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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The gearshift on my recently purchased 1997 900SS-CR is REALLY stiff. Especially from 1 to 2. But also the higher gears. So stiff from 1 to 2 that until the bike warms up for a few miles, I take off from a stop in 2nd.

I did some searches, and some attribute it to air in the clutch hydraulic system. I bled it a little bit, did not see air, and did not see improvement.

Factory Pro sells a shift return spring that is lighter than stock that they claim will alleviate the stiff shifter problem. The part is inexpensive (well, $40 for a little spring, but I am used to the abuse of European bikes' OEM parts, I have 2 BMWs) , but you have to take the side of the motor off to access the problem.

Just asking if any of you have had this problem, and tried the lighter shift return spring by Factory Pro? Any tips on the procedure (there are some You-tube videos on the process).
 

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There should be no need to change the shift spring. If you are not overly sensitive then there should be no issues shifting unless something is wrong.

Start with
does the bike shift easily when the engine is off?
does the clutch pack open when you pull the clutch lever?
Is the clutch slave and master oem or aftermarket?
Is the shift pedal oem or aftermarket?
Is the shifter in the correct position?
Has the bike been crashed on the left side?

You need to figure out first if it is a hydraulic issue or a mechanical issue so work to separate the two first to see where to spend your time. The shift mechanism is pretty robust but your issue is not a common one so anything could be causing it from faulty part to poorly adjusted parts.

If you have bled the system and there is no air inside look at the slave to see that it is a oem , if not know that some aftermarket slaves open the clutch less to get an easier pull at the lever. If that's all good look to see that WITH THE ENGINE OFF you can turn the clutch pack by hand when you pull the clutch. If that is all fine then you are looking at the mechanics of the shifter itself, are the shifter angles correct (parallel to each other) or is the shifter set up so you have little to no mechanical advantage.
 

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Mine was never as stiff as you described, but I accidentally found out it was all gummed up when my carbs dumped 2 gallons of fuel into the crankcase. Drained all out, aired for a few days and new oil was put in and what a difference in the shifting! Really butter smooth and quick! So maybe yours needs some clean up too?
 

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If you go through ducvets list the next easy thing to try would be remove the big plug on the back of the Trans and check the shift detent spring and piston.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well the clutch slave cylinder is an Oberon.

With the motor off, going through the gears is easier than when riding it, but still seems a little stiff. Once in a gear, Does not shift up unless I rock the bike back and forth a few feet with the clutch pulled in before shifting up. In 1 and 2 even with the clutch lever pulled in, there seems to be a little drag when rocking it back and forth a few feet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
To be more exact. When I pull the clutch lever, I can see the pressure plate move against the springs on the bolts on the face of the clutch plate, a little.

When, I move the bike back and forth, and it is in gear, and the clutch lever is pulled, the clutch pressure plate (the cover is partially open so I can see what is happening) rotate fore and aft, depending on which way I am pushing. This is the "dragging" I felt as stated in the above post.

Master cylinder looks OEM. Assume the shift pedal is, but don't know for sure.

So, is this normal. Is the clutch supposed to rotate like that?

Should I be able to turn it by hand while in neutral? or in gear but when the clutch lever is pulled? I've never had a clutch problem before so this is all terra incognita to me. Is the pushrod just not pushing far enough? Would a stock slave cylinder fix this? Do I need to pull out the whole shootin' match?
 

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Who installed the slave ? There’s a chance that a spacer was left out, it’s different between older bikes and newer ones, I think. Too much clutch drag can be caused by the slave not lifting as far as it should. I’d bleed it again. There is a spec for the thickness of the total stack of clutch plates, called “ stack height “ . Too thick and the clutch won’t release fully. Has the clutch been replaced lately ? Did the problem start after the slave replacement ?
 

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I believe the 97 SS models did not need the spacer for the Oberon,...

On my early model, it was impossible to run it without the spacer, difficulties far beyond the description given. Serious metal whacking metal noise.

Oh yes, stack height should be checked, depending on how much the plates touch and their surface condition they could move like you see (some days they won't), but my original view is valid - sticky oil residue in the crankcase if Ducvets list doesn't reveal another cause.

: pic needed "are the shifter angles correct (parallel to each other) or is the shifter set up so you have little to no mechanical advantage."
 

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Know that if the oberon is a oversize bore (which it probably is) then you have a greater chance of the clutch not fully disengaging. They still will often work but things need to be just right, NO air in hydraulics, bleed down properly set at clutch lever ,especially if running a aftermarket lever (doubly so if it has a cheap Chinese lever).

