MC Garage Video: How To Replace Your Motorcycle Clutch Plates

Clutch slipping? It may be time to install a fresh clutch pack.

The clutch has a tough job to do. It’s responsible for coupling and decoupling the engine from the rear wheel so that you can start, stop, and shift smoothly. The clutch plates are consumable parts that wear with use, so sooner or later they’ll need to be replaced. Fortunately, the process is not quite as intimidating as it looks.

The first step is to either drain the engine oil or to carefully lay the bike on its side so the oil pools on the opposite side of the motor. If your bike has radiator hoses attached to the clutch-cover, you’ll need to drain your cooling system as well.

Next, remove the clutch cable if it’s attached to the cover and then unscrew the bolts securing the cover itself. Remove the cover, and take not of any locating dowels (there are usually two) that may come off with the cover or remain stuck in the crankcase. If you’re lucky the cover gasket will come off cleanly, but more likely than not it’ll tear and you’ll need to carefully clean the remainder off with a razor blade.  Make sure those sealing surfaces are good and clean, or you may end up with oil leaks when you put everything back together.

Next, unscrew the clutch-spring bolts and set them aside along with the clutch springs. The inner pressure plate will now come off, giving you full access to your clutch pack. Using your fingers and a pick, remove the clutch pack one plate at a time. Stack the parts in the order that you remove them, and take careful note of the placement of any judder springs or narrow friction plates that may be sandwiched at the back of the pack.

Okay, time to install the new parts and put it all back together. The new friction plates need to be soaked in oil for at least a few hours prior to installation. Once they’re ready, reinstall them along with the steel plates and any judder springs/narrow friction plates. Make sure everything goes back in the right order—reference the old parts if you need to.

Now, replace the pressure plate, making sure it mates with the splines on the inner hub. Next install the clutch springs and tighten the spring bolts to the torque listed in your shop manual. The spec is usually no more than 8 pound-feet of torque.

If you were lucky enough to get your clutch cover gasket off in one piece and it’s still in good shape, you can technically reuse it. But gaskets are inexpensive, and it’s always a good idea to use a fresh one. Double check that the dowel pins are correctly placed, and then reinstall your clutch cover. After that, just reattached the clutch cable, add engine oil if you drained it, set your clutch-lever free play, and go ride! It’s a good idea to recheck your free play after 100 miles or so.