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1978 Kawasaki KD125
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I just picked up a 1978 KD125. It runs, but the previous owner said it needs a clutch. It stalls right away when you try to engage first gear but if going downhill can start off in 3rd. So, Im assuming he's right it needs a new clutch.
Since I am new to the forum and new to owning a dirtbike, where is the best place to get a clutch for this bike and parts in general?

Other issues need to address:

  • it leaks at the oil reservoir (oil injected)
  • Several spokes are missing from the rear wheel
  • front forks are very soft
  • The gas tank is dented.
  • I also have a gas leak at the fuel shut-off valve. Can that be rebuilt?

It's a work in progress and my plan is to restore this bike. If anyone can give some advice on the above fixes that would be great!

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Nice bike!

Let's start with the clutch. You say it stalls which seems odd. With the clutch lever pulled in and you putting it into first gear with the engine running, do you hear a grinding noise first?

What happens if you put it into first gear with the engine not running and then you try to push the bike with the clutch out, and then with the clutch lever in?
 

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1978 Kawasaki KD125
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice bike!

Let's start with the clutch. You say it stalls which seems odd. With the clutch lever pulled in and you putting it into first gear with the engine running, do you hear a grinding noise first?

What happens if you put it into first gear with the engine not running and then you try to push the bike with the clutch out, and then with the clutch lever in?
Hi, thanks for replying. I just went out to do that test without it running as I drained the fuel to address the leak issue. So without it running and in first gear, it drags the motor the same with or without the clutch lever pulled or not. He did say that the clutch cable is messed and it does look like it's in bad shape. So I am wondering now if it's just the clutch cable that needs replacing?
 

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Ok, start with a new cable.

The clutch dragging is likely due to clutch plates that stuck together due to long term storage.
You can usually free the plates up without any disassembly, by snapping the clutch lever in and out while riding the bike, or by kicking the engine over with the lever pulled in and the bike in gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, start with a new cable.

The clutch dragging is likely due to clutch plates that stuck together due to long term storage.
You can usually free the plates up without any disassembly, by snapping the clutch lever in and out while riding the bike, or by kicking the engine over with the lever pulled in and the bike in gear.
Great advice thanks. I will see if I can adjust the cable first. When I pull the lever and look at the other end at the bottom of the engine, the lever travels about a quarter inch, maybe even a bit less. I imagine there should be a lot more travel than that to release the clutch properly?

Question on parts. Is eBay best for that?
 

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A quarter of an inch of movement should be enough to operate the clutch. The cable needs a bit of free play at the lever and as soon as the free play is used up, you should feel strong resistance from the clutch springs.

My preference is always for OEM parts from my dealer or from a third party like Partzilla. I avoid cheap knock-offs from China etc.
 

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1978 Kawasaki KD125
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A quarter of an inch of movement should be enough to operate the clutch. The cable needs a bit of free play at the lever and as soon as the free play is used up, you should feel strong resistance from the clutch springs.

My preference is always for OEM parts from my dealer or from a third party like Partzilla. I avoid cheap knock-offs from China etc.
Definitely will only buy genuine OEM, no China parts going on this bike!
So if the travel is enough, do you think if the clutch isn't releasing then it's just the clutch plates stuck together?
 

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That's my opinion, yes. When bikes are stored for long periods of time, the clutch plates tend to glue themselves together and won't release. In a worst case scenario, you will have to take the clutch apart, but I would only do that after a valiant attempt to free it up without disassembly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's my opinion, yes. When bikes are stored for long periods of time, the clutch plates tend to glue themselves together and won't release. In a worst case scenario, you will have to take the clutch apart, but I would only do that after a valiant attempt to free it up without disassembly.
Perfect. I will try doing that. Thanks for your advice, much appreciated!
 

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Kawasaki dot com or Partzilla should have the part number. partzilla also has a cross-reference. If an oem clutch cable is NLA, you can probably find NOS on EB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi all, so I was able to fix one of the problems so far on the bike. Regarding the 2stroke motor oil leak - the previous owner did a janky job with the hose so that is fixed.

On with the clutch. I pulled off the cover and inspected the plates. They aren't sticking at all and all plates look good. Perfectly straight and doesn't seem too worn.

I pulled off the cover on the other side and I believe the issue is with the mechanism that pushes in the push rod. I think something is missing. I only have this part as seen in the image ( ROD, clutch release push 13116-026)

I am able to pull the clutch push rod out easily, is this normal? I'm convinced some parts are missing here or something not adjusted right. New clutch cable is coming tomorrow but I think this is where my problem lies.

Any ideas?

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Ok good work and great pix. Study the attached diagram and look for missing or incorrectly assembled parts.

Pay particular attention to the ball (item#12). This ball is commonly lost because people pull out the clutch rod (yes it is normal for it to come out easily) but they don't notice the tiny ball stuck to the end of the rod so of course it falls off and gets lost.

If the #12 ball is missing, your clutch cannot work properly. The parts list says it is a 7/32" steel ball that you can buy from any bearing supply vendor.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just looking again at your pix and it looks like you are missing quite a few parts.
Yes you are right. It looks like I am missing part numbers 9 and 10. Trying to find and image online or maybe a Youtube video that shows how it is supposed to look. But the diagram is pretty clear.
 

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Yes #15 should just pull out once you have access to it. Part #10 is the clutch rod oil seal and I can see it in one of your photos.

If you remove #15 and are able to push a thick wire or skinny rod all the way through to the other side and no ball appears, then you know you are missing the ball. The ball should have been greased and as such may be stuck in the hole, but often it sticks to one clutch rod or the pusher, and then gets lost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes #15 should just pull out once you have access to it. Part #10 is the clutch rod oil seal and I can see it in one of your photos.

If you remove #15 and are able to push a thick wire or skinny rod all the way through to the other side and no ball appears, then you know you are missing the ball. The ball should have been greased and as such may be stuck in the hole, but often it sticks to one clutch rod or the pusher, and then gets lost.
Thanks, I will do what you suggested today. Regarding #10, is this it here? If so, it looks like I am only missing part #9 then and possibly the steel ball?

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