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So, I pulled the clutch basket out of my bike and discovered that my suspicions were right (it was actually in much worse condition than expected). My clutch was fried to the point that the fiber disks were deteriorated and started crumbling off of their disks in some chunks, and the steel pressure plates were blued. I'm not even going to bother checking for warpage. If they got so hot that they turned blue, I can almost guarantee that they are warped beyond spec without measuring. I can get everything new anyway, and I want it to be right, so that's not my biggest concern anymore.

Looking in the engine, I see the rubber "gasket" (kind of a pentagon shaped packing) between the "oil separator plate" and the front of the engine block (bottom half of behind where the clutch basket goes). On on the end closest to the oil filter, it looked twisted, and just not in there right. Of course, I couldn't just ignore it, so I started poking at it with my finger to see if maybe I could just twist it back into place. I fiddled with it enough that it is now pushed into the engine far enough that I can still get my finger behind it, but not deep down far enough to push it back up into place like it should be.

The opposite side of the crescent (outside side of the engine) seems to be sticking up (vertically higher) a lot further than flush with the top of the plate. This is odd because the other side is not sunk down, as if it were rotated (clockwise, viewing from the front of the engine) out of position. Whatever, not too concerned, but I have this compulsion to touch it also. I start gently pushing on it and it bends over and cracks, almost breaking all the way off. Knowing that it is obviously brittle and also not positioned correctly, I now must do something about this. I take the three bolts out of the oil separator plate and try to remove it. It won't come out. I do not know what it holding it in. I really do not want to have to pull the front engine cover off. Please tell me that my curiosity has not led me to the point that I have to do that.

I started looking at the Partzilla parts diagrams this morning to see what else might be holding it in. I don't see any additional bolts or hooks that should be holding it in. I also saw that the oil separator plate is no longer available (fine, because I don't need the metal part). Is the "gasket" sold as a separate part? I did not see it in the parts diagrams for that area, the gaskets have no diagrams, and the descriptions of the gaskets are basically useless to me for this part. Does someone know the part number for it? I really hope that it is not considered as part of the oil separator plate. Maybe it got cooked by the hot clutch and the "gasket" has actually melted and glued the plate to the front engine cover. Is that possible?

During this process, I found a really easy way to remove the spanner nut from the front of the clutch. I bought one of those sockets with the whole wad of pins inside it so it will conform to any size of nut. The one I bought is 19mm, and it just fits completely over the spanner nut. I put the bike in 5th gear and had my daughter hold the rear brake while I unscrewed the spanner nut with ease. It is called "The Gator Grip King Gator Universal Socket", and I paid $27 for it on ebay. Quick, cheap and easy one tool removal for the clutch without having to make or buy a special tool originally designed exclusively for this purpose. I'm not a huge fan of these kinds of tools (this is the first one I even ever seriously considered buying). For this purpose, it worked fantastically. After I reassemble my clutch, this socket will likely stay in my toolbox until I have to remove another spanner nut.

Another tool I found is a Honda spark plug socket that works and is cheaper than most alternatives. My plugs take an 18mm thin wall socket. I found an original Honda wrench 89216-MBA-000 for $12 on ebay. It's supposed to be for several 750 Honda Shadow bikes, but it works really well for my CX500 also. Considering that most of the other thin walled 18mm sockets I was finding were closer to $20, I thought this was a great find.

Okay, now I got on a roll and have to tell my whole story and ask for some opinions. So, here's my story: 10 years ago, I was coming home from work (about 30 minutes on the interstate) on my bike. I get on it to get around some somewhat slower traffic before merging over to get off at my exit. When I get on it, It is sluggish and then starts actually decelerating. I back off of it a bit, look in my mirrors and see I'm leaving a smoke screen of white smoke. I'm thinking I blew a head gasket and am burning antifreeze. The bike is running warmer than normal, but not yet overheated. Bike is running like hell, but I ease off and am able to limp it home.

Once I am at home, the engine dies and I can't get it restarted. I didn't try very hard due to fear of antifreeze collecting on top of the piston and bending a rod. I don't remember if I tried again when it cooled down or not. I went to a local bike shop and explained what happened. The were adamant that it was a water pump. This made absolutely no sense to me because replacing a water pump would not allow water to reach the combustion chamber and burn, creating the cloud of white smoke. Nevertheless, I replaced the water pump anyway. Before I got it completely put back together, the bike found its way to my shed and lived a lonely life there until this year.

I rebuilt the carbs (Randakk's kit, done per Larry's Guide) and put it all back together. Checked the compression, and it came out to 135 on each side (carbs not installed). This was lower than I wanted to see, but I was happy they were both almost identical. Once I got it all together, it fired right up and idled without even having to adjust anything. I was absolutely amazed.

It poofed a little white smoke at first, but that quickly cleared up and it was clear ever since. Even on startup now, it does not blow any smoke. I went to take it out to test and tune, and I couldn't put it into gear without killing the engine. I adjusted the clutch and got it to where I could finally take it out for a ride up the street. That went okay, but I didn't get on it at all.

The next day I took it out and about around town, and that's when I really started noticing that it didn't really feel exactly right, like the clutch was slipping. I readjusted the clutch to where I thought it needed to be (about 1/2" free travel and could get it into gear without killing it with the clutch pulled in). I took it out of town a mile and back (that's just up the street and around the corner for me to do that). I got on it a bit to test the clutch and could definitely tell that the clutch was not right, especially in the upper gears. I figured it just needed to be fine tune adjusted a bit more. I spent the next several days screwing with it. When it warmed up, it was different than when it was cold. I'd get it adjusted to where I thought it needed to be and the next day I couldn't get it into gear without either killing the engine or slipping so bad I could barely get out of the garage. It was very inconsistent, and was getting worse.

