Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How-to: Change your clutch cover on a Ducati

This has to be one of the most popular and easy mods to do on a Ducati. With the dry clutch it's popular for a very good reason - it's popular because it takes minutes to do, and can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. I also offers an almost infinite amount of custom options. Here's how to go about it.
First thing you got to do is choose. Like I said, there are heaps of options available and the choice is a really personal thing. Bling, open, fully covered, stock or billeted. Big Steve at NotAnotherMotorcycleBlog has covered quite a lote of them so you can check that out here for inspiration. Next thing is beware. I found out the hard way that some covers require the OEM gasket to be used, and some don't, the difference is really important because it's easy to do damage. I chose the Woodcraft half open clutch cover

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I went that way for a combination of aesthetics and improved heat reduction. The front part of the cover being closed means that debris won't fly up into the clutch as much as with a fully open one, and the rear being open means that it will cool better hopefully giving it a bit of extra life. And of course that famous Ducati chatter is much more 'in ya face'. I also got to pick the colour of my skid plate, so I chose the polished aluminium one. Once you're ready to go and you have checked that you either need to, or not, use the OEM gasket, you need one tool - an allen key and some patience. Remove the old cover by loosening each bolt in an X pattern. Crack the first seal and loosen them continuing in that X pattern until you have removed all the bolts and the cover will just flop off. No oil, nothing to fall out. Crank it over and have a look at it working without a cover (it's hard to resist), then stick your fingers in there. Actually, don't do that, seriously, that would be a bad idea.

 Make sure the open cover and bolt holes are all clean - I recommend blowing out the exposed holes to remove any build up. I found the factory installed bolts have lock tight on them, and that gunk can get ugly making putting them back in a tough gig. So clean the bolts up, line up the gasket (or not) and simply fit your choice of cover back over the exposed clutch. Voila, instant bling upgrade.

Woodcraft clutch cover installed, complete with dirt
 Tighten the bolts in the same way you loosened them. Start top right, bottom left, top left, bottom right kind of thing and basically just hand tighten until you feel that catch when the brass spacers hit and then a further finger tweak past that point. Not too much pressure is the key I'm told. And don't replace the lock tight! I am told that wasn't needed for this job. You will have noticed by now that this particular cover doesn't use two of the potential six bolts to fasten the cover. I've no idea why, just go with it. Now, back to my initial warning about that pesky OEM gasket. My Woodcraft cover didn't come with instructions of any kind and as my bike was already fitted with a DP Carbon Fiber enclosed clutch cover which meant there was no gasket. Being completely mechanically retarded and doing this for the first time ever, I simply assumed that the new cover, with its countersunk screws would be a straight swap. Not so. You might notice that there is some additional bling with this particular cover, namely the skid plate. It's a plate that sits in a countersunk section of the cover, and is fastened by using the included screws from the inside out. This means the screws are exposed to the moving parts of the dry clutch. I fitted mine and started the bike to some unusual chirping sounds, and behold! Blue metal sparks shooting out of my clutch!



Removing the cover I discovered that the spring caps holding my pressure in plate had been scored and the screws which I thought were nicely flush had also been torched. Dayum shayum. I really think that the cover should have come with a little slip of paper that warned me of this, but onwards and forwards. At least now maybe you won't!

   A quick trip to the lads at Ducati City and I had an OEM gasket in hand and all was apples. The new cover looks pretty tough, no real serious damage was done and now I can see the plate I will eventually update my pressure plate, springs and caps, so big deal I guess. How would you feel?
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