Aside from death and taxes, there’s another thing you can be sure of - ride your dirt bike for long enough and sooner or later you’re going to have to replace the clutch. The time it’ll go will be halfway up a steep gnarly hill, in the middle of a momentum-sucking bog or in a sea of giant sand dunes.
If this is your first time tackling the task of clutch-plate replacement, you’ll be comforted to know that the procedure is reasonably simple and the tools required are fairly few. In fact, there’s very little that can go wrong so long as you’re careful and take your time.
Before you get started make sure you have a clean work area and all the tools you need. The first thing to do before you get into the job properly is to slip your new clutch (friction) plates into a bath of oil so that they can be busy soaking up some oil. This gives the clutch a fighting chance of working first time you use it. Okay, let’s get into it!
Before You Start
If you simply want to change the clutch plates you’ll need 8mm and 10mm T-bars, needle-nose pliers or a Phillips screwdriver (for relocating dowels), a container of oil (to soak the new friction plates in) and a torque wrench and sockets. If you’re inspecting for wear in the hope of getting some extra life out of your existing clutch, you’ll also need to arm yourself with a vernier caliper and feeler gauge, a perfectly flat block (to check for plate warpage). And if you plan to replace your entire clutch basket, you’ll need to add to the list a new tab washer and a clutch-holding tool. In general clutch springs will last a good few years before needing replacement, so if this is the first new clutch in your bike it’s probably not worth bothering with new clutch springs just yet.
Below left: Find a suitable container for soaking the clutch friction plates in. Below right: The tools you'll need to get the job done...