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XR200 Slipping Clutch

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The XR200 clutch legacy is the SL125, and the plates are the same size as a CR80/85. So marginal to begin with but if used mostly for shifting with little other use it seems to last in a stock engine.

However my 218 Powroll build has almost 50% more torque than stock and if I fan the clutch a few times it gets hot (more lever play) and becomes slower to engage with a hard throttle. So I'm looking for solutions, here is some more info:

I measured the clutch springs from several bikes and did some part number checks, and the XR200s seem to have the stiffest springs of the two valve motors. I did shim the springs using 0.060" washers which increased the preload 14%. I checked the plate thickness during the build and they were well above the service limit at near new thickness. Powroll sells HD springs and I would be interested to know how they compare to stock. Can anyone provide dimensions for the Powroll or other springs so I can compare them to stock?

I've asked Barnett and EBC if their clutches have more friction than OEM and all I get are general answers. Barnett has "HD" springs that have a lower rate than what I measured. They did say that their Kevlar plates have more friction than stock, although the amount of increase was not provided.

EBC provided no answers but their catalog contains some general comments. The CK series is almost identical to original equipment

clutch plates and is a cork based product impregnated with aluminum particles to increase wear life and heat resistance. The SRC series use a Kevlar paper lined plates to provide longer life, higher heat resistance, and a more aggressive/faster take up than cork. And a carbon fiber clutch for moto-x and ATV race use.

So I'm here asking for real world results about what works in a modded engine or stands up to abuse better than OEM.

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I would also like to find a solution for the weak clutch in my modded 218. I start to loose the adj. in about 20 min. of hard riding. Trying to run in a higher gear to take advantage of the added torque puts a lot of strain on the small clutch. I am using a EBC HD clutch with HD springs but i didn't measure them and they feel like stock with no better fade resistance. I think this was a problem for this engine even in stock form as they were using a heaver spring than my 92 XR250. cost to much money to retool and make a new clutch for a old design engine.

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Chuck,

The only 2 ways that I can see to help the problem is to either change the primary gear ratio or to add plates. I have lots of specs on my XL350 clutch but not on the little100-200 clutches.

When I adapted a RevLoc DynaRing clutch pack to my XL350 I found that I could add another clutch drive/driven plate set if I machined the bottom of the inner hub just over .100". I was just looking for options since the DynaRing replaces some of the clutch plate pairs. I don't have a 100-200 clutch handy to check if that is an option.

The other thing is what I also did to my XL350/486 and that is to change the primary gear ratio. If you notice the older 100-125 engines used a 4.055-1 ratio and with the XR200s it changed to 3.33-1. That was a good move on Honda's part to drop the torque input into the clutch/tranny. But the 200 and expecially your 218 and other big motors put out moretorque and would benefit from the change. My new ratio for my XL350 is 2.42-1 compared to the stock 3.125-1. For the XL350 it is a mod to help the 3rd and 4th gear sets live longer and happier lives.

Now, funny thing, the RTL250 Honda Trials bike which should put out a lot more torque than your XR218 went back to the 4.055-1 primary ratio of the smaller engines? I will have to do some research to see if they had reported problems with their clutches. I know that they went up as far as 260cc+ with the same engine.

Swiss

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From a couple of the Trials riders with the RTL:

I think that you’ll find that it is similar to a CB125 clutch in the RTL before 1987. It was different in the 1987 then different again in 1988 to 1990. If you’ve got the measurements then you could ask Barnett Clutches; I found them very helpful for my RTL. The 1989 RTL uses the friction plates from an ATC250 and steel plates from an XL205R.

I have been using my TLR250 for about 15 years and have experimented with many clutch arrangments, including a partial attempt to convert to hydraulic based on 4RT parts. My optimum specification is Barnett Kevlar plates, CB125 anti-rattle kit in place of the outside steel plate, motorcycle specific semi synthetic engine oil designed for wet clutch, and a spacer behind the bearing in the outer casing to optimise the actuation point of the cam.

I hope this helps.

