Installing DaveDodge's High Performance Kevlar Clutch

My clutch had started to slip.  It was nothing serious yet, but enough to give me some concern.  Under steady (i.e. slow) shifting, everything would work as it should.   However, when shifting during aggressive acceleration, it would sometimes slip into neutral with a corresponding hair-raising rise of the tachometer needle to the red-line.   After discussing the symptoms with Dave Dodge, he suggested rebuilding the current clutch with one of his high performance Kevlar clutch kits.clutchkit_tn.jpg (20935 bytes)

This kit consists of six Kevlar friction plates, five metal drive plate, and five pressure springs.  Installing this kit consists of replacing the existing plates and springs with the plates and springs from the kit.  In concept, not a very difficult task and in practice, not that bad either.  This discription is for my bike (84 VF700C).  The larger V65s follow the same general concept but have a few extra concerns (i.e. special clutch nut tool).

maindrain_tn.jpg (21352 bytes)The first step in the installation process is to drain the oil.  My Magna (as well as all of these Honda V4s) use a "wet" clutch which means the clutch is soaked in oil which is part of the same reservoir as the engine.  Since you will be draining your oil anyway, wouldn't this be a good time to change both your oil and your filter?  The main oil drain plug is the large bolt under the pan up near the oil filter (circled in the pictureheaddrain_tn.jpg (25582 bytes) at left).  In addition, there is another drain under the front cylinder heads (circled in the picture on the right).

Once the oil has been drained, the right side cover can be removed.  First remove the right foot peg to gain access to the cover, then remove the bolts that are around the perimeter of the cover (total of 14).clutchcover_tn.jpg (34237 bytes)  With the bolts removed, the cover is held on by two pegs, one of the left and one of the right.  The cover will pull straight off from these pegs.  If you are careful, you may salvage the gasket and save yourself $20, but mine ripped into pieces.  In addition to the clutch, behind this cover is also the starter clutch.  Next to the starter clutch is a small two wheel gear that is attached only by a small axle.  Care should be taken when removing the cover since this gear has a tendency to come loose and fall on the floor.   The picture below shows this starter idler gear.  If the gear remains in place and all you will be doing is replacing the clutch plates, your job is greatly simplified.   If, however, the gear comes out, you will probably have to idlergear_tn.jpg (34360 bytes)pull the starter clutch to replace it.  More on this later

In the same picture, the clutch basket with the old plates can be seen.  The five bolts around the center of the pressure plate are removed next.  Remove these as well as the springs.  The springs are replaced with new ones from the clutch kit, but the bolts are reused.  After removing the bolts, pull the pressure plate and inner bearing as shown below.pressureplate_tn.jpg (24670 bytes)  This will expose the old plates and they can now be pulled out.  Make sure you get all of them, the first friction plate is tucked way down inside the basket.

After the old plates are pulled, it is time to put in the new plates.  Soak them in a bath of oil for about 10 minutes before inserting to prep them.  The plates are now inserted into the basket starting first with a friction plate and alternating friction plate and then metal drive plate.  Each plate should be inserted such that the rounded side is facing out.  The easiest way to determine this is to run your finger lightly along both edges.  One side will feel sharp and other will feel smooth.   Keep the smooth side facing out.clutchbasket_tn.jpg (32602 bytes) After all plates are in the basket, it should look like this:

Now it is time to start closing things back up.  Place the pressure plate and bearing back on the basket, making sure the pressure plate sits cleanly in the basket grooves.  Use the new springs supplied with the kit and put in the bolts.  After first loosely putting in all five bolts, tighten them up using a crisscross pattern to ensure the plate is secured evenly.  The five bolts should be tightened to a torque value of 10 ft./lbs.  Becareful here since the bolt heads shear off easily.   When replacing mine, two of the bolts sheared off.  Apparently the bolt holes bottom out in the basket right at their desired depth and the slightest overtightening will take the heads off.  Luckily both bolt shafts came out easily using a needle-nose pliers.

The final step is to put the cover back on.  If you are replacing the cover gasket, do not use any gasket sealer.  None is needed and you will definitely regret it later if you do.  Running a small film of oil around the gasket using your finger is all that is needed to seat it.  The 14 bolts can be tightened to 8 ft./lbs.

The new clutch is installed.  Since you are working on your clutch, why not go ahead and replace your clutch lines with stainless steel lines

Uh Oh, the idler gear fell out!

When I first installed the clutch kit, I was lucky and the idler gear stay attached where it belongs.  I simply had to replace the clutch plates and button everything back up.  The next day I had to remove the clutch cover again to check some torque values and this time I wasn't as lucky.  The starter idler gear and axle came loose and were laying in the bottom of the cover.  Apparently some people have been able to simply reinsert these without tearing everything apart, but I never could.  Try it first, anyway.  Use a wrench on the crank to turn it back and forth while trying to slip the gear back on.  If that doesn't work, you will have to remove the starter clutch.  The first step is to remove the big mother hex head bolt in the center.   This is easier said than done since turning this simply turns the crank.  What is needed is a way for keepig the crank from turning and the most popular method is to stick a penny between the drive gears.  Now that the gears are held, remove the bolt.   Still doesn't move?  Use a larger rachet.  Still doesn't move?  Use a breaker bar.  Still doesn't move?  Use Jack Hunt's Frustration Abatement Device.  In any case, you would be wise to have a helper there to hold the bike so you don't end up with it on top of you (no, this did not happen to me).

Now that this bolt is out, you can pull the starter clutch off.  But before you do, note the punch marks on the starter clutch and the crankshaft.  Notice how they are perfectly lined up (they are lined up, aren't they?).  When you replace the starter clutch, you must make sure these marks are lined up the same way or your timing will be off.

With the starter clutch out of the way, replacing the idler wheel is a simple task.