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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hoping someone on here has seen this problem before and can tell me how to fix it. I just bought a 1986 Suzuki VS700 Intruder and have only rode it a few times. Today I started to have trouble with the clutch. I had to pull the clutch lever in a few times to get the bike to start. The first few times I pulled it in and pressed the starter button, nothing happened. I finally did get the bike to start, but then I had trouble getting it to shift from neutral to first. It was acting like I didn't have the clutch lever pulled in. I finally got it in to gear and everything seemed ok. I rode around the neighborhood for a little while and came home. When I got back, I noticed some fluid leaking from the clutch lever (near where it pivots), and I had some dark spots on my jeans on my left knee. Anyone know what's going on here? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

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That sounds like a leak for sure. The fluid that is leaking is likely getting replaced by air, which is why the clutch is not operating correctly. (The fluid works because it cannot be compressed under pressure, but air can be compressed a lot)

You will have to locate the source of the leak. It could be from the fitting, the clutch line, or the master cylinder itself due to leaking seals. If you clean it up really well and inspect it very closely, it may become apparent where the leak is coming from. If it's from the master cylinder seals, which is the most likely cause, it will need to be rebuilt.

I would recommend not riding until you get it fixed. The problem will only get worse and it could be dangerous to suddenly lose the clutch operation at an inopportune moment.
 

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You have two different problems. The starting problem is probably the small switch attached to the clutch lever perch; it can be removed and cleaned out. I put a bit of silicone grease in it, to help keep it clean. Reassembly requires care, so as not to break the little plastic post that sticks up into a hole in the lever.

The leak could be the banjo fitting, but is probably the seals in the master cylinder. Not hard to replace, but will require a good bleeding afterward. Also, you need to check the tiny holes at the bottom of the reservoir, to make sure they are open. With a bike that old, you should probably locate the slave cylinder (behind the cover behind the shifter), and see if it is leaking, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have ordered a master cylinder rebuild kit online from JC Whitney. How difficult is this to remove, rebuild, and reassemble? Will I have to completely drain the fluid from reservoir and the line? I am moderately mechanically inclined, so I think I can handle this myself as long as it's not too involved.
 

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You will have to completely drain the fluid from the reservoir and disconnect the line. It is usually not a hard job to do. You may want to use a power bleeder to get the air out of the system after you have it all back together again.
 

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In case you didn't know, clutch/brake fluid can soften paint and stain polished parts, so make sure you cover with plastic, or other material that won't let fluid splash on those surfaces. If you do get fluid where it shouldn't be, it is water soluble, so rinse it off quickly.
This diagram shows how it goes together:http://www.boulevardsuzuki.com/fich...y=Motorcycles&make=SUZUKI&year=1986&fveh=1891
The hardest part is getting the clip (next to the boot) out of the cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok... I covered the bike in plastic and took the cover off of the clutch assembly reservoir. There was very little fluid in it, but what was in there was kind of a light caramel color. I took the chrome cover off of the side where the bleeder valve is. No leaks there. Hopefully, when the master cylinder kit comes in the mail, I can get everything up an running.
 

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If the clutch fluid is that color, you probably need to flush out the brake fluid, too. It should be changed every two years, or sooner, to minimize water build up, and potential loss of braking.
 
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