The Clutch FAQ
compiled & edited by Kristian #562
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.


If you are looking for information about installation of Stiffer Clutch Springs see the Stiffer Clutch Springs FAQ
If you are looking for information about Clutch Rack & Pinion problems, see the Clutch Misc Probs FAQ
If you are looking for information about Clutch Adjustment see the Clutch Adjustment FAQ

If you are looking for information about Clutch Slippage see the Oil FAQ before considering Changing your Clutch!

New Clutch Plates and Springs Installation FAQ
by Kristian #562

This FAQ is about the installation of New Clutch Plates and Springs.

How do you know when theyíre worn?
What are the Symptoms.?

What Tools will you need ?


Parts needed:

And if you WANT to (Preventative Maintenance):

Iím very much of preventative maintenance person and seals are cheap. I would highly recommend, while youíre in there, to replace the Gear Shifter Seal and the Clutch Shaft Seal (Photo shows location only). The seal sizes are Gear Shifter Seal 12x28x7mm, Clutch (Actuator) Pinion 12x18x4.5mm. They didn't have a 12x8x4.5mm for the Clutch Shaft Seal so they gave me a 12x18x5mm (But half a millimetre thicker works just fine). If it was one of the diameters it would be a problem. 

So whatís the Procedure? 

You may wish to consider doing this concurrently with an oil change,

i.)                  Drain your Engine Oil.


1.       See here for the Oil Change FAQ. You should do this first and leave it awhile to cool, because you will want to do this with the engine HOT to Drain the Oil properly, however you donít want to be taking the Engine Cover off while Hot. Btw, just do the first part of an oil change, i.e. only DRAIN the OIL, do not refill it until after the Clutch Plate Replacement.


2.       Flash #412 notes. "I didn't want to drain the whole mess, so I only pulled the bottom drain plug after letting the bike sit overnight. Not very much came out. I put a BUNCH of newspaper under the work area, but it didn't lose very much more oil while I was working on it. I drained the oil into a clean container and then poured it back in when I was finished. What I am saying is that if you are doing this PREVENTATIVELY, you do not  need to drain out ALL of the oil, just the sump.". So if you just changed your oil, you can just drain the sump.


ii.)                 Remove the Fuel Tank.


1.       You need to do this  to get access to the radiator. See the Gas-Tank Removal + Replacement FAQ for details. One guy tried (and managed) to refill the Coolant without removing the Gas-Tank, but even he doesnít recommend it. See the Coolant Change FAQ if you really want to know how he did it.


iii.)              Drain the Coolant


1.       Check the Radiator Cap for grunge and clean it.

2.       Locate the water pump cover which is on the left side of the engine towards the front.

3.       Remove the lower of the three Allen bolts and have a bucket ready. Put your bike on its side stand to empty some more coolant. Remove the remaining 2 bolts on the Water-pump cover. There is NO NEED to remove coolant hoses off the impeller housing to do a water pump seal replacement, just roll the housing, hoses still connected, up and out of your way, with string if necessary. If you do decide to replace the clamps, get some of these: New Clamps. Here's shot of the old and new clamps.


iv.)               Remove the LHS Engine Cover


1.       Remove the two bolts holding the starter to the LHS Engine Cover and let it hang. Marty #436 provided this great annotated Photo of the Cover.

2.       Remove your Gear Shifter. All it takes is undoing the Allen Bolt and wiggling it off the spline. Note the position first and if you havenít moved it down one notch, nowís a good time to consider it. See the Gear Shifting FAQ.

3.       Remove the Clutch Cable off the Fork Lever on top of the LHS Engine Cover. This entails loosening the clutch cable at your Clutch Lever on the handlebars, so there is enough play to get the cable off the Fork Lever. Flash #412 notes "You don't NEED to slack the cable adjustment at the grip. What I do is pull in the clutch lever with my left hand and grab the cable sheath down at the bottom with my right hand. As I let off the lever with my left, I pull the sheath with my right, getting enough slack down there to slip the cable out of the slot. (Putting it back together generally requires slack, however.)". NOTE! "How do you get the actuator arm off of the splines without hurting anything. The Clymer just says remove the bolt and remove the arm. I'd hate to apply to much force and damage something." Basically it's a B**** to get off if the bolt has been tightened even close to the right torque, or over it. I ended up spreading the thing with a screwdriver in the slot and a bit of LIGHT GENTLE twist. Heed the advice about NOT overtightening when it goes back on.

