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Victor Special heavy clutch #727271
03/02/18 9:41 am
03/02/18 9:41 am
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 33
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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Creaky Offline OP
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Brisbane, Qld, Australia
I have just got my 1969 Victor Special starting and running perfectly so my next project is to improve the clutch. The theory is that they all have very heavy clutches. When I got my bike the clutch needed two hands to pull it in (impossible of course). It came with a box of spares amongst which was a set of lighter clutch springs. The previous owner said he had replaced them because the lighter ones caused the clutch to slip when kickstarting it. I pulled the clutch apart, cleaned it up and installed it with the lighter springs and I can't make it slip, either starting or riding. The lever is still fairly heavy though but I can put up with it. What is annoying is, with it all adjusted perfectly it only grabs when the lever is almost fully out. I use ATF in the chaincase and all the plates are new. It releases perfectly, no clunking into first and when I stop it is a doddle to find neutral. Any ideas out there to make the lever lighter and also to grab earlier on release.

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Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727273
03/02/18 9:53 am
03/02/18 9:53 am
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9,498
Scotland
kommando Online content
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A PTFE lined cable works well, but you also need to check the adjustment on the clutch starting with the rod adjustment and working your way back, it all covered in the factory manual, you may need to pull the outer timing cover to get the lever in the right position, it needs to be in the 1 to 3 position on a clock before you pull on the lever and be at 12 as the lever gets near the handle bar. Also check your lever has the right fulcrum distance which should be 7/8" if my memory is correct.

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727274
03/02/18 9:54 am
03/02/18 9:54 am
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 278
UK
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VicCyclone Offline
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Make sure that the clutch operating lever is set correctly in the outer timing cover; it should point slightly away from the engine for maximum leverage. Next check the route of the cable and either thoroughly lubricate it or replace it. I find that heavy clutch operation is often cable problems.


VicCyclone

1965 A50 Cyclone Clubman
1966 Victor GP
1967 Victor Special
1968 Victor Special
1968 A65L

2009 HD FXDC
Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727281
03/02/18 12:52 pm
03/02/18 12:52 pm
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 186
Nova Scotia, Canada
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koncretekid Offline
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You say that the clutch only grabs when the handle is almost fully out, but at what point does it release when you pull it in? If it releases early and grabs late (i.e. when the handle is almost fully out), and the adjustments are done as per the book, there could be damage to either the push rod, adjuster stud in the pressure plate, or the ball in the lever within the timing cover. Also if an extra clutch plate has been added by the PO, the rod plus the adjuster stud can then be too short, which causes the lever within the timing case to hit the end of the mainshaft making it hard to disengage at all. But normally, this would result in poor release as well. If you have to tear it down, check all of the above.

The run of the clutch cable or too short a cable can also cause problems.

Tom


Life's uncertain - go fast now!
Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727290
03/02/18 2:10 pm
03/02/18 2:10 pm
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 446
S.E. Ohio
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HillbillyBarr Offline
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S.E. Ohio
I agree with Kommando usually the old cable has enough drag to cause a hard pull. But it can also be the PO replaced the clutch lever with one with the wrong distance from the cable end to the pivot. I'm like him also that I can't remember the proper distance. I think it's either 7/8" or 1". I'll try and go out in the shop and measure mine.

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727303
03/02/18 4:35 pm
03/02/18 4:35 pm
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 255
NYC & Upstate NY
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AML Offline
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I'd look to see if the PO installed heavy duty springs. When I first put my bike together had slipping issues so I bought a set of heavy springs from Ed V, but they were installed and removed the same day. A new, correct standard set of springs did the trick.

I'd also check the length of the spring cups. I think Rupert Ratio states 1-1/8" long are correct, and shorter ones will increase spring pressure.

Adam

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727316
03/02/18 9:30 pm
03/02/18 9:30 pm
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 835
Farnham, Surrey, UK
gunner Offline
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Farnham, Surrey, UK
B44 clutches can be made to work well and the reputation for slipping is usually caused by using oil which has friction modifiers not intended for use with wet clutches, note this includes some newer ATF oils as well. Appropriate oils for use in the primary chain case should have the JASO MA spec which is specifically intended for wet clutches and wont cause slippage. Alternately, older types of engine oil with an API spec no higher than SF (i.e. classic car oils) can also be used as these don't have friction modifiers. With ATF, I believe you can use type F for the same reasons but not later types.

