Webmaster's note: I got the images and the text to go with them off of Usenet. I did not write this, I only formatted it in HTML to make it easier to follow and preserve it for the future. I think it's a great write up and very useful, and think the world should be able to see it.
Finally got around to doing that clutch job on my bike today. As I noted earlier, the bike didn't really need one, but with about 25,000 miles on the bike, I thought it couldn't hurt to do a little preventative maintenance while I had the money (from my tax refund). Because things tend to go bad when you can least afford them to.

Wasn't until I opened it up and measured the clutch friction plates, drive plates and springs with some vernier calipers, that I saw just how much I did NOT need a clutch job. There was only 1-hundredths of an inch (.001") of wear on the friction plate's friction surfaces. But.... since I had it open, I went ahead with the job (just making sure to save the old clutches and springs, since they were still good).

Also, while I had it open, I replaced the clutch bearing and thrust washer. Since they were very cheap parts, I ordered them a couple weeks ago so I'd have them on hand. I didn't know what I'd find when I opened it up, so I figured it was best to be prepared for anything just in case. As with the clutches, the old bearing and washer looked fine, but I went ahead and replaced them anyways. (I threw the old ones away, as they were so cheap... not worth the effort to save.)

A few of the extreme closeup pics I took didn't come through, but there were only a few. The following pics and descriptions are of the job from beginning to end. I hope that someone who's never done a clutch job on a bike before finds them to be useful and informative! :-)

Dale S.

First things first.... take off the right-side faring, drain the oil, and may as well change the filter while you're at it. (I don't know why that Factory right-side engine cover looks all splotchy in the pics... it doesn't look that way in person, it looks perfectly shiny and smooth.) big version

Step 2 is to remove the clutch cover.... just a few hex bolts and it came off easily. The old gasket stuck to the cover... more on that later though. big version

The 3rd step was to remove the 5 clutch spring set bolts. They zipped off very easily with the air tool. They were not very tight, so it can be done by hand if you don't have air tools. big version

The 4th step is to remove the spring bolts and springs, then pull off the pressure plate. Be careful removing the pressure plate! As you'll see in the pic, the clutch bearing and thrust washer stuck to the pressure plate (due to the oil between them) when I pulled mine off. They may have just as easily stayed behind on the clutch push piece (the shaft still in the clutch sleeve hub). If you plan to re-use the old bearing and washer, you don't want to lose them, or drop them. Set them aside on a clean surface (a pic of my 'clean surface' later). big version

The 5th step (if they didn't already come off with the pressure plate), is to remove the clutch bearing and thrust washer and set them aside. big version

The 6th step is to remove the clutch friction and drive plates. I found a dental/hobby pick to be very useful here, to reach into the narrow slots and help pull them out a few at a time. **Be sure to keep the plates in the original order as you remove them!! More on this later. big version

Step 7 is to ensure you keep the plates in the exact same order that you removed them in. I found it easiest to just lay them face-down on the edge of my drain pan as I removed them. After removing them, pick them all up as one unit and examine them from the edge. Make note of where any varied thickness plates are, so (if you don't have a service manual, like I do) you'll know how the new ones go back in. In the case of my bike, the 2 outer-most drive plates (the all-metal plates) are slightly thinner than all the rest. Set the stack carefully aside for future reference. big version

Step 8 is just showing you the remaining clutch sleeve hub, with the clutch push piece in the middle. If you were going to take this job to the next level and remove the clutch sleeve hub to replace the rear clutch bearing (for example), you would need to... (see next 2 pics)... big version

Continued from step 8..... if you planned to do more than a simple clutch job, you would need to remove the clutch push piece, and the push rod behind it. I pulled out the push rod partially for this pic using the same dental/hobby pick I used on the clutch plates. A magnetic hand or a wire could also be used. big version

Continued from step 8..... if you planned to do more than a simple clutch job. Here is the clutch push rod pulled out all the way. The next step would be to remove that big clutch sleeve hub nut in the middle (usually requires a special tool to hold the clutch sleeve hub from turning while the nut is removed, as it is fairly tight), the washers behind it, the hub, the spacer and rear bearing, and finally the large outer hub, the primary driven gear assembly. Behind that is the oil pump drive gear. But I'm just doing a simple clutch job here, so no pics of all that. I returned the push rod and the push piece to their respective places and continued the job. big version

Step 9 shows me measuring the old clutch friction plates with a set of vernier calipers. At first I thought they were very worn, since they measured at .102" (102 thousands of an inch... sorry about the typo earlier, where I said hundredths), and the service manual said the limit was .103". But since the new ones were .103" thick, I figured the book must have done something wrong in the metric to inch conversion, or something.

