first, then maybe even slightly slips until 3000 RPM. Here are the symptoms:

1. Bike rolls in 1st with clutch pulled in. Does not roll with clutch released. Good start.
2. Revs increase when lever is pulled in, only in gear, only under load, not on center stand. Clutch lever adjusted using method in service manual. Thankfully the rear tire does not move when this is happening. Nor does the rear tire move in 1st, clutch in, on the stand (although the rev problem does not seem to occur under those conditions anyway). Wondering if the clutch is sticking due to worn/glazed plates?
3. Bike won't take off without careful help from the throttle. Walking the bike and a little less throttle can get it moving, with a stutter. Only under load, no problem on center stand, so not a side stand switch problem. Tested with idle speed adjusted to 1100 on the stand, which was lower under load (800-1000). Then tested with idle speed set to 1100 under load conditions. Performance was slightly better under the latter speed, but still definitely not acceptable. Made a lot of 1 inch skids. I'd be murdered in city traffic taking off like that. Wondering if the plates are sticking due to glazing.
4. Burning can be smelled intermittently when lightly revving in gear on the stand, even when the engine case isn't hot yet. RPMs seem to respond, but maybe light slippage?
5. Slight surge at 3000 RPM. No air leaks found using carb cleaner method. Could be the fuel system, but I just cleaned the carbs, made sure all needles and jets where in the right bodies, adjusted the pilot screws to 2 1/4 turns, set the float heights to factory specifications, balanced the crap out of those suckers. Everything is stock apart from the 2 1/4 turns in place of 1 3/4. So I'm wondering if this is the point where enough rotation causes the clutch to fully engage instead of slightly slipping? Probably not, but I really don't want to take the $(*#@%#& carbs off again.

The bike is just shy of 10,000 miles on the clock, which seems too early to need a clutch unless it was really abused. I've only ridden it around a parking lot, so I can't speak to how it was treated in the past. Do clutch plates get grabby from sitting too long? Maybe a little moisture in the case did a number on them? Warpage? I can't seem to find any info on replacement interval. Just that you should replace when they start slipping. The springs also haven't seen a ton of use, but they've been in service for 17 years (I have the maintenance records, which show no clutch work). Maybe the plates are sticky and the springs are weak?

Unless someone can outright confirm that I need to replace the clutch, my next step would be to take the cable off again, lube it again, adjust the free play again, do a rain dance, and light several candles. After that I suppose I'll have no choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,348 Posts
How long since the oil was last changed? Old oil can cause all the symptoms you are having. When I say old oil...it can be age or mileage related causing these issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,412 Posts
Like HilbillyKat said, and made sure you use motorcycle oil (or something with a JASO-MA rating) and not regular car oil. Oils that don't meet that standard can cause issues with our wet clutches.

Side stand and carbs should have no effect on the clutch slipping or grabbing.

Engine speed dropping some when the clutch is released on the stand or driving is normal as both adds some load to the engine as the transmission gears are engaged.

As for the burning smell, does it smell oily? Do you have any leaks that might be dripping onto the exhaust under the engine? Most internal gasses, be it oil or clutch, should in theory be burnt or sucked up thru the EGR system and then exit out the muffler.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Changed the oil about 2 months ago with Valvoline 10W-40 4 stroke, hasn't even seen a mile of riding since. Nothing seems to have leaked on the concrete. Can't see anything dripping onto the bike itself either. :/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,920 Posts
Overtime, it is possible for clutch plates to stick together. If they sit for an extended period of time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Overtime, it is possible for clutch plates to stick together. If they sit for an extended period of time.
Hmm. That's what I feared. Is it possible to fix without replacing the plates? Maybe just opening it up and separating/cleaning them?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Hmm. That's what I feared. Is it possible to fix without replacing the plates? Maybe just opening it up and separating/cleaning them?
using the bike should free them, my trials bikes clutch plates stick together every time I go to use it after a week or 2 of no use. they soon free off once warm.