What often happens is that an owner uses the wrong oil in the primary chain case and the clutch slips. The owner then decides the clutch springs need changing with heavy duty items and of course the handlebar lever become very heavy.

To make the B44 clutch work with a light lever action I can recommend the following course of action:-
- use appropriate oil as described above, you may need to clean you existing plates using solvent if the wrong oil has been used.
- check you are using the right clutch springs and cups. The springs all look similar so get some OEM ones if possible, also BSA used various spring cups with different depths so ensure you have the right ones.
- its well worthwhile using Surflex clutch plates as these have much better frictional characteristics than the original plates, you can download their classic catalogue At this link
- its also possible to convert the clutch from 4 plate to 5 plate by adding an extra friction plate. The Rupert Ratio Unit Single manual has details of how to do this
- adjusting the spring pressure is also crucial to ensuring a light handlebar lever and there are several variables to take into account. What I do is as follows:-
a) make sure the clutch cable is adjusted with a few mm of free play at the handlebar and also that the timing side lever doesn't bottom when the handle bar lever is fully pulled in. You may need to use the adjuster on the clutch pressure plate to ensure the pushrod has the right adjustment to allow this.
b) pull the handlebar lever in fully and hold it there using an assistant or clamped into place, then screw in each of the clutch spring adjusters until fully bottomed, then unscrew the each adjuster about one turn. This procedure ensures maximum spring pressure and maximum clutch disengagement without the springs becoming coil bound.
c) kick the engine over and check for clutch plate run out. Ideally there shouldn't be any but realistically this is impossible to achieve though you might make a few small adjustments.
d) often the clutch spring adjusters work loose and the fix is to use lock wire to secure them, you can buy adjusters with tiny holes drilled to accept lock wire,

Hope this helps, my B44 has a light clutch with no slipping using the above procedures.

Last edited by gunner; 03/02/18 9:39 pm.

1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727352
03/03/18 5:11 am
03/03/18 5:11 am
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 33
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
C
Creaky Offline OP
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Thanks you blokes. I think my cable is new but I could change it anyway. The lever on the gearbox seems to be as per your specs but I'm not sure where you want me to measure the 7/8 or 1 inch bit on the handlebar lever. As I said, it had heavy springs originally which I replaced with lighter ones and that improved it quite a bit. The cups I'm not sure about. I will have to pull it apart again and have a look. And, Gunner, I,m gunna follow your procedure as follows: So, I pull the lever right in and cable tie it to the handlebar eg. Then screw all the adjuster screws fully in. Then back each one off one turn. Then cut the cable tie. Is that correct? I will try this in the next few days but as I recall I did not have them screwed in too far, certainly not one turn out. The more they were screwed in, naturally the heavier the clutch and that's why I had them fairly loose. I guess they are too loose at the moment because when I pull the clutch I get a rattling sound from that area. Also I remember the adjusting screws had dimples to stop them unscrewing, even though these dimples were almost worn out. Won't be doing anything for a few days but I will get back to you.

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: koncretekid] #727353
03/03/18 5:15 am
03/03/18 5:15 am
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 33
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
C
Creaky Offline OP
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Koncrete, It grabs when it is nearly fully out and releases at exactly the same point as far as I can tell. Does that sound ok to you?

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727360
03/03/18 7:44 am
03/03/18 7:44 am
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3,822
Sydney Australia
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BSA_WM20 Offline
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The trick to a light clutch starts with the clutch springs.
Set according to the manual they are way too tight, unless you are 30 stone & carry a 40 stone pillion with 100kg of camping gear.
Once leveled the springs should be backed off till the clutch just slips with the bike in top gear, front wheel hard up against a wall when working the kick start pedal.
Then do them up 1/2 to 1 full turn.
That has the clutch as light as you can get it.
After that as previously mentioned a good cable.
I preffer plain cables that I lube with tefflon push bike gear change lube.
Be carefull with nylon lined cables as WD 40 causes nylon to soften & swell and thus become sticky.
Nylon lined cables should be lubed with the afore mentioned lobo or plain old kerro.
Then as also mentioned make sure the angles are correct.
The arm in the timing cover can not go past 90 deg to the cable or you are trying to stretch the steel wire.
It will also cause the rack inside the cover to twist and make a mess of the hole it runs in.
After that the pivot in the nad lever needs to be round, not oval, most are flogged out.
And finally there are different ratio levers that also change the mechanical advantage.


