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Changing Motorbike Clutch Fibre and Plates

Installing new clutch plate fibres on a motorbike is not as daunting as you may first think, in fact with a little preparation you can throw in a new set of clutch fibres and be back on the seat in under an hour.  In the example below we are replacing the clutch plate fibres on a DRZ250 however most motorbikes with wet clutches will have a very similar clutch setup.

Photo 1 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Clutch plate fibre preparation: Some clutch plate manufacturers will recommend soaking the clutch fibres in oil (the same oil that you will be running in your bike) anywhere from 2 hours to 12 hours. This will vary from clutch fibre manufacturer to clutch fibre manufacturer and will normally be detailed on the packaging of your new clutch fibres.

Drain the oil

Start the bike, let it run for a good 10 minutes to heat the oil, then drain the oil. Once the oil has been drained and the bike is left to cool off for a bit we can start removing the items to allow the side cover to be removed so we can access the clutch plates. 

Note: if you prefer not to drain the oil or if this is being performed mid-trip and you need to keep the oil, you can simply lie the bike on its side. The oil will drain to the other side of the engine and allow you to change the clutch fibres without draining the oil. 

Photo 2 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove the right footpeg.
Photo 3 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove the kickstart.
Photo 4 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove the brake leaver and springs.
Photo 5 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove the brake light switch.
Photo 6 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove the clutch pivot arm.
Photo 7 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove the oil feed.
Photo 8 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove all the side cover bolts and oil filter.
Photo 9 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove the side cover to expose the clutch assembly.
Photo 10 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove the 5 clutch bolts and the clutch springs held in by the clutch bolts.
Photo 11 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Remove to expose the clutch fibres and clutch plates.
Photo 12 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Now begin the process of removing the old clutch fibres and clutch plates from the clutch basket. These will be in the order of: clutch fibre > clutch plate > clutch fibre > clutch plate... until all clutch fibres and clutch plates are removed. In this photo I am holding one of the clutch fibres.
Photo 13 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
In this photo I am holding one of the clutch plates (also known as clutch steels).
Photo 14 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Note that the very last clutch fibre (held in the left hand) is much smaller than the other fibres and has a metal ring that sits within it. This metal ring will often stay behind in the clutch basket when you remove the last clutch fibre, that's fine, just leave it there as it does not need to come out.
Photo 15 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Install the new pre-soaked clutch fibres and clutch plates in reverse order that you removed the old ones. Clutch fibre > clutch plate > clutch fibre > clutch plate...

In this case, I am using the old clutch plates (clutch steels) as they were in good condition. This is an accepted practice if the clutch plates are in good condition. The most important check is to see that they are not warped. To do this, place the clutch plates on a pane of glass. Then, using a feeler gauge, work around the clutch plate and see if you can slide the feeler gauge underneath the clutch plate. If you can slide the feeler gauge under at any point, it will mean the clutch plate is warped and requires replacing.
Photo 16 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
All the new clutch fibres and clutch plates installed
Photo 17 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
The clutch springs should also be replaced at this time. It is recommended to use OEM clutch springs or high end aftermarket springs. The springs shown here are not recommended. These generic clutch springs in this style of packaging is commonly available the world over and seen on many online motorbike websites for sale. But, many riders report wildly inconsistent spring rates and they can often result in a clutch that is far more than the claimed 10% stronger and results in a clutch that is very difficult to pull in. I can attest to this. I installed these springs once and the clutch was significantly harder to pull. This would have been horrible on a technical ride where there is lots of slow going and clutch work. I replaced them with new OEM springs the very next day and have never used them since.
Photo 18 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
The clutch springs with clutch bolts should then be tightened in a criss-cross pattern for an even pull up on tension. DRZ250 clutch bots specify 6.5 foot pounds. If you have a different bike, check your bike manufacturer specifications for the correct torque.
Photo 19 of Installing New Clutch Fibres
Once the clutch bolts have been tightened it is simply a case of reinstalling the side cover with a new gasket (or a quality sealant if the old gasket is in fine condition) and simply putting everything back together on in reverse order that you took it off. You are then good to go with a brand spanking new clutch!

Note: if you installed a new side cover gasket you can start the bike up right away, however if you used a sealant on the original gasket you will need to wait for the sealant to cure according to the manufacturer's recommendations before starting the engine.
RMOTO
Author of this article: RMOTO
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