As regards the clutch, it's a Honda and Honda trials clutches are not very good. If used a lot they overheat, the plates swell and you get the cable go slack and constantly have to adjust it until it cools down again. They are also grabby and erratic, not very smooth - there are mods you can do to help overcome this, but depending on who you ask there are several different solutions - they don't all work. My mates with their TLR250's have yet to find the one that does. Being a 1988 model though, yours should have the later, bigger clutch, different from the TLR and maybe not prone to the awful snatching and jerking of the earlier model. They shouldn't slip though. Maybe the plates are just worn or the clutch isn't adjusted properly. Don't use fully synthetic oil as this may also cause the clutch to slip.

I had clutch slip on my'88 RTL. Mine was easily cured, the slots in the aluminium clutch basket where the clutch plates sit had become notched. I simply filed them smooth again,finishing off with a bit of wet and dry ( it can be done in situ if pay particular attention to cleanliness). Cured it completely..

Now Chuck, none of this info is new and none of it may help? I will make sure to check into the clutch mods that the Brazilian shops are doing to make the 200 and 230 engines work with their big bore and stroker kits.

Swiss

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Three items determine the torque capacity of a clutch; friction area, coefficient of friction, and clamping pressure. I've only been able to increase the last but would like to to also increase the first two. So far I've found four lining materials but only limited information.

XR200R OEM usually cork based, swells with heat causing loss of lever, nice smooth take up.

Honda has other friction materials but I'm having difficuly finding information.

Cork impregnated with aluminum, improved heat resistance.

Kevlar paper provide longer life, higher heat resistance, and a more aggressive/faster take up than cork.

Carbon fiber for moto-x and ATV race use. Ideal for the higher torque in 4 stroke

engines and as a clutch upgrade in 2 stroke motorcycles.

So not much help there because the increase in capacity equates to a loss of smoothness.

Springs: I was told years ago that the Barnett springs were not stiff enough and that shimming stock springs or using Powroll HD springs was the solution, so for many years I've been shimming clutch springs using spark plug washers with good results. Recently I started measuring clutch springs and calculating their rate. I don't have access to lot of springs so I was only able to measure springs from six Hondas, half of which were XR200Rs. The XR200 springs were the stiffest at 87.5-88 lbs/in. The TLR200 springs were close at 86 lbs/in but were shorter so provided much less preload or clamping pressure. Measuring is not too difficult using a good pair of digital calipers with a couple of caveats; the wire flattens as it is wound so for consistency measure the thickness on the spring's axis (easiest) and measure several places. When counting active coils (spaces where coils don't touch each other) include partials. The CRF150 and 230 springs might be a stiffer so if anyone can post measurements (in inches) I can calculate the spring rate, compressed length, and preload, I need the following:

Wire diameter

Spring OD

Free length

Active coils

On the three XRs the spring free lengths ranged from 1.46-1.48", a pretty close range for springs from an 82, 90, and 97 engine. On my 218 the installed length was 1.05" for a preload of .42" which provided 37lbs of preload times 4 springs for 148lbs of clamping pressure. Installing 0.064" shims boosted clamping pressure to 170lbs, a 15% increase. A significant improvement but not enough for the torque increase from a 218 build. The next increment using Moroso shims is 0.086" which will boost clamping pressure 20% over stock. Some good news and bad news:

Adding shims is a lot easier and cheaper than swapping out clutch plates but there is a limit to shimming because too much can lead to coil bind before the clutch is disengaged. My clutch fully disengages now so I may try thicker shims. I use Moroso Spark Plug Clocking washers from a local speed shop, the package contains ten washers of each thickness of 0.043", 0.054" and 0.064", and fit the spring seats on the pressure plate.

I've been spoiled by the light lever pull of hydraulic clutches so the XR clutch pull always seem high. Towlieee post a thread on lengthening the engine clutch arm to reduce lever pull http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=784686&highlight=clutch+mod

I chose to lengthen my arm using a bolt on extension so I could easily convert back to stock or change the length. I drilled out the rivet holding the cable clip to the engine arm and then used a 3/4" x 2" piece of flat stock (Home Depot) to replicate the end of the the clutch arm with a 3/4" extension, this fit to the underside of the arm and extended 3/4" beyond the end of the clutch arm. I contoured the outer end to match the radius on the end of the clutch arm and the inner end to fit the joggle in the stock clutch arm. I then clamped it to the under side of the clutch arm and used the existing clip hole to drill the extension, fastened it with a 5mm bolt. I then drilled a hole thru both for a 1/8" SS rivet (not enough room for another bolt hole between the existing cable clip hole and the dogleg bend in the lever). Next I installed the cable clip to the hole in the end of the flat stock that was 3/4" away from the original cable clip hole. And then used a tapered drift bar to re align cable bracket to the new hole. 40% reduction in clutch pull!! This worked so well I'm considering increasing the extension to 1"

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Thanks Lots of info to digest.

