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DR350S Shifting and clutch issues

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I have a weird problem with a new to me DR350. For the record the previous owner told me he paid a shop to install a new clutch and clean the carb before he listed it for sale. 

The first ride on the bike the shifting was very "tight" and hard to find neutral.  As a first step in troubleshooting I’ve installed a new Tusk brand clutch cable to try to address a tight sifting problem where I couldn’t get it into neutral.  Now the bike is acting like the clutch cable is too tight with out enough free play, and then a few minutes later like it’s too loose and won't disengage the clutch so I can't stop with out the bike stalling. I’ve never seen any thing like it.  Currently all slack is pulled from the cable and I can't get the clutch to disengage and maximum lever pull.  I'm thinking the clutch arm that the cable attaches to at the bike needs to be moved back on it's splines to allow more clutch pull but that it a complete guess.

It’s almost like the cable routing it getting tighter and looser at different times. I’ve never seen anything like it and not sure how to troubleshoot the problem.

Any ideas on what to do besides just start replacing clutch parts?

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That is very odd - I'd start with the basics.

Cable routing - make sure the cable isn't binding on anything, it might look OK but then you turn the bars and it's getting tight or snagging on something. Just double check it's not snagging up on something with the bars turned fully in both directions. Also make sure you lube the Tusk cables, pretty sure these aren't a dry cable.

Clutch arm - took me a while to get this just right. Loosen the clutch cable up, pull the arm off the pinion (the vertical shaft). Then turn the pinion by hand counter-clockwise until it stops (it should have some free play), then attach the arm at about 70 degrees relative to the clutch cover (so when you engage the clutch lever the arm is at about 90 degrees). This will probably require some fiddling for your bike and preference, but a single notch or a few degrees can make a big difference I've found.

Once you're confident the cable is operating correctly, and if the issue is still there, probably time to check the clutch & rack/pinion mechanism itself. The clutch could be tightened down too much, and you might want to inspect & possibly replace the thrust washer.

Seems unlikely though if it's intermittently loose then tight - my first guess would be that the cable is adjusted on the very loose end, and it's getting tight because of the routing, causing it to not really work well at any time.

Edited by Tekime
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28522039015_6a8422c247_b.jpgon from the right side of the motor, rotate the shaft clock-wise to the stop. attach the arm at 11 oclock

Edited by plugeye
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4 minutes ago, Tekime said:

Clutch arm - took me a while to get this just right. Loosen the clutch cable up, pull the arm off the pinion (the vertical shaft). Then turn the pinion by hand counter-clockwise until it stops (it should have some free play), then attach the arm at about 70 degrees relative to the clutch cover (so when you engage the clutch lever the arm is at about 90 degrees). This will probably require some fiddling for your bike and preference, but a single notch or a few degrees can make a big difference I've found.

Once you're confident the cable is operating correctly, and if the issue is still there, probably time to check the clutch & rack/pinion mechanism itself. The clutch could be tightened down too much, and you might want to inspect & possibly replace the thrust washer.

I lubed the cable well with PJ1 cable lube before installing.  I'm certain it's well routed as it acts strange with with out the bars being turned but will look over it all.  

It must be the clutch arm or something with the clutch itself.  I've read that if you don't replace the thrust washer you can get inconsistent operation of the clutch but I've never seen it first hand so don't know what I would be seeing with that. 

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