Ed Wong emailed me one day and said he was having clutch problems. I passed along the symptoms to the COG listserv and we quickly had the diagnosis; the clutch star spring was the likely offender. Apparently, the broken bit can get between the clutch plates so they don't grip properly and the clutch slips.
The following will help you with replacing your clutch plates too if you're so inclined. The manual says you are supposed to adjust the spring plate end play if you do replace the plates. Consider this is the Lite Version of that job so you'd better get out the manual for the rest of the gory details.
But first a little technical and history factoid from Guy Young:
"The purpose of the "star spring" in the clutch assembly is remove backlash in the back torque limiter. This mechanism is used to partially disengage the clutch (to prevent rear wheel lockup) should you get into too low a gear at too high a speed."
"The early Connies (up thru '93/4) had one star spring. Periodically the fingers on these would break (usually at pretty high mileage) and become lodged in between the plates and cause the clutch to slip or chatter during pull off. No one knows why these would sometimes break, and I mean no one. The "fix" came in '93/4 when the factory started installing tandem star springs AND a special hub nut to compensate for the overall thickness of the two springs. ALL of the spring problems went away, up until the late '99 and 2000 models appeared. All of a sudden there's a rash of broken springs occurring at relatively low mileage (500 miles and less)." [ Editor's note: this did not happen to Canadian bikes which are manufactured in Japan.]
"The problem re-occurred due to the incorrect (single-spring) nut working its way back into the parts system. This older nut's shoulder height was such that it would trap the springs and cause them to fracture."
"The change to two springs (with special) nut was a fix for the single spring breakage. The two spring w/special nut parts can be retro-fitted to all models prior to their making the change ('93/94) in production units."
When you're taking the cover off, make note of where the bolts go; there are a couple different lengths.
This is what you'll find underneath.
You can remove the 6 Allen clutch spring bolts without much problem along with the 6 springs and cover. Put them back on at 95 Inch Lbs.
That star spring used to have 6 tabs; just 3 remaining. If you look just below the bottom tab, you'll find one of the 3 that broke off.
The instructions that we used said to remove the clutch plates but in hindsight, it didn't seem necessary. If anyone can clarify this, it would be appreciated.
In the event that you do remove the plates, note that the first one to come out has its tab positioned between those little silver tangs on the clutch hub; all the rest are one slot over. When you remove them, it might be a good idea the keep them in the correct order.
Getting the nut off was a real effort for Ed. A socket and breaker bar just wouldn't do the job. Finally, an electric impact gun and patience cleared up the matter. You shouldn't have to do this if you're just replacing the clutch plates.
On goes the new star spring. Ed got a single spring and new nut from the dealer, not the double setup noted above. The impact gun was used to install the nut ; when it feels like it has bottomed out, give it another shot. The manual says 98 Ft. Lbs. The manual also says there is a special tool for this job. Take your pick.
The manual says to apply some silicone sealant - Kawasaki Bond to the cover mating surface. The front 4 cover bolts require non permanent Lock-Tite. ( Not pictured here )
As they say, assembly is the reverse of removal. Yloh, tihs s'taht thgit !
By the way, nice manicure Ed.
Here's the offending part(s). When you remove the old spring, make sure you account for all the little bits floating around in there; they shouldn't be too hard to find.