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Monday, January 16, 2006

Starter Clutch Hell !!

Alright, where do I start? What started out as a simple Shift Shaft Seal replacement turned into major surgery. I took off the Left side cover to gain access to the shift shaft seal. After I pulled the cover, I checked the Balancer Nut and that was good and tight. Then I looked for the starter clutch bolts inside the rotor. As I looked, I didn't see anything. I looked closer, with a flashlight. What I found was that all three of the starter clutch bolts had backed out and removed themselves from the rotor.

Pulling the rotor is not an easy task on a Yamaha Vision. First, you need to have a Harmonic Balancer/Flywheel Puller, which I didn't have, so I had to go buy one... $26.99 at Fisher Auto Parts. Then I had to get the rotor off. Yeah, Right! Lots of banging and twisting and banging some more, then get the deadblow hammer and whack the side of the rotor. Bang it some more and twist and whack... for several hours this went on. Finally, off it came. The back of the starter clutch was destroyed along with the bolt holes on the back of the rotor. This is odd. The normal tell tale sign that the bolts had backed out is a distinctive rattle noise from the engine that goes away after about 2500 RPM. I hadn't noticed a distinctive noise. There was a time or two that I did hear something, but didn't think much of it. One time a buddy of mine advised that he thought he heard a slight noise from the crankcase. Never was it very loud to cause any alarm.

Okay, now what? Pull the starter clutch and rotor from the spare engine.... Here we go again. Several hours later, I have a starter clutch and rotor in great condition. In fact, it appears as though the starter clutch bolt fix had already been done to the spare engine. Before I realized this, I pulled one of the bolts as I was going to match it up with a longer bolt. While looking at the bolt, I realized the end was mashed as if it had been peened over. Looking at the other bolts, they look like they had been peened also. Although the bolts could be a bit longer, these look really good. I did notice that when I took off the Flywheel puller, the center shaft forced it's way into the crankshaft and destroyed the bolt threads inside. Now, if I ever need to use the spare engine, I will have to replace the crankshaft.

I put the new rotor and starter clutch on the bike and torqued it down. On to the shift shaft seal. The drywall screw trick to removing the old seal didn't work. All it did was shred the old seal. I tried some dental tools I had lying around without success. What did finally work was an old paint can cover opener, you know, the kind you get free from the paint store when you buy a gallon of paint. With the old seal out and the new one in, all was looking good. A little Threebond 1104 and a new side cover gasket and it was all back together. 24 hours later, fresh synthetic oil and a trun of the key, it all started up nicely and charges as it is supposed to. The engine does sound a whole lot smoother, more like a happy sewing machine.

Now with all that done, I can't remember if I torqued and locktited the starter clutch bolt I took out. Well, if I didn't, it should hold together for another 20,000 miles when I will have to do it all over again. With a test ride, I found that I still have the front end wobble on deceleration. I am starting to think I will never get rid of that wobble. The next time I have a chance to work on the bike, I am going to crank down some more on the head bearings. I will also need to swap the forks back to my original forks as the replacement forks have a very bad leak in the seals. So bad that it is blowing fork oil onto the radiator. My old forks had good seals and the wobble apparently is not associated with the forks, so the old will work nicely.

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