At Wit's End - No clutch feel, can't engage clutch from lever

Discussion in 'Mechanics Garage' started by supersecrettechnique, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. supersecrettechnique

    supersecrettechnique New Member

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    Hey Guys and Gals.

    I recently started up my bike and noticed there wasn't any clutch feel. Sure enough I tried to put it in gear (on the center stand) and it went into gear and the back wheel starts spinning. Pulling my clutch lever did not do anything! (I was expecting the wheel to slow and eventually stop).

    I have a 2004 VFR 800 Interceptor (no abs)

    I jumped on this (and other forums, and youtube) where I found a guide to bleeding my clutch, did that, still no clutching when I pull the handle bar.

    The next thing that was recommended was checking the Master cylinder by taking off the hose, putting my finger over the hole and depressing the clutch to see if there was any compression. There was.

    The next recommendation I could find was to rebuild the slave cylinder. Just completed that. The old one was in really bad shape. the gasket on the slave piston was essentially melted and cracking. Used a 90 degree pick to scrape it out. Put everything back together, bled the lines again, and still no clutch feel.

    I'm not seeing any further recommendations beyond what I've already tried for no clutch feel.

    Do you guys have any recommendations?
     
  2. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

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    so you've bled first at the mc ?


    use mitivac (something i've NEVER needed) or force dot4 UP through the bleed screw with a syringe. use c-clamp to push slave piston fully in to remove air pocket.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  3. GreginDenver

    GreginDenver New Member

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    I've found that it's not easy to get the hydraulic clutch on these VFR's to completely fill with fluid. I always end up finishing the job by putting a long piece of tubing onto the bleeder fitting of the slave cylinder, fill that tube up with hydraulic fluid, then squeeze-and-hold the clutch lever, then loosen the bleeder on the slave cylinder, then release the clutch lever, then tighten the bleeder back up... repeating these steps until clutch (suddenly!) works properly.
     
  4. KiwiRC36Fan

    KiwiRC36Fan New Member

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    What gregindenver said... I've worked on enough bikes with similar issues... if your Slave seals are caput then you will undoubtedly have to properly bleed the entire line (well and truly - probably enough fluid to completely pass through the line twice, sometimes)

    Also make sure you have negative pressure in the bleed line too, because its also possible the bleed point isn't the highest point in the line... which will make it a prolonged and incredibly frustrating experience!

    Persevere - its worth it, for that moment that it suddenly just works!
     
  5. ridervfr

    ridervfr Member

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    All of the above, I like to replace the clutch save cylinder with new ones, just because "I" had bad luck over hauling the cylinder with re-build kits. Can't say the same about over hauling calipers or master cylinders, had good results with K&L as well as oem Honda kits. Something about the slave cylinder just used to fuc* with me. :mech: Peace and keep us posted
     
  6. supersecrettechnique

    supersecrettechnique New Member

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    Hey gents,

    thanks for all the helpful suggestions, thanks to the holidays I haven't had a chance to try them out as of yet. I did go ahead and pull apart the master to check the seals and for gunk, it looked brand new, so aside from a "helpful" friend destroying the snap ring and screws to the cover of the master (new ones ordered), I'll have that back together and I'll be able to continue working on it.

    More to come soon!
     
  7. Tony Whitwham

    Tony Whitwham New Member

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    I've used my Mityvac bleed kit for years, it makes bleeding brakes and clutches much easier. I also do my best to position the bleed point so it's uppermost, usually rotating the handlebars to full lock is enough. Merry Christmas...
     
  8. NorcalBoy

    NorcalBoy Member

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    "Bench bleed" the master with the line off. Install the line. Fill the clutch line so that you are getting fluid at the slave cylinder. Burp the banjo fitting at the master again and make sure you are good at the master cylinder. Remove the clutch slave from the engine case, clamp it with a C clamp to keep the piston in place, hang it up higher than the master and bleed it with a bleeding tool of your choice, then when you are done and the slave is mounted back on the case, do a quick burp of the master and slave banjo fittings and at the slave bleeder, using only the depressed lever method. This should do it, unless you have lost the bearing that goes on the end of the pushrod, without realizing it...... If you have ever mud wrestled with Brembo radial masters and calipers or an Aprilia rear brake system, even the VFR linked brake system is easy to bleed.
     
  9. supersecrettechnique

    supersecrettechnique New Member

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    Good afternoon gents!

    I hope you all had a great Christmas!

    I got the replacement parts in today for the master cylinder, got it put back together, decided to go ahead and replace the crush washers as well. I bled at the master cylinder banjo bolt and then after bleeding from the slave for about 20 minutes I still wasn't getting any clutch feel. So I decided to try the master banjo again, and almost instantly got my clutch back.


    Thanks for all the suggestions and help!
     
    skimad4x4 likes this.
  10. NorcalBoy

    NorcalBoy Member

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    Most excellent. Happy New Year.
     
  11. Cycleman1

    Cycleman1 New Member

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    This is a lesson for all. The master cylinders on these bikes is small and you cannot push, by using the lever alone, an air bubble from the master cylinder down to either the brake bleed screws or the clutch bleed screws. If you are having a problem getting good lever pressure, hold the lever in so there is some pressure on the line, quickly open and close the banjo bolt at the master cylinder. Pump lever and repeat as necessary. Most vaccum bleeders will pull all the air from the system, but not everybody has one of those.

