Author Topic: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?  (Read 770 times)

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Offline Shadowbennie

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I replaced my stock clutch plates last year with the 10 plate kit from BDL after having my 2015 road glide special dyno tuned by BVHOG. He noticed there was some clutch slip in the 6th gear pulls, and honestly, I noticed it after the dyno tune during everyday riding as well if I really gave it some juice.

But starting late last year, and this year as well, I've been experiencing creep while in gear at stops, especially when it's hot. The first thing I did was to drop the spectro primary fluid I was using and replaced with B & M trick shift per BDL's recommendations (even though they say you can run any non-syn primary), thinking that maybe it was the fluid.

Switching to B&M helped a little, but it didn't completely solve it. So about a month ago I flushed and bled the clutch hydraulic fluid, so it's all fresh, thinking I'd rule out the possibility that maybe the last time I did it, I didn't do it correctly. I reverse bled the system this time so I'm positive I have no air in there.

Have been riding to work everyday, and also rode a few hundred miles over this past weekend, and it's still creeping (and nearly impossible to get into neutral unless the bike is off) and seems to be getting worse - but now, I've been noticing that I'll get quite a bit of slack in the lever when shifting quickly, kind of like cable clutch freeplay. It does get solid a few seconds after the shift is made, but I don't recall the lever doing that for the last 50K+ miles I've put on this bike, and it wasn't exhibiting this symptom when I first put in the 10 plate clutch kit.

So given that I've replaced the clutch plates with the BDL 10-plate, could it be that the plates are hanging on the clutch basket, causing the creeping AND the lever slack, OR might my slave or master cylinder be failing?

Anyone run across this before or have any ideas what else it might be? I've recently read about some on HDforums that went with the high-performance stock M8 clutch pack with the thicker judder spring spacer to move the friction zone closer to the grip, and have been considering this as an option, but I want to hold off on doing that until I confirm it's the BDL clutch pak that's causing the issue.

I'm planning on pulling my outer primary at my next primary oil change (due soon) and pull the plates and check them, but thought I'd run this up the flag pole to see if you fellas think it's completely unrelated to the BDL kit before I do.

Help......!!


Offline Coyote

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 08:49:18 AM »
I'd measure the throw out first. Easy to do and will eliminate a bunch of stuff.
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Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 01:21:16 PM »
I'd measure the throw out first. Easy to do and will eliminate a bunch of stuff.

Is this done through the derby cover and do I use the primary cover as my datum point to measure how much actuation distance my clutch has?

I'm guessing the procedure is in the manual, but there's usually more than one way to skin a cat - got any pointers?

hopefully this isn't alluding to a bad throw out bearing.....  :emsad:

Offline Coyote

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 01:55:09 PM »
Yes it's in the manual. I use a small bar stock to lay across to set my caliper on. I usually look for around 0.080".
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Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 02:03:15 PM »
Yes it's in the manual. I use a small bar stock to lay across to set my caliper on. I usually look for around 0.080".

I kind of figured that's what the procedure would be. I'll look through the manual tonight and find a good piece of flat bar to use - will report back with my findings.

Thanks C!

Offline Rockout Rocker Products

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 04:00:51 PM »
If the clutch travel checks out OK try 3-4 ounces of Lubeguard highly friction modified SYN ATF supplement. You can get it at most auto part stores. It's purpose in life is to stop harsh shifting/engagement.  :beer:
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Offline turboprop

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2020, 04:59:16 PM »
It could just be air in the hydraulic system. Have you considered bleeding the system before throwing money at it?
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Offline Hossamania

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2020, 05:05:04 PM »
It could just be air in the hydraulic system. Have you considered bleeding the system before throwing money at it?

OP says he has flushed and filled the system.
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Offline Hossamania

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2020, 05:07:26 PM »
I remember a recall on the hydraulic clutches, is this part of that recall, if so, has it been done?
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Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2020, 05:18:52 PM »
I remember a recall on the hydraulic clutches, is this part of that recall, if so, has it been done?
Yep, the recall was performed before I took possession of the bike back in 2015. Thatís what the service manager told me when I mentioned this problem to him last time I was in the dealership.

Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2020, 05:21:36 PM »
It could just be air in the hydraulic system. Have you considered bleeding the system before throwing money at it?

Yeah, I just flushed/bled the system about a month ago thinking it could be air or that the fluid had already gone bad from the flush/bleed I performed last year. The difference was that last year I used a mityvac to pull from the master down, this year I reverse bled thinking maybe I was getting a bad seal on my vac

Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2020, 05:48:49 PM »
Yes it's in the manual. I use a small bar stock to lay across to set my caliper on. I usually look for around 0.080".

Measured the throwout, came up with .079Ē - manual says spec is .078Ē

Offline JW113

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2020, 07:38:29 PM »
Isn't B&M trick shift formulated to make automatic transmission bands & clutches shift hard and not slip? As in, your clutch is not slipping when you want it to? Just for fun, you might consider replacing the primary fluid with the stock HD stuff and see what happens. Super easy to do and at least rule out the fluid as the culprit.

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Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2020, 07:46:52 PM »
Isn't B&M trick shift formulated to make automatic transmission bands & clutches shift hard and not slip? As in, your clutch is not slipping when you want it to? Just for fun, you might consider replacing the primary fluid with the stock HD stuff and see what happens. Super easy to do and at least rule out the fluid as the culprit.

-JW

I actually ran the HD primary as well as Spectro primary when I first put the kit in, and it started creeping a little probably a couple of months after that, which prompted my first hydraulic fluid flush, still crept, but not as bad as recently. BDL specifically recommends B&M, ATF or non-syn primary fluid in their instructions, so I thought I’d switch up from traditional primary fluids to B&M to see if it would fix the creeping.

On a side note, I’ve been reading the overfull primary thread in this section, mine shouldn’t be overfull, I dump 1 qt in at my changes and book spec is 38 oz wet - thought I’d mention that before it comes up....maybe I need to back off 3-4 more oz on my fill?

It’s not a big deal to pull the outer, clean the fibers and see if that fixes it, if that is even the correct direction to take. I’m at a bit of loss at this point given the throwout is good, fluid in the line & master is fresh. Still wondering about the lever free play that goes away on its own after a few seconds - that has me stumped
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 08:04:37 PM by Shadowbennie »

Offline kd

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2020, 08:25:33 PM »
Isn't B&M trick shift formulated to make automatic transmission bands & clutches shift hard and not slip? As in, your clutch is not slipping when you want it to? Just for fun, you might consider replacing the primary fluid with the stock HD stuff and see what happens. Super easy to do and at least rule out the fluid as the culprit.

-JW

I actually ran the HD primary as well as Spectro primary when I first put the kit in, and it started creeping a little probably a couple of months after that, which prompted my first hydraulic fluid flush, still crept, but not as bad as recently. BDL specifically recommends B&M, ATF or non-syn primary fluid in their instructions, so I thought Iíd switch up from traditional primary fluids to B&M to see if it would fix the creeping.

On a side note, Iíve been reading the overfull primary thread in this section, mine shouldnít be overfull, I dump 1 qt in at my changes and book spec is 38 oz wet - thought Iíd mention that before it comes up....maybe I need to back off 3-4 more oz on my fill?

Itís not a big deal to pull the outer, clean the fibers and see if that fixes it, if that is even the correct direction to take. Iím at a bit of loss at this point given the throwout is good, fluid in the line & master is fresh. Still wondering about the lever free play that goes away on its own after a few seconds - that has me stumped



I think you are headed in the right direction reducing the lube level and cleaning the discs for a fresh start.  IMO the Spectro is top notch and covers "all" of the needs of a primary well. 

As for the changing free play at the lever, it may be a trap door / bearing issue.  You can make the free play change intentionally if you are in one of the gears that are helical cut like 3rd.  Take up the free play with your finger tips and roll the power on and off.  The lever will twitch from plenty of free plat to very little as you do it.  You may be getting a similar thing occurring because the transmission main shaft is travelling due to the influence of the helical gears loading up upon release of the lever. 
KD

Offline Jaystn62

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2020, 09:29:29 PM »
Not sure if this is relevant but I just looked up primary lube level in owners manual for my 2016 Road Glide and it stated 34 oz wet and 38 oz dry. Is it the same for a 2015? Mine has the slim profile primary so just checking and trying to help.

Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2020, 06:08:21 AM »
Not sure if this is relevant but I just looked up primary lube level in owners manual for my 2016 Road Glide and it stated 34 oz wet and 38 oz dry. Is it the same for a 2015? Mine has the slim profile primary so just checking and trying to help.

I appreciate the suggestion & help. I'm sure there's a difference between the slim primary and standard, but it certainly can't hurt to double check the spec!

Offline Rockout Rocker Products

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2020, 07:21:14 AM »
If the clutch travel checks out OK try 3-4 ounces of Lubeguard highly friction modified SYN ATF supplement. You can get it at most auto part stores. It's purpose in life is to stop harsh shifting/engagement.  :beer:

 :agree:   :wink:
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Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2020, 01:58:40 PM »
If the clutch travel checks out OK try 3-4 ounces of Lubeguard highly friction modified SYN ATF supplement. You can get it at most auto part stores. It's purpose in life is to stop harsh shifting/engagement.  :beer:

 :agree:   :wink:

Is this a one-time deal just to free up the plates if they're sticking, or something that must be added every time?

Offline Rockout Rocker Products

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2020, 08:43:39 PM »
If the clutch travel checks out OK try 3-4 ounces of Lubeguard highly friction modified SYN ATF supplement. You can get it at most auto part stores. It's purpose in life is to stop harsh shifting/engagement.  :beer:

 :agree:   :wink:

Is this a one-time deal just to free up the plates if they're sticking, or something that must be added every time?


Do it at every fluid change.

Deduct the 3-4 ounces from the volume of ATF  you put in.
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Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2020, 06:18:59 AM »
If the clutch travel checks out OK try 3-4 ounces of Lubeguard highly friction modified SYN ATF supplement. You can get it at most auto part stores. It's purpose in life is to stop harsh shifting/engagement.  :beer:

 :agree:   :wink:

Is this a one-time deal just to free up the plates if they're sticking, or something that must be added every time?


Do it at every fluid change.

Deduct the 3-4 ounces from the volume of ATF  you put in.

I thought as much - I think I'm going to try pulling the plates and clean the fibers with brake cleaner. I'll let them dry overnight, soak them in spectro primary again, then try deducting 3-4 oz from my fluid fill to see if that solves it. I'd prefer to stick with primary fluid, and although ATF seems to be an ok choice, my thought is that the need to add another fluid into the mix shouldn't be necessary otherwise I would think BDL would've suggested it.

Might try calling BDL as well to get their take. Thanks for the info though!

Offline kd

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2020, 06:51:44 AM »
I like your choice of lube.  :up:  While you have the cover off and access to the basket, it will be a good time to fashion a dip stick for filling. I personally do not allow the fill level to touch the rim on the basket where the lugs are from the discs. Remember that when the bike sits on the jiffy stand the lean angle will allow the oil to climb up into the fibers when sitting or idling.  For that reason I (and others I know) fill slightly below the level in the diagram in the manual.  There is no need to be concerned about enough lube to feed the comp and chain as there will be a storm of oil flinging around in there when  running down the road.

See post 19   :wink:

https://harleytechtalk.com/htt/index.php/topic,108941.0/all.html
KD

Offline Rockout Rocker Products

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2020, 07:13:24 AM »
If the clutch travel checks out OK try 3-4 ounces of Lubeguard highly friction modified SYN ATF supplement. You can get it at most auto part stores. It's purpose in life is to stop harsh shifting/engagement.  :beer:

 :agree:   :wink:

Is this a one-time deal just to free up the plates if they're sticking, or something that must be added every time?


Do it at every fluid change.

Deduct the 3-4 ounces from the volume of ATF  you put in.

