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Clutch lever free-play problem

Discussion in 'Norton Motorcycles (Modern)' started by Precisionbob, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. Precisionbob

    Precisionbob

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    On a ride this last weekend my clutch lever developed what I describe as excessive free-play - the distance it moves from the rest position to where it starts to push fluid. It also became difficult to shift - I assume because the clutch plates were not releasing properly. I measure 1.25" of free-play movement, measured at the center of the ball on the end of the lever, before the clutch master cylinder starts to push fluid, but I have no idea what it has measured before. I have had to adjust the lever completely out to be able to have enough room to pull the lever to a point of clutch activation, and it's still not enough. I called the dealer and he said it was probably the slave cylinder coming loose, but all three bolts were torqued tight, as well as the three bolts holding the sprocket cover. There is a bleed nipple on the lever as well as on the slave, but I'm not sure what does what, and this seems to be related to the master cylinder rather than the other end. Any ideas??
     
  2. BPHORSEGUY

    BPHORSEGUY

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    I would first check the fluid level in the master and fill it with Dot 3 or 4 fluid to the top of the sight window. If that does not work I would bleed the system!

    The "Workshop" Manual has a quick bleed method and a more normal method. With the quick bleed method you simply takeoff the cover and slowly squeeze the lever and see if you get air bubbles. The other method is just like a brake bleed and that is what the nipple you descibed is for!

    My bike has about 3/4" freeplay at its current adjustment and does not have a bleed at the lever. That is the top of the system and it would make no sense anyway!
     
  3. Precisionbob

    Precisionbob

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    I have the Brembo external reservoir lever system & the level seems fine & I've done the bubble check & nothing is going on. I guess I'll try a bleed at the slave but I'd like to know what the bleed nipple is for at the lever end.
     
  4. pantah_good

    pantah_good

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    While I'm not familiar with the Norton clutch hydraulics, I don't know why they would be any different than the Ducati / Brembo clutch hydraulics I am familiar with. The bleed nipple at the master cylinder, or a bleed nipple on the clutch master banjo bolt, is there to make fully bleeding the system much easier. Air bubbles that rise all the way to the high point of a long clutch line are hard to push all the way out thru the bleed nipple at the slave cylinder. Start bleeding at the master cylinder high point, tapping on the clutch hose occasionally to help the air bubbles to move up toward the bleed nipple. When that end is bubble free, move down to the slave bleed nipple. Then check both ends again. One method that helps move air bubbles out the nipple, is pumping up pressure with several lever strokes, then open and close the bleed nipple while holding the lever to the hand grip until the nipple is closed again. If you have the small sized clutch or rear brake reservoir, they can bring on problems if they are over filled. Leave the fluid level almost an 1/8" below the "max" line before putting the cap on.
    Bill
     
  5. Precisionbob

    Precisionbob

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Bill, thanks a lot for the tutorial. I'll go through the procedure as you have suggested - makes sense to me. Bob
     
  6. BPHORSEGUY

    BPHORSEGUY

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Bob, you must have the plastic "fishbowl" reservoir while I have the metal rectangular one! In either case I hope all you need is a good bleed as that is the fastest and cheapest solution. Of course that would ask the question how did the air enter the system?

    Keep us informed as to your progress!
     
  7. Britjunkie

    Britjunkie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    I was just over at Bob's and with a quick bleed of the clutch master, everything is ok. We don't understand why it happened mid-ride, oh well. Its nice when you have another 961 only 3 miles away.
     
  8. Precisionbob

    Precisionbob

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Yes, I do have the "fishbowl" master cylinders, and as Britjunkie says, a quick bleed of the upper nipple (at the lever end) fixed the problem. I now have only 5/16" play in the lever compared to the pre-fix 1 1/4", and it is better than ever, which means there must have been air in it from the beginning, working its way to the top of the system. On this issue the dealer was of no help in diagnosing the problem, but it was an easy fix. Thanks Britjunkie!!
     
  9. BPHORSEGUY

    BPHORSEGUY

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Happy to hear it, how many miles on the bike? :D So the dealer was of no help, but it seems the forum, was!
     
  10. Precisionbob

    Precisionbob

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    1800 miles now & 2000 after Sunday's planned ride. Yes, the forum has been a great help and source of info and tips for both current and yet-to-occur issues.
     

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