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Discussion Starter #61
Yes. Thanks, @Fred H. That's exactly what I thought you were talking about. My bad in my last mention of the "pivot" which I see was confusing.

I've got the advantage of side by side Goldwing and was comparing the two in the garage today. That seems to be all in order. I'm going to dig into both to compare for other things like the depth of the snap ring retainer for the master piston, too. It was a little fiddly getting that back together and I want to make sure those look the same on the bike that's working and the one that isn't.

@Waldo , helpful drawing. It's seared in my brain. Back in post #25 I think. I've poked that hole twice now but won't rule out the third time being the charm.

Probably this weekend before I can get to it again. I had to play hookey to go out for ~4 hours ride in VA/WV on this beautiful day and I'll have to dig out for that with some work stacked up.
 

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Before you start this, place a large towel around the clutch master cylinder to catch any fluid that may spray out of it.

You can check to see if the return port is clear by removing the small metal shield over it with a pair of hemostats, just grab it and pull. Pay attention to how it is installed so you can reinstall it the same way. With the metal deflector removed, squeeze and release the clutch handle. You should see a geyser of fluid gush out and rise up over the hole. This is the fluid returning to the master cylinder when the clutch lever is released. Be ready to catch or wipe up any fluid that splashes, as this geyser can be pretty significant.

If you do not get a geyser of fluid out the return port when you release it, then you have a blockage. Be sure to replace the metal deflector shield when you are done, it's purpose in life is to block the geyser from spraying fluid when the lever is released.
 

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Discussion Starter #63 (Edited)
Thanks for that geyser test, @Fred H. Unfortunately, I think it passed with flying colors. I took a video, and I was being pretty gentle with the lever release. Attached here so everyone can see the test and gain a newfound appreciation for what that little clip thing does.

I'd much rather be geyser-less and poking that return port with a realistic hope for a solution. I re-re-re-checked the lever and seating of the master cylinder push rod. I checked the clutch again just now, just in case the gremlin left. On the center stand, I could stop the rear wheel using the brake pedal without stalling the bike. I didn't check the driveshaft again but have done that twice already and ruled that out (u joint would stop and start with wheel, not engine).

I guess what's left is:
1. go back into the slave cylinder. Hope I missed something with a scratch or obstruction in the piston or the cylinder itself. Previously, I cleaned out a little crud and put in a new seal and spring. I looked closely at the cylinder (looked good) and piston (a little discoloration on the edges but no wear or damage that leapt out). It wouldn't be my first time where I needed a Mulligan to do something right, but I'd be surprised if it works.
2. clutch itself. But <25,000 miles on the bike. No recent history of funny lubricants or wacky things.
3. clutch regulator valve stuck open. From the manual, in the original post.

/Edit: ^2 & 3 eliminated after a moment of clarity. edit/

Do #2 and #3 really happen to Goldwings, out of the blue, with 25k on them? Neither are cheap or likely. #2 I might consider for DIY. #3 seems to involve opening up the case. Uggh.

I think I'll have a drink or three, ponder fate, look at slave cylinder parts for a "while you're in there" buy, but probably just dive into the slave again tomorrow with nothing but my good looks. If my bad luck holds, I'll call around to places next week, starting with Twiggs, to see if they've got an idea.

 

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As a long shot, or maybe just adding confusion (more?) (sorry), can something in the oil pressure supplied actuation assist cause symptoms of a slipping clutch? As clean and tidy as everything is looking in the video, I’m thinking it’s not hydraulic in nature.
 

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While in gear, if your clutch does not slip with the slave cylinder remove, then you have a good clutch ... no clutch replacement needed.

