Confused with Clutch Cable adjusting

Hello everyone,

 

First and foremost, I am a novice at this. Purchased an 08 kx250f and am having a blast learning and prepping for the upcoming season. I purchased the bike from a private owner and he said it had sat for about a year previous.

 

It fires right up no problem. It has fresh oil, oil filter, air filter, coolant, and I have lubed just about everything recommended in the instruction / service manual. The bike runs like a champ but I feel it could shift better - ie shifting is not smooth.

 

The bike sometimes stalls initially when shifting from neutral to first. Not always, but most the time - almost seems like it does it more when its cold. In addition to that, the bike wants to lurch forward when in gear and the clutch pulled. Is this normal? I was under the intention that when the clutch was pulled in the bike should essentially be in "neutral" or am I wrong?

 

The next question I have is regarding the clutch cable. Should it have play? How much should I have to pull the lever in? - For example, while riding If I have two fingers on the clutch lever and two on my grip should I be able to completely engage the clutch by pulling the lever to my fingers or should I have to pull the lever all the way to the grip in order to correctly shift.

 

As for adjustment, the whole quick adjust knob confuses the heck out of me. And in all the videos I come across they say to adjust it at the top and/or at the bottom. When I compare the video with my bike, the bottom cable setup on my bike is different. I don't see any adjustment knobs or anything like they show in the video. Here is a picture of my clutch where it enters the engine.

 

image.jpg

 

While in neutral, the tire spins effortlessly. While in gear with the clutch pulled it is hard - not impossible - to move the tire. Is this normal?

 

Sorry if these questions are redundant, I am new to this and just looking for some guidance.

 

 

You should have about a nickel worth of play I've heard, so there should be just enough slack to fit the edge of a coin between the gap at your lever and your perch.

It sounds like you might want to check your basket just be safe, and make sure it isn't grooved.

It's normal to bounce into gear especially when cold. It's also normal to pull very hard when in gear and clutch disengaged when cold and also when warm but not as much then.

If warm it should not stall when put into gear or creep away. But when cold my bike will turn over the engine or slide the tire before slipping the clutch.

Now that you know it's normal to a degree, you have to decide if its good enough for you or if you need to fix something.

to your first question i had a buddy who was having the same problem with it stalling when shifting from neutral to first, we tried adjusting the clutch cable and it still didnt fix it. took like 5 people to figure it out what we did was just crack the throttle and keep the rpms higher than idle when shifting down and we had no problems after that, try giving it some gas when youre shifting down

Your bike has what is called a "wet clutch", I don't know exactly how it works, but when your bike is cold, i.e. when you are just working on it in the shed, it is virtually impossible to push it around in gear even with the clutch cable pulled in, you can do it, just that before you push it hard enough to move, the back tire will just be sliding on the floor.

This is basically the same reason why it jumps into gear while the engine is cold- the clutch does not work fully while it is cold, just like when trying to push it, just warm your bike up in neutral for 5mins and you should have no problem

you should be able to pull in the clutch with two fingers, but it may be hard, whereas if it is difficult with four finger you probably have an issue

to your first question i had a buddy who was having the same problem with it stalling when shifting from neutral to first, we tried adjusting the clutch cable and it still didnt fix it. took like 5 people to figure it out what we did was just crack the throttle and keep the rpms higher than idle when shifting down and we had no problems after that, try giving it some gas when youre shifting down

 

So you just kept the rpm's up and shifted from neutral to first. Then after that it was good?

Your bike has what is called a "wet clutch", I don't know exactly how it works, but when your bike is cold, i.e. when you are just working on it in the shed, it is virtually impossible to push it around in gear even with the clutch cable pulled in, you can do it, just that before you push it hard enough to move, the back tire will just be sliding on the floor. This is basically the same reason why it jumps into gear while the engine is cold- the clutch does not work fully while it is cold, just like when trying to push it, just warm your bike up in neutral for 5mins and you should have no problem you should be able to pull in the clutch with two fingers, but it may be hard, whereas if it is difficult with four finger you probably have an issue

 

I was not referring to how "hard" it was to pull, but rather how "far". If I had my index and middle finger on the clutch lever and my pinky and ring finger on the grip, should I be able to shift completely with the grip pulled to my pink and ring finger?

