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Weak Clutch. Anyone tried the Barnett Kevlar discs?

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I have an 86' that seemed to have a worn clutch so I installed the EBC dirt digger kit.  When pulling the stock fibers I found that they weren't worn very much and were well within the service limits.  So I assumed the 30+ year old springs were getting weak.  After the kit was installed it was noticeably better, but would still slip and overheat when ridden hard.  I ordered the Kevlar discs and some .064" shims to increase the preload of the EBC springs. 

I've searched and read every post I could find about the XR200 clutch.  There's lots of info out there, but I couldn't find anyone that has tried the Kevlar discs in the 200.  Anyone run them?  How do they work? 

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I had two similar problems with Honda clutches; one on a XR200R and one on a CRF250X. The XR clutch I did to myself by using a car oil in the engine and with some clutch abuse toasted the frictions. The other was a used bike that I discovered a slipping clutch, probably from the PO using the wrong oil. For the XR I used an EBC kit and the springs were slightly stiffer than stock, but others have reported that EBC kits do not work well in XRs. This engine was a Powroll 218 so a big increase in torque over stock and all I did was shim the springs. No problems and I ride technical trails which requires a lot of clutch use.

The CRF250X fix was new Honda frictions and JASO-MA oil for no more problems.

And I know from previous experience with other Hondas that Honda  frictions are always good.

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I removed the exhaust insert, added a Uni filter, and removed the air box snorkel.  Other than that, the bike is stock.  I used Valvoline full synthetic motorcycle oil.  The EBC clutch seemed solid at first, but when riding with my buddies on their newer bigger bikes I had to really ride the 200 hard to keep up.  A few WOT shifts down a dirt road was enough to overheat the clutch.  I'm over 200lbs without gear, combined with a new rear tire, I guess was too much for the little clutch.  I'm hoping the increased friction of the Kevlar and the extra preload from the shims will fix the overheating.  

It's hard to believe that I can't find a single review of these Barnett Kevlar discs!  I've got them soaking in oil now and will install them today.  Maybe I'll be the first to review them.  ?

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A change in WOT shifting/clutch technique is the real fix to your problem........................not changing clutch parts!  ;)

Stock plates with a set of heavy duty springs (and no snake oil additives) and a 200 clutch will work very well, if used properly even on modified machines in tough conditions.

Many "car oils" work fine with these older clutch materials (problems are with modern clutch materials), but best to check first with oil manufacture to get the facts straight.

Old School Al

Edited by Old School Al

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I likely did not describe it accurately.  I'm not actually shifting with the throttle wide open; I always chop the throttle and pull in the clutch, up shift, dump the clutch, then WOT.  Going through the gears like this causes the clutch to overheat.  I have been riding wet clutch motorcycles using this technique for 30 years, everything from an old YZ80 to a modern 170WHP street bike.  This is the first one that ever had the clutch slip and overheat.  

I'm using Valvoline 10w40 JASO-MA Conventional oil in place of the synthetic that I had in it.   

 

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Ok...........better description.:thumbsup:  That would be the way to shift in that situation, but you shouldn't be having clutch slippage problems.  I don't know much about aftermarket clutch parts.  I've always stuck with OEM plates and a quality aftermarket heavy duty spring when needed.  I'm not sure of a reliable source on springs anymore.  If you have a bathroom scale and a drill press you can test your springs at assembled height and compare.

Old School Al

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OSA makes a good point regarding springs because Honda makes several different springs for other models that also fit the XR200 clutch, and I've found a variety of springs  in aftermarket kits.  :banghead:

Your symptoms sound classic damaged frictions, but also could be springs. In the two examples I posted changing oil to an approved wet clutch oil didn't fix the problem, but new frictions and correct oil did. I'm also with OSA on using Honda frictions.

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So, maybe it's just me, but for all my XRs (the 100, 200, and 600), I've run a basic Tusk clutch with heavy duty springs from rocky mountain atv and rotella T oil. Friction discs and plates have very good life and rotella isn't expensive. This means I can do frequent oil changes and always have clean oil in there.  We ride a lot and my older son and I run the trails pretty hard.

Just my two cents.  Sometimes we overthink the basics.  Kevlar Discs and synthetic oil is cool, but it's still just an old air cooled thumper that has a basic build/design and just needs basic parts as maintenance...even when ridden hard or abused.

It's the weekend. Now get out and ride:thumbsup::ride:

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12 hours ago, Go Big Red said:

Sometimes we overthink the basics.  Kevlar Discs and synthetic oil is cool , but it's still just an old air cooled thumper that has a basic build/design and just needs basic parts as maintenance...even when ridden hard or abused.

This was exactly what I was thinking when I order the EBC kit!  Unfortunately it didn't work very good.  

The question is why.  Did I use the wrong oil?  Are the new EBC discs inferior?  The "heavy duty" EBC springs appeared to be no different than the stock yellow springs that I removed...Are they actually weaker instead of stronger like they claim?  

