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Author Topic: Help with bleeding the clutch on my '84 Nighthawk 650  (Read 2907 times)
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cottnat Topic starter
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« on: September 12, 2011, 09:44:54 PM »

OK, I have my problem narrowed down to the clutch fluid.  After a long string of hold ups, I have the reservoir cover removed and need to refill the line since I think it's empty.  I tried reading the manual on how to bleed the clutch and I'm not having any luck forcing the fluid down the line.  I cleaned out the reservoir, poured DOT3 fluid into it and opened the bleed valve.  I saw a Youtube video showing to open the valve, pull in the clutch, close the bleed valve, release the clutch.  After doing that about a dozen times, the reservoir still had all the fluid in it.  Every time I opened the bleed valve, it squeezed air through, so the lines seem to be open, but fluid isn't going in.

Am I doing something wrong?  Am I on the right track but just not being patient enough?  Does anyone have Skype and want to help be through this?  All help is greatly appreciated.  Up here in MN, snow could come at any time! (well hopefully not for awhile yet)
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Option13
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 09:48:04 PM »

It's just like bleeding the brakes. Build up pressure by compressing a few times, hold pressure on lever, open bleeder, close bleeder, release lever, repeat.
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cottnat Topic starter
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 10:03:38 PM »

It's just like bleeding the brakes. Build up pressure by compressing a few times, hold pressure on lever, open bleeder, close bleeder, release lever, repeat.

Thanks for the reply.  So I should compress 3 or 4 times in between closing the bleeder and releasing the lever?  I am 100% new to all this so I don't have any familiarity with brakes either. 
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 06:09:03 AM »

Seems like this comes in waves. There are a bunch of us who have recently done the clutches. I rebuilt both the master and slave and had to put suction on the unit to get initial flow. You can get bleeders at harbor freight for about $30.

I must have pumped mine hundreds of times.

When you pump up the pressure, open the bleed valve, close and release the clutch slowly. Put a clear hose on the bleed valve, form a high loop with it and then into a cup so you can see the bubbles. The loop is to prevent air going back into the slave.
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2011, 08:43:19 AM »

Whoa Deja vu. I did the same exact thing (even looked it up on you tube). I can honestly say that it is much easier to use a hand-pump vacuum. You can get a mighty vac at Autozone for $30. Makes it a ton easier and quicker. Take your 8mm wrench and hook the vacuum hose on top. Then pump the vacuum up to about 20-25psi. Open the valve then close after a bit (When the vac shows about 5psi that is generally a good time). Lather, Rinse, and Repeat.

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cottnat Topic starter
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2011, 05:28:39 PM »

UPDATE:

So I took SirSean's advice and purchased the Mytevac hand pump and thus far it really got me going in the right direction.  I pumped out the fluid that was a dark green/brown combo which I'm guessing the bike is happy with.  After working on it for awhile, I pumped it out until the fluid coming out was very similar to the color of the fluid I was putting in up top (while keeping the fluid level high enough so it wasn't sucking in air.  So I decided to give it another shot today and.........lurch  banghead.  Try two.... banghead.  So at this point I am at a bit of a loss again.  I am not sure if I am supposed to keep pumping fluid through but I did make note of a few things.

1.  In SirSean's post, he mentioned he would pump the PSI up to about 25.  I was only able to get it up to 15 most of the time.  My guess is it had more to do with the hose connected to the bleed valve than anything else because the wrech under it to open and close the valve makes it so its constantly being slightly altered.  I had the most luck just hooking up the hose directly vs. using the adapters the kit came with.

2.  When I started it up, the clutch handle still didnt have any pressure to it, even though the one day I did drive it, it didnt have anything to it either so I guess I would ask those of you with a hydraulic clutch if there is much pressure when its in working order.

3.  In looking at the clutch handle itself, the "pin" that pushes towards the reservoir and has a rubber seal seemed to be loose so I took the handle off and the rubber which is in the shape of a bucket, is shredded all along the sides so I dont know if that has something to do with the lack of pressure build up for the clutch?  Also, if it is or isn't, it probably needs to be replaced either way so what is the pin called and where do I get a new one?

Thanks again for all the help everyone!
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2011, 06:03:38 PM »

I have a hydraulic clutch on my 700s. There is quite a bit of pressure at the lever, so something is still wrong. That rubber boot is a dust cover, mine has been torn for three years with no effect. I do believe, however, that it comes in the master cylinder rebuild kit.
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2011, 06:13:11 PM »

I'm bleeding my clutch tomorrow  bugey
you have me all nervous and sh*t
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cottnat Topic starter
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 06:16:09 PM »

I'm bleeding my clutch tomorrow  bugey
you have me all nervous and sh*t

Don't get too nervous.  When it comes to this sort of thing, I should have a para.
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2011, 06:24:08 AM »

When you pumped out the fluid, were you still getting air bubbles? Even if the fluid is clear, you want get any pressure until all the air is out.
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2011, 09:33:20 AM »

Don't be nervous. Bleeding the clutch, especially being your first time, can be a time consuming process. Especially when dealing with empty lines and reservoirs. Just be patient and keep at it. You'll get it. After you use the vacuum pump to suck fluid through the line, you'll still need to resort to pumping and bleeding the line like normal in order to fully build up the pressure and gain the proper feel in the lever. The pump is really only good at drawing fluid through the lines initially. When pumping the lever, remember not to pump it too fast, and not to take the lever all the way to the grip. If you pump the lever at a moderate pace, it allows pressure to build more easily. It'll still take you a little while to do, but just be patient and you'll get it!
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2011, 12:31:15 PM »

It's just like bleeding the brakes. Build up pressure by compressing a few times, hold pressure on lever, open bleeder, close bleeder, release lever, repeat.

