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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I've got an issue(s) with adjusting my clutch. It's a 2002 Suzuki GSXR 750 with 9k miles. I've been riding around for a year with the clutch uncomfortably tight and wanted to do something about it so I can enjoy riding again.

Why didn't I adjust it when it became an issue? I did, a few months ago. I might've overtightened somewhere when I installed the CRG shorty levers.

But now I can't ride more than 20 min before it just becomes too much and my left hand will cramp violently. I'm taking this as a learning experience. I hadn't done anything sooner before today because I thought I might make the problem worse; which I likely have done today.

I made a video about the issue and uploaded to YouTube and attached the page from the manual regarding clutch maintenance.

What I did/attempted to do today:

Lubed the clutch cable with cable Lube using motion pro cable luber
Greased the pivot bolt
Major adjustment
Minor adjustment

If anyone out there might be able to help I'd be very grateful

Thank you!

Video Here

296017
 

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The adjustment should have little to nothing to do with how hard it is to pull the clutch in.

#1. Try the OEM levers- same feel?

#2- quit using the clutch to upshift.

You seem to have adjusted it properly per the service manual- strong work on that.
 
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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@Todd_Sails Thank you for the assistance! I'll try using the OEM levers and see if that helps

I've heard about Clutchless upshifting (I think it's called blipping the throttle) from one of my buddies but it didn't really make sense at the time. Will go educate myself on the topic
 

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SuperMod of the North
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Clutchless shifts are easy after a little practice - all you need to do is have no load on the transmission. To shift up just ease off the throttle to unload the transmission and flick the gear lever up while the drive train is slack. Down shifts are a little harder but you will get it. When you are slowing and the bike is engine braking you need to add throttle (blip it) to unload the gears then down shift.
 

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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Clutchless shifts are easy after a little practice - all you need to do is have no load on the transmission. To shift up just ease off the throttle to unload the transmission and flick the gear lever up while the drive train is slack. Down shifts are a little harder but you will get it. When you are slowing and the bike is engine braking you need to add throttle (blip it) to unload the gears then down shift.
@Tinsnips thats a great summary of what I read up on. Thanks for the assistance!
 

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I've adjusted the clutch on three bikes with this type of release system (the ramp style in the sprocket cover) and found all of them worn, loose and not smooth feeling. A bit of oil helped but I told the owners they really should replace the mechanism.

All of those bikes had a lot more miles than your bike but your bike is almost 40 years old and I'm sure any grease in the mechanism is dry and/or dirty.

This mechanism being sticky could also be the reason you are having some issues adjusting the clutch as the lever inside the cover is not returning all the way down consistently. (Make sure the spring inside is still there also)
 

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The mechanism is #19 and the spring #26.
Due to the low miles, you might get away with trying to clean and grease the mechanism.
296022
 
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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The mechanism is #19 and the spring #26.
Due to the low miles, you might get away with trying to clean and grease the mechanism.
View attachment 296022
@rv6john solid advice thank you. I feared it might be something more complicated than lube/tension but it is an old bike and I wanted to learn how to wrench on it so this is all good learning. It'll be my first time messing with the clutch assembly. I'll keep posting on YouTube. Just kinda kicking myself. I just changed that damn oil. Oh well! 🤣
 

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@rv6john Just kinda kicking myself. I just changed that damn oil. Oh well! 🤣
The mechanism is in the sprocket cover so there is no oil there. Just unbolt the cover and leave the cable attached. You will have enough access to clean and lube it. Once you are looking at it, it will be obvious how it works and what needs to be serviced.
 

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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The mechanism is in the sprocket cover so there is no oil there. Just unbolt the cover and leave the cable attached. You will have enough access to clean and lube it. Once you are looking at it, it will be obvious how it works and what needs to be serviced.
@rv6john This is gold. I just got back from buying oil and a filter. Thank you once again for the knowledge. This forum is great! Happy 4th everyone!
 

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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Day 2 Results

I think I burned the clutch

Why?

I went to put it in first and the bike pulled as if I was in the friction zone for the clutch in 1st gear

Even with the clutch pulled all the way in (I think engaged is the term) it was pulling. Attempted to shift into second and could not make it happen. Lastly, the bike started smoking. I turned it off as soon as that happened.

What led up to this?

I took off the sprocket cover, cleaned up the dirt and lubed the end of the cable. The lube I shot in the cable yesterday seemed to have pushed some of the gunk out to the bottom of line but it wasn't much.

Put sprocket cover back on tested the OEM lever vs the shorty with not much difference. Put the shorty back on and started messing with the cable adjuster again with the adjuster at the lever all the way in. For the life of me I just couldn't find the setting I was happy with. The lever would either be too tight or too loose. So I started all over.

Back to the adjuster screw and the lock nut. Loosened the lock nut, rotated the screw out (counter clockwise) three rotations then back in (clockwise) until I met resistance, then backed out 3 turns in 1/4 increments and tightened the lock nut. I did this back and forth with the cable adjuster and the adjuster at the lever looking for a nice feel with the right amount of free play. Safe to say that I don't know what I'm doing at this point.

I think what it really is, is that I don't know what a normal clutch feels like anymore after riding with mine so tight. I'm checking out all these videos about the freeplay distances but it seemed like the adjustments I made were either all freeplay or super tight.

