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Clutch problems
Hi. I am new here. I am not very mechanically inclined, but try to do some work when I can. I have a 1987 GL1200 Interstate. I recently had the clutch lever break and it allowed the master cylinder piston to come out. The spring and c clamp were lost. I decided to purchase a different master cylinder, so I bought one on Ebay from an 1987 Aspencade. I dumped out the old fluid and replaced it with new DOT4 brake fluid. When I squeezed the clutch handle I was expecting some fluid to come out, but nothing happened. It pulls very smoothly, but there is no fluid, even with the cylinder off the bike. I went ahead and replaced it on the bike and hooked up everything. I still have no pressure at all when I squeeze the clutch handle. Also, I am not sure where to locate the slave cylinder to bleed the lines. I have a picture in the Honda repair manual, but can't seem to find it. Is it on the back of the engine? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
#1 08-11-2010, 05:01 PM,
Hi Don, welcome to the site. The cylinder is at the back of the engine, left side just above the center stand. It s a bit hard to get at but it can be done.
Ride safe have fun and enjoy. Lane
1985 Aspencade
2002 Vulcan
#2 08-11-2010, 05:18 PM,
You need to remove the plastic holding tank and it is behind it.

After you have bled the clutch and you find maybe although you think you have gotten rid if all the air in the system place a cloth under the clutch lever, crack the banjo, pull the lever and tighten the banjo this will remove any air bubbles trapped in the master cylinder, you may need to do it a couple of times or may not need to do it at all.
The only stupid questions are the one's that are not asked.

#3 08-11-2010, 06:57 PM,
Yes, what they said.

Always wise to prime the master before installing. Doing it on the bench and not on the bike is easiest.

And as was mentioned, air bubbles travel up, slowly, but they do travel up so with the master installed on the bike, pump up the pressure, hold the lever, crack the banjo, bleed the line at the banjo (don't let the lever go all the way to the grip), while holing the lever, close the banjo. Repeat this a couple of times. Do this same thing for the slave, which, as was mentioned, is best worked from the left side of the bike. Removig the evap canister (little black, plasic container) help on the bike with one bolt. Just tuck it out of the way.

This really is a one man (person) job. I flushed the system, pushing out all the bad and replacing with good.

It is nice and smooth.
enjoying the view from the saddle....... due mainly to the people and information found within this site
#4 08-12-2010, 04:10 PM,
Thanks for all your help. I was able to locate the slave cylinder. I still am not able to build up any pressure. I opened the bleed valve on the slave cylinder and pumped the clutch handle several times. All I got was a very small trickle of fluid. I think either the small hole in the bottom of the master cylinder is stopped up or I need to rebuild it. I have taken it back off and am in the process of checking it out. Thanks again for all the help.
#5 08-12-2010, 07:13 PM,
Since it is off the bike, try to get the fluid to flow..........
take the top off the master and fill the reservoir if not already filled......
slowly compress the hand lever, use caution because some fluid may squirt from the reservoir...
while the lever is compressed, put your finger over the hole where the banjo bolt goes to seal it.....
now slowly release the lever, now remove your finger from the hole……
slowly compress the hand lever again, repeating the above procedure……
doing this several times may cause the fluid to start flowing as it should.

Reattach the master to the bike, loosely attach the banjo bolt wrapping a rag around it…….
Slowly compress the hand lever catching the fluid escaping at the banjo bolt…..
While the hand lever is compressed, tighten the banjo bolt…..
Release the lever, loosen the banjo bolt and compress the lever catching the fluid escaping the banjo bolt…
Repeat several times then tighten the banjo bolt…….

Gain access to the slave, attach one end of a tube to the slave bleeder and the other end goes in a jar
where the tip of the tube is below the level of the clutch fluid in the jar
compress the hand lever and watch to see fluid flowing into the catch jar.
You may not see fluid flowing if there is a ton of air in the line, be patient
While the lever is still compressed, close the bleeder , now release the lever – I like to use a box wrench
on the bleeder to get a good hold all the way around the bleeder, an open-end may strip the bleeder

Keep in mind, while doing this, the level in the master will go down,
keep the master filled or air will be forced back into the system

repeat the open bleeder, compress lever, close bleeder, release lever, check level of fluid in master process
until you see fresh fluid entering the catch jar – you have now flushed the clutch system.

