Clutch Question

I have a 98 Yz400 that I bought two years ago used, I don't ride to hard as I am a novice and I keep up on the maint. regularly.

I was just getting ready to service my bike when I noticed my clutch did not seem to be engaging all the way.

If I put the bike into first gear, pull in the clutch and begin to push the bike I can feel the motor going through a compression cycle and the back wheel will drag. Basicly with the clutch pulled in it does not want to free wheel very much. It's not like it's fully engaged.

I never noticed any problem riding and on my last ride I was able to start it in gear with the clutch lever pulled in so I don't know how bad it is. I have adjusted the lever and it did not seem to improve anything. This does not seem normal to me and I am thinking something is either out of adjustment or the clutch is going.

Can anyone tell me if there is anything I should check for adjustments? I have not noticed any clutch fade or that the clutch is slow to let out..

How hard is the clutch to replace as I have never done it before? Should I attempt to do my self or have a shop do it? If I look at having a shop repair it what is the standard shop time for such a procedure? Also is there any recommendations for the clutch parts with out going to expensive or should I go with Yammie parts for an inexpensive fix?

I appreciate any input you might have on this.



Hi Tom,

the early YZF's had some clutch issues. If you are still on your original clutch plates even the ones since you owned it, then you have gotten a good long life out of it. It's time for new plates and springs. The job is super easy. All you do is order a cltuch kit. There are many different choices, Barnett, EBC, I think they are all similar and average around $100 for all plates and new springs. Replacing the clutch is easy.

First, drain your fluid.

Then remover the clutch cover on the right side of your the bike.

You will see the clutch basket. Remove the bolts in alternating pattern across from eachother. The springs will come out with the bolts.

Pull off the basket cover. Then pull off the clutch plates. Pay attention to how they come off. The plates go on in alternating pattern, fiber, metal, fiber, metal, etc. Just put them in the same order that they come off. (They recommend soaking the clutch plates for a bit in oil prior to putting them in.) I have done both ways and haven't found much difference in performance/life.

Put the baket cover back on. Put springs and bolts back in. Torque to (you have to check) spec.

Put cover housing back on bike.

Fill with oil.


It's one of those jobs that I initially thought would be tough because I always thought of it in relationship to a car clutch. This job is perfect for a novice mechanic. It really is easy!


Tom, while you have the plates out, take a good look at the outer clutch basket to make sure you don't have excessive wear in the grooves/slots where where the clutch plates slide in. Even if you have to replace the entire clutch basket, it's still a pretty easy job but a little more involved than simply changing the clutch.

Thanks for the info bassr, it sounds like I should just do it and get it done. It also sounds like it should not be to tough based upon your description and I do have a shop manual for the bike.

Another question though, you indicated just replacing the plates and springs but what about the clutch basket it self? Should I replace it too?

When inspect everthing what should I look for as signs of problems with the plates springs and basket?

Thanks again for your post and confidence!

Hey if you are looking for a clutch basket there is one on E-Bay for $80. Dont know if the 400-426 are identical, but it seems like a good deal.

Just an FYI!!

i just did mine..the inner hub was grooved about .005 i just bought a new inner boss ( as yamaha calls it )and drilled .156 dia.holes in between the splines about 60 deg.apart on each end of the groove...before the rebuild accelerating on chop there was slipping..when cold it would grab hard..and charging out of corners was unpredictable..side note i also bought the hinson basket and pressure plate...after this rebuild power deliver is the closest to a cr250 as you can get..smooth predictable consistant..good luck with yours..and o testing with the engine not running not viable seeing it a dry sump engine...


I am looking in the chaparal catalog at clutch kits and some are sold as kits and some as components..


1. Are the pressure plates and friction plates the same thing?

2. Do I need to buy the pressure/friction plates and the metal seprator plates?

3. What do I need to freakin order?

I don't really want to go to my local dealer as they have proven to be a bit less than reliable and charge full retail on everthing and they have to order it as well.

