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Guide to basic clutch installation


Tools needed for typical installation

#3 Phillips Screwdriver accompanied by a Impact Driver using a #3 Phillips bit!

5mm Allen wrench

8mm socket

10mm socket with appropriate 3/8" ratchet and extension

Rubber Mallet

Any special clutch hub tool needed for your specific bike.

Quart or so of the oil you use in your bike

A flat pan large enough to lay clutches inside flat one at a time. 12x12x2 works nice.

CLEAN shop rags, MANY.

Brake cleaner

Clutch Cover gasket


Springs (Optional)

NON-Silicon Sealer (Permitex #2, Yamabond )

Torque Wrench

There may be some other tools needed for certain installations, but this is based on a "typical" clutch installation. Most of the areas covered will be an explanation of procedure and tips to make the installation easier. You will definitely want to refer to, and have ready during installation, a repair manual for your specific motorcycle. I also want to add that this is based on a Japanese "wet" type clutch using typical clutch springs. This means a clutch that runs IN oil. Dry clutches are NOT to be installed with this procedure, they will be damaged.

First thing to do is read the section in your manual on clutch installation. 

Now you will be more familiar with your bike and the parts that make the clutch work. Locate the clutch cover on the motor. Usually this is the right rear (as you are sitting on the bike) cover on an inline twin/triple/four. Also most v-twins are located hear. However some bikes can have the clutch on the front or the rear of the bike. Examples would be a Honda CX and GL500/650's with the clutches on the front of the motor facing forward and the GL1000/1100/1200/1500/1800 Honda's have the clutches in the back of the engine. Be aware of this before you start. If you need to remove an exhaust like on some VN1500 Vulcan's then you will need a exhaust gasket too. Or, you could have a Goldwing and removal or moving the motor is necessary. You will definitely want this installation info before you turn a wrench.

OK, now we have located the clutch cover, we have our tools, and we know that we have all of the extra goodies needed for our SPECIFIC bike.


Lay out about 3 or 4 clean shop rags. Use the rags to lay out the parts as you remove them.

Remove clutch cable if mounted to the cover. You will notice that the clutch cover is bordered with bolts or screws. These will be one of the following; 8mm bolts, Phillips Screws, or 5mm socket head (Allen) bolts. Remove the bolts or screws carefully and evenly. Crack them all loose and then remove them in a cross pattern until you have only one bolt left at the very top of the cover. If you have Phillips screws USE THE IMPACT to break the bolts loose. You will be happy you did. Firmly hold the cover and tap around the cover with the rubber mallet. You should hear the thumping sound the mallet makes get deeper when the cover breaks loose. When the cover breaks loose, remove the last bolt at the top and work the cover off. Do not attempt to pry the cover off. Some models WILL give you fits, but I GUARANTEE they are nothing compared to replacing the engine cases or a permanent oil leak left by our favorite pry bar or screwdriver. Some clutch covers will have two locating pins. If the cover gets crooked, they will stick. Pull the cover off evenly.


Now you should have the clutch exposed


Your clutch consists of a few basic parts.

Clutch basket (the part that houses the clutch pack)

Inner clutch Hub (the part that is behind the clutch pack)

Outer Clutch hub (the part that pushes the clutches into the basket)

Clutch Springs (most bikes have 4 to 8 springs inserted into the outer clutch hub)

Fiber Clutch Plates (the actual clutches you will be replacing)

Metal Clutch Plates (the metal plates driven by the inner hub that go between the fiber clutch plates)

Some manuals refer to these items with different names. I will be using the names above to refer to the various clutch parts.


Remove the bolts that are holding the clutch springs. Be sure to remove the bolts little by little in a cross pattern. Some hubs will break if not removed this way. After you have all of the springs removed you will need to pull the outer hub out of the basket. Remember to refer to your manual. Some bikes, like early Honda's have a outer clutch hub bolt that must be removed too. Inspect the hub for cracks or extreme wear at the clutch contact area inside the hub. Replace if necessary, but this part is typically OK.


You will now see the first fiber plate exposed. You should be able to now pull the clutches out one at a time or in stacks. IMPORTANT Make sure to stack the clutches up on the shop rags exactly as you pull them out. Some clutch packs have a specific plate that goes in first or last. This plate will be different than the rest of the clutches and will not fit if installed in the wrong order. Once you have all of the fiber and metal clutch plates out of the basket you will want to separate the metal plates from the fiber plates still making sure to keep the stack as it came out. Clean all of the metal plates in a solvent. After you clean them inspect them for "blue spots" and harsh ware. All of the plates should be uniform in appearance and not warped. A good way of checking for warp is to hold the cleaned stack of metals up and look for light showing between them. They should all be able to lay seamlessly against each other like machined pancakes.

Now you will want to make sure the new clutch you bought is the same size and amount of plates that you removed from the bike. Never install more or less clutches than your bike calls for unless the clutch is a custom clutch made to do so.


Now you have made sure the new clutches are the same as the old ones, let's prep for assembly.

Clean the old gasket material from the clutch cover and the exposed engine cases. Clean ALL gasket fragments that fall into basket. maybe use a shop rag to protect the inside of the motor. Inspect the inside of the basket for clutch debris and metal shavings. Clean out thourouly.

Make sure your new clutches are in a stack that is the SAME as the old stack that was removed. Same with the metal plates. Take your flat pan specified in the tools needed section and pour the oil into the CLEAN pan and place it just under the clutch cover on the ground.  You are ready to install.

 Pick up the first plate in the stack (the last one you pulled from the motor). 

lay the fiber clutch plate in the pan of oil. Make sure the oil completely covers the new fiber clutch plate and inset it into the clutch basket. There will be knobs around the outside of the clutch plate that insert into the grooves of the basket. Push the plate all the way to the back. Next you will insert a metal plate the same way except the metal clutch plate has its grooves on the inside perimeter of the plate and they slide into the grooves of the inner clutch hub. Continue to install fiber-metal-fiber-metal-fiber until you run out of plates. You should end up with a fiber plate last. Don't forget to submerge each plate in oil as you go.

Outer Clutch Hub Installation

Clean off the outer hub and run a ring of clean oil around the clutch contact surface on the inside of the hub. Place the hub in place and make sure it is fully seated. If the hub does not seat turn it one bolt space clockwise until it seats. After this you can re-install the center hub nut on bikes where it was necessary to remove and or re-install the springs and spring bolts. IMPORTANT Install the spring bolts about 4-5 threads at a time in a cross pattern. You may damage your outer hub if you tighten this part unevenly. Torque the spring bolts to specs. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN. You could break the inner hub so torqueing these bolts is critical.

Cover Installation

You can now re-install your new clutch cover gasket and cover. Use sealer if necessary. I prefer to NOT use sealant unless I need to for easy removal next time. Totally seat clutch cover and install all bolts snug. Then torque all bolts in a cross pattern so you do not warp your cover.


Clutch Cable Adjustment

Re-install the clutch cable. You will want to re-adjust the cable to work with the new clutches. Most bikes have a clutch adjustment system that will need to be adjusted BEFORE the cable is adjusted. refer to your manual for your specific procedure. After you adjust the main clutch adjustment (if applicable) then you adjust the cable. If you have a hydraulic clutch you will not need to do this.


I hope this information helps to make the installation of your new clutch as easy as possible and saves you some money!

Please let me know if this helps and if you feel I left out any important info.

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