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Discussion Starter #1
So tell me this.

I'm coming back from the store, somehow kill the bike at a light, it stalled. I'm going "WTF?" i start it back up, calmly. I get going into first. The second i go to shift into second gear, the clutch lever is FROZEN, i can't move it, won't budge.

i clutcheless shift back into second and managed to anticipate the lights (thank god for no traffic) till i get home. About 2 blocks from home the lever will move just enough to get it out of gear and not slip.

I limp it into the garage.

My little Porsche was up on stands, and my 250 was undergoing maintenance too, so my choice was to ride the ducati. I flush the clutch with trueblue dot 4, and the lever is a BIT better. Mind you i went on vacation for 850ish miles or so and didn't flush it, black as the bubonic plague.

So the clutch feels.... better.

As i'm riding and start the bike to take it to the local dealer i'm eying the pressure plate. I notice it's wobbling. "Hmmm that's a new one." i thought... as i let off, and slowwwwwly slip the clutch in neutral i notice it is off center.

I take it in and they go "Could be the rod is bent, the plates are warped, could be this could be that, you'll need to pull it apart and look."

This makes no sense. They said they've never seen a rod for the clutch bend unless the bike was dropped. It only did this after i killed it by accident when it stalled, and then took off in 1st gear and went to 2nd. Then nothing.

This one has me baffled.

Only reason i'm posting this instead of actually going home and tearing into it is because i'm rebuilding the entire axle housing and cv joints and axle on my porsche, and have to work on the 250 first. So i figured, hell, why not post up and see if i can get opinions on the ducati while i wait.

:confused:

By the way, i'm back! :) and just got back from an 850ish mile ride on my vacation.

symptoms:

- clutch is STILL stiff, will not pull the lever all the way back.
- i can feel an unbalanced wobble when the clutch is spinning at low speed.
 

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When you bled the system, the clutch lever moved in and out freely ? I know it sounds stupid, but a seized lever pin will do that. If when you were bleeding it the lever moved in and out with ease, then the problem is lower. I assume its your 900SS 99MY... then that should have a braided clutch line. If it were rubber line, it could have failed internally.

I have never seen a bent push rod, not even from an accident. So my guess would be that it is not that. thats almost a safe bet. I would look at other things like slave cylinder binding. Check your clutch movement at the basket if you have a dry clutch. There is not much you can do without pulling it apart. You can isolate problems, but you cant sole them if you dont pull something apart.

Easy tests to isolate problems that dont require much pulling apart would be...

Crack bleeder screw on slave and pump lever. Lever moves free, then lever isnt binding. Lever is still hard to pull, remove lever pin, clean, lube and refit. retry.

To test master cylinder fault (ie: binding piston), crack off the banjo fitting at the master and pump lever, it fluid comes out easy and lever moves easy, problem is further down. If it doesnt move or is really stiff, master cylinder has an issue.

To test hose, loosen banjo on slave and pull lever. If no fluid comes out and lever is still stiff, may be a hose problem or a blockage in the line or banjos/banjo bolts.

A little more agressive is, after you have tested all these and the lever seems to work, then you can remove the slave cylinder from the bike and test it off the bike. be careful though, as pumpin the slave cylinder while it has nothing to push against may cause the piston to pop out and cause you all sorts of bother trying to get it back in. First thing i would do is get something, crack the bleeder screw and push the piston back into the slave cylinder. If it pushes in without much force, its probably not binding. now you can slowly and gently pull on the master lever again and watch the slave cylinder. If after all the other tests rule them out, and now the lever is stiff again, your slave is binding. If it moves freely, then onto the clutch and parts!

If you have a really cool open cover clutch you can whip over the clutch spring bolts and see they are done up to the correct torque. Make sure non of them are loose as this could cause the clutch plate to move at and angle and bind up.

Other things it could be are the clutch push rod is bound up or the thrust bearing is seized and locked to the control pin. This may cause excessive wear on the clutch rod making it shorter. if it gets to short, eventually the slave cylinder would run out of stroke.

Wear on the clutch plates would make it easier to disengage the clutch, not harder.

I know there is no easy anwser, but at least its quick and easy to test and isolate, not a lot of disassembly required. Let us know what you find! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Most definitely is not the clutch lever and push pin, when bleeding the system it goes limp and all the way to the handle.

Sounds like i get to dive into the cover and take out the clutch pack and check things out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well fellas, it appears that i'm missing about.... all .... of the ballbearings inside. This explains it.

Strange that it decided to do this NOW. I find it odd that it decided to just decide to go out at a light, must have been the straw that broke the camel's back. 850 mile vacation, didn't feel a darn thing. They appear to be ground to bits in there.