If the clutch slips with the slave cylinder installed, then your problem is in the hydraulic system that disengages the clutch. Let's test from the top down.
  • with the clutch lever removed, does your clutch still slip ??? If so, YOU DO NOT HAVE A clutch lever issue. That then means pressure in the clutch hydraulic system is not caused by a clutch lever not being fully released. If it does still slip, that means that either fluid pressure is trapped, or the m/c piston is pushed in and creating pressure. Next, remove the boot at the back of the m/c, and verify that the piston is seated against the e-clip. I know you've taken a measurement, but can you please do the above checks as recommended. With the lever and the boot off, does the piston bottom against the e-clip. Once confirmed, continue on.
  • if all good there, crack the hose to the m/c. Does fluid squirt/flow out ??? If so, that means there is a problem in the m/c trapping fluid and needs replaced. If no fluid squirting/flowing out, crack the line at the slave cylinder. If fluid then squirts out there, then fluid is trapped within the clutch line its self. The clutch line needs replaced.
  • next is to remove the slave cylinder. You should be able to freely move the piston in/out. If not, replace the slave cylinder.
  • last is to remove the clutch rod. Any signs of scrapping on it ??? Roll it on a flat surface ... any signs that it is not straight ???
  • If nothing is found, put it all back together, bleed the system, and take your Wing to a GoldWing specialist for help. Something in the above inspections are being over looked.
 

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Discussion Starter #66
^ thanks for the perspective and the extra troubleshooting advice, @GoldWingrGreg . In the moment of clarity after my 2nd bourbon last night, I realized that since nothing slips with the slave cylinder off, the clutch and clutch regulator valve are fine. My #2 and 3 above. So yeah, it's gotta be something in the hydraulics. I think the signs point to me missing some damage in the slave piston/cylinder.

Trying to understand what's going on behind your steps, notes/questions below, and results....

While in gear, if your clutch does not slip with the slave cylinder remove, then you have a good clutch ... no clutch replacement needed.

If the clutch slips with the slave cylinder installed, then your problem is in the hydraulic system that disengages the clutch. Let's test from the top down.
  • with the clutch lever removed, does your clutch still slip ??? If so, there is a clutch lever issue. Typo? I'm thinking if it still slips it is not a clutch lever issue. If it stops slipping with the lever removed, then it was the lever. I haven't tried that yet, so will give it a go. If not, remove the boot at the back of the m/c and verify that the piston is seated against the e-clip. It is. And I measured that the set back matches a good Goldwing. I just took another spin after making 120% sure the pushrod is seated correctly in the lever. Still slipping.
  • if all good there, crack the hose to the m/c. Does fluid squirt/flow out ??? If so, that means there is a problem in the m/c trapping fluid and needs replaced. OK, so what I'm reading between the lines is that if I crack the banjo bolt slightly on a perfectly good system, there might be a little seepage but no squirt. If there's a squirt, that means there's a blockage that is maintaining excess pressure. Right? If no fluid squirting/flowing out, crack the line at the slave cylinder. If fluid then squirts out there, then fluid is trapped within the clutch line its self. The clutch line needs replaced. It seems the pass on the geyser test allow with smooth motion of the clutch disengaging (problem is only on the fully engaging side) indicates there's not a deal-breaker blockage in the m/c or line. I'll try the slave cylinder inspection first and revisit this if that fails.
  • next is to remove the slave cylinder. You should be able to freely move the piston in/out. If not, replace the slave cylinder. I did that when I put it together. Tested motion before I re-filled the system. It was smooth. But maybe I didn't man up and go deep enough. Will do next go. I really regret not taking those pictures. Wish I knew the spec for the full depth.
  • last is to remove the clutch rod. Any signs of scrapping on it ??? Roll it on a flat surface ... any signs that it is not straight ??? I checked that earlier, too. It looked straight and unworn, and moved smoothly in and out. But I didn't roll it so will.
  • If nothing is found, put it all back together, bleed the system, and take your Wing to a GoldWing specialist for help. Something in the above inspections are being over looked. YUP!!!!! I'm looking!
 