Changing the primary gear ratio would also solve the gear box problem.

Fitting a larger basket (CR125/250) to the driven gear would fix the problem but the centrifugal oil filter would need to be removed, also means modding the right side cover.

I like your idea of adding another friction plate, 20% more fiction area. Cursory examination of a TLR200 clutch (same as XR) indicates enough room in the basket for an extra plate and disc: The plate pack is .838" thick and the slots in the basket are 1.124" deep, plenty of room for a .112 plate and a .060 disc. Might need some extra clearance on the Pressure Plate and the Center the plate to keep the plates in the basket.

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Thanks Lots of info to digest.

Changing the primary gear ratio would also solve the gear box problem.

Fitting a larger basket (CR125/250) to the driven gear would fix the problem but the centrifugal oil filter would need to be removed, also means modding the right side cover.

I like your idea of adding another friction plate, 20% more fiction area. Cursory examination of a TLR200 clutch (same as XR) indicates enough room in the basket for an extra plate and disc: The plate pack is .838" thick and the slots in the basket are 1.124" deep, plenty of room for a .112 plate and a .060 disc. Might need some extra clearance on the Pressure Plate and the Center to keep the discs in the basket.

20% more friction area and 15-20% more clamping pressure and I think this will work with stock plates.

On edit: the CRF230 uses 6 frictions and 5 disc.

Edited by chuck4788

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Chuck, you can lengthen the arm, I did on my XL350 with Barnett plates and racing springs years ago. Welded an extension on mine and then later changed my side case cover so built an entirely different lever arm.

Or you can find a clutch cable assist "Easy Clutch". They used to make them for the dirt bikes and I think now some are available for Harleys? They pop up on Ebay sometimes. I got one 15 years ago for my 6 year old son to use on the XR75 that I set up for him.

Easyclutch.jpg

Some of the info on the RTL250 which was the latest of the old 2-v Trials Honda bikes suggests that at least in the later models('88 and later) they had a slightly larger stronger clutch. Not many of the RTL bikes in the neighborhood so I don't know who to ask to compare them. Some of the Vintage Trials bike guys might have both an early TL125 and the later RTL in the garage that they could compare parts from?

When I talked with Barnett a couple of months ago I asked them about their Kevlar vs. Carbon clutch kits. Basically he said that the Carbon was more high temp resistant. It is tough to get friction information from the clutch guys because I think all of them are pretty close to the same friction ratings. Nothing new here, let the Droids pass! HA!HA!

What I did get from Barnett was I asked why the newer plates all had twice as many oil slots in them? He said that it allowed them to pass more oil and run cooler. Of course, it also decreases the surface friction area. I was looking at the XL350 plates that I got from Barnett years ago and comparing them to CRF450 and XR600 plates, both of which have more slots in the stock Honda plates. I have a friend with an XL350 race bike who was having clutch slipping problems on his dyno runs. I knew that he had some XR600 engines in his shop and asked him to compare the clutch plates (I already knew that they would fit) and see if there was more surface area on the XR600 plates. He did and I talked him into putting the XR600 plates into his XL350. His clutch slipping problems disappeared. So I put together this picture of what I had in the garage for comparison.

XL350FiberPlates.jpg

If you note, the stock width of the surface of the XL350 plates is 2.1mm narrower than the CRF450 and the XR600 plates. This surface is basically unused on the stock plate pairs because the steel plates are wide enough to work with the larger fiber plates. The old style Barnett plates from the '70s only had 4 grooves in each side of the fiber plates. I don't know what they do now but I suspect that they run lots of grooves like the modern plate designs. Anyway, there MAY be room for additional surface area on the fiber plates IF we can find some that will fit and work in the XR200 basket. Although the approximate Fiber area of the CRF plates is less than the stock XL350 plates, they are thicker and will run cooler, possibly helping the slipping. I am still waiting for my friend in England to send me a photo and additional specs on the XR600 plates. Since this came up I will pester him some more.