Now... my other concern, there has been areas where the plates have edges eaten into them. Assuming from the bearing failure. Is this something to worry about right now? Is it okay?

Anyway... the bearings are ground into duck crisp cereal, part of a clutch's well balanced breakfast it would appear.













 

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Plates look ok Koi.. You could 'dress' them with a file if you want.. might even just reverse them in the hub.. but your rattle will just be louder..

What bearings have destroyed? The pressure plate spiggot bearing or what?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Plates look ok Koi.. You could 'dress' them with a file if you want.. might even just reverse them in the hub.. but your rattle will just be louder..

What bearings have destroyed? The pressure plate spiggot bearing or what?
if you look at the bottom picture, look at the bearings inside the hub. you'll note only 3 of them, and a hint of shiny metallic glitter. :-/

I was thinking of dressing with a file although other people say i can't do that, but i don't see any reason i can't?? Will it eat at the hub though? If you look at the last pic, you can see the left side of the hub has some very fine etching in it.
 

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I almost had that happen.

My bearing was fine but the seal had worked it's way out and wore a bad groove in the clutch pushrod. New seal and pushrod and all was fine. My plates were a lot worse than that so I replaced them too.

I think it was shortly after that when my original clutch slave started leaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well fellas, here's what ended up happening. The bearings inside went out, one of them got hung up between the other bearings, causing the shaft to be pushed off a ways. DID NOT BEND the shaft, thank god. But it ate the area where they sit alive. So unfortunately i still will need a new shaft. New bearings and a new shaft later i'm good to go. Ducati has no clutch tools they sell to the public, so i made my own, damnit.

PS: No, the red stuff on the shaft and on the bike is not paint or rust, it's blood. Don't ask.









 

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So just a curious side note... How was the pushrod cap (bushing) that goes in the pressure plate bearing still attached to the pushrod end and not the pressure plate bearing in the first set of pictures? The cap (bushing) was nearly impossible to get out of the pressure plate bearing when I disassembled mine...

Also let me know if you have any luck flipping or filing the friction plate tangs. I believe the specs call for no more than 0.6 mm gap between the friction plate tangs and the basket. Mine look almost identical to yours in the picture (I also have 1999 900SS) and was just getting ready to buy a new set of friction plates and maybe a new basket for when I finish the other work I'm doing on my bike. If I can avoid this, I'd love saving the cash for fairing work...

Also, call me crazy, but I swear my clutch has a needle bearing where you have the failed ball bearing... I haven't even pulled the main clutch nut yet, but it looked to me to be a needle bearing from what I was able to see... I'll let you know when I pull the nut. (Just as soon as I get the 32 or 33 mm socket to fit it...)

I am also going to buy this bushing (http://desmotimes.com/product83.htm) to help prevent wear on the pushrod as it had an additional bearing built into it. I heard about this product from a member of this site...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So just a curious side note... How was the pushrod cap (bushing) that goes in the pressure plate bearing still attached to the pushrod end and not the pressure plate bearing in the first set of pictures? The cap (bushing) was nearly impossible to get out of the pressure plate bearing when I disassembled mine...

Also let me know if you have any luck flipping or filing the friction plate tangs. I believe the specs call for no more than 0.6 mm gap between the friction plate tangs and the basket. Mine look almost identical to yours in the picture (I also have 1999 900SS) and was just getting ready to buy a new set of friction plates and maybe a new basket for when I finish the other work I'm doing on my bike. If I can avoid this, I'd love saving the cash for fairing work...

Also, call me crazy, but I swear my clutch has a needle bearing where you have the failed ball bearing... I haven't even pulled the main clutch nut yet, but it looked to me to be a needle bearing from what I was able to see... I'll let you know when I pull the nut. (Just as soon as I get the 32 or 33 mm socket to fit it...)

I am also going to buy this bushing (http://desmotimes.com/product83.htm) to help prevent wear on the pushrod as it had an additional bearing built into it. I heard about this product from a member of this site...
The plates on mine as far as the friction material goes was fine. The teeth are a bit worn but that's fine. Long as your plates are fine, the teeth aren't horribly mangled, then I think you'll be alright, just noisy.

The cap sometimes is loose, sometimes tight. As long as it sits on the rod properly and sits in your bearings and your bearings are in good shape, then no worries.

Yours is a 900SS same year as mine (1999) from what I read. You should have the same bearing setup inside. It's a small casing with cylindrical bearings that the rod sits on. The socket for mine was 32mm. Make sure you make a tool to immobilize the plates, otherwise you're gonna be having all the right tools except the one to pull the nut off lol.