I thought as much - I think I'm going to try pulling the plates and clean the fibers with brake cleaner. I'll let them dry overnight, soak them in spectro primary again, then try deducting 3-4 oz from my fluid fill to see if that solves it. I'd prefer to stick with primary fluid, and although ATF seems to be an ok choice, my thought is that the need to add another fluid into the mix shouldn't be necessary otherwise I would think BDL would've suggested it.

Might try calling BDL as well to get their take. Thanks for the info though!


The Trick Shift you've been using IS ATF....  mix the Lifeguard with it.  :up:
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Offline Shadowbennie

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2020, 06:58:52 PM »
I like your choice of lube.  :up:  While you have the cover off and access to the basket, it will be a good time to fashion a dip stick for filling. I personally do not allow the fill level to touch the rim on the basket where the lugs are from the discs. Remember that when the bike sits on the jiffy stand the lean angle will allow the oil to climb up into the fibers when sitting or idling.  For that reason I (and others I know) fill slightly below the level in the diagram in the manual.  There is no need to be concerned about enough lube to feed the comp and chain as there will be a storm of oil flinging around in there when  running down the road.

See post 19   :wink:

https://harleytechtalk.com/htt/index.php/topic,108941.0/all.html

Ok, fibers have been sprayed down with brake clean, and I merely wiped the steels with clean rags. Will let the fibers dry overnight. A couple of questions, just to make sure Iíve got it right;
1. Do I need to soak the plates in my choice of primary fluid for more than about 30 minutes?
2. Do I wipe off the excess fluid before installing them? I donít think I did last time.
3. One of my steels looks pretty shiny, like itís glazed (see pic) or is does this steel look ok?
4. Does it matter the order I put them back in now that they have some wear on them? I kept things in order and orientation just in case
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Offline kd

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Re: Failing clutch master or slave? Or just sticky clutch plates?
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2020, 06:01:04 AM »
I like your choice of lube.  :up:  While you have the cover off and access to the basket, it will be a good time to fashion a dip stick for filling. I personally do not allow the fill level to touch the rim on the basket where the lugs are from the discs. Remember that when the bike sits on the jiffy stand the lean angle will allow the oil to climb up into the fibers when sitting or idling.  For that reason I (and others I know) fill slightly below the level in the diagram in the manual.  There is no need to be concerned about enough lube to feed the comp and chain as there will be a storm of oil flinging around in there when  running down the road.

See post 19   :wink:

https://harleytechtalk.com/htt/index.php/topic,108941.0/all.html

Ok, fibers have been sprayed down with brake clean, and I merely wiped the steels with clean rags. Will let the fibers dry overnight. A couple of questions, just to make sure Iíve got it right;
1. Do I need to soak the plates in my choice of primary fluid for more than about 30 minutes?
2. Do I wipe off the excess fluid before installing them? I donít think I did last time.
3. One of my steels looks pretty shiny, like itís glazed (see pic) or is does this steel look ok?
4. Does it matter the order I put them back in now that they have some wear on them? I kept things in order and orientation just in case
   [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]  


1. Getting them wet should be OK.  As soon as you ride the bike the lube storm occurs and they will be in their natural medium.  Many still run dry clutches so don't be too concerned.
2. Any excess fluid will be either absorbed into the fiber or squeezed out when the clutch spring is installed.
3. The steels on the outside of the pac will cool quicker and hold their shape and color better when slipping the clutch. (If you were experiencing "creep", that may be an indication the discs were dragging and glazing could result from them never cleanly releasing) That said, I would consider taping a sheet of 220 or 320 grit good quality paper to a sheet of glass and doing a few figure 8's with the fibers and the steels before re installation. Inspect them for evidence of uneven contact with the paper that could indicate warped discs.  You can be more aggressive with the steels to remove any glazing.
3. You could reinstall them in the same order but if they look good after a little light message I wouldn't be too concerned if they were installed out of the previous order.

Take the opportunity to inspect the basket and hub slots and spline for damage from the dogs on the discs.  If any, they can be dressed out with a fine file if ragged. Having a clean and smooth contact for the discs will also allow the discs to "get loose" and help reduce any chance of drag when released.
KD