{OK, sum-bitch... my monitor just popped and died while typing this, so I just spent 10 minutes getting a spare 21" monitor from the basement and hooking it up to my PC here. Damn it... now I gotta buy a new fuckin' monitor... sum-bitch!! Damn it all to hell!!}

I also measured the claw width of the clutch friction plates, and the spring lengths.... all were within a thousandth of an inch of the new ones. I ended up disregarding the service manual for all these measurements, since according to the manual, the brand news ones were out of service limits (which I knew to be false). :-/ big version

Here's step 10 showing me measuring the springs. There were a few other pics around this time frame, but they were all close-ups that turned out too blurry to bother posting. big version

OK, step 11 isn't really a step, more like a way of doing things. Here I'm showing how I laid a big piece of plastic down (this one happened to be from an air filter I had just purchased the other day from my home HVAC system) so I have something absolutely clean to lay parts on. I can't stress how important cleanliness is when working on engines/etc.... one piece of dirt can cause an engine to seize if it finds it's way to the right place.
Notice that, while I may use cloth shop rags fro cleaning up things outside the engine and the floor, I always use paper towels for cleaning any internal parts. A piece of cloth fuzz or a tiny piece of cloth string is as bad as a piece of dirt in your engine. Whereas a piece of paper towel fuzz, should one get left behind, will dissintegrate in oil and cause no harm to any engine parts. big version

Step 12 is just showing one of the 2 dowel pins in the clutch cover mating surface. I found it easier to just leave them in while I worked, as they didn't get in my way. But if you should have to remove them to clean gasket material away, or if they should happen to come out when you remove the cover, I just wanted to show that they easily slip in and out of their holes. Just don't lose either of them. big version

Step 13 I had to steal from the Suzuki service manual, since my pictures I took of my actual disks on edge didn't come out. This shows what I referred to earlier, where the two outer-most drive plates are the 2 thinner ones. Make sure you put the new disks in the right order! A friction plate should be both the first and the last things installed. big version

Step 14 shows me putting in the last friction plate over the last drive plate (one of the 2 thinner drive plates). The shot I took actually showed a little more, but due to a quirk in my digital camera, I later found that if I zoom in too much, the actual resulting picture is even closer than what I see in the view finder. So this one turned out a little closer than I had wanted. big version

Step 15 is to install the new (or old, if you are reusing) clutch bearing and then the thrust washer. (Note: If you replace the bearing with a new one, ne sure to also replace the thrust washer. It is always good practice to replace both surfaces of any 2 friction devices.) big version

Step 16 is to replace the pressure plate. big version

Step 17 is to install the new (or old, if you are reusing your old ones) clutch springs, then the bolts that hold them in place. If you are replacing the clutch plates, I'd recommend replacing the springs as well as good practice. The springs are very cheap (I believe around $10, if memory serves), so cost is not an issue. big version

Step 18.... adjust your torque wrench for the proper torque for the spring cap bolts. In my case, it was 10 Newton-Meters, or about 7 ft-lbs. I chose Newton-Meters because it was easiest to set on my smaller (inch-pound/newton-meter) torque wrench.
**I can't stress how important proper torque is!! My dad worked in Experimental Engineering for General Motors when he was younger in Detroit, so I heard about alot of very important things growing up, like why torque is important, cleanliness, plastiguage, temperature changes, etc... If bolts are not properly torqued, it can result in a warped component when they warm up, or stripped out bolts/threads if overtightened too much, or coming loose and detroy your engine if too loose.
Sure, some things you can "wing it" and go by feel, like the bolts that hold the farings on. But ALWAYS torque every bolt on the engine/transmission/drivetrain/etc... anything that is even remotely important. big version

Step 19... torque town the clutch spring cap bolts in a criss-cross pattern for even torque. big version

Step 20.... clean up the gasket surface. Remove any traces of old gasket material, and then wipe clean with a paper towel sprayed with brake cleaner or a similar residue-free cleaner. Make suer to spray the paper towel, not the surface directly, to eliminate overspray. (While overspray of a residue-free solvent is usually harmless, it's just good practice to spray the towel and then wipe with the towel.) big version