Chuck, check the wear surface on your steel plates and see if there is some unused surface area where the fiber plates could be larger. Typically this is on the inside of the plate area.

Just kicking some ideas out. Would be nice to find some friction plates with larger surface area that fit.

Swiss

Some of the old DynaRing kits included thinner steel plates to allow more area for the auto-clutch pack. I understand that some of the steel plates from Honda are also different thicknesses. Could be worth looking into, would allow the added plates to work easier.

Ideally the fiber plates would have a fairly thin aluminum plate base with thicker tabs on the outside to help keep from grooving the basket flanges. The CRF plates have a thick aluminum plate base which increases their weight and limits the number of plates that can be stacked because of the added thickness. Since the steel plates that sit between the fiber plates already space them out, there is room at the outter tabs for the thicker material. I know that someone made them like this at one time but don't remember who it was. There were also some plates made with small "L" shaped edges on the tabs.

Edited by Swiss
Added info

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Interesting comment on the need for additional grooves in the frictions for oil since on the XR clutches there is no visible way for oil to get to the plates. My solution would be to drill some holes from the inside of the Center (driven element) to the disc area.

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Well, the oil is evidently from splash picked up by the plates during rotation in the side cover. I investigated this as I was working on my DynaRing conversion for my XL350 and found that although there is pressure fed oil in the transmission shaft the push pin for the clutch actuation (rod through the tranny shaft on the XL350) blocks any of it from getting to the center of the basket to put oil in the plates. Regardless of how it gets there, it does manage to get oil and it istypical for the modern side plates on the baskets to be drilled supposedly for oil circulation/cooling. I drilled my side plates on my XL350 basket when I rebuilt it for the auto-clutch. Photo:

ScFClutchDRTi2.jpg

I think it looks nice! HA!HA! We will see if it flows oil better and runs cooler etc... I don't want to allow the tranny shaft oil flow into the clutch center because it will drop the pressure in the tranny shaft and bushings/bearings. Anyway, it was a few grams lighter and like I said it looks trick!!

I guess we would need a clear plate on the side of the case cover in order to see just what the oil was doing inside the cover while running! It would make an interesting video sequence! I have seen a clutch cover with clear Lexan panels sealed into it but it was not a video just a still photo.

Swiss

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According to the Barnett drive plate listing the following "Cryo" aluminum plates are the same:

'80-02 CR80R, '04-12 CRF80F, '79-03 XR80, '03-07 CR85R, '04-12 CRF100F, '81--03 XR100R, '86-03 XR200, 2009 CRF230.

I am pretty sure that all of the old SL100-125, CB125, XL125, XR185, XR200and early CR125 engines also used the same drive plates.

The question is what of all of these engines and others not mentioned used the fiber driven plates with the largest surface area?

Swiss

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According to the Barnett drive plate listing the following "Cryo" aluminum plates are the same:

'80-02 CR80R, '04-12 CRF80F, '79-03 XR80, '03-07 CR85R, '04-12 CRF100F, '81--03 XR100R, '86-03 XR200, 2009 CRF230.

I am pretty sure that all of the old SL100-125, CB125, XL125, XR185, XR200and early CR125 engines also used the same drive plates.

The question is what of all of these engines and others not mentioned used the fiber driven plates with the largest surface area?

Swiss

Honda shows the same discs used on all XR/XL185/200s, plus ATCs, TL, TLR, CBs, CMs, VFs, and TRXs, this is the Honda generic small engine clutch.

The TLR clutch that I have appears to have aftermarket discs; the frictions are aluminum and have swagged tabs that are thicker than the plate, the driven discs are dimpled in, to my memory, a smaller pattern than Honda. The friction area covers all of the plate with 24 0.050" wide oil slots. The thickness at 0.111 is on the low side of the Honda service limit but the frictions still have some areas without wear. These might be an EBC DRC kit.

EBC makes a clutch holding tool that has the inner and outer tabs, the part number for the XR200 is CT012SP. Also fits:

CR80/85 80-07

XR80/100 79-03

CL125

NX125

XL125

XL185/200

XR185/200

CRF150F

CRF230F/L/M

ATC125/185/200

TRL200

TRX200

TRX250 01-08

CMX250

CB250

CB125

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Primary gear ratios:

As previously posted the XR185/200 primary gear ratio is 3.33:1 (70/21 tooth count).

