MXA WRENCH TECH: PROPER CLUTCH CABLE LUBRICATION TECHNIQUES

October 29, 2013
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Clutch-cable lubrication is an overlooked area of bike maintenance. Grime and condensation tend to build up inside a clutch cable, leading to a notchy and inconsistent feel at the lever. Often these maladies can be solved by lubricating your cable-actuated clutch (hydraulic clutch owners are in the clear). Follow these steps to properly lubricate your clutch, and do this when clutch-pull deteriorates.

NECESSARY ITEMS:
? Grease
? Cable luber
? Lint-free rags

TIME TO COMPLETE:
20?30 minutes


STEP 1: With your bike clean and sitting on a stand, locate the clutch lever. Create slack in the lever by adjusting the on-the-fly clutch-adjuster rubber knob. Pull the rubber knob back to expose the metal adjuster dial once there is a significant amount of freeplay in the lever.


STEP 2: Using the proper-sized open-end wrenches, remove the clutch lever pivot bolt. You will also need to remove the hot-start lever, if applicable. It’s not necessary to remove the clutch perch from the handlebars. Peel the rubber clutch-lever cover back so that the lever is exposed. Pull the lever away from the housing. Take the clutch cable out of the lever, as well as the on-the-fly adjuster.


STEP 3: Use contact cleaner and a lint-free rag to clean any grime out of the clutch perch. Remove and clean the metal on-the-fly adjuster parts. This is imperative, as dirt often builds up in this area, leading to a poorly performing adjuster knob. Place grease on the adjuster threads and reinstall the adjuster in the clutch perch. Spin the adjuster until it bottoms out against the perch, and then back it out a few turns. Make sure to line up the open grooves so that the clutch cable can be reinstalled in a later step.


STEP 4: Locate the bottom adjuster bolts (found on the left side of the engine attached to the clutch actuation arm). Using the appropriate open-end wrench, loosen the right-side adjuster bolt until the cable can be pulled out from the actuation arm and housing bracket. Let the clutch cable drop straight down. Wrap a rag around the bottom of the clutch cable (the help of a friend is always nice). This step is necessary, as otherwise the cable lube will drain out of the cable and make a mess on the ground.


STEP 5: Locate the top of the clutch cable. Install a cable luber (www.motionpro.com) over the end of the housing, and clamp it over the inner wire. Wrap a rag underneath the cable luber and hold it with your left hand. Doing so will prevent fluids from dripping onto your bike. Note the port in the side of the cable luber; this is where you will insert the nozzle from a spray can of contact cleaner.


STEP 6: Spray contact cleaner into the cable to clean old grease and grime out of the cable. After a few bursts of contact cleaner, it’s best to pull and push the end of the clutch cable to promote the flow of contact cleaner. Keep doing this step until you see clear fluid come out the bottom of the clutch cable. It will more than likely take a few minutes.


STEP 7: Follow the same procedure that you did in the last step; only now with a cable lubricant aerosol instead of contact cleaner. Spray lubricant into the port in the side of the cable luber. Avoid spraying any other parts with lubrication, such as the rotor or brake pads. After a few bursts, you will need to pull and push the end of the clutch cable to get the lubricant moving down the entire length of the cable. Repeat these actions until you see lubricant flowing out the bottom of the cable. With a clean rag and contact cleaner, wipe away any excess fluids that might have dripped on your bike.


STEP 8: Locate the bottom clutch bracket and actuation arm. Remove the rag from the base of the clutch cable and reinstall the cable in the bracket and through the clutch actuation-arm housing. Tighten the right bottom adjuster bolt with the appropriate open-end wrench.


STEP 9: Grab the top of the clutch cable and slide the on-the-fly adjuster rubber knob onto the cable. Route the cable through the on-the-fly adjuster piece on the clutch perch. Slide the rubber-clutch covering through the clutch cable, and then peel the rubber back. The metal grommet will be exposed.


STEP 10: Make sure that the clutch lever-receiver hole is clean and free of debris. Install the cable grommet into the lever-receiver hole and route the cable in the lever. Only then should you reinstall the clutch lever pivot bolt. Do not overtighten the pivot bolt, as it can affect the drag on the lever. Once done, spin the adjuster knob so that play is taken out of the clutch lever. Consult your owner’s manual for the preferred amount of clutch play; we typically run about a 1/8-inch of play. Reinstall the hot-start lever, if applicable.


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