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727363
03/03/18 8:32 am
03/03/18 8:32 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,550
scotland
triton thrasher Offline
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scotland
Originally Posted by WDM20
Set according to the manual they are way too tight, unless you are 30 stone & carry a 40 stone pillion with 100kg of camping gear.


I slightly disagree with that bit about the load of people and gear.

The clutch has to transmit, without slipping, all the torque the engine can produce at full throttle, right through the rpm range. That's whether you're dragging luggage and passengers up a hill, or riding solo and overtaking at full throttle, or just trying to go fast.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727364
03/03/18 9:07 am
03/03/18 9:07 am
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 33
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
C
Creaky Offline OP
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Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Kommando, Please explain this measurement "Also check your lever has the right fulcrum distance which should be 7/8" if my memory is correct." and Trevor , "Once leveled the springs should be backed"...leveled with what? and what is a nad lever? I presume you mean the clutch lever, not the lever on the gearbox. "pivot in the nad lever needs to be round" Do you mean the round hole in the clutch lever for the cable ferrule because that is perfect in my case.

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727365
03/03/18 9:10 am
03/03/18 9:10 am
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 835
Farnham, Surrey, UK
gunner Offline
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Farnham, Surrey, UK
Creaky, yes you have understood my procedure for adjusting the clutch. Regarding the one turn out of the spring adjusters, this is what I use to ensure the clutch can fully disengage without the springs becoming coil bound but maximising spring pressure. You could unscrew them further to get a lighter clutch though I'm not sure how far you can go without getting slipping.

The cups do have dimples to stop them turning but they don't work well, use lockwire on the adjuster nuts.

Clutch slippage isn't always detectable so I tend to err on the side of caution hence the one turn out of the spring adjusters.


Last edited by gunner; 03/03/18 9:26 am.

1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727368
03/03/18 11:15 am
03/03/18 11:15 am
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 10,186
Scotland
S
Stuart Offline
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Scotland
Hi,

Originally Posted by Creaky
measurement "Also check your lever has the right fulcrum distance which should be 7/8""

7/8" from the centre of the lever pivot screw to the centre of the cable nipple. This was the standard measurement on all clutch levers fitted to both BSA and Triumph twins and singles.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Stuart] #727435
03/03/18 10:11 pm
03/03/18 10:11 pm
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 33
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
C
Creaky Offline OP
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Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Stuart, My measurement is exactly 1 and 1/8 inches (one and an eighth). How do I fix that? You are right. The shorter that distance, the better leverage I would get. I guess I am pulling the lever on the gearbox further than required so if I can get that distance down to 7/8" that could solve my problem. But, how?

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: triton thrasher] #727467
03/04/18 4:58 am
03/04/18 4:58 am
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3,822
Sydney Australia
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BSA_WM20 Offline
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Originally Posted by triton thrasher
Originally Posted by WDM20
Set according to the manual they are way too tight, unless you are 30 stone & carry a 40 stone pillion with 100kg of camping gear.


I slightly disagree with that bit about the load of people and gear.

The clutch has to transmit, without slipping, all the torque the engine can produce at full throttle, right through the rpm range. That's whether you're dragging luggage and passengers up a hill, or riding solo and overtaking at full throttle, or just trying to go fast.



