XR 70 clutch slips when kick starting

2002 XR70 - Stock

Guys, The clutch slips - won't turn the engine over when kick starting.

I have the clutch cover off, everything seems fine, engine will not turn over with the kicker, clutch just slips.

I can push the bike, pop it into gear, starts right up.

I've read every thread on here about this...

It's not a clutch adjustment problem, with the cover OFF the clutch actuator is completely out of the loop and the clutch should be engaged.

I can turn the engine over by turning the clutch with my hand...

Any ideas?


Well, the kickstarter doesnt kick over the clutch, it kicks over the engine. Hence why it will jump start, but not kick start. Look the spindle and ensure everything is in place. With the cover off, try moving the spindle and see what happens. If nothing happens, than there may be an issue with the pinion gear.

Did it kick over before? What do you think may have caused the issue?

Edited by Go Big Red

The kick start does turn the engine through the clutch, clutch OFF the shaft the kicker will not turn over the engine.

Cutch cover is OFF, I can clearly see the kicker gear turning the gear in back of the clutch but the clutch is slipping (not engaged enough to spin the engine)

I have the clutch off, I'll try to pre-load the springs see  if makes a difference.

I just bought the bike, didn't KICK start when I bought it.

I think you are kind of missing how the system works.  The kickstarter shaft is a spindle that, through a gear system inside the cases, turns the crank and should start the engine.  The kickstarter does not turn the clutch and then turn the engine.  Remember, you are kicking this over in neutral, and as you know, neutral doesn't even engage the clutch until you put it in gear. It is also an auto clutch, so the clutch will not engage until the engine, while in gear, turns it at a high enough RPM. Your issue is not the clutch for kickstarting, but somewhere on the kickstarter spindle, it is not engaging the gear for the crankshaft, and it is not turning the engine over.  


Let me ask you a few questions just to ensure we are on the same page.  Is it in neutral when you try to start it?  Shifter pushed all the way down until the bike rolls freely?  Second, and this is just to confirm, while in neutral and kicking the bike over, the engine is not turning over?  If that is the situation, the bike is in neutral and the kickstarter is not turning the engine over, then the issue is somewhere on that spindle.  My fear is the previous owner somehow stripped that gear and either didn't tell you or didn't understand what happened when it stopped running.  That being the case, you need to remove the engine and split the cases to make the repair and clean out any metal parts that are floating around.


I am just curious, but how much did you pay for it?  the parts and repairs are not difficult or too terribly expensive if you can do your own wrench work and have a good manual.

Paid $200. it's pretty rough...

OK... clutch cover off... I turn the kickstart lever it turns that big gear & the small gear behind the clutch

I THINK turns the inside of the clutch.... and SOULD turn the whole clutch thus turn the crank.... right???

The clutch connects the kick gear to the crank???

With the clutch removed the kicker will not spin the crank... right?

I had a CT70 with the same problem.... would turn the engine about every 3 kicks... a lot on her about that.

What am I missing??

And yes I can split the cases no prob, have done with many engines.

Thanks guys.

Just wondering if maybe the previous owner either wore out the clutch or used the wrong oil.  "Energy conserving" oils are not good for clutches (too slippery).  Once contaminated, I'm not sure if you can get the fiber clutch plates clean enough to work like they should.  Or maybe you have broken clutch spring(s) or the springs are at the service limit or below.  If you are gong to preload the springs, make sure that the clutch weights move freely while you have the clutch apart.  Also measure the clutch plates to see if they're worn below the service limit.

I think the clutch was just worn out.

I had the same problem with a 1980 CT70 I was messing with.

I was hoping someone on here would chime in on how a worn clutch acts, now that I think about it a worn clutch does slip...

Anyway I got the bike cheap, found it had been run HARD and without oil. Broken shift selector at the shift drum and a broken shift fork.

I'm sure I can make a little money selling the parts.

Thanks guys

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