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Thread: Clutch plates - OEM or upgrade recommendations?

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    Default Clutch plates - OEM or upgrade recommendations?

    The clutch on my '77 GS750 started slipping last summer. I replaced all 6 springs with OEM suzuki parts and it was still slipping. The friction plates were either right at spec or slightly under so I replaced them with a combination of used plates I pulled out of a couple of unused GS550 engines I've had lying around. At least one of those engines had been sitting for 20+ years with an unknown history. The GS550 has the same plate part #, just a few less plates than the 750 uses. Either way, the plates I installed were within spec but I'm still getting LOTS of slipping when the engine is cold and some slipping when I hit the throttle after it's warmed up.

    Soo, at around $20/ea (x8) for the friction plates and $10/ea (x7) for the drive plates (or whatever they're called), it's about $250 to replace them all. I have no problem paying for OEM but was wondering what other options I had that would either be slightly cheaper or a slight upgrade. I ride medium - hard, but by no means totally wail on the throttle and am using shell rotella oil. I've also been planning on a few other upgrades this year, possibly including a delkavic 4-1, which I know isn't significant enough of a change to actually affect the clutch set up but it would be nice to at least be able to say I have an upgraded clutch to match

    Bike has ~35k

    Thanks in advance
    1980/1981 GS450 - GS500 Cylinder + Piston Swap - "De-L'ed", custom seat, CB350 bits, 18" rear, etc.
    1977 GS550
    1977 GS750 - Cross country trip thread

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    Gorminrider is offline Forum Sage Past Site Supporter
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    To me, that sounds like something else is going on but I can't think of much except the number and order of the plates. I've used old plates before and never had an issue-so you where I'm coming from. Don't buy new stuff until you really are sure... so many bikes seem to use the same setup and size. Once I asked a mechanic how long clutches last -he said "forever..or nearly so if you're normal"


    sooo, If you're absolutely sure you have it right,try adding one.

    If you bolt the carrier together without the plates you should get an idea of what width is required.
    Also get your nose in there and see if/how the push mechanism is working. By loosening the clutch's "bolt-together bolts" you can make the clutch slip or grip which is informative....even useful with plates that will not come unstuck. Running atiny ways around the backyard like this can cure things.

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    Nessism is online now Forum LongTimer GSResource Superstar
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    The OEM parts are best available. No such thing as "upgrade" when it comes to aftermarket parts and the clutch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
    The OEM parts are best available. No such thing as "upgrade" when it comes to aftermarket parts and the clutch.
    OEM are probably the best for the money,for longevity,Even though they are way overpriced...But a company called FBG makes what I think is the closest to original and last depending on use, and are several bucks cheaper..A lot of Drag Racers use them.
    82 gs1100ez 1168 Wiseco,Web .348 Cams,Falicon Sprockets,Star Racing Ported Head,1mm o/s Stainless Valves,APE Springs,Bronze Guides,etc.APE Billet Tensioner,36CV Carbs,Stage 3 Dynojet,Plenum w/K&N filter,Trued,Welded,Balanced,Crank w/Katana rods & Billet left end, FBG backcut trans, VHR HD Clutch basket,APE nut,VHR High volume oil pump gears,1150 Oil cooler,V&H Megaphone header w/Competition baffle,Dyna S,Coils,Wires,etc.Other misc.mods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gs11ezrydr View Post
    OEM are probably the best for the money,for longevity,Even though they are way overpriced...But a company called FBG makes what I think is the closest to original and last depending on use, and are several bucks cheaper..A lot of Drag Racers use them.

    I'd like to check those FBG friction plates out:do you know if they're made as good as OEM,Japan?

    also OP might check to see if his clutch actuator is still in good order/not worn-out and the clutch cable moves freely.

  6. #6
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    Redman is offline Forum LongTimer Past Site Supporter
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    Humm... replaced springs and clutch plates, and still having clutch slip....

    Using motorcycle oil? Or high detergent automotive oil...? high effeciency automotive oil??

    Have you inspected the slots in the clutch basket? Is it notched?

    Had 850G for 14 years. Now have GK since 2005.
    GK at IndyMotoGP Suzuki Display... ... GK on GSResources Page ... ... Euro Trash Ego Machine .. ..3 mo'cykls.



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    salty_monk is offline Forum LongTimer GSResource Superstar
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    The friction material can go kinda hard or get polluted... I'd try a set of EBC springs if I didn't want to spend a bunch of money. Scuff the steels too.

    1980 GS1000G - Sold
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    Update:

    Took the clutch apart again to triple check number of plates like somebody suggested. All good there although I did end up breaking one of the clutch basket retaining bolts. A little rusty from working on things last year and I forgot that they have a low torque spec, doh! Had a spare that I threw in after wiggling the stub out.

    Anyway, after I bolted it up the kickstarter wouldn't turn the engine over indicating the clutch was engaged. On the left side, I took off the clutch pushrod pushing mechanism, cleaned and greased the bearings and could immediately see the issue on re-assembly:



    There's a gap between the mating surfaces that indicating that when everything was bolted up, the pushrod was engaged. I've never adjusted the nominal position of the pushrod actuator so am not really sure how it comes out of adjustment but that sorted it right out. Still thinking about getting new plates because there's a bit of a hesitation as I engage first from a stop but it's totally rideable now.

    Thanks all
    1980/1981 GS450 - GS500 Cylinder + Piston Swap - "De-L'ed", custom seat, CB350 bits, 18" rear, etc.
    1977 GS550
    1977 GS750 - Cross country trip thread

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    Gorminrider is offline Forum Sage Past Site Supporter
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    Oh good! Great success if you find the prolem without buying parts you don't need..and yes indeed. The clutch actuator at the end of the cable is a maintenance item, and it can go awry if not right.
    It can be tricky even putting that sprocket casing back on the bike where the cable end gets hung up or falls loose from the slotty thing as you slip it into place... Perhaps someone cranked it tight so the cable end wouldn't flop about and then forgot to readjust it when tightened on?

  10. #10
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    Sand blasting the steel plates will improve the friction and holding properties of the clutch and is cheap and easy enough to do. Works every time for me. Most auto oil has 'friction modifiers' in them and will cause the clutch to slip. I use only motorcycle specific oil , Amsoil 10 W 40 , there are others. 10 years now and no clutch issues. Just FYI . Keep us informed .
    Last edited by headsbikesmopars; 04-14-2021 at 01:25 PM.
    1980 Suzuki GS550E, 1981 Suzuki GS 1100EX all stock, 1983 Suzuki GS 1100EX modified, 1985 GS1150E, 1998 Honda Valkyrie Tourer, 1971 Kawasaki Mach lll 500 H1, 1973 Kawasaki Mach lV 750 H2.

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