Clutch Stuck After Sitting for 35 Years

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by KPD, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. KPD

    KPD Adventurer

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    Hi All!

    I recently bought a 1971 Honda CB100. It has 690 Original Miles (not a typo). Basically the guy bought it in 1971 and put a few miles on it and then bought a bigger bike and left this one to sit, which it did for 35 years until I bought it last week.

    Bike now has new battery, new oil, cleaned carb. Still won't run for long, won't idle, and the clutch is sticking. Even when I have the clutch lever pulled in the bike won't roll sometimes... but sometimes it will.

    The guy I bought it from also has his bigger bike (CB350) and had a lot of the same issues after it also sat for 35 years. Said that the carb needed rebuilding and once the engine would run long enough to heat up, the clutch issue went away.

    Anyone have experience with this clutch issue with an older bike that sat for a really long time?

    Thanks everyone!:D
    #1
  2. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    ya... the plates stick together. drain the oil, pull the engine cover, remove the 4 clutch nuts & springs, take out the plates... clean or replace as required
    #2
  3. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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    ^this -- after you get it to run long enough to warm up . . . . the plates MAY beak free .. ..
    #3
  4. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    I would not suggest this for confined areas, but if you live in a remote area or have a large lot next door once the bike idles and runs OK you can get pushed on it while it is idling and clack it into first gear and with the clutch lever held in accelerate and decelerate and you can often pop them free.

    Having said that, if it is a reasonably nice bike I'd suggest there is nothing wrong with simply replacing them at this point in time and being done with the worry of having them either stick again in the future or else having the lining disintegrate on you at some embarrassing or inconvenient time.
    #4
  5. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    With that mileage, the clutch plates are just stuck from sitting. Pull them out and wash them off with solvent and reassemble. Provided you ride it regularly, you shouldn't have a problem in the future. If you store it for any length of time, just tie the clutch lever down with a zip tie so they won't stick again.
    #5
  6. showkey

    showkey Long timer

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    #6
  7. KPD

    KPD Adventurer

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    Thanks everyone, I'll focus on the carb and getting the engine running smoothly, maybe the heat will take care of it. Otherwise I'll end up taking it apart and cleaning the plates. The bike only has 690 miles so they probably don't need replacing.

    Thanks for your help I'll keep you all posted:D
    #7
  8. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    Not so. The pressure plate only moves about 1/8 inch to release the clutch, and that's not enough to cause a problem.
    #8
  9. CycleDoc59

    CycleDoc59 Wrench Rider

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    I've seen old clutches stuck such that the plates had
    to be separated with a screwdriver or prybar,
    with some wear-plate material sticking to
    the steel plates. Long-term sitting causes
    many problems.
    #9
  10. Lomez

    Lomez Yea...Sunday too

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    Happens on my CB750 all the time, when it sits for a long time. What I've done:

    Method 1 (when it's in running condition)- bump start and ride around in 1st gear, rolling on and off the throttle for a while. I've done this and eventually broken the plates loose.

    Method 2 (if running and have a center stand)- start in neutral, with rear tire off the ground....I rev the motor up and drop into 1st gear. This usually breaks them loose the first time (for me), and pulling the clutch in again disengages.

    Method 3- same as 2, but with the tire on the ground...just do a tranny drop. This method doesn't seem to work as well for me. Usually takes 3-5 "drops" to break them loose.


    However, I've worked with more like 6 months...not 35 years :eek1
    #10
  11. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    Sitting a week or a month or even a year and sticking is usually fixed by holding the clutch in and riding around getting on and off the throttle.

    But 35 years. That won't work. Pull the clutch cover, peel each of the fibers and steels apart, if not too much fiber stuck to the steel and the fiber is still in solid then put it all back together and run it. Sitting that long requires an inspection. The fibers can be so glued to the steel they never come apart, or the fibers may just come apart and spray fibers through everything.

    Dealing with age related issues is a lot different then mileage or abuse related issues.
    #11
  12. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    That would be my main worry. The price of a few clutch plates is cheap compared to a ruined motor if the clutch sheds enough debris to clog an oil passageway.

    I have freed up many stuck plates by riding the bike around, but i wouldn't do that on a 35 year old bike. ESPECIALLY if it a nice low mileage bike.
    #12
  13. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    Ever seen a fiber clutch plate come apart? I doubt that's going to happen, they are held in there (captured) very well. I've repaired quite allot of clutches and have yet to see a fiber plate come apart. If it were to happen, you will know as soon as it occurs.
    #13
  14. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    Yes I have.

    I had a small chunk break off on a YZ 250 I had. It locked up the clutch.

    My brother had a plate break into pieces on one of his dirt bikes. Saw that on a friends bike also.

    I had an old DT 250 that would turn the oil black in 5 minutes because the plates were disintegrating. The plates looked fuzzy.

    I have seen a couple of old bikes that were working fine but 1 or more clutch plates came out in pieces.
    #14
  15. Yamarocket630

    Yamarocket630 Honey Badger

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    The clutch stuck on my Vfr750 after sitting overnight last night. Started it in gear and damn near drove through the wall of my garage. :rofl

    I'm betting after 35 years its stuck good.
    #15
  16. KPD

    KPD Adventurer

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    Thanks everyone for all the feedback. Here's the latest update, my focus has shifted as I can't even get the bike to start now.

    When I bought it, it would start up and run for a couple twists of the throttle then die. Now I have nothing... Here's what I've done.

    New battery, points adjusted to spec, new petcock, cleaned fuel tank with CLR and gravel, cleaned airbox and put new filter in, cleaned and rebuilt carb including replacing float, cleaned fuel lines, replaced spark plug.

    Now i don't even get it to turn over, the kicks feel empty.

    All lights work when battery is charged. I checked the spark plug and i don't see a spark but I feel a shock when i touch it and kick while holding it to the engine block.

    Any ideas??? Tomorrow I'm going to try it with a new fuse and spraying some starter fluid into the carb to see if it was either the fuse, or a fuel related issue with the carb. i don't know!
    #16
  17. freetors

    freetors Been here awhile

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    Well as they always say; you need three things to run an engine. Fuel. Air. Spark. Are you sure you're getting fuel into the engine? Does the spark plug come out wet with gas? To me it sounds like an ignition issue. You said that you can feel a shock but I'd want to see a dang strong nice big blue spark. Perhaps you have a points or coil issue.

    Post some pics of it too!
    #17
  18. KPD

    KPD Adventurer

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    Thanks alot - i agree, it's probably an electrical thing with the plug not getting good spark. next step here we go! thanks for the feedback
    #18
  19. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    "kick feels empty"... did you set the valves? if so may have been on the wrong stroke & a valve is open

    if not.... check them anyway
    #19
  20. KPD

    KPD Adventurer

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    Ok, definitely not getting spark.

    I bump started the bike and it started up, didn't stay afloat long, but at least it started. I guess i need a new ignition coil?
    #20