Tap a small (pocket-sized) screwdriver into the expansion slot (but NOT into the casing) enough to open it up. Just a little bit will be enough to get it off. Too much will break the lever (you have been warned).

4.       Get a Pencil or Magic Marker to mark the position of the Clutch Fork with respect to the Engine Cover, for when you re-install it.

5.       Remove the engine cover (Allen) bolts and note the location of each bolt. (some are different lengths, but most are the same length).

6.       Gently coax the engine cover off and watch out you do not damage the Shift Lever Seal on the spline, if you are not going to replace it. Watch how much the Clutch Fork Rotates until the Cover is free, because this will help you set it to the right position when you replace it. You need to keep the whole deal straight and gently wiggle the casing. The aluminium clutch lever arm rotates clockwise, which should roll the shaft teeth off the Clutch Release Bearing Rack. Be gentle and take your time, keep the casing straight or the casing locating pins, the release bearing and the impeller Drive Gear all conspire to jam you in. For details of what I am referring to when I talk of the Clutch Release Bearing see the Clutch Cover Removal FAQ.

7.       In addition, the paper gasket on the casing is very fragile and rips easily. So, avoid curling your fingers around the inside. If you rip the gasket, you will have to buy or make a new one out of gasket paper.

8.       Now youíll see the innards.


v.)                 Remove the Clutch Springs & Plates


1.       Now you have to remove the 6 bolts (with the spring behind them) from the clutch pressure plate and ease the pressure plate off. Donít lose the washers and donít get the New and Old Springs mixed up. The BMW Manual recommends replacement of the Fibre Plates and the Springs simultaneously.

2.       Ease out the Clutch Stack (Fibre Discs and Smooth Metal Discs are interleaved) AS A WHOLE UNIT. You can take them out individually if you wish, but remember the order and the orientation. A magic marker across the tabs helps with the orientation to each other. "

3.       Donít forget to remember the order in which the clutch discs and the metal discs are in.! . Before disassembling the clutch (just 4 or 5 screws with springs behind them) take a look at the discs in order to see the sequence and the surface the discs are inserted. (You can insert them "the wrong way", so take a close look)."

4.       Keeping the Smooth Discs in the same order they came out, and keeping the tabs lined up in the order they came out, check them for wear and for true.

5.       Soak your fibre discs in oil prior to installation so the donít rip to shreds when you first use the clutch.

6.       If the Smooth Metal Discs are OK, interleave the new Fibre Discs between the old smooth discs and replace them into the Clutch Basket. Make sure the last fibre disk is set into the slots in the "basket", offset from the rest of the discs. Note that this is dependent on the YEAR of your Classic however as the Clutch was changed in about '95 or '96.

7.       Now is a good time to check the condition of your clutch release bearing (The RACK in the middle of the pressure plate) and of its mate, the Clutch Spindle, because if they are failing they will could soon look like this. (refer the Stiffer Clutch Springs FAQ for more information).

8.       Before you replace the pressure plate, check the bearing on the inside for wear. i.e. feel if the bearings are crunchy or the bearings wobbly.

9.       Replace the Pressure Plate, then install springs, washers and bolts in that order, doing each up as far possible by hand first. Torque them up the working with pairs of bolts across the diagonals. The specified Torque is 10Nm.


vi.)               Replace the Gear Shift Seal (and Clutch Spindle Seal if so required)


1.       Gear Shift Seal: Just pull out the old one with a screwdriver or better a stiff plastic rod, taking care NOT to scratch the metal surface, grease the new seal and push it into place. The writing on the seal faces outwards, in case you forget.

2.       Clutch Shifting Shaft Seal: Either you can either try to prise the old one out with the Clutch Shifting Shaft in place and fit the new one over the top, or you will need to remove the E-Clip inside the casing, just under the seal, pull the Clutch Actuator Arm out, replace the Seal (which is easier to get out this way) and then replace the Clutch Actuator Arm and E-Clip. Have a look at the Clutch Cover Removal FAQ for more details.


vii.)             Replace the LHS Engine Cover


Note: The Clymer Manual says something about Bleeding the Oil System.