Well yes & no.
the factory has to tell you to set it so it does not slip under any circumstances.
However that does not mean it has to be set that tight.
I swapped bike with a member 30 years ago when going to a toy run.He has a dry frame & I had a wet frame.
His clutch was a genuine 2 finger job and this is on the bike he rode overland Scotland to Melbourne, two up with gear.
He on the othe hand, complained bitterly about my heavy clutch ( set to manual with new cable, ramp & lever ).
So when we got back he showed me how he did clutches and that is basically the method I mentioned above.
Set like that, the clutch did not slip and I rode it daily for many years and when I went into transport used it regularly for carrying airfreight satchels in a combined top box pannier that held 200 litres and it was nothing to come in on a Friday with the same volume strapped to the top of the box and more on the tank & under the headlamp, riding at breakneck speeds through heavy Sydney traffic on 40+ deg C days to make cut of times for Toyoko freight.
The clutch never slipped .
The shocks broke, the swing arm bent but the clutch never slipped except when it chronically wet sumped.
The A 65 got about a 1/2 turn tigher from slip and the B50 needed a full turn.
naturally it is trial & error t work out what a particular bike and rider will need but in my case it was 1/2 to 1 turn tighter from just slipping.

Last edited by BSA_WM20; 03/04/18 5:01 am.

Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727472
03/04/18 8:10 am
03/04/18 8:10 am
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9,498
Scotland
kommando Online content
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Scotland
My measurement is exactly 1 and 1/8 inches (one and an eighth). How do I fix that? You are right. The shorter that distance, the better leverage I would get. I guess I am pulling the lever on the gearbox further than required so if I can get that distance down to 7/8" that could solve my problem. But, how?

Open your wallet and buy new levers, the Emgo alloy copies of the AMAL ones are good and 7/8, lots of the steel ones are 1 1\8 which is wrong in most cases.

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727559
03/05/18 12:30 am
03/05/18 12:30 am
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 186
Nova Scotia, Canada
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koncretekid Offline
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Originally Posted by Creaky
Koncrete, It grabs when it is nearly fully out and releases at exactly the same point as far as I can tell. Does that sound ok to you?


I would say it should disengage about mid pull of the handlebar lever and engage about mid pull if it's working correctly. I would first re-adjust it by loosening the cable at the handlebar and adjusting the pressure plate screw by screwing it in until it hits and then backing it off 1/4 turn, as per the book. Then tighten the adjustment at the handlebar with maybe an 1/8" of slack. What you're describing sounds like the gear rack in the timing cover may be crashing into the mainshaft which only allows the rod to move the pressure plate a minimal amount, just enough to release, and then engages at the same point as you let the handle out. This could happen if the push rod or the adjusting screw in the pressure plate is too short or there is a problem with the gear rack, ball bearing, or lever. Also, the aforementioned cups could be too short or the springs are too close to coil bind so they bottom out.

When you rebuilt the clutch pack, did you file the grooves in the chain wheel and the hub? If these are in bad condition, the plates will be reluctant to move in and out. Also, the tabs on the friction plates can be mushroomed enough to add stiction to the stack.

You've been offered lots of possibilities, but when everything is working properly, the clutch pull should not be excessive.

Tom


Life's uncertain - go fast now!
Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727687
03/06/18 1:20 am
03/06/18 1:20 am
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 33
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
C
Creaky Offline OP
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Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Someone from Australia (in Sydney I think) posted something about where I could get a clutch lever in Australia but the post has disappeared. If you read this can you re-post details again please and how to contact that supplier.

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #727710
03/06/18 4:59 am
03/06/18 4:59 am
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 33
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
C
Creaky Offline OP
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Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Reply to myself. Forget my last post. I'm having a senior moment and I meant this to be in another thread.

Re: Victor Special heavy clutch [Re: Creaky] #728381
03/12/18 8:57 am
03/12/18 8:57 am
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 33
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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Creaky Offline OP
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Posts: 33
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
I bought a new clutch lever assembly with 7/8 inch centres at a swap meet and it has made all the difference. I removed the clutch nuts, cups and springs and checked the springs were not getting stuck in the cups and I adjusted them according to instructions above. The lever is fairly heavy but no problem at all, much better than before. Best of all it grabs a lot earlier on release rather than when almost fully out as it did before and is smoother to use. I am going to order a set of lever assemblies from UK for brake and clutch at 7/8inch centres to improve the brake as well. Bit exxy though!. While I had things apart I measured the length of the cups at 1 inch (a bit short I believe) and the springs also are only 39mm and the book says 42mm. If the cups were longer I suspect I would need to tighten the nuts a bit more but I think I will leave it as is. My motto used to be, "If it ain't broke fix it till it is" but in this case...........................?


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