As said carbs etc have nothing to do with the clutch slipping.
take it for a gentle ride. it sounds like it just needs to be used for more than a little ride in the parking lot.

Try the easy option first, before you strip an engine
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,920 Posts
Like Shakey said, maybe just ride it around a bit, trying various ways of using the clutch like dropping it, down shifting it, etc. in a safe place and manner, and they may break free on there own. Pulling them would be another option also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys. Sorry if I wasn't clear about the carbs. I was trying to explain that I wondered if that surge was the where the clutch stopped slipping and started to engage fully due to more rotation, thus leading to increased speed, but wanted to fend off any questions of "have you tuned the carbs and checked for air leaks" alternate explanations. I'll try giving it a little more time. Really don't want to drain the fresh oil if I don't have to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,694 Posts
I would open it up and have a look. Its pretty simple to work on, and you'll spot a burned plate, no problem.

Once you know what a burned plate looks like, you can avoid buying them on ebay.

I believe I bought 19 used plates that fit my ninja 1000, all used, for less than 40.00

Ive used a lot of car oil in my bikes and never had a clutch issue. Not saying its smart, or correct, bu......

That smell is your clue that you have a clutch plate issue. Once it slips a few times, its finished. They can last for 100,000 miles, but if you slip the plates, they wont last long at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again. I took a little more free play out of the clutch lever and tried banging it in and out of gear as hard as possible on the stand. Also rode it around a little bit, including dropping the clutch on take off several times to see if it would free up.

Results:
1. Revs no longer increase from pulling in the clutch while moving in 1st, but they do in 2nd. I want to attribute this to taking out more free play. Not sure why it would continue happening in 2nd though.
2. Still experiencing the stall when taking off unless I walk it forward. I'm getting more practiced at this maneuver, but it continues to be just as bad of an issue.

Any ideas? I'm wondering if the clutch push rod might be a little out of whack or something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
853 Posts
Ok, to properly diagnose any issues you need start "small" and work/ up. The lever pivot, the cable condition at the lever (this is where the most cable breaks happen), cable lubrication and condition, and on. I have been riding these air cooled 750 4 cylinder Kawasaki motorcycles going on 37 years and have found the clutch to be nearly indestructible. I would always look at worn damaged cables first. I rode my first 80' KZ750 well over 100,000 miles and the only items that required multiple replacements were tires, brake pads, drive chain & sprockets, and clutch cables (a few). When I parked that KZ in 1992 to "upgrade" to a 1991 750 Zephyr it's clutch was still the original and working very well. The only oil it ever had in it (other than the factory original oil) was Golden Spectro 10/30 & 20/50. I'm just saying that if it was fed good motorcycle specific oil (and probably any quality automotive oil) I really just don't think that you have a internal engine clutch problem in 10,000 miles. This is just my opinion, please don't take it as a condemnation of your riding or mechanical skills. I just think it is something fairly low tech. Please do keep us informed. I'd just replace the cable and see what happens. But first lube the cable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Hi Scruggs,
Thanks for the advice. The cable is in perfect condition. Maybe my first post wasn't entirely clear, but I calibrated it exactly to the service manual specs at both the lever and other end. When I adjusted it last night it was to take the clearance shown here from 5-6 mm down to about 3 mm.

free play.JPG

It's definitely reassuring that you've found these so reliable. I hope that is the case with mine, but as I alluded, I really have no idea how it was ridden or oiled before I got it. I do know it has been dropped on both sides and kept outside much of its life, so the previous owner didn't quite baby it. But none of that has to do with the clutch obviously.

Since the free play adjustment was somewhat effective, I'm going to experiment a little at the other end of the cable and lube it again just for the sake of being thorough. It doesn't appear to have any trouble sliding but it never hurts. If I have a breakthrough I'll be sure to update.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,694 Posts
Heres one idea.....a good working clutch does not smell bad.

If you have a manual, you can be into the clutch within 10-15 minutes.