Clutch drag when cold is normal, does it stall, lurch, or creep forward once it's warmed up (after say a 10 min ride?)

 

As for clutch adjustment, your lever should have between 0.5 - 1.0 mm free play between the lever and perch.  Pulling the lever to your fingers should be enough to disengage the clutch. 

 

You have three ways of adjusting cable slack.  The quick adjust knob (doesn't give you a ton of adjustment, clockwise takes away slack.  Counterclockwise gives you slack), then you should have an inline cable adjuster just past the clutch perch.  Lastly, if you run out of cable adjustment you can use washers to adjust your throw out.

Here's a link to the 08 owners manual if you don't already have one.  Clutch is page 53 under maintenance and adjustment.

  http://www.kawasaki-techinfo.net/showOM.php?view_lang=EN&spec=US&book_no=99987-1472&lang_code=EN

Thank you very much, I will warm the bike up and try it again tonight when I get home and report back.

Sometimes especially when the bike has sat for a while the clutch gets grabby, this wet system also has a tendency to get stuck, Easy fix , just remove the clutch cover and remove the plates , the friction and the solid plates, clean , lightly sand the steel plates and make sure they go back together the same way you took them out. ( there is a convex and sharp edge side. )

So you just kept the rpm's up and shifted from neutral to first. Then after that it was good?

yes, but usually when you shift from N to first you're getting ready to take off so if you asking if it was good if we revved it, shifted to first then let it idle again im not sure cause we didnt try that. i dont see why you would want be sitting around idleing in first

Your clutch should allow you to sit and idle in gear even when cold. I second Al's advice to remove the clutch plates and clean them up. Simple green and scotch brite works great on the steel plates. Just rinse with water after and oil them. 400-600 grit sandpaper to very lightly sand the friction plates will help if they are glazed. Instead of cleaning, you could buy a new clutch set.

Before you put the plates back in, new or not, they must be soaked in oil. If this doesn't solve your problem, you may have deep notching in your clutch basket. These can keep the plates from separating when you pull the clutch. If the notches aren't too bad, they can be filed down. We can cross that bridge later if necessary.

Pulling the clutch is easy for anyone. No special tools are needed. Running with a dragging clutch is no fun, can cause stalling and is potentially dangerous. You should fix it.

BTW what oil are you running?

A bike gearbox is designed so that you can change without using the clutch, and if the rpm is correct it will be as smooth as when using the clutch.

 

When racing i dont use the clutch for up changes only down so i dont lock the rear wheel, just need to back off the throttle and change.

 

If i like doing a long wheelie i change through the gears without the clutch to keep the front wheel up. ( yes i know its showing off ) 

A bike gearbox is designed so that you can change without using the clutch, and if the rpm is correct it will be as smooth as when using the clutch.

 

When racing i dont use the clutch for up changes only down so i dont lock the rear wheel, just need to back off the throttle and change.

 

If i like doing a long wheelie i change through the gears without the clutch to keep the front wheel up. ( yes i know its showing off )

All true, but his issue is lurching and stalling with clutch in. That is not normal.

All true, but his issue is lurching and stalling with clutch in. That is not normal.

You had allready commented on what he should do with the plates and basket. (I agree)

 

I was just replying about him pulling in the clutch all the way to change gears.   

You had allready commented on what he should do with the plates and basket. (I agree)

 

I was just replying about him pulling in the clutch all the way to change gears.

Got you now. Thanks. You are right, of course.

Mines the same way, try just shifting into second instead of first if cold. Works for me.

Ton's of help.

 

Just started school so I'm pretty slammed right now. Once I get some funds and time I will dig into the clutch and report back.

 

Thanks for the help.

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