1.       Putting the casing back on is a harmonic convergence of drive gear, shift lever and clutch arm and bolt alignment. If you noted how much the Clutch Arm turned when you took the cover off, you will have a good idea of its starting position when you replace the cover. It should start from about 3-4pm (facing the LHS of the bike) and turn anticlockwise back to its original position as you push the cover on.

2.       The Clutch release bearing (Flat Rack with Teeth, Bottom of Picture) that sticks out of the centre of the clutch pack always wants to rotate with the Flat Side UP, (Note Clutch springs are off in this Photo, but will be in place if you just do the water pump) because of the weight distribution. It keeps rotating until the Teeth face about 5 o'clock, making it impossible to get the cover back on. To get it into the Clutch Cover the Rack must be horizontal, with the Teeth facing towards the rear of the bike so that it will properly mate with the clutch shaft. You can get around this by taking a pea-sized dollop of generic grease (not hi-temp) and putting it between the rack and clutch pack to keep the rack from rotating. THEN the cover should go right on.

3.       Eyeball your shift gear on the plate and the internal gear and push lightly. You may need to gently rotate the impeller to allow the drive gear to mate with what drive sit. YOU WILL KNOW if its set in right because the plate moves in quite a bit when correct. Otherwise, you're just jamming. Again, watch your paper gasket. You will tend to gravitate towards grabbing it with your fingers and ripping it. BE PATIENT when putting the engine cover back on and watch out for proper alignment of the Shift Lever Shaft and the Clutch Release Shaft.

4.       Do up your Case-Bolts to Torque Specs.

5.       Do up your Starter Motor to Case Bolts to Torque Specs.

6.       Replace the Gear Shifter Lever on the Spline. Make sure it line up with your earlier marks. You might like to consider moving it down a notch at this stage. See the Gear Shifting FAQ for details.

7.       Replace the Clutch Cable in the Aluminium Fork (Note mine is cracked in this photo) and re-attach the cable at your handlebars. Adjust to the recommended Free-Play at the Clutch Lever on the handlebars. Do NOT overtighten!

8.       Check the Large O-Ring behind the Water Pump Impeller Cover and if required replace it, first cleaning the groove it was in. If required, replace it with a new O-Ring, return it to itís location against the LHS Engine Cover and replace the 3 Allen key Bolts, torquing to spec. Note the crush washer on the lower (drain) bolt should be changed, but you can re-use it once at a pinch. The bolt also requires Loctite.

viii.)           Replace Fluids


1.       For Coolant replacement refer to the Coolant Change FAQ.

2.       For Oil replacement refer to the Oil Change FAQ. It might be a good time to change your Oil & Oil Filter too, depending on the state of your Oil since you noticed the Water Pump had failed.


ix.)              Replace the Tank


1.       For Tank Replacement refer to the Gas-Tank Removal + Replacement FAQ.


Thatís it. Go out for a ride.!   Thanks to Hombre sin Nombre

Cheers & Rgds, Kristian




Broken Pinion/Rack

Clutch Plate Problems/Replacement

Should I replace the 6 Screws?


Many Thanks to HsN and Flash #412.


Removing the NUT holding the Clutch Basket on

by Flash#412, Kristian #562


The Problem: I finally got the parts, courage and weather to pull my motor (need to replace a shift fork). The clutch basket nut will not come off, by the way mine is a 27mm. I was going to take a propane torch to it but couldn't find it (the torch). I figure if I carefully heat the nut it will come loose. It is really on there I was standing on the rear brake and turning the socket wrench and I could hear and feel the wheel slip. I only weigh 260 pounds, maybe that is not enough pressure on the brake. I also took a hammer and drift and tapped the nut all the way around and the thing just won't let go. Will I do any damage if the trans rotates the wrong way while I try to loosen this thing? His Answer: I finally got back to my clutch nut. I bought an impact wrench and a Mapp gas torch. I also fabricated an iron ring with some angle iron to put pressure on the clutch basket while locking the TDC bolt in place. After heating it up it spun right off. Now its back to the transmission. XtreemLEE