It may just be a "weird" happening but I got a call last night from another Valk owner who had the same problem as Valker's friend with a smoking bike. Now I have no real clue as to why this is happening but it appears rivets are coming out of clutches and causing some real havoc. READ COMPLETELY. Twice I have had guys call me with bikes smoking from "rivets" coming out of clutches and blocking the "strainer" to the scavenger pump. (to see what I am talking about if you have a Honda Valk Manual a pic of the strainer is in the clutch section on page 9-11, if you have a Clymer manual it is called a scavenge pump oil filter and is found on page 172.) Here is the part I DO NOT understand. In BOTH cases these guys have changed their oil, and began having clutch problems (slippage) then again in both cases after changing the oil a second time had smoking begin. Both guys had switched oils to synthetics. Now I am a lover of the synthetic oils and have never thought they could hurt your Valk. If anything I have had GREAT success with the synthetics.
I am wondering if when changing oil "types" if the clutch shouldn't be removed and THOROUGHLY cleaned (each friction plate and each clutch plate) I am not sure about the "rivets" as they have said, I am thinking it is more the friction pads themselves breaking down and coming apart in chunks. I have changed the oil "type" (from regular oils to synthetics) in quite a few bikes and not had this problem, and maybe there is something else going on these guys didn't think to tell me, I don't know. But after talking to some "clutch people" (those who work with them on a daily basis) they have said depending on the oils used before and after, it is possible on a wet clutch system to cause the friction pads to break down faster. It made sense after talking to some different clutch people that the pads soak up the oil, and "condition" themselves to the type of oil used. Once that conditioning is "set" changes to it can cause "unexceptable reconditioning" (or it makes the friction pads softer, harder, expand, contract?)
Again I have to say I like the synthetic oils, and have changed bikes to them that were using regular oil before. But since this has happened twice now, and since that seems to be the only thing familiar with these two bikes, I thought I should post a "heads up".
Oh yeah one other factor that was the same. (I know MANY of you use this oil and have had NO PROBLEMS, some of you swear by it and this IS NOT a slam to it, because I know how many of you have changed your bikes to it, and again had NO PROBLEMS, so don't get ticked at me, I am just stating the facts from the two guys who have called me) They both had switched their oil to Rotella T. I don't think the change is the problem, I think "possibly" the way it is changed and the amount of miles on the bike (or clutch) could be the problem.
So just beware and be careful when making changes to the system.
Do you think rather than the problem being the oil they switched to (Rotella T in this case) that maybe the problem is what they had run in the past? For example, using oil with Moly (which my dealer actually recommended to me for my Valk) or automotive type oils with "Energy Conserving" friction modifiers may have ruined the clutch plates causing glazing, etc. and started the slipping...then switching to a better, fully synthetic oil really just allowed the problem to become more apparent, allowing more slippage to the point that the clutch overheats and comes apart.
I don't know...I'm not a mechanic and have never had one apart. I'm just thinking out loud here. What do you think (as one who has more experience and knows more about these types of things)?
Well I am not sure I know much at all about these things anymore. Or at least it seems to me the more I learn (or experience) I find the LESS I know. I wonder about the idea it could be what they ran before. Really I am not so sure it is the oil itself causing the problem but the change between the two. Clutch pads in a wet system get "conditioned" to the system, then I am wondering if the drastic change causes some type of major reaction in the pads which ultimately causes break down.
At this point all I know is both had run some type of petroleum oil for more than 10K and then changed to Rotella T (a synthetic) and THEN the clutch slipping began, eventually leading to a smoking bike due to the scavenger pump being blocked.
I think it would be real interesting to know the actual chemical breakdown on Rotella T verses something like Mobil 1. Then knowing the same on the petroleum oils used, probably at that point someone (doubt it would be me) could figure out what is happening and why the clutch pads break down. My GUESS is one part of the synthetic and one part of the petroleum are combining to create a moly which breaks down the pads. It may soften them, it may harden them? I don't know, but to me I think there has to be something combining from the two causing this.
I know oils have come a long way in the refining process, and I can remember when we had cars that we NEVER changed brands of oils in the motors due to it causing problems. I remember back then it had to do with the refining process and the type of crude used. For instance your Quaker State oils and back then Pennzoil were both from Pennsylvania crude which had a higher paraffin content. Now I think the refining process has managed to come close to perfecting the base make up of oils, but I am sure they use different additives and I am sure the additives are in different proportions which leads me to think it is these additives or their proportions bonding with one another causing this problem. If any of that made sense. I can remember working in the lab that some compounds would not "bond" or create a new compound until heat was added, even then some wouldn't until pressure was added to the heat and even then some wouldn't unless the proportions were exact. So who is to say that just maybe when the old oil, and the new oil are mixed on the pads, heated and then put under pressure a new compound is formed causing the clutch pads to break down?
Like I said maybe I am way out in left field on this, I truthfully have no real evidence or data of any of this, well we have evidence something is happening, but at this point I don't even know if the oil type change is really the problem. It has just happened twice at that point, and in both cases Rotella T was the oil they changed to????
From a statistical standpoint you are looking at a blip on the chart. There are thousands of Valkyrie's out there running synthetic oil and this is a sample size of two. We call those kind of percentages an anomaly where I work.
Not biting on you, but unless you start seeing LOTS more of these then I am guessing this is just a coincidence.
Hawk, the guy I told you about had been running Mobil 1 synth. but switched to the Rotella T. The clutch dragging had started before the switch. I am sorry if I said something to confuse this...
Thanks again for the superb advice. You saved him a chink of money.
Sorry Valker, I must have misunderstood, I thought when he and I talked on the phone he had said it all started after he switched, my mistake.
Dave I think you are right, it is just a blip on the chart. That is why I said it was a "heads up", just something to think about and consider. The main thing I am concerned about is the "smoking bikes" and your local dealers thinking you need a rebuild. Granted you are going to be buying a clutch, but that cost sure beats a rebuild. Although the guy I talked to the other night said the shop wanted $980 (Labor, I think) to put the clutch in and around $600 something for the clutch. WOW, and I thought $1000 to split a case was a lot. Oh well?????