Verify this by removing the clutch cover and WITH THE ENGINE OFF you should be able to rotate the pressure plate by one hand while holding the clutch lever in with the other. If you cannot do this or it is very difficult I would start by checking the hydraulics for air and adjustment followed by swapping in a oem slave (2000 and older) if you have one. Look everything over carefully to see if there is another reason the hydraulics are not giving you enough throw. If all hydraulics are tested fine and functioning properly then you might also check the main clutch hub nut is not falling off (under the pressure plate. This can happen and you have hub movement as the clutch moves to the right, often making marks in the clutch cover from the pressure plate springs rubbing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Went on-line and looked up the instructions for the Oberon slave cylinder. They say that the pushrod should extend from the face of the crankcase at least 30mm. Mine is 26-27mm. Wonder if the extra 3-4mm would make the difference in the clutch operating as it should? I can see the pushrod pushing on the clutch pressure plate on the right, but maybe it needs to push and extra 3-4mm.

If the pushrod is less than 30mm, the kit is supposed to have an "extension" that fits on the pushrod. I haven't seen a picture of it. But this one doesn't have it. also, I have heard mention of a "spacer", but this one doesn't have a spacer either. Before I toss the Oberon, which is supposed to be an upgrade, I'll check Oberon about the "extension" and see if I can make this one work.

Any other thoughts from you guys appreciated.
 

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If I recall correctly, mine was at 26mm, so I did insert the extension. It is just a short shaft that you insert into the slave cylinder before you install it. I think the extension and the spacer are the same thing. On there website they call it "Pre 2000 Push Rod Spacer".
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I did take the cover off the clutch plate, and when pulling in the clutch lever, was able to turn the pressure plate by hand.
 

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The slave only has a limited stroke so if there isn’t enough rod sticking out you may not get enough lift on the pressure plate to completely release the clutch. It only takes one beer to remove the pressure plate and have a peak. Two beers and you can clean it all and check stack height and see how bad the basket is worn. A really chewed up basket where the plates engage may cause drag. You can smooth it with a file or die grinder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Emailed Oberon in UK about the spacer. Reply the next day. thanks Oberon. They are mailing me the spacer. We'll see if that does it.

May take dec96cr's advice and look into the clutch anyway. Increase my knowledge.

Picture in the previous post is the bike in the back of the truck on the way home for the first time. Was simply trying to see how to post a pic on this forum.
 

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If you are able to easily rotate the pressure plate by hand then it appears that the hydraulics are doing their job and you may not want to add a spacer. If you want to test fit it simply drop a ball bearing (or similar) that is the size of the spacer they send you. bolt it up and see if it works better . if it fixes the issue then install the Oberon spacer. If you need a lot of force to rotate the pressure plate it may still be a hydraulic issue, everyone is different with hand strength but it should turn pretty easily.

If you have not check shifter angles etc .
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A couple of spots of oily looking liquid on the fairing right below the clutch master cylinder. Looks like there is a leak in the back end (next to the handle pivot) of the clutch master cylinder. Maybe this is part of the problem.

I see there are master cylinder rebuild kits on ebay for $29. I looked for a Brembo part number on the master cylinder/reservoir, all I got was 7A08 and below it the number 13. I think that means it is a 13mm piston master cylinder. Option is replacing the entire thing, which is more $$. In my experience with BMW, I found that if I could order the part as a Brembo part from a Brembo dealer, it was a lot cheaper than ordering it as a BMW part from BMW dealer, even though it is the same part.

Still waiting for the pushrod spacer to arrive from the UK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I put the Oberon spacer in the slave cylinder, and what it did was keep the clutch from engaging into gear when I let go of the clutch handle. So, not the answer. Took it back out.

Following the advice above, I dug into the innards of the clutch. Was a mess inside. Plates/tabs all beat up. Friction area on the plates was totally or almost totally worn down. Stack height was 35mm. Pressure plate cracked around where the bolts go through. Etc.

Ordered all the parts, Hopefully this will cure the problem. Even if it doesn't, this was all overdue for a rebuild regardless. And, I learn first hand all about the Ducati dry clutch and its various issues. Something about which I knew nothing before. Life is good.
 

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You’re on the right track, Bob. It does sound like you may also have leaking hydraulic issues too. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I keep reading about bleeding the master cylinder, but there is no bleed screw on the master cylinder. How to go about installing a bleed screw on the master cylinder? Where do you buy one? anybody have a picture?
 
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