Thanks for the reply.  So I should compress 3 or 4 times in between closing the bleeder and releasing the lever?  I am 100% new to all this so I don't have any familiarity with brakes either.  

This is essentially how I did mine. Had a friend to help me out but it should still be doable as a one-man show I would think. Remember to keep the lever compressed while you open the bleeder, then close the bleeder before releasing the lever again so you don't suck in more air. Pump a few times, repeat as needed. Mine took a bit longer than the brakes did.

And I think you might be able to GENTLY turn the handlebars back and forth, that might let some of the trapped air out. Gently so you don't spill fluid all over the place, and use the center stand if you have it available (this seems like a duh thing but just in case). I don't recall if I did this for the clutch or not but it worked for the brakes.
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david12
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2011, 05:09:50 PM »

Don't be nervous. Bleeding the clutch, especially being your first time, can be a time consuming process. Especially when dealing with empty lines and reservoirs. Just be patient and keep at it. You'll get it. After you use the vacuum pump to suck fluid through the line, you'll still need to resort to pumping and bleeding the line like normal in order to fully build up the pressure and gain the proper feel in the lever. The pump is really only good at drawing fluid through the lines initially. When pumping the lever, remember not to pump it too fast, and not to take the lever all the way to the grip. If you pump the lever at a moderate pace, it allows pressure to build more easily. It'll still take you a little while to do, but just be patient and you'll get it!
my clutch feels... spongy I guess you could say. however I haven't touched the brakes at all and they feel nice and firm, especially when I get near the grip. is that the way the clutch should feel?
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2011, 10:07:37 PM »

Very much so. It should be extremely easy to bring it all the way back to the grip.
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2011, 08:02:44 AM »

It shouldn't feel spongy. It should be firm. Spongy implies that there is still air in the line. Bleed it a few more times and you should get the correct feel.
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2011, 08:32:30 AM »

Don't be nervous. Bleeding the clutch, especially being your first time, can be a time consuming process. Especially when dealing with empty lines and reservoirs. Just be patient and keep at it. You'll get it. After you use the vacuum pump to suck fluid through the line, you'll still need to resort to pumping and bleeding the line like normal in order to fully build up the pressure and gain the proper feel in the lever. The pump is really only good at drawing fluid through the lines initially. When pumping the lever, remember not to pump it too fast, and not to take the lever all the way to the grip. If you pump the lever at a moderate pace, it allows pressure to build more easily. It'll still take you a little while to do, but just be patient and you'll get it!
my clutch feels... spongy I guess you could say. however I haven't touched the brakes at all and they feel nice and firm, especially when I get near the grip. is that the way the clutch should feel?

Clutch, not brake. poke
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« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2011, 02:52:06 PM »

Right. I read that. The clutch action on my bike is nice and firm, with excellent response. Not spongy.  poke

If it feels spongy, then you could probably stand to bleed it again. My personal rule of thumb is, if in doubt, bleed it again. That goes for clutch as well as brakes.
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cottnat Topic starter
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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2011, 08:05:59 PM »

I GOT IT TO WORK!  Thanks all for the help and step by step direction.  The hand vacuum is really what got it going and the normal, clutch pump x4, open, close release is what built up the pressure.  Thanks to everyone... banana.  I am going to take it out tomorrow after work to see if its still read to roll.  If it is then its going to be a night of cruising and if it isnt, I am going to bleed it further and then it should be ready to go.

This board is fantastic and I am so happy to have found it.  Hopefully as I move along I will be able to pass advice along to others.
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SirSeanSean
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2011, 06:43:08 AM »

I GOT IT TO WORK!  Thanks all for the help and step by step direction.  The hand vacuum is really what got it going and the normal, clutch pump x4, open, close release is what built up the pressure.  Thanks to everyone... banana.  I am going to take it out tomorrow after work to see if its still read to roll.  If it is then its going to be a night of cruising and if it isnt, I am going to bleed it further and then it should be ready to go.

This board is fantastic and I am so happy to have found it.  Hopefully as I move along I will be able to pass advice along to others.

 claps
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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2011, 12:53:35 PM »

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cottnat Topic starter
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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2011, 07:59:12 PM »

I got to cruise the bike out on regular roads for the first time today and it was a blast.  I only had it out for about 15 minutes because we had about 20 mph winds and I figured as a new rider, it really wasn't worth it to be dealing with that much extra distraction.  Either way it was awesome.  I am looking forward to the next nice day to take it to work or just cruise around to get better at riding and enjoy the thrill.
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