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· Registered
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after a 30 minute phone call with my local honda dealer, I found out that they cannot order anything clutch wise for my bike from honda, seems I have to go aftermarket. I got to thinking about the different models and ow I wonder...Do the GL's and the cx650's have stronger clutches.By stronger I mean more grip.I have a 81 cx500, If I got my hands on a 650 or gl clutch would it fit properly? The clutch I planned on using in my overhaul has no stamps, and looks nothing like a stock honda clutch, so I'm a little wary of using it. Can anyone help?

· Super Moderator
2,546 Posts
The after market clutches don't have the same slots cut into the two outside disc. What brand of clutch did you get?

A 650 clutch will not work without changing the entire clutch basket and the primary gear as well. You'll need the oil shield as well as the thick washer that goes behind the basket too. It's a front cover off job to do it. But it's worth it in the end because you lower the rpm's of the motor to get the same speed by 3 to 4oo rpm's.

· Registered
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The clutch I have is actually part of a gigantic box of parts given to me with the bike, no name, just a plain brown box. I would love to drop the rpms.I know these bikes live in high rpms, but I'd like to drop it. So I should probably start looking for a parts bike? lol

· Premium Member
1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
12,588 Posts
Do the GL's and the cx650's have stronger clutches.By stronger I mean more grip.
If it's slipping, and the problem isn't adjustment or oil additives, your clutch springs may be under spec.


· Registered
28 Posts
Brandon, the answer is you can use most of a CX650 clutch.

As there are 2 extra plates used in a 650, you can use these & still have some spares! Luck you.

The genuine 650 friction plates are superior to those used on most 500s.

If it still slips, don't trust the old springs, get a set of new HD ones.

Wemoto sell in packs of 6, no I don't know why.

Forget trying to use the 650 'basket', it is not a viable DIY proposition IMO.

Keep the 'spider' as these suffer from misuse & age embrittlement.

You will be lucky to get any CX parts from a Honda dealer, you probably won't even find anyone who rmembers them!

The only new thing is that this is official Honda policy.

· Registered
3,425 Posts
Here is the write up I did a while back, but I have recently modified it with things I have learned about modifying the CX500 to the 650 clutch assembly.

Steps required in changing a GL500 clutch to a 650 clutch

Parts needed:

1. Front engine gasket

2. Clutch cover gasket (Not really needed, but a good idea)

3. O-rings (3) between the front cover and the engine

4. 650 Primary crankshaft gear

5. 650 Clutch housing

6. 650 Clutch plates

7. 650 Clutch Springs

8. 650 Collar

9. 650 Roller bearings

10. 650 Rear washer

11. 650 Oil separator (Oil splash guard) (500 splash guard can be used with some hammer work to make the 650 clutch housing clear the 500 guard and the use of the 500 rear washer rather than the 650 washer. They have a different OD)

12. I have recently found out that you need the spacer behind the clutch basket from the GL if you are replacing a CX500 clutch. All GLs have the spacer but the CX instead has a longer piece sticking out the back of the clutch basket acting as a spacer.


1. Seat

2. Tank

3. Fairing

4. Crash guards (if equipped)

5. Radiator

6. Right motor mount

7. Clutch cable

8. Oil pressure sender wire

9. Fan

10. Front engine cover

11. Clutch

12. Primary gear

When you strip the front of the engine I would recommend you build the tool to take the clutch-retaining nut off the engine. You can make it with a piece of pipe, a hacksaw, and a grinder. I highly recommend that you weld a socket to the other end of the pipe so you can use a breaker bar, or better yet an impact wrench to take the nut off, and it is much easier to torque the nut back on with a torque wrench with the socket in place.

If you don’t want to make the tool that is recommended by Honda to hold the primary gear in place to torque the clutch bolt and the primary gear bolt, you can get around that by putting the clutch plates into the clutch housing, putting the springs into place and putting washers over each spring and tighten them all down with the bolts for the throwout bearing. Then put the bike into 1st gear and have someone else apply the rear brake while you torque the clutch bolt. After you have done this you can reapply the brake and torque the primary gear bolt. Then remove the bolts from over the clutch springs and put the throw out bearing assembly in place and torque them properly.

You can also torque the bolts by yourself if you have a strap wrench to go around the clutch housing, but be sure to go around the rear part of the housing to make sure you don’t bend the aluminum of the clutch housing.

After stripping the front of the engine you must either put on the Gl650 oil separator or do some firm, but gentle hammer work to make the 650 clutch housing clear on the back side and put grease on the backside of the clutch housing and spin it to see where it is rubbing. Tapping with a ball peen hammer did allow the housing to clear. It did not allow the use of the 650 washer that was too wide and would have rubbed on the oil separator. The GL500 washer seems to be wide enough to do a sufficient job of holding in the roller bearings in place. If the 650 separator was used the 650 washer would have cleared.

While the engine is apart it would indeed be foolish not to replace all the o-rings gaskets and radiator hoses if they have never been replaced. This is also a good time to replace clutch throw arm seal on the side of the cover.

I hope this helps those of you who are considering this project. On everything I read about this job, not one person mentioned the oil separator replacement or the denting of the old one to make the 650 clutch housing fit.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any JPEGs of what I did, but I would be willing to answer any questions you have about the procedure.

Finally, you must question whether it is worth the time, effort, and money (about $100 plus the clutch assembly) to gain 500-600 RPM at freeway speeds. My brother, for whom I did the project for, says he is happy with the results, but he was given the clutch assembly for a gift and only had to pay for the other parts and not the labor. Also, the old GL500 oil separator was used, by denting it, as there wasn’t a GL650 separator available at the time. My brother says it changes the RPM enough to take the annoying buzz out of his handlebars that occurred between 65 and 70 MPH.
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