Monday, May 20, 2019

Suzuki GS550E — Replacing The Clutch.

EBC Heavy Duty Springs.
So after a few rides on the old 550, it soon became apparent there was a bit of clutch slip when used hard in high gears, but the main issue (for me) was the clutch lever was just too light. To the point that when you were trying to get away from the lights, especially uphill, the clutch just wouldn't bite fast enough.

So Wemoto quickly sent me some new springs, and a Slinky clutch cable in case the old one couldn't take the pressure. These guys are amazing, great prices, very quick and efficient service!

A simple job, for a simple m...
There are eleven M6 screws holding the clutch cover on. This is important for later on, and I should've counted them at this point. (But of course, I've been doing this for years and know every... nothing.)

This is the best view I've had of the underneath of the exhaust. She's battle scarred alright!

With footrest removed for easier access to the clutch cover, the screws came undone nicely. 

Doing this job on the side stand serves two purposes: 

  1. It saves you having to dump the oil, because it all runs to the other side.
  2. The clutch is pointing slightly upwards and towards you (that's easier isn't it?).

Everything looks clean and in good fettle. Remove the six M6 bolts and the springs are easily removed.

The clutch release mechanism. Thrust washers and needle rollers all in good order.

The steel plates are stained/rusty. While they're out, it's a good time to rough them up with wet & dry paper. They will benefit from a good clean up. 

Thirty-nine years young, built to last. Grooves in the basket and hub, but all pretty typical. Clean up the steels, measure the drive plates and refit with heavier springs. Boom!

With some 180 grit wet & dry on a steel plate, and a dose of WD, they should come up nicely.

Using a rotary motion, and constantly changing position in your hand, the plates should shine up nicely and show any high spots.

I also used a wire brush in a drill to get some of the ingrained rust in the dimples. Finished off again on the wet & dry, and they look pretty good.

The clutch springs should be 38.4mm when new. Service limit is 35.9mm. These have definitely seen better days.

Comparing to the new heavy-duty EBC's.

Drive plate thickness should be 2.9mm - 3.1mm. Service limit is 2.6mm. These will live to see another day.

With all plates cleaned thoroughly in brake clean and dried off, it's time to reassemble. 

Pressure plate refitted with the clutch pushrod, new springs in, and everything was going perfectly!

Too perfectly!
With a thin smear of sealant on the gasket, the clutch cover was refitted. Working out the correct length of bolts is pretty easy because they should all sit proud of the cover by about 10mm before screwing them in. Bloody hell, I'll be out on road test in no time.

Then I'm a bolt short...

  1. Must be on the floor amongst the tools. Move tools, nothing.
  2. In the oil drainer? Nothing.
  3. In the bin with the old rags? Take everything out of bin, nothing.
  4. Check soles of boots, tread of tyres. Nothing.
  5. Cup of tea time.
  6. Think logically. Nothing.
  7. Move bike, check all around the floor in case I kicked it. Nothing.
  8. Could it be in the engine? Impossible, the bolts were either removed first, or stayed in the cover on removal.
  9. Lift the bucket I had my camera perched on. Camera falls on the floor and damages the display! Fuck it, I've had that camera ten years! 
  10. It's in the bin. It has to be in the bin. Take all the rubbish out again and use telescopic magnet in the bin liner. Nothing.
  11. Remove bastarding clutch cover again. Use telescopic magnet and plonk it behind the clutch basket and into the sump. Success!
It managed to drop out of the cover while I was trying to pull it out by the brake pedal. I honestly didn't think it was possible! Pleased that I had it back, I cleaned up the gasket and resealed to the cover. Had I counted the bolts when I was cleaning all the parts up, I would've known beforehand. Another lesson...

Purists will spit at the fact that I'm using a sealant with the gasket, but when I bought this years ago, the gasket had moved for a previous owner and oil was running out it. This way the gasket stays with the cover, and Suzuki do it this way nowadays anyway.

With footrest refitted, it was time to go and give it a whirl. This old bike gets better and better every time it goes out. No clutch slip, and the lever is quicker to spring back now. Took it out for a good run this morning and really enjoying it. The seat needs improvement though; too hard and low. But the seat pan is rustier than I thought and has been reinforced with fibreglass. If I remove the seat cover to fit the gel, it might not be possible to refit it.

Anyone got a mint, original seat for GS550E?

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