Clutch broken? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 10 Old 05-06-2015, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2013
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Clutch broken?

Hi all,

I was riding and pulled in the clutch to shift, and all of a sudden I felt something give and suddenly there was no tension on the lever. I looked down on the crankcase where the cable comes out and the clutch unit pivots inside the case, and noticed that the cable had snapped. Easy fix I thought.

But then I noticed that the clutch assembly pivoted easily without tension as well, and I could pull the little cylinder up and out of the case. Can anyone help me with what's going on? How much could something like this cost to fix at a shop? I'd love to do it myself but I'm too busy with med school and also I have no way of getting the bike back to my place so I need to have the shop tow it.

Any insight appreciated!!
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-06-2015, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Here is what I was describing above:
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-06-2015, 08:10 PM
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That's normal. Replace your cable and you'll be good to go.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-06-2015, 08:14 PM
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The lower lever points towards the carb, I say this is 12:00 position, for this part.
It protrudes only, about 3/16" of an inch above the oil seal when properly engaged. YES, you can turn it to 9:00 and pull it completely out! But when properly engaged, you'd need a cresent wrench on the lever or a cable to the hand lever to rotate it Clock -wise!

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post #5 of 10 Old 05-06-2015, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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So it's normal for there to be no pivoting tension on the black 'rod' once the cable snaps? Is that because it's disengaged? How would I re engage it before hooking up a new cable?

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the willingness to help I've encountered on this forum over the years.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-06-2015, 08:54 PM
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Kaseman -

Look at this video at 8:20 to see how the lever goes in and gets positioned correctly.

To remove the broken cable you need to remove the bolt that holds the cable in place just forward of that lever. This is the number two PITA bolt on the KLR (number one being the back bolt on t he cam chain tensioner).

Once that's out, remove the broken cable and route the new cable into place, first putting the drum end of the cable into the handle bar clutch lever..

Then get the clutch actuating lever positioned as you have it in your picture. Rotate if forward and hook the ball of the cable onto the actuating lever clevis.

With that done, insert the lever back into the case as shown in the video at 8:20.

Now, with one hand, hold the cable down in place so that the cable clamp is over the hole in the case. With your other hand, reach over the header pipe and hold the bolt in place so that it is directly over the threaded hole. With your third hand, use your 10mm socket to tighten the bolt. Now you know why it is the number two PITA bolt.

It can be hard the first 100 times you do it, but you'll get the hang of it. Be careful, though, as it is a short bolt and easy to cross thread becasue of the awkward placement.

If it feels tight, back off and start over; you don't want to strip the threads because you'll have to remove the case, throw it across the garage, then retrieve it and put a stud in the case in lieu of a bolt (which ain't a bad idea and might be Norm's 106th mod). No, you may not ask how I came to know this...


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post #7 of 10 Old 05-06-2015, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tom!!
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-07-2015, 05:46 AM Thread Starter
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Would it be ok for me to try to ride the bike home in its current state? Or would it damage the bike. I live in a rural area with minimal traffic. And I've shifted without the clutch before. I'm just not sure if something inside has changed which would prevent me from being able to do this.

How should I orient the clutch 'rod' if I attempt to do this?

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post #9 of 10 Old 05-07-2015, 06:43 AM
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The position of the clutch release rod makes no difference when the cable is broken. You can rotate it so the lever faces rearward and then pull it up out of the case. You will see it has a notch down near the bottom. That notch hooks the head of a pin that pulls the throwout bearing and disengages the clutch when the rod is rotated.

To put it back in drop it down with the arm pointing rearward. Raise it up 1/8 inch from bottomed out and rotate it so the arm is pointing straight at the case. That 1/8 inch lift is important for the notch to hook the head of the pin.

You can ride it as you normally wold when not using the clutch. A new cable is all you need.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-07-2015, 10:26 AM
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Warm the engine up enough that it runs smoothy, pull the clutch lever back to operate the lever safety switch, put the transmission in first gear and start the engine. The bike will lurch forward and then easily gain speed. After that shifting is just as simple without using the clutch except that it requires a bit more attention to coordination.

When stopping, put the transmission into neutral and bring the bike to a stop. Starting out again, kill switch to stop the engine, kill switch back on, transmission into first and stab the starter. I've driven bikes for quite long distances in this manner although it's not ideal in heavy stop and go city.

It might be doing yourself a favor to buy a second clutch cable and cover the ends. Route it beside the one you're using and zip tie. That way it's quick to switch. KLR goes through more clutch cables than many bikes.

A cable which I prefer is: Clutch cable Motion Pro 306-5029, Yamaha 5X6-26341-00

It's heavier and, IMO, smoother than the stock KLR cable but requires removing the plate from one end. NOt a big deal but more than just swapping in a new one.
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