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I have a '07 burnt orange level 3 'wing. A bit over a couple years ago, I was injured and unable to ride or perform basic maintenance. (Nothing to do with riding.) A few days ago, I was prepping the bike to trade in. I keep the bike on a battery tender, so the battery was fresh. I started up the bike and let it warm up. As soon as the engine came up to temp, I started smelling a horrible burning smell. There is no way to describe it other than a non-electrical, non-plastic, non-oil burning smell that I have never experienced before. I got the bike off the center stand and rode it partially out of the garage to move it. I squeezed the clutch lever, put the bike in gear and all was fine (except for that God-awful smell). Later, I started the bike and squeezed the clutch lever. No resistance except for the spring. And of course, I can't get the bike in gear. I checked the clutch reservoir and it was full. I pumped the lever and managed to get some resistance on it, but not much.

I tied the clutch lever down and left it like that all night. It made no difference. And the fluid level in the reservoir is good.

I'm thinking that the horrible smell is burning brake fluid? Anybody ever smell what burning brake fluid smells like?

So I need to bleed the brake and clutch lines anyway. And I'm thinking that I will need to rebuild the clutch slave cylinder. But I have no idea what to look for or how to rebuild. I checked online and can't find instructions. I'm putting the bike on the lift tomorrow so I can access the slave cylinder. I would like to know what to look for and how to remove the cylinder. This is new ground for me and I want to have all my ducks in a row.

Thanks. :coffee1:
 

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Do the simple thing first, bleed the clutch system. No need to fuss with bleeding the brakes. Work one problem at a time. Tying the clutch handle down does nothing. Bleed it, fresh fluid may be all it needs.
 

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maybe the small is a small rodent that decided he wanted a new home and when things got hot he had no place to but up in smoke. And bleed your clutch and I bet all things will be good.
 

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GL1800 Doctor
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maybe the small is a small rodent that decided he wanted a new home and when things got hot he had no place to but up in smoke. And bleed your clutch and I bet all things will be good.
:agree: the smell is probably a critter cooking and the clutch's master cylinder piston seals may have torn from lack of use and age.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
maybe the small is a small rodent that decided he wanted a new home and when things got hot he had no place to but up in smoke. And bleed your clutch and I bet all things will be good.
I've smelled burning critter and that is not burning critter.
I've smelled burning electrical components and that is not an electrical fire.
I've smelled burning oil and that is not burning oil.
I've smelled various fuels burning and that is not burning fuel.
I've smelled burning plastic and that is not burning plastic. (But we're getting closer...) It is an intense chemical smell reminiscent of magic mushrooms.

Any other ideas? I can't sell the bike until I get the clutch working, maintenance completed and the smell eliminated.

I'll pick up a brake bleeder kit tomorrow.

Thanks.
 

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GL1800 Doctor
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I've smelled burning critter and that is not burning critter.
I've smelled burning electrical components and that is not an electrical fire.
I've smelled burning oil and that is not burning oil.
I've smelled various fuels burning and that is not burning fuel.
I've smelled burning plastic and that is not burning plastic. (But we're getting closer...) It is an intense chemical smell reminiscent of magic mushrooms.

Any other ideas? I can't sell the bike until I get the clutch working, maintenance completed and the smell eliminated.

I'll pick up a brake bleeder kit tomorrow.

Thanks.
You might still want to check the air filter for a critter hotel, they love that place.
 

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If you smelled the smoke right away, then something is probably resting on the header pipes or catalytic converter or exhaust. Probably a mouse nest of some sort. I'd try to find the source of it so it doesn't start a fire.

Your clutch fluid probably looks more like jello down in the bottom of the reservoir. I've seen several bikes like this when the clutch fluid isn't changed. You'll need to suck all the fluid out of the clutch reservoir and then wipe it out with paper towels, and then fill and flush the whole system thoroughly.


 

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?

could you have smelled antifreeze? sometimes after setting awhile the rubber hoses harden and seep antifreeze. Depending where it could burn up before it leaks on to the floor if its not a big leak. But still stinks with just a hint of a sweet smell.

R
 

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If you smelled the smoke right away, then something is probably resting on the header pipes or catalytic converter or exhaust. Probably a mouse nest of some sort. I'd try to find the source of it so it doesn't start a fire.

Your clutch fluid probably looks more like jello down in the bottom of the reservoir. I've seen several bikes like this when the clutch fluid isn't changed. You'll need to suck all the fluid out of the clutch reservoir and then wipe it out with paper towels, and then fill and flush the whole system thoroughly.


Holy crap Fred, how long does it take for that to happen? I just changed my brake and clutch fluid and the last time was 2 years ago. Nowhere near that bad thankfully. Just curious what it took to get that extreme.
 

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Farmguy,

Does what have oil in it? The clutch hydraulics? Heaven forbid. The engine? Yes, and the level is correct. I overfilled and then had to drain a bit.

The smell is not antifreeze. Antifreeze has a sweet smell when it gets hot. The smell is not brakes, either. I've smelled overheated brakes a bazillion times. I don't see how it could be brakes anyway. The bike is stationary.

I'm looking but haven't managed to find the source yet.
 

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Farmguy,

Does what have oil in it? The clutch hydraulics? Heaven forbid. The engine? Yes, and the level is correct. I overfilled and then had to drain a bit.

The smell is not antifreeze. Antifreeze has a sweet smell when it gets hot. The smell is not brakes, either. I've smelled overheated brakes a bazillion times. I don't see how it could be brakes anyway. The bike is stationary.

I'm looking but haven't managed to find the source yet.
Sorry, I meant does the engine have oil in it.:oops:

As others suggested, since it sat for quite a while, I'd be looking for something on the exhaust. (Or maybe in the exhaust).
 

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i said brakes cause a burnt clutch can smell that way although i dont know what a wet clutch burnt would smell like myself so i was just asking
 

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Brake fluid has gelled from water intrusion, replace all the rubber parts, Master clutch and slave cylinders as well as the hoses. This is contamination of the fluid have seen it before only fix is to replace all rubber, and flush metal lines.
 

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Brake fluid has gelled from water intrusion, replace all the rubber parts, Master clutch and slave cylinders as well as the hoses. This is contamination of the fluid have seen it before only fix is to replace all rubber, and flush metal lines.
Now that is very strange! I think you confused Fred's photo with my issue??? I followed Fred's advice and drained the brake fluid and then refilled from a new container. There was no gel that I could see, just very fishy brake fluid. I'm sure the fluid collected moisture during the two years the bike was garaged. Plus, the last time I rode it, I had to ride through very heavy rain for a week. I could have simply flushed the brake fluid, but it was probably better to get all the old fluid out. I did not replace anything but the fluid. It is my understanding that the gelling occurs when you mix DOT4 and DOT5 brake fluid. And the nasty burning smell is gone also. I wonder if the two were related, but I can't see how.

Anyway, the clutch is working correctly. I guess the take-away is to take care of the simple things first. I completed all the maintenance on the bike even though most of it wasn't due, and I put The Pumpkin up for sale. Thanks for all the help.
 

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The photo I posted was from a bike that the owner lives on a gravel road. Most of that was gunk was dust mixed in with with the clutch fluid. I normally find a small amount of jellied fluid in the bottom of the clutch reservoir on just about every bike I service. Next time you suck out the fluid from the clutch reservoir, take a cloth and wipe out the bottom and see what it looks like. The fluid absorbs moisture and gels and sinks to the bottom. The brakes do it too, but not as bad as the clutch does.
 
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