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Discussion Starter #67
As a long shot, or maybe just adding confusion (more?) (sorry), can something in the oil pressure supplied actuation assist cause symptoms of a slipping clutch? As clean and tidy as everything is looking in the video, I’m thinking it’s not hydraulic in nature.
A while back in my saga Greg suggested I remove the slave cylinder and test for slip. There was no slip. Pretty much isolates the issue to the hydraulics. I forgot that in my despair post-geyser.
 

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Trying to understand what's going on behind your steps, notes/questions below, and results....
Sorry ... yes I corrected my post.

When cracking a clutch banjo bolt, either at the back of the m/c or slave cyl., of coarse gravity is a force, so fluid will escape, but it should be under no pressure. Be sure to do that with the clutch lever removed and the cover off the m/c.

Possibly another issue ... is the fluid in the m/c too high and trapped under the cover. The level should basically be no higher than the top of the sight glass. If you look on it's forward wall inside wall, you should see a fill line in the casting.

I suggested you remove the clutch rod only as PM, but do it anyway and roll it across something flat. A bent clutch rode lessons the distance between the slave and clutch and would cause a clutch to have less release, not more grab.
 

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For reference, if you in fact find no issues with the clutch hydraulics. For your sake, I hope you do find that the slave cylinder piston is again out of place. Because the above clutch regulator valve needs an engine removal to service.
I’ll stop helping now. Sorry. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #70
@GoldWingrGreg , I really appreciate you hanging with me here. I think I've caught up to your edits and adds. Here's what I've got now:
  1. No change with lever on or off
  2. Yes, the master piston (which is new) is fully seated against the retaining snap ring.
  3. I didn't get any squirts at the banjo bolts.
  4. The slave cylinder was holding onto the push rod a bit more than before, but it's a new seal on the piston face so that explains it.
  5. Pushrod is straight, rolls fine, not showing any wear.
  6. Slave cylinder looks clean inside, seems to work well at depth, but is stubborn when it's further out. More below.
  7. Slave cylinder seal looks good. Didn't mangle it on prior install. Flare out is to the cylinder inside / front of bike which is right (?), tougher to tell in service manual pics, prominent in fiche.
Not pictured, before the first video, when I popped the slave off I could push it all the way in but it took a bit of force. Not sure if the master cylinder lid was still on.

In video 1, you can see the piston extend and then the spring clamp doesn't push it back. At that point, there's still fluid in there and perhaps the master cylinder lid still on.

In video 2, smooth action for the slave cylinder at depth but very stubborn further out. I said "grit" but there was one TINY speck so not really. The inside of the slave cylinder looks pristine. The outer edge of the piston shows some wear.

My plan:
  • Test the hydraulic line again, either by doing something clever with a MityVac or just reassembling and refilling. I think it's clean. But the slave cylinder looks awfully clean, too, and something is sticking.
  • The only promising find is the wear on the piston. Not sure if I should get a piston ($23) and more seals ($10 + $4) or just spring for the whole assembly is $120. I don't think the cylinder is bad but I'm out of Schlitz and ready to nuke and pave. BTW, the hose is only $30, a bargain, but a bit of a PITA to install.
  • Hunting for a local tech, too.

#1, on bike


#2, off bike



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The only thing I see in your photos/vids is possibly the push-rod's oil seal not being installed correctly. However, so long as the push rod is centered and seated, once the slave is installed, it would not cause your issue.

From my armchair, I see no reason why the old slave should not work. If you wanted to try one last thing, replace the slave cylinder with a new assy.

One last thought, when you OH'd the m/c, did your kit come in a Honda package ??? More specifically, was the metal piston the same length and the other parts matched what was being removed.

Assuming that you saw my note about a m/c being over filled, and all is good there, it looks like it is time to find a GW specialty shop.
 

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As a long shot, or maybe just adding confusion (more?) (sorry), can something in the oil pressure supplied actuation assist cause symptoms of a slipping clutch? As clean and tidy as everything is looking in the video, I’m thinking it’s not hydraulic in nature.
This is a good point. The Gold Wing uses engine oil pressure to assist the clutch springs in keeping the clutch engaged. This allowed Honda to use a softer set of clutch springs so that the clutch didn't have a heavy feel. So if the valve that regulates the engine oil pressure going to the clutch system sticks, then the clutch plates will not be squeezed together hard enough, and may slip. If everything in the hydralic system checks out, this would probably be the next thing to start looking at.
 