The CRF230F primary gear ratio is 3.090:1 (68/22 tooth count).

That is a 7.2% reduction in torque to the clutch and the ratio change could be countered by adding 3 or 4 teeth to the rear sprocket or reducing one tooth on the counter shaft sprocket.

Some choices:

I had two reasons for starting this thread; my lack of experience with aftermarket clutches and some bad experience with Honda frictions on a 4RT that appeared to be paper. I was looking for others experiences but instead got a lot of good posts on modding. In reading thru all of the posts I think I've got a plan to mitigates the clutch deficiencies in my Powroll 218 build. Implementing these would help identify possible solutions for clutch problems on a bigger build like Master & Cia. Still curious to know what mods they do to clutches in Brazil for the big builds.

So far we know the CRF230 changed primary drive ratio to reduce torque to the clutch by 7.2% and the clutch has one more friction plate for another 20% increase in capacity. We don't know what the spring rate or pre-load is compared to the XR200. To accommodate the extra plates and judder spring the CRF230 basket may be deeper than the XR200, and/or the plates thinner. More info would help.

I have yet to compare the surface area of the EBC plates in my TLR clutch to the plates in my two XRs; based on the results of that I will consider installing the EBC plates in my 218.

Easy Fixes:

The cheap and easy way to increase clutch capacity is to increase clamping pressure, I'm currently using 0.064" shims under the springs and I'll add more shims until I find coil bind and post the preload limit. This will also define how much throwout the clutch requires for dis-engagement. The extension to the engine clutch lever reduces lever pull more than enough to offset the impact of increasing spring rate and/or preload. The current preload increased clamping pressure 15%, I would like to increase that to 25% over stock.

Adding an extra friction plate and disc to the stock basket will result in a 20% increase in friction area.

These two items should fix the clutch slippage problems on a 218 but may not be enough to cure clutch fade from fanning, perhaps more heat resistant frictions will be needed but I would not want to lose too much of the smoothness that cork provides.

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Well Chuck, this is the start of another comprehensive database for the Xr200 mods. As I stated I will find out what I can after the Holidays about the Brazilian companies and what they do for their clutches on their big bore/stroker 200 engines. I guess that we would need someone with both an XR200 and a CRF230 with their engines torn down!!! HA!HA! So that we can compare the clutch baskets.

I did check some additional clutch source info and the early CR125 did use the same basic clutch as the rest of the bikes did. One part number difference on one of the plates but then the same in the '80-81 time period. So there are a LOT of Honda engines out there running the same basic clutch.

Swiss

As long as Honda didn't totally change the input splines for the clutch basket then it might be an easy swap for the 230 basket and gear set? Again, have to have both engines on the bench and do the comparisons.

To eliminate fading the Carbon plates seem to be a good answer. However I don't know what their take up action is compared to the std. cork.

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Chuck, I also know that with some of the bigger engines the racers get rid of the judder spring and add in an extra plate to the clutch.

Sounds like we need to get a CRF230 rider with his engine torn down (at least the clutch) and get some measurements like thickness and basket dimensions etc...

Swiss

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Something that I haven't seen addressed here is Oil. Be sure NOT to use an automotive oil as they contain friction modifiers that can make the clutch slip. I use Maxima Semi Syn in my XR218. At least use a good Motorcycle oil with JASO MA rating.

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You are correct Dwight. Every little bit contributes to how it all pulls together. Thought about mentioning it earlier but figured that we were on a level of mods beyond the oil.

Swiss

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Something that I haven't seen addressed here is Oil. Be sure NOT to use an automotive oil as they contain friction modifiers that can make the clutch slip. I use Maxima Semi Syn in my XR218. At least use a good Motorcycle oil with JASO MA rating.

Dwight; you've raced XRs and CRFs for many years so have a lot of experience regarding these clutches. Any input to this discussion?

Oil can be a big issues and as Dwight points out the wrong oil can mess up a clutch. I don't want to start an oil discussion but part of my clutch research has been attempts to eliminate some judder in my 218 and fix bad judder in a Montesa (Honda) 4RT; we found oil type and viscosity does influence clutch action. Unfortunately with engine oil shared with the tranny in the XRs our options are limited.