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6 hours ago, kawer550 said:

This was exactly what I was thinking when I order the EBC kit!  Unfortunately it didn't work very good.  

The question is why.  Did I use the wrong oil?  Are the new EBC discs inferior?  The "heavy duty" EBC springs appeared to be no different than the stock yellow springs that I removed...Are they actually weaker instead of stronger like they claim?  

Welcome to the real world of motorcycle modification.............!;)  Between bogus parts and people totally full of B/S (worse now with internet experts) it can be a real challenge at times!  I'm laughing with you, not at you as I'm in the same boat nearly every day on some project I know little about and need reliable info to school me!;)

Are your metal clutch plates flat, no hot spots showing...........maybe sand lightly and rough them up a tad.

Myself I'd test those springs and compare .............. call the oil company to check on oil, call EBC and see what they say.  There's  a answer..........you just got to find it!:thumbsup:

Old School Al

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I installed the Barnett Kevlar discs with the EBC steel discs and HD springs.  I also installed the .064" spring shims.  Then refilled with conventional oil instead of the synthetic.  Problem solved.  Which change fixed the issue?  I'm not sure, but as long as it works good I'm happy.  I really beat on it and no slipping.  I fanned the clutch a few times to see if it would overheat like it did before.  Not a single time!  

I extended the clutch arm 3/4" a week ago when I put the EBC clutch in.  This is a great mod to do.  It really helps with the increased pull the HD springs and shims create.  It also makes the Kevlar discs feel more progressive.  

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I haven't had good luck with EBC in the past and heard the same from a few guys i raced with.  cant tell you why, but they slipped after just a few races.  This was on a CRF250.  I cant confirm, but like Kawer said, synthetic has caused folks some problems in the past.  it could be the material used, could be how small the molecular structure is of synthetic compared to dinosaur oil.  who knows.  

 

But i do know this, if you experiment with Barnett and EBC and it doesn't work, it gets expensive.  but if you use a Tusk clutch and it doesn't work, the pocket book hit isnt as bad.

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1 hour ago, Go Big Red said:

I haven't had good luck with EBC in the past and heard the same from a few guys i raced with.  cant tell you why, but they slipped after just a few races.  This was on a CRF250.  I cant confirm, but like Kawer said, synthetic has caused folks some problems in the past.  it could be the material used, could be how small the molecular structure is of synthetic compared to dinosaur oil.  who knows.  

 

But i do know this, if you experiment with Barnett and EBC and it doesn't work, it gets expensive.  but if you use a Tusk clutch and it doesn't work, the pocket book hit isnt as bad.

Oil being synthetic is not the problem, it is oil that has anti friction additives to improve gas mileage in cars. Solution is to use only JASO-M/MA approved oils, or wet clutch gear oil (ATF). I run synthetic MC oils in my XRs and synthetic ATF in my CRF250X with no clutch problems. One XR has EBC frictions and the X has Rekluse frictions. The Rekluse frictions look OEM and have the same OEM markings as my other Honda frictions.

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Now that I have the issue resolved I plan to switch back to full synthetic on my next oil change.  I agree with Chuck, I don't believe synthetic is an issue.  As long as it is designed for wet clutches.  There are thousands of people that run synthetic in high HP modern street bikes with zero issues.  

I'm not sure what the Tusk clutch costs, but I have $49 shipped into the EBC kit and $25 shipped into the Barnett Kevlar discs...I'm happy with the results for $74.  

Does Tusk have Kevlar discs, or are they cork?  

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7 hours ago, Chuck. said:

Oil being synthetic is not the problem, it is oil that has anti friction additives to improve gas mileage in cars. Solution is to use only JASO-M/MA approved oils, or wet clutch gear oil (ATF). I run synthetic MC oils in my XRs and synthetic ATF in my CRF250X with no clutch problems. One XR has EBC frictions and the X has Rekluse frictions. The Rekluse frictions look OEM and have the same OEM markings as my other Honda frictions.

This is good to know.  Thanks Chuck.  I'll keep an eye out for it.  Does the label "energy conserving" or "resource conserving" have anything to do with this?  I ask because I have used a lot of Rotella T and had no problems but I can guarantee it doesn't have the JASO-M/MA approval.  Im not even sure that stuff would be approved by briggs and stratton.

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2 hours ago, kawer550 said:

Now that I have the issue resolved I plan to switch back to full synthetic on my next oil change.  I agree with Chuck, I don't believe synthetic is an issue.  As long as it is designed for wet clutches.  There are thousands of people that run synthetic in high HP modern street bikes with zero issues.  

I'm not sure what the Tusk clutch costs, but I have $49 shipped into the EBC kit and $25 shipped into the Barnett Kevlar discs...I'm happy with the results for $74.  

Does Tusk have Kevlar discs, or are they cork?  

Just cork.  They are nothing to write home about regarding a name you can impress friends with.  there are better, no doubt, but for me they have done the job.

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"Energy Conserving" and "Resource Conserving" are the words indicating anti friction additives.