Early on on my adjusting fits, I read and learned that the new-fangled oils out there have friction modifiers that our wet clutches do not like. This time I put in Rotella, and changed the oil filter too. I noticed what I thought seemed like a lot of excess carbon/black thick stuff in the filter, especially for the little bit that I had run it. It was not sparkly, so I wasn't too worried about it. Kinda blew it off because I figured that the new-fangled oil I had in it washed out some extra crud throughout the engine that had collected from earlier in its life. Looking back now, I'm pretty sure that all that black crud was actually disintegrated clutch friction plate dust.

When I synced the carbs, at idle it is not in the "happy zone", but as I increase to the driving range (3000 RPM and more), it comes together very nicely. I figure that it matters more that they are synced when I'm going down the road than sitting still, so that's how I set it. I also did a cylinder leak down test, and it is almost 100% sealed (tested cold; maybe about 2% leakage at 90 psi).

So, I'd kind of like some opinions. From what I know now, I really don't think that the smoke I saw 10 years ago was antifreeze burning. I'm not upset about doing the water pump, because it may have needed to be done anyway. If it was burning antifreeze, I don't know how it got to the combustion chamber. I have done nothing that would/should have fixed that problem. Is it possible that the clutch got fried so bad that it dumped its smoke into the PCV/airbox and that smoke sucked through the engine and out the exhaust? Dirty and burnt oil infused air would not burn well and would also cause the engine to run crappy. It would be like burning fogging oil. Could it have possibly been just the clutch all along?

With compression and leakdown tests having good results, I see no reason to disassemble the engine any further than necessary. I really do not want to pull the front engine cover off if I don't have to. If you have any good suggestions on how to get that oil separator plate out and replace its seal without pulling the front engine cover, I'd like to know how I can do that. What does that thing do anyway? Does it just limit the amount of oil that the clutch sits in, so it is not sitting in the full depth of oil in the crankcase?
 

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pull the cover it cleans up with either gasket remover or i use gel paint stripper

fix the separator

clean the rest of the clutch out of the sump

service the oil pump chain after cleaning the clutch bits out of the oil pump sump screen

put a new gasket in to save a leak that might have occurred when the front gasket failed anyways

dont loose the oil metering orifice
 

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Discussion Starter #3
pull the cover it cleans up with either gasket remover or i use gel paint stripper

fix the separator

clean the rest of the clutch out of the sump

service the oil pump chain after cleaning the clutch bits out of the oil pump sump screen

put a new gasket in to save a leak that might have occurred when the front gasket failed anyways

dont loose the oil metering orifice
I ordered an EBC clutch (cork/aluminum; 6 + 1; EBC CK1146) and 5 steel plates (Barnett 401-35-063002), and the EBC springs. Will I need to reuse the "special" plate (Honda 22322-390-000)? I can't seem to find it available online, and I don't think I should omit it.

Can I get a gasket for just the front engine cover? Or do I need to buy a complete engine gasket set just for that one gasket? Or should I just attempt to cut one myself out of gasket material? I found a gasket for the (round) clutch cover, but not the engine cover. And I also can't find it in any of the parts diagrams online, to try to get a part number.

By fixing the separator, do you have a high level of confidence that the rubber just came off of it and it is not torn?

What do you recommend as a complete process for servicing the oil pump chain?

Thanks for the help, and sorry for the original rambling on.
 

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I ordered an EBC clutch (cork/aluminum

Will I need to reuse the "special" plate (Honda 22322-390-000)? I can't seem to find it available online, and I don't think I should omit it.
It's no cork or aluminium.
It's an unknown friction material and steel


Not necessary to buy a new one.
Here are the plates.

CMSNL.com is the best place to find parts in their good drawings.
 

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When the water pump's mechanical seal fails coolant exits via a weep hole near the water pump housing and runs down the left side of the rear engine cover. Is it possible that the smoke you saw was that coolant hitting the hot exhaust and burning off?

The other symptom (bike decelerating as you increase throttle) has clutch written all over it.

Most of the gaskets are still available from your local Honda dealer. Many of us make our own because you can buy a roll of Fel-Pro 0.8mm gasket sheet for less than the price of just one of the larger gaskets.

Servicing the oil pump is covered in the Factory Service Manual. If you don't already have the FSM you can download it via the CX Wiki (link in my signature).

The oil separator does not "limit the amount of oil that the clutch sits in, so it is not sitting in the full depth of oil in the crankcase". If you remove the dipstick and hold it next to the engine so you can get an idea of how deep the oil in the engine is you will see that the oil level is well below the clutch. The clutch is lubricated by the oil pump and the separator is there to direct where the oil that is sprayed out when the clutch is turning goes. As for the gasket, it is hard to tell how bad it is from your description. A pic might help....
 

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During this whole thread checking the coolant level is never mentioned????????
 

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During this whole thread checking the coolant level is never mentioned????????
The reservoir tank was very low (maybe empty), but that's all I can say. I have a Vetter fairing on the front of it. Getting to the radiator cap is an absolute pain in the butt. I don't remember if, or how much was low in the radiator when I took it apart 10 years ago.

I ripped the whole front of the bike apart so I can finally take the front cover off