I think desmotimes makes one but i made mine out of an old feeler gauge and some crapped out plates.
 

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The plates on mine as far as the friction material goes was fine. The teeth are a bit worn but that's fine. Long as your plates are fine, the teeth aren't horribly mangled, then I think you'll be alright, just noisy.
Tang=teeth...

My friction material is in decent shape as well, but I was referring to the distance between the friction plate teeth the the basket teeth should not exceed 0.6 mm. If you file down or flip and reuse your friction plates, let me know how noisy it really is and if function suffers at all... I'm hoping it will influence my decision to buy new ones or not

The cap sometimes is loose, sometimes tight. As long as it sits on the rod properly and sits in your bearings and your bearings are in good shape, then no worries.
The cap/bushing should be more firmly attached to the bearing because you want the bearing balls to be doing their job and spinning the plate, but not the pushrod... It seems that if the cap/bushing is stuck to the pushrod it may increase the likelihood of your pushrod spinning=bad news. I guess I was just concerned that if the actual cause was in any way from the dropping of the bike it may have damaged the union between the pushrod, the bushing, and pressure plate bearing

Yours is a 900SS same year as mine (1999) from what I read. You should have the same bearing setup inside. It's a small casing with cylindrical bearings that the rod sits on. The socket for mine was 32mm. Make sure you make a tool to immobilize the plates, otherwise you're gonna be having all the right tools except the one to pull the nut off lol.

I think desmotimes makes one but i made mine out of an old feeler gauge and some crapped out plates.
Thank you so much for the clarification of the nut size, I was just going to buy the both of them and return the wrong one... I already made the immobilizer out of similar materials. (Great Ducati minds think alike.)

P.S. I saw new pushrods on eBay the other day for pretty cheap... Don't remember how much, but just that they were half what the dealer in Seattle wanted...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The bike was never dropped. The bearings just went out and the bike died at a light. So nothing was bent/smashed/harmed. Just the bearings went out and ate up the rod. I found a rod at the local ducky dealer that i'll pick up tomorrow. Should be a cakewalk to get her back on the road. I'll let you know how it goes. I was successful at using a dremel to practice "filing down" the mushroomed tips. If you are VERY careful with a sanding bit you can get rid of them with a nice finish and not get the friction material. I believe this is better than dressing with a file since you can be a bit more precise.

Will keep you updated.
 

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Oh I see... I think I need to replace my friction plates... They're well over 0.6 mm between tangs... But I'd still be interested in hearing how your's goes! Good luck!

 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well guys, I got it fixed.

Turns out that little tiny $10 bearing that went and supported the rod had somehow gotten bound and spun itself because the pressure plate bearing was spinning/seizing the rod.

In essence.... think of it like this.... pressure plate bearing going bad, spins rod, rod spins these tiny bearings, one dislodges itself, eats the rod, causes rod not to move back and forth and hence no clutch lever. In the process it spun my slave cylinder slightly (which I was able to fix) and also resulted in me breaking a bleeder screw off in frustration so basically one tiny bearing caused a huge amount of damage.

1 bad pressure plate bearing made me replace:

1 new pressure plate bearing
1 new rod
1 new bearing to support the rod
1 rebuilt slave
1 new bleeder
2 new seals for bleeder bolt
1 new bleeder bolt

And let me tell you, without a bearing pulling tool that thing is a son of a bitch to pull that bearing out.

Pics to come tonight of the nasty ass rod.

Let this be a lesson - CHECK YOUR PRESSURE PLATE BEARINGS! IT IS EASY TO DO! IF THERE IS ANY BINDING OR SLIGHT VARIANCE OR GRITTY FEEL REPLACE IT! I actually replaced mine with an aftermarket bearing for $2.97 and it works like a dream. Easy to fix.... make no excuses.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Forgot the pics fellas. Will try and get them when i get home.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Aren't I horrible, I keep forgetting. Well here's the pics, haha, sorry for the delay all.

Here's what happened when these bearings fail.... again, this is due to the failure of the pressure plate bearings, they cause the rod to spin, spin your slave and POTENTIALLY cause the failure of the miniature bearings that support the rod which will cause this.... in essence one of them got lodged in and ate it alive, since it lodged in there as such the rod would not push back and forth resulting in your clutch going "WTF i can't move" and you clutcheless shifting the whole way home.

Check those bearings regularly boys!





And here is the picture again so you can see what i'm talking about, the basket inside and you can see one of the bearings hanging off, it actually was bound in there. Which is what ate up the rod.

 
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