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Sprag Clutch Problems

Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:33 pm
by Signdude8771
Doing a search of the forum, I'm finding a number of folks with the same problem... problems starting after the bike is warm.

The general consensus seems to be the clutch becomes clogged with gunk and crud over time.
Before having the motor removed and the clutch replaced, there seems to be another consensus,
try the Seafoam procedure first.

I notice that most of those reporting the problem seem to be '83 and '84 - 1100 and 1200 owners.

Mine being a '95 GL1500 SE, would the Seafoam method still hold true? I ask because I don't know if there is
a difference in the position and lubrication of the clutch between years.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
Bill

Re: Sprag Clutch Problems

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:16 am
by bluthundr31
Seafoam isn't for the clutch, , , the gunked up clutch reservoir will cause "clutch slippage", , ,but clutch problems are often different than starting problems.

Are you having trouble starting after engine is warmed up? Seafoam has been used as a method to clean up low-idle jets in the carbs and will improve starting.

Re: Sprag Clutch Problems

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:19 am
by DaveO430
This is the first I remember anyone ever having a starter clutch problem on a 1500. It works the same way as the 4 cyls so worth a try with seafoam.

Re: Sprag Clutch Problems

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:33 am
by Signdude8771
Thanks Guys,

Much appreciated.

Re: Sprag Clutch Problems

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:27 am
by WingAdmin
bluthundr31 wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:16 am
Seafoam isn't for the clutch, , , the gunked up clutch reservoir will cause "clutch slippage", , ,but clutch problems are often different than starting problems.
In this case it is - it's for the SPRAG clutch that is part of the starter. It's a one-way clutch that lets the starter motor rotate the engine when the engine is not running, but then disconnects the starter motor as soon as the engine starts up (which is why you can press the starter button while the engine is running without doing damage - the sprag clutch won't engage).

The little sprag arms are in an area where there is not a lot of oil flowing, and as a result sludge tends to build up, and the arms stop engaging properly. Seafoam dissolves this sludge and frees up the arms.

The oil flow issue is primarily in the 4-cylinder wings, and while the GL1500 does use a sprag clutch for the starter, it is of a completely different design, in a different place.

It should be noted that if the starter is cranking the engine and it's not starting, then the problem is NOT your sprag clutch. If the starter spins freely and the engine is not cranking at all, then this is a symptom of the sprag clutch not engaging.

Re: Sprag Clutch Problems

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:15 pm
by Signdude8771
That is my problem. Hit the start button and the starter motor spins at high speed, but there is no evidence the motor is turning over.
When the bike is cold, she starts instantly.

Thanks for the note.
Bill