Step 21.... I mentioned earlier about the gasket having stuck to the clutch cover when it was first removed. Well, now it's time to clean that old gasket off. Now let me say that I've removed hundreds of gaskets in my life, as I was an auto mechanic before I got tired of the busted knuckles and low pay and became a computer geek. And this gasket was one of the hardest I've ever had to remove!! I swear Suzuki must have spot welded that sucker on there (only slightly exadurated for humorous effect). After several fruitless minutes of careful scraping with a putty knife and a gasket scraper (tried both), I gave up and.... (see next pic) big version

Step 22 (where I left off on step 21)... I ended up spraying the old gasket with gasket remover and letting it soak for about 15 minutes. I hate using it because the stuff is basically paint stripper, so you have to be very careful using it. Immediately after spraying it (if you don't do the smart thing and tape everything off, which I didn't), wipe all painted surfaces with a paper towel very well. (I still ended up with a few edged of the cover with the bare aluminum showing through the paint.) After soaking, scrape very carefully with your gasket scraper or putty knife, being careful not to gouge the soft aluminum mating surface (or you'll have an oil leak later). I had to soak and scrape several times before I got it all off. Then I washed the whole cover with soap and water in a big utility sink I installed in the garage just for this purpose (and for washing hands before entering the house when working in the garage). Then I air dried it with the air compressor very well. big version

Step 23 shows the end result of all the gasket scraping and cleaning... the cover is ready to be installed. (Notice some of the oversprayed black paint inside the cover around the edges got removed by the gasket remover! I was more careful on the outer painted surface, so they are nowhere near as bad off... barely noticable, in fact.) big version

Step 24.... place a little (very little) gasket sealer (the proper type) on the engine side of the clutch cover gasket mating surface, ONLY where the fine joints are between the upper, middle and lower crankcases. On my bike, there are 4 points I had to put a little gasket sealer (you can barely see the 4 spots of grey sealer I used on the mating surface). big version

Step 25... place the gasket on the dowel pins (you did reinstall them if you had removed them, right?) and press it against the gasket sealer to hold it in place. Make sure you place the gasket properly with correct side against the engine-side (the non-smooth side with the thin beads of integrated sealer). big version

Step 26 is to install the clean clutch cover and carefully insert the bolts in their proper holes (making sure the gasket stays in place). On my bike, there were 2 longer bolts that installed in the right-most holes, and there were 2 short bolts that had clips on them for retaining a wire and a hose. Make sure they go in the proper place if you have something similar on your model of bike.
Then torque (there's that word again!) the cover bolts down. The torque on my cover bolts were exactly the same as that for the clutch spring cap bolts, 10 Newton-Meters (or 7 ft/lbs). As with all torquing, it's good to torque every bolt once, then go over every them all again to ensure proper torque. I like to play it safe, so I went around and verified them all 3 times (same with all the other bolts I torqued). big version

Step 27... ensure any wires and hoses (if applicable) are properly routed through their retaining clips, and then sit back and look at the (nearly) finished product! :-) **Don't forget to ensure the oil filter is properly torqued and the oil drain plug is installed and properly torqued at this point! The torque on my drain plug was 23 Newton-Meters (or about 17 ft/lbs). Almost done! big version

Step 28 is to simply pour in the proper type and amount of oil, watching the fill sight glass carefully. Once it's filled to the proper level, gently start the engine... do not use the high-idle lever on the left handlegrip, and do not give it any throttle (if you have to give it a little throttle to keep it from stalling, be careful to only give it what it needs to just barely keep it running). Watch the oil pressure light, and when it goes out, you can give let it run a few seconds longer and then shut the engine off. Now that you've filled the oil filter, recheck the oil level in the sight glass, and add oil as needed. big version

Step 29 just shows a ccloseup of the sight glass when the bike is level and when the oil is properly filled to the correct level. I prefer to keep the oil level about a couple millimeters below the Full marker. You can always add oil, but it's a pain to have to remove some if you overfill. Also, if you overfill, the oils will be further up into the area of the engine where other rotating assemblies, like the crankshaft are. The more oil the crankshaft has to slap its way through as it spins, the more resistance it has (lower performance) and the more the oil is churned up (possibly to the point of frothing, where it's lubrication properties are severely impeded). Now admittedly, on a bike (as opposed to an auto), it's alot harder to overfill to the point that these things will happen, but trust me that overfilling even a little bit is a bad thing. big version

Step 30, almost the last step, is to put the faring back on. Then, the final steps are to adjust the clutch freeplay (I only had to turn the adjusting wheel near the handgrips one full turn back, since by old clutches were not worn very much), then take it for a test ride around the neighborhood to ensure the clutch is properly adjusted and feels right.

CONGRADULATIONS!!! You've completed a clutch job on your bike! :-) big version