    I've found over the years with various bikes that have been stubborn to bled and to get good lever pressure, that is the only way I've been able to get all the air out of the brake line.

    The VFR's with linked brakes are a real pain to bleed, and I can see why many don't bother.
     
  12. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

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    may be helpful too, as a final step, to remove mc from bar, then hold it vertically by the lever while tapping lightly, bringing up the last air bubbles to the top.
     
  13. dgp

    dgp New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I too am having trouble bleeding the clutch on my ‘95, I have followed all the tips in this thread and still no clutch.
    I have bleed about 1.5lt of brake fluid through using a compressed air bleeding bottle, burped the banjo bolts at the master and slave (no air evident), raised the master above the banjo and tapped it to dislodge air.
    I have gone to the extreme and removed the master and slave from the bike to try and bleed the system.
    If I pull the lever quickly, I get pressure and the clutch operates, if I pull it slowly, it pulls all the way in without engaging the clutch.
    I have greased around the threads of the slave bleed nipple to ensure no air getting into the system when cracking it to bleed.
    I have linked a video below, and I hope some kind VFR owner has some insight into what the heck I am doing wrong.



    A6252B82-59E9-41CF-B3DF-C117F0114CBA.jpeg 384B72D8-4CF3-42DA-8A2C-CBE5C975F163.jpeg 04420ECD-1B01-4F50-BA25-1E0840FE87FB.jpeg 98BF9835-45C6-4ED9-A94B-A7B1E02F8022.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
  14. Roccoaster

    Roccoaster New Member

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    I did a clutch slave cylinder change about 18 months ago and sure enough, spent 45 minutes bleeding the system without getting a stiff feel (stop it).

    I ended up simply removing the slave and pressing the piston completely in by hand to expel the air, trapped at the top that was obviously not being purged.

    No special tools, no bleeding from the master cylinder banjo and only a few choice swear words spoken softly.
     
  15. dgp

    dgp New Member

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    Thanks Roccoaster, I gave it a try but no luck.

    Does anyone know if it possible for the master cylinder plunger seal to let air into the system without letting any fluid out?
     
  16. ridervfr

    ridervfr Member

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    Watched video, I have an air assisted bleeder which has served me well with no issues doing clutches and linked brakes on bikes in the past. I recently swapped out the fluid on my clutch side with zero issues, I did how ever replace the oem crappy bleeder nipple with a special stainless steel one I bought. I could never get the oem nipples on the slave cylinders to not weep (permeate) around the threads going into the body of the slave cylinder without using a thread type sealant.

    I have not bothered rebuilding slave cylinders either in the past, opting to buy a new one as I had crappy results rebuilding them with oem overhaul kits. I would check the return hole in the master cylinder, was it fairly clean when you took it off? Can you pass a piece of wire through it? If you look at it (the return hole, you can see the piston of the mc inside. I have had a blockage once, where the lever would not return. Next, I would take the lever off and remove that rubber cup that is on the end of the piston and contacts the clutch lever. You can see if you have a leak or if its got white gunk there, I have overhauled numerous ones with K&L and Honda oem kits. Look at the enclosed picture, this is the rig that I use hooked up to my compressor. Good Luck
     

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  17. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    Sounds like master cylinder if you can get some action by fast pull vs. slow, but still could be air... by chance is the clutch rod sticking.... pull out, clean, grease the clutch end a bit......
    Slave seal won't be letting air in.......
     
  18. dgp

    dgp New Member

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    I have dismantled the slave, seal looks good.
    I have dismantled the lever, removed the rubber boot and rod, all looks good. I was going to remove the piston but my circlip pliers didn’t have enough reach to get down to it.
    Both holes in the master cylinder are clear, I can see the piston moving through the large one, and when I remove the little clip over the hole, fluid shoots up through the small one.
    Doing the slow lever pull, I am still getting very small amount of air coming up through what I think is the larger hole in the master cylinder, it’s confusing me though as I must have done the lever pull 100 times and can’t wrap my head around that much air being in the system so think that it must be getting in somewhere, but I have no leaks.
    @ridevfr, was the stainless nipple you bought something special, or just one you picked up at the local bearing/bolt store?
    @raYzerman, the clutch rod is free and moves easily, I will re-grease it though when I get this issues solved when putting the slave back on.

    Right now I am thinking come back to it and cycle the lever every so often, not too much because I may even be cavitation the oil and creating the problem. Maybe I need to look at replacing the nipple on the slave cylinder, I did notice that it has particularly wide pitch threads which I thought was odd.

    29813DB3-EC45-4218-A68D-BD03B38C8F00.jpeg E3AB4945-FFDC-4CB7-B94F-1F7316BE3B0E.jpeg
     
  19. Allyance

    Allyance Insider

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  20. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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    I think you will find that is silicone grease that is meant to be in that area under the rubber sleeve seal.
    upload_2021-4-22_9-36-37.png
     
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