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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 4:47 pm   #1 (permalink)
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Problem Shifting Gears

So I just got my used 01 Ducati ST2 a week ago, and I'm having alot of trouble with my clutch.
First of all, when I'm in first, with the clutch gripped all the way in (i.e. touching the handlebars), I can still feel that its slightly engaged (if I pick up my feet, I roll forward a little). Consequently, if I forget to shift down to first when I stop I ALWAYS stall, even with the clutch fully pulled.
On a related note, I can ONLY shift into neutral before the engine warms up, once it warms up its literally impossible. Also, my shifting is really rough, sometimes (especially going first to second), the pedal just wont move, and I have to pump the clutch handle a few times before it unblocks and lets me shift.

What exactly is going on here? I read in the service manual its possible that I have air in my clutch line. I think this might be the case because even when the engine is warm, the little glass window on the left (shifting) side of the bike is completely empty, i.e. no fluid at all (the reservoir on the handle bars is fine though).

Am I going to need a new clutch? Or might I just need to have it cleaned out?
On a side note, the problem is getting worse by the day; when I first bought the bike, shifting was much smoother, and I could actually get neutral most of the time.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 5:35 pm   #2 (permalink)
mad
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Bleed the clutch.
fix? good to go... not fix? next:
Bleed it again then pull the clutch lever tight to the bar and secure it with rope/zip tie/bungee tight to the bar overnight.
If there are no leaks in the system it should be good to go next day after releasing the clutch lever.

this of course assumes all parts are in good working order.

Oh, and the little window on the left side is for setting the timing...no fluid should EVER be visible there.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 5:44 pm   #3 (permalink)
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Couple of possibilities, but they all pretty much lead to the clutch not completely disengaging. Could be air in the clutch mechanism leading to clutch travel only being part of what it should be in relation to lever travel. This could be related to clutch slave cylinder issues. That is roughly around the time that Ducati had issues with clutch slaves, and it is quite possible that yours might be an issue (my '01 is a 996, but had a clutch slave replaced under goodwill/service bulletin). A lot of people went to aftermarket clutch slaves anyway, so that may be just as easy an option if it appears to be the culprit.

Could also be that your clutch basket has become notched or worn to the point where the clutch plates do not completely disengage, thus dragging on each other, even though the clutch pushrod is moving enough to where they shouldn't. Fix would be either a new clutch basket or possibly filing it down a bit if still in decent shape other than notchiness. Usually shows up more as a grabby launch or abrupt engagement, but could also show up as hard to find neutral.

Third would be some other sort of malfunction in the clutch mechanism, such as a slighly bent clutch pushrod or similar that prevents full movement. Probably less likely unless the bike has been down on the right side. Or possibly could also be due to some poorly performed modifications that might cause the clutch to not entirely disengage (people sometimes throw all kinds of parts of unknown origin at Duc clutches).

Start with thoroughly bleeding the clutch lines and see if it doesn't get better for a while. If there is weeping around the clutch slave cylinder or if it bleeds out air, gets better for a week or two, and then slowly returns, look into an aftermarket clutch slave.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 5:47 pm   #4 (permalink)
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Well Said... ^^^^^
Check the line...
Check the slave...
It actually sounds like you may need a new clutch...

But go through the steps . process of elimination
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 9:35 pm   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mad View Post
Bleed the clutch.


Oh, and the little window on the left side is for setting the timing...no fluid should EVER be visible there.
Just in case you missed this advice from MAD

If it worked all OK a week ago, there may be a deeper issue that was temporarily disguised by the previous owner, ....possible?

Have you had a chance to change engine/transmission oil, that may assist with shifting function, some others have said they 'feel' a transformation when they change their oil.

Take the cover off the clutch basket, very easy, there is no oil in there, nothing will fly off so have a look, and maybe take some photos of the basket and grooves and post them up here. Also while your in there give it a clean out to remove excess dust (don't breathe any of it in, wash out with suitable brake cleaner that is safe with paint or wash out with soapy water & allow to dry)

If the clutch reservoir looks dirty, flush out with clean fluid a bleed thoroughly. Be careful not to get brake fluid spilled on anything.

Can you take a photo of the slave cylinder, and post it up for us to see?

Hope some of this helps you.

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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 11:06 pm   #6 (permalink)
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So I bled the clutch a couple times, assuming I did it right. All I did was pump the clutch, and then with the lever engaged, opened the bleed valve a tiny bit. I didn't see any bubbles, just fluid. I did it a few times.
No dice; on the center stand in first, lever fully pulled, the wheel spins up pretty quick...
I'll try that overnight trick; should I leave the bleed valve open when I do it?
And I'll open up the clutch and take pics this weekend.
Btw, it has an aftermarket slave cylinder on it.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 11:22 pm   #7 (permalink)
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Does the lever feel like its actuating the clutch right from the get go or does it pull in a way before you feel tension??
If its the latter then you have not bled it properly.
If the lever feels strong all the way and continues to feel strong after leaving overnight (I like mad's bungy/tieback test) then you probably have other mechanical wear problems as above.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 3:00 am   #8 (permalink)
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So I'll take the basket off tomorrow morning and snap some pics, but the plan right now is to drive up to the city (...in my car =( ...) and pick up a new clutch pack, pressure plate, and maybe new basket and open pressure plate cover.
This will be my first time working on my bike, but I have a decent amount of experience working on cars, combined with the shop manual, online guides, and an engineering degree.
Lets hope I can do it!

While I'm at it, anything else I should look into working on?
And anyone have any good/bad experiences with aftermarket clutch parts?
I might just replace with stock... though those aftermarket open covers DO look sexy. I'm just a little worried about the noise. I like the sound of the engine/exhaust, I don't want to overpower it with a crazy loud clutch...
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Old May 1st, 2009, 3:28 am   #9 (permalink)
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If there is air trapped at the master cylinder banjo you can bleed the line via the nipple until you are blue in the face and it will still have air in it!
Get plenty of rag below the banjo, loosen the banjo with a spanner as you pull in the lever, tighten the banjo then let go the lever. That should get any trapped air out. Once is usually enough. If that doesn't sort it, air in the line isn't the problem. If it is air in the line I'd be concerned as to how it got there. Slave cylinder seal most likely.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 4:09 am   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpapon View Post
So I'll take the basket off tomorrow morning and snap some pics, but the plan right now is to drive up to the city (...in my car =( ...) and pick up a new clutch pack, pressure plate, and maybe new basket and open pressure plate cover.
This will be my first time working on my bike, but I have a decent amount of experience working on cars, combined with the shop manual, online guides, and an engineering degree.
Lets hope I can do it!

While I'm at it, anything else I should look into working on?
And anyone have any good/bad experiences with aftermarket clutch parts?
I might just replace with stock... though those aftermarket open covers DO look sexy. I'm just a little worried about the noise. I like the sound of the engine/exhaust, I don't want to overpower it with a crazy loud clutch...
Before you go throwing a new clutch at it, don't you think you should establish the real problem first?
I thought yours had low miles, you shouldn't need a new clutch yet, unless it's been abused, which may explain why it's hard to change gears, there could be excessive wear on dogs and gears, who knows what sort of treatment or oil was used by previous owner(s).

It will only take a couple of minutes to remove clutch cover & post photos to see if it needs replacing.

I am suspecting the aftermarket clutch slave cylinder maybe the culprit, but just a guess, you really need to bleed the clutch thoroughly and establish a firm lever all the way, if you can't do that then at least you know where to start.
Be thankful its not an ST3 with an electrical problem, yours is an easy fix!

Craig
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