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A while back in my saga Greg suggested I remove the slave cylinder and test for slip. There was no slip. Pretty much isolates the issue to the hydraulics. I forgot that in my despair post-geyser.
Sorry, I guess I missed this post. From your description, it sounds like there is something restricting the slave from fully retracting properly when the lever is released. It can only be one of three things. The slave, the master cylinder, or a clog or restriction in the hose between the two.
 

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Discussion Starter #76 (Edited)
I'll get all over that hose like a hobo on a hamburger. Yes, I do have risers, the little Showchrome wedges, but those went on over a year ago and nothing changed leading up to the problem. Will still look at it all.

I'm starting to think a hose might be a better Remove & Replace Bingo card than a new slave cylinder. It's a little worrying the slave cylinder gets stubborn when its face is well above the walls of the cylinder and that's why I haven't ruled it out completely, but I don't think it normally operates there. It's smooth up and down when it's inside the cylinder with no fluid in the way.

@GLblinded and @Fred H. , yes, I'm really hanging my hat on the slave cylinder removed / no clutch slip test that @GoldWingrGreg thankfully encouraged me to sack up and do. Because that rules out the more major problem$. That test is doing a lot more for me than my good looks and clean living have been.

Greg, the replacement parts were from MrCycle in Honda bags. Looked spot on. Also, I note your comment I might have the oil seal on the face of the piston in backwards. I'll review. I hope that's not costing me a few mm of return movement.

I figure while I've got it almost all apart again, I'll try to deep clean/flush the master cylinder for a belt and suspenders approach. Lots of web noise out there about top rack dishwasher, etc. I may just try flushing both ways with a syringe of alcohol.

This is my $%@#%)*^ white whale.
 

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What Rhys said, not definitively but I have experienced internal hose failure a couple times. Both times it was a matter of a flap separated internally which blocks or restricts fluid movement through it. 15 year old hose, strong maybe.
 

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To the OP:
When you had the slave cylinder "over extended" (in video part 1) and it would not retract even with the clamp on it, I would have broken a seal (banjo?) and let the brake fluid release if needed and seen if the cylinder retracted. If it did retract, then you know it is either the hose or the M/C.
Do the test again at the M/C banjo bolt and that should tell you if it is the hose or not. Just my .02.
 

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Here's a wild stab at it. Could someone have twisted the left handlebar, and thus the hose, when the risers were installed? I know from past research that a brake caliper will do exactly what you're experiencing if the hose is twisted remounting a caliper. Actually, on a brake system it's worse. After applying the brakes the caliper won't fully release, the brake fluid gets hotter and hotter until it boils. Just a thought. Best of all, it's fast and easy to check.
 

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Discussion Starter #80 (Edited)
For fans of the hose culprit (me too!): Visual hose inspection at lunch time: nothing glaring. One retaining clip near the steering head is slightly out of place but not deforming the hose (pic later), probably hasn't moved in 13 years, but I'll tweak it back to correct. Couldn't readily see a part of the hose run behind inner cowl.

Follow up to post #71, Greg's keen eye spotted that I put the seal on the face of the slave piston in backwards. I guess that explains why the slave was stuck slightly more on the push rod for my second disassembly. I suppose it could rob me of a few mm of travel which might be my whole problem (grit for round 1, backward seal for round 2). I'll inspect the hose more (visual and pressure) before I fall in love with that magic pill.

I couldn't tell orientation from the service manual or fiche. No help from prior seal which was an act of demolition to remove. Best guide is this pic from the full assembly part, not the piston itself. It shows the little lip up. It looked to me like that lip went down to seat into the two step cutout in the piston face. D'oh.

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