I think all I want to do is replace the clutch components and not the clutch basket (unless I find it in bad shape when I tear it down). Does anyone sell a complete kit with the plates and springs?


I recommend purchasing an entire kit from Barnett. It contains, clutches, plates and springs. Another note. When I replaced the OEM clutch with the Barnett kit, I did so because the clutch was grabbing badly. After replacement, it worked beautifully for about two races then it went back to doing the same thing. The problem, I later found out was with the clutch basket (I should have recognized this by the fact that the oem clutch plates appeared to be in great shape). I wish I had put in a Hinson cluth basket and pressure plate when I replaced the clutch the first time. FYI, the basket on a 400 and 426 are not the same. Be sure to speficy your model when ordering.

You probably just need clutch plates, friction plates and springs. They are the parts you get in a clutch kit. The pressure plate is sold separately. I have the best results sticking with OEM YAMAHA clutch parts. Some of the aftermarket clutches seem to creep while your sitting still, like on the starting line. Be sure to check your outer clutch basket's teeth for grooving and also the inner clutch hub. If you have excessive wear on these parts you want to replace them with HINSON parts they seem to make the best baskets.

great input, I sounds like I should drain the fluids and pull the clutch for an inspection before I start ordering parts.

I am not sure if I could spot problems as described in the baskett and or pressure plates or not but I will will look at them none the less.

I had the motor gone through last year and asked that they inspect the clutch but they did not indicate there was any problems. They did soak me for a crank, piston, cam chain and connecting rod.. when all I need was the valves checked.

Long story.. I took it in for a valve job and they said it was all the other crap making the loud tapping noise and when I got it back it sounded the same.. a week later a valve bent and stuck open because it was too loose. After I paid to have the valve fixed it sounded great - no more tapping noise.. That's why I don't have too much confidence in my local shop.

Thanks for all the the info on this!


I have read all the replys and they all have good info. I would however disagree that you should take apart your clutch for any reasons in those replys. The symptom of clutch dragging while pushing it in gear does not indicate a problem with grooved basket or worn plates.

A grooved outer or inner basket will cause a chatter when letting the clutch out. If the plates were sticking in the grooves, rocking the bike back and forth would unstick them. Worn plates or weak springs will cause the clutch to slip under acceleration. Do you have either of those problems?

The two things taht come to mind are, warped steel plates, or all the oil is just squeezed out while the bike sits. I have had Barnett clutches with this problem and found it was caused by not soaking them in oil before installing them. My guess is the steel plates are okay, or it would be hard to start in gear. Does it have the problem after you ride it for a while(hot engine)? Did it just start happening, or did you just notice it happening? Maybe it is not new, but you never noticed it before.

Anyway, my advice would be be sure you have the right oil amount, and use a good quality oil. Leave the clutch alone till it shows signs of wear, and ride it like you stole it :) .

[ January 11, 2002: Message edited by: YZ400Court ]

Thanks for the post YzCourt, I did pull the cover and give it a visual inspection and it looked really good in there. There was no particles or anything and the throw out when I pulled the clutch was enough to seperate all the plates. So I went down to the dealer and asked some of the service guys and they indicated that when the bike was not running and cold the cluctch would drag and it was normal. They said the motor needed to be runing and oil circulating for the clutch to fully engage.

I don't have any guages so I could not pull the plates and spec them but I put new fluid in it and took it for a ride and everything was fine. I have not noticed any slipage or draging while riding and if I put it in gear at idle the bike is not creeping forward or anything.

I think the clutch is fine but I will keep an eye on it. I am sure I will need one sooner or later and all the info I have received will help a lot when that time comes.

Thanks for all the help!


hey tom check your pm / my profile . there is a post somewhere about starting your bike and while it is warming up you hold the clutch in with the transmission in nuetral, for a minute to get the oil flowing between the plates. i had a freinds 2 stroke diagnosed with a bad clutch,couldnt get it into gear without grinding or stalling. we tried this and it works like a new clutch . i think that it is a case of dry plates.

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