Shell's website, depending on which "T" version, use to say Rotella was OK for wet clutches, then it said approved JASO-MA, and later the approval was on the label. I posted a pic of a T label a few years ago for a similar discussion but I can't find it. Anyway TT users have not had clutch issues w/ T oils.  Rotella is a Fleet Service oil designed to provide long engine life for fleet operators, both diesel and gas. The SAE specs for crankcase oils have a big jump in specs for 15W-40 and thicker dino oils. The beginning of these oils were developed and tested by Detroit Diesel, Chevron, and a Western truck fleet operator, and they doubled engine life. Others are Mobil Delvac and Chevron Delo. And now there are synthetic versions.

I and a friend have Honda-Montesa Trials bikes, mine a 2T and his a 4T, both with a CR250R size clutch. His has a very jerky clutch, it judders. Mine has CR250R frictions and is smooth. His and mine stock use a mix of cork and paper frictions. So my research says the paper frictions are grabby and cork are the smoothest, and the results in our two bikes support that.  The Montesa recommended oil for both is a very thin synthetic gear oil not recommended for wet clutches, and difficult to find in the States. So I switched to a Valvoline synthetic Dextron VI ATF and now have an even smoother clutch. So I tried the ATF in my CRF250X with similar results.

I've used T, T6, Torco, Honda HP4, Motul 300V, and Redline oils in my XR without any clutch issues.

  • The Honda oil developed notchy shifting sooner than the other oils.
  • Torco the longest before notchy shifting.
  • Not much differences in clutch action but I preferred the clutch action in my XRs with the T rather than the T6, and Redline over Motul 300V.
  • The Redline and Motul 300V because of anti wear additives for a high lift cam.

The caveats are disregard the clutch comments if your riding doesn't involve heavy clutch use. And the anti wear additives aren't needed for stock cams, your cam grinder will have recommendations for assembly lube and oil. 

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Hey Chuck. I have a montesa 2T also. And run belray 75w gear saver. with a  stock clutch and it work pretty good. One good tip. Is to lean the bike over on the right side A bunch, and work the clutch. to get oil in it. Then start it up and do it again. 

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On ‎4‎/‎14‎/‎2017 at 11:30 PM, Chuck. said:

"Energy Conserving" and "Resource Conserving" are the words indicating anti friction additives.

Shell's website, depending on which "T" version, use to say Rotella was OK for wet clutches, then it said approved JASO-MA, and later the approval was on the label. I posted a pic of a T label a few years ago for a similar discussion but I can't find it. Anyway TT users have not had clutch issues w/ T oils.  Rotella is a Fleet Service oil designed to provide long engine life for fleet operators, both diesel and gas. The SAE specs for crankcase oils have a big jump in specs for 15W-40 and thicker dino oils. The beginning of these oils were developed and tested by Detroit Diesel, Chevron, and a Western truck fleet operator, and they doubled engine life. Others are Mobil Delvac and Chevron Delo. And now there are synthetic versions.

I and a friend have Honda -Montesa Trials bikes, mine a 2T and his a 4T, both with a CR250R size clutch. His has a very jerky clutch, it judders. Mine has CR250R frictions and is smooth. His and mine stock use a mix of cork and paper frictions. So my research says the paper frictions are grabby and cork are the smoothest, and the results in our two bikes support that.  The Montesa recommended oil for both is a very thin synthetic gear oil not recommended for wet clutches, and difficult to find in the States. So I switched to a Valvoline synthetic Dextron VI ATF and now have an even smoother clutch. So I tried the ATF in my CRF250X with similar results.

I've used T, T6, Torco, Honda HP4, Motul 300V, and Redline oils in my XR without any clutch issues.

  • The Honda oil developed notchy shifting sooner than the other oils.
  • Torco the longest before notchy shifting.
  • Not much differences in clutch action but I preferred the clutch action in my XRs with the T rather than the T6, and Redline over Motul 300V.
  • The Redline and Motul 300V because of anti wear additives for a high lift cam.

The caveats are disregard the clutch comments if your riding doesn't involve heavy clutch use. And the anti wear additives aren't needed for stock cams, your cam grinder will have recommendations for assembly lube and oil. 

 

Chuck......... 

You are the only one I know of that claims of a spec change in 15w-40 oils that doubled diesel engine life...........! ;)

On additives and wet clutches..........  Even with heavy clutch use we run not only a "car oil" , but a racing car oil as it has twice the antifriction additives where it doesn't have to meet emissions.  This oil is a synthetic blend ............. and also has submicron moly as well.   The oil company recommends it for the older clutch materials and it works very well (even with heavy use), as in no problems at all.  For modern CRF's, the oil company said don't use it as it won't work with the materials they have in them.  It would be hard to find a 200 with more hard hours than OSJ's XR218R...............and it still has all the original clutch parts!  As for antifriction additives, these engines live best with all you can get stock or modified (modified they are still low performance engines).  The amount of top end destruction we see even though it is usually due to lack of maintenance makes this point clear.;)

Old School Al

Edited by Old School Al

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