Cold Weather Starting/Clutch - Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2008, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
84 Honda Shadow VT700C
 
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Cold Weather Starting/Clutch

I've had some issues with my 1984 Honda Shadow 700 when it gets really cold and has been sitting overnight.

1.) Starter power is WAY low. When I try to turn it over in neutral it just doesn't want to start, even with the choke and me playing with the throttle. The battery always gives out before I can get it started, but at the same time the battery does not last very long. I can only try for a few seconds before it gives up... Which leaves me popping the clutch and with another problem. :/

2.) I leave it in first gear overnight, so when I try to pop the clutch in the morning, it takes a large amount of force to get the bike moving in first gear with the clutch in. (Way more than in neutral.) When I try to push it, it gives resistance, and the resistance is strongest at one point then gets easier. (Could that be a warped plate?) Once I get it started, it frees up and no longer gives this resistance with the clutch in.

3.) Another reason I think this is clutch related is that if I have the bike on the center stand and in neutral then rev up the engine > 2500rpm, the rear wheel starts to move. It's like it never fully disengages. Also when I am shifting through the gears I sometimes find what feels like an empty spot or an extra neutral, like the clutch never disengages properly.

I did change the oil recently, but it has only been getting below freezing the last couple of days. I used a full synthetic 10w40 as well. I assumed that was best for running it in colder weather and being old.

Any ideas from my cold riding brothers and sisters?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2008, 04:46 PM
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The colder the oil, the more thick it will be, acting like glue between the clutch plates. This causes it to seem as if it's not disengaging, but it really is. You'll notice this behavior fading as engine temperatures rise...because the oil is thinning out and losing it's glue-like properties between the clutch plates.

If it bothers you, drop to a 5W-XX oil weight in winter. 5W is thinner when cold than 10W. I learned this lesson on my first Ninja when I changed the oil with 20W-50 and the behavior you mention manifested itself. I changed to 10W-40 synthetic and it got a lot better.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2008, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
84 Honda Shadow VT700C
 
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I'll try some 5w. Though I didn't think it would be that bad... I'm in Oklahoma after all, and I rode my 50cc through most of last winter. I wish I could crank it without popping the clutch. I had to get my brother to help me, and I nearly wore him out this morning getting it going.

In the meantime I think I will put it on the center stand before I try starting it tomorrow morning. Maybe since there is some friction there, reducing the drag on the rear wheel will make it more able to start. I just tried this idea after it has been sitting for 5 hours, and it started it just fine.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-05-2008, 11:56 PM
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Your battery might be getting weak - on the low starter power - and a lighter viscosity oil can help, too, as cbdallas said. An old trick we used in CO for hard starting was to put a drop light (with a metal reflector - makes heat) near the carbs/cylinder with a tarp to hold the heat in.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 12:09 PM
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Side note: wouldnt full synthetic in an 84' screw up the clutch anyway, assuming its a wet clutch made for the non synthetics of back then?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-07-2008, 02:19 AM
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Depends on the synthetic, whether or not it has friction modifiers - if it does - and if it affects the clutch, then the clutch won't catch - other direction of his report.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
84 Honda Shadow VT700C
 
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Well, I have another possibly related problem. I think one of the ignition coils is going out. I don't have anything to test all the wires to make sure, but there is definitely no spark to one cylinder. I had to nurse it home yesterday.

Also, I'm pretty sure Valvoline MaxLife is ok for a wet clutch.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 02:22 AM
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Pull one plug wire off, start the motor, then put the end of the wire about a spark plug gaps worth of space to a ground. Try that with all and see if they all jolt the same.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 03:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatermoto View Post
Side note: wouldnt full synthetic in an 84' screw up the clutch anyway, assuming its a wet clutch made for the non synthetics of back then?
I doubt it. My '79 has always run on any oil, including syns and "energy saving" blends. I think very few bikes have clutches that screw up on certain oils.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 03:47 PM
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Are you saying its hard to pull in the cluctch lever?
sounds like your cable has some water in it and it freezes and makes pulling cable real hard. plus rust in there.
if you disconnect the clutch cable from the lever get a peace of intertube
say a 4 inch circle and small hoes clamp cut very small hole in center of the intertube just large enough to force over end of clutch cable you disconnected.
then slide small hose clamp over the clutch cable slide on peace of intertube.
slide it just past the end of the clutch cable. clamp it in place to create a funnel.
now hold it up right if you have some diesel or furnace oil you can pour some in and let it seep into cable.
spray some wd40 or other type of loosener and i you have any gasline anti freeze a table spoon of that will remove any water in cable. if this don,t loosen it up nothing will work the cable sheaf up and down too helps liqued seep through.

sounds like cable is allso not releaseing clutch at some points.

if this don,t help take cable off bike bring it to any good motor cycle repair shop ask them to replace the inner wire ans to blow the dirt out after removing old wire.

might be easyer to just buy a new cable if this is your problem.
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