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Chuck,

Long ago it was easy to just get a quart of car oil off the shelf and use it. No superslick modifiers and then the synthetics came around. Were happily recommended for cycles and seemed to work really well and handled higher air-cooled temps really well, better than the Dino oils. But then the additives got to them also. So the cycle manufacturers started doing their own oils and also specialty oils from various oil marketers hit the market.

How to tell what to use? Recommendations of your friends like Dwight is one method. Friend of mine used Amsoil synthetic for years in his dirt bike and always raved about it.

Link to Amsoil tech info page: http://www.smartsynthetics.com/articles/motorcycle_oil_technical_facts.htm

I still like synthetic for hanging in there under harsh conditions like high heat. Powroll used to recommend a synthetic called RedLine. Said that they actually saw HP increases on the dyno with it.

Swiss

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Redline is a highly regarded oil in competition and the products are available at most competition equipment shops. As a side note I switched to Redline Power Steering fluid with a noticeable improvement in response, probably the lower viscosity at ambient temps.

I did switch my 218 to Mobil 1 0W-40 oil and the clutch action is much better. I picked the 0W-40 because it meets the ACEA A-3 specs and has a HTHS value of 3.8, most other Mobil 1 oils don't meet the A-3 spec and have HTHS values of 3 or less.

Here are some viscosities for some MC oils:

Engine Oils................ cSt@40oC.... cSt@100oC... HTHS

Mobil 1 5W-30.................. 61.7........11.0..............3.1

Mobil 1 10W-30................. 63..........10.1..............3.0

Mobil 1 0w-40................... 75...........13.5.............3.8

Rotella T6 syn 5W-40......... 87...........14.2

Torco T-4 10W-40............ 118...........15.8

Rotella T 15W-40............. 120...........15.5

Mobil 1 15W-50............... 125..........18.0...............4.5

Torco T-4SR syn 20W-50.. 155...........19.5

Torco T-4 20W-50............ 173..........20.31

HTHS is High Temperature High Shear measured in mPa.s@150C

This next part does go a little off subject because the XR clutch runs in engine oil. Montesa (owned by Honda and the engines are HRC) use a clutch with the same physical size as CR125/250 etc in the 315R (2T) and the 4RT (4T), the first has a rep for a smooth clutch, the latter for a grabby clutch subject to judder. A Barnett person attributed this to differences in the release mechanism; the 315R mechanism is on the side cover like the XR200, the 4RT has a pushrod thru the mainshaft from the other side of the engine. Honda has, off and on, over the years used anti judder parts in CRs and CRFs, so this seems to be a problem. Montesa recommends a special racing synthetic gear oil for these clutches, but Elf says not to use in a clutch; go figure. To fix the judder some recommend CR plates, others ATF oil. So the research began: Thin oils provide faster clutch take up, thicker slower take-up with more drag. Oil spec sheets usually show the oil's viscosity at 100C and 40C, the latter is closer to the operating temp of a tranny than the former. ATF is a gear oil and these oils come in a wide range of viscosity, some ATFs like Dextron have static and dynamic coefficients of friction that are quite close which provides smoother clutch lockup, the "F" oils will provide quicker lock-up. Cork frictions provide the smoothest action, widely used on dirt bikes. Paper provides quicker engagement and is often used on high performance street bikes. Some clutches like the 4R will mix friction materials to fine tune action.

Here are some gear/ATF oil viscosities at 40C:

Elf HTX740......................... 21

Valvoline Dextron VI ATF syn. 29.5

Mobile 1 Syn ATF................ 36.3

Royal Purple Max ATF........... 35.0

Mobile Dextron VI ATF......... 38

Valvoline +4....................... 34.13

Allison Transynd ATF (by Castrol) 53.9

Elf HTX735.............................. 114

Silkolene Medium 85W-90 20W-50.. 150-340

Silkolene Light 75W-80 10W-40...... 100-180

Silkolene Comp 80W-90 10W-40..... 100-145

Silkolene Pro SRG 75 75W 10W-30.. 100-180

Elf HTX755....................................... 197

The Elf HTX740 is recommended by Montesa, I switched to Valvoline syn Dextron and while a bit thicker than the Elf I got smoother clutch action.

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