If you leave the bike on the kick stand, you dont even need to drain the oil.This works on every bike i've seen..watch yours dump oil everywhere....have a pan ready, but odds are , you;ll be ok..kick stand being the secret. The angle helps.

Once you knwo the plates are ok, you actually have a decent foundation to build on. Until you do, its guess work.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HilbillyKat

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Update:
I discovered that the mark on little arm that connects the clutch cable to the rod was not properly aligned with the mark on the rod. I thought possibly this was the root of the problem, if the arm was not moving enough as a result, but I decided to take the clutch plates out and examine them anyway. I can vouch that on the side stand you will still lose a quart of oil by removing the clutch cover. Bummer. Had to use a mallet to get it off. Another bummer: the gasket was pretty useless after removing. When I replaced it, I gave it a little Permatex Ultra Black in the thinner areas, and it appears to be holding the oil no problem. Also no problem: the plates were fine. Surfaces all looked to be in perfect shape. I didn't bother checking them for thickness or run out. Springs were maybe 1-2 millimeters longer than the standard described in the service manual. Since the service limit was shorter than the standard length, I assume this is fine. They felt plenty stiff.

Got it all back together, and for good measure, I changed the spark plugs and re-adjusted the pilot screws. Definitely getting enough gas to be able to take off under idle conditions.

Well, I put 'er in first and she took off just fine! Huzzah!

...

Except it only worked once. Every time thereafter the bike shuddered to an immediate halt no more than a foot from where I started unless I slipped it some throttle. As a result of the tinkering with the plugs/pilot screws it also has a bit of a rough idle now. I'll have to figure that out. Gaps were good, but I had to settle for DR8EAs instead of DR9EAs due to availability.

Also bad news: after making these changes my clutch cable seems to have grown. I assume this is because previously it was adjusted for that arm being in the wrong position on the shaft. Now it has only one full nut on the bottom of the cable bracket instead of the 1/4' of visible thread it used to. I also had to turn the free play adjuster out to near its limit to take up the rest of the slack. Still shifts fine while moving.

Really scratching my head here. My latest theory is that maybe the shim in the clutch is too thin. Maybe with enough inertia it doesn't matter, but from a halt it's just not cutting it? According to the manual, I need to verify if the arm is moving more than 20 degrees to diagnose the shim. That said, I'd be surprised if such a thing could wear before hitting 10k miles. Just at my wits' end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,412 Posts
Did you completely ever remove the shaft that the arm attaches to?

You can see here the guy pulls it up, exposing the shaft.


This can cause issues with engagement and release. There's a thread here somewhere about how to correct it it you did this (you shouldn't just remove the shaft in the first place I've been told.)

Not sure if this is related to your issue but it's hard when we're trying to help diagnose over the internet.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, Obo. I did remove it. The instructions for re-installation in the service manual seemed pretty simple, but now I wonder. It wouldn't be the first time they led me somewhat astray. I appreciate your help despite the difficulty of diagnosing over the internet.

The video is pretty spot on for how it behaved. I just assumed I had freed it up somehow, but I guess it isn't supposed to move like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
So I just took a read through 3 other threads about the issue. It sounds like most people have trouble getting the lever to engage the springs, but that hasn't been my experience. It definitely goes on with the 4 mm clearance gap, unable to pull it up after the slight clockwise turn (i.e. notch is seated), and if I pull on it with the cable or otherwise the springs are functional. It will disengage the clutch, and I've ridden it through gears 1 and 2. Yet somehow I gained about 1/2 an inch of cable length in this process. No way could it be entirely accounted for by the slight re-alignment of the arm on the splines.

Still mind-boggled about the lurch and stall at take off, since it has no problem going into first and running on the center stand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,920 Posts
You say "I have to slip it some throttle after getting it in gear"? Can you elaborate? It's normal to require some throttle while slipping the clutch to get moving to approx. 10mph or so. Are you having to rev it higher than 3000rpm to get moving?
 
  • Like
Reactions: jonas190
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top