I'm ordering a complete clutch kit and a new cable. The bike is about 20yrs old now and it's likely that the clutch/cable are still factory ones.

I appreciate everyone coming to chime in and help me out so far with this. If anyone's got more suggestions I'm all ears. Gonna go searching around the web for clutch kits.
 

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Back to the adjuster screw and the lock nut. Loosened the lock nut, rotated the screw out (counter clockwise) three rotations then back in (clockwise) until I met resistance, then backed out 3 turns in 1/4 increments and tightened the lock nut. I did this back and forth with the cable adjuster and the adjuster at the lever looking for a nice feel with the right amount of free play. Safe to say that I don't know what I'm doing at this point.
This is a big part of your problem. If you look at page 2-17 again it says to back out the #3 screw only 1/4 turn after it is seated. Not 3 turns. I know it says "rotations" but that is a misprint and the next year manual just says "1/4 rotation".

Did you lube the release mechanism, not just the cable, while you had the sprocket cover off?

I don't know why you think the clutch is bad or what is smoking.
 

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SuperMod of the North
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I am guessing penetrating oil, grease, and other debris from cleaning the area may have run down and got on the header under the pan. I would fire it up and see if it is just that stuff burning off.
 

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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is a big part of your problem. If you look at page 2-17 again it says to back out the #3 screw only 1/4 turn after it is seated. Not 3 turns. I know it says "rotations" but that is a misprint and the next year manual just says "1/4 rotation".

Did you lube the release mechanism, not just the cable, while you had the sprocket cover off?

I don't know why you think the clutch is bad or what is smoking.
And back to the bike I go!
Seat the adjuster screw then back it out 1/4 a turn after it's seated. Got it.

I lubed the cable but not the "L" shaped part attached to the sprocket cover

It might've just been the gunk burning off that lead to the smoke.
I'll make another recording and report back.
 

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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am guessing penetrating oil, grease, and other debris from cleaning the area may have run down and got on the header under the pan. I would fire it up and see if it is just that stuff burning off.
Thanks @Tinsnips! That might be what it was. Will give it a go and report back.
 

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Usually a heavy clutch feel has nothing to do with adjustment. But, let's start there anyway. The locknut and screw on the sprocket cover adjusts the pushrod length. As the clutch wears, the stack gets shorter and the pushrod needs to shorten accordingly. The cable needs to be thought of as a tube and a cable. The cable adjusters change the length of the tube between the cover and the lever. Where I think your manual does a disservice is that you should remove the cable from the equation when you adjust the pushrod. When I do a clutch adjustment, I turn the adjuster in at the sprocket cover before I adjust the pushrod. This eliminates any influence the cable might have. Then I adjust the cable to fit the adjusted mechanism.

If I grab a clutch and it feels really heavy, I check two things. The cable, and the mechanism. Remove the cable from the bike and remove the sprocket cover. The mechanism should move easily even with a bit of a load (pushing into the socket). Loop the cable in a circle about a foot in diameter and them check movement. An unloaded cable with a 6" radius bend should move easily. There's a liner in the outer cable that wears. Once it's worn and the cable had a load, you might as well be dragging it across sandpaper. No amount of lube will help. Replacement is the only option. I've worked on probably a dozen clutch issues. It's always been the cable.
 

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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@Chuckster Hot damn. That makes sense. I'm looking at my bike again this evening. I ended up ordering a cable yesterday just in case it came down to a worn cable. Thank you for the assistance. I'm posting another video tonight with these tips implemented.
 

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2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Day 3

Reporting back

I ended up taking the sprocket cover and the clutch cable out to inspect them again

Took off the sprocket cover to get video of it and the state of what's behind the sprocket cover. It's gunked up with what I think is oil. That gunk felt gummy and greasy.

When I had the cover off over the weekend I only lubed the end of the cable and not the L- shaped mechanism with the spring + pull tab? (check my term there), which in hindsight made no sense. I should've asked:

"Do I spray lube on the L-Shaped Mech?"

But now that I have it off I'm going to hit it with a wire brush and some brake clean in the morning.

Ultimately the clutch cable is getting replaced on Sunday. Specially with the wisdom @Chuckster and put down today. I figure it's a good measure to rule the cable out before asking for more help.

I took a real long video that I need to edit before uploading. I'll look to get that done this evening. Here are pictures taken from the video in the interim.
296042
296043
 

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That's all the grime and lube from the chain. Pretty typical.

Now, look at your L shaped mechanism closely. See how the cable and the arm form an angle greater than 90 degrees? That's WRONG. At rest, it should be less than 90. When you pull the lever and the cable pulls that arm, at 90 is where it will be the strongest. So, if you start past 90, you're going to have to pull harder. If you start before 90, as you pull it will approach 90. Turn the cable adjuster in and watch it. It should retract to the point the spring is almost fully collapsed.
 

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^What he said.

Which goes back to my speculation that the "L" shaped lever was not returning all the way down when you were initially trying to adjust the clutch.

If you pull up on the cable you will see the lever move out on a ramp behind it. The ramp area is what you want to clean and lubricate till the mechanism moves freely and smoothly.
 
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