If the clutch will not function as you think it should, remove the slave from the back of the motor,
leaving it attached to the clutch hose, and slowly compress the hand lever while watching the slave piston
as it moves. You do not want to pop the piston out of its seal.
If the piston does not move, a rebuild of the slave is in order.
If the piston moves, press it back using a c-clamp or channel lock pliers taking care not to damage anything.
Before reinstalling the slave to the back of the motor, remove the clutch rod from where the slave was
attached on the back of the motor.
Inspect it for a build-up of dirt or grease. This rod needs to be smooth and clean in order to expand the
clutch plates.
I use parts cleaner to clean stuff like this, just make sure it is clean and smooth. Reinstall the slave and put
the bike on the center stand. Turn the engine on and test the operation of the clutch. If the motor does
not run, remove the spark plugs, slip it into 4th or 5th and hand turn the back wheel. If the clutch is working,
you should hear the motor rotating.
If this does not work, the next step may be looking at the clutch basket and plates.
enjoying the view from the saddle....... due mainly to the people and information found within this site
#6 08-13-2010, 08:21 AM,
Thank you to everyone who made suggestions. I just didn't have the master cylinder bled. Once I put my finger over the hole where the banjo bolt goes and pumped the handle a couple of times I started getting fluid. I was able to bleed the whole system and now have good clutch pressure. I am going to wait until tomorrow morning when I have better light and not as many mosquito's in my garage and bleed it again, then put everything back together. I was able to start the bike and check the function with it on the center stand. Everything seems to be working great! I really appreciate this forum and all your help. I should have the bike back on the road tomorrow!
#7 08-13-2010, 05:46 PM,
Ok, I got the clutch master cylinder back on the bike got it bled and got everything back together. I have very good clutch pressure. I took the bike for a test ride, and everything seemed to be working fine, except for the clutch does not engage until it is almost all the way out. It used to engage when the lever was pulled almost all the way in (probably due to air in the lines). Now, when I am in the higher gears and roll on the throttle hard the clutch slips badly and the rpm's go way up. I never had any clutch slippage before I replaced the master cylinder. I looked in the repair manual and did not find any information on how to adjust the clutch. Does anybody have any ideas? Even though it seems to be fully engaging with normal easy riding I am afraid it might be slipping a little all the time and causing excessive wear on the clutch itself. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
#8 08-14-2010, 08:57 AM,
Ok. Got the clutch apart and it looks like I am going to need new friction plates and a spring. I can find friction plates many places, but does anyone have any ideas were to find a new spring for a 1987 Interstate? Also, are there any differences in the master cylinder for an Interstate and an Aspencade? The used one I bought was from an Aspencade, but mine is an Interstate. They looked the same.
#9 08-22-2010, 06:47 PM,
According to Bike Bandit (<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... /oem-parts</a><!-- m -->) the ’87I uses p/n 614200 (Honda p/n 59253-001) where the ‘87A uses p/n 614201 (Honda p/n 59240-001) so there may be a difference but it may not affect performance.
Bike Bandit did not list a p/n for the ‘87A SEi.

Others on this site may have a more definitive answer.
enjoying the view from the saddle....... due mainly to the people and information found within this site
#10 08-24-2010, 11:05 AM,
Ya might try disassembling the master cyclinder and cleaning the casting out real well... Use compressed air to blow it out good... Gently clean the internals with WD40 spray (or the like there of) and gentlly blow them off... Reassemble carefully and try it once again... You should be able to get brake fluid to flow from the bleeder screw simply from gravity... You may need to bleed the banjo bolt at the master cylinder area once or twice to remove any trapped air...

It sounds like the master cylinder is not letting all the fluid return from the slave cylinder (or is restricking it some).... The above should make a difference/fix the issue... If it does, then I'd go ahead and spring from a new rebuild kit...
Ed Zogg
#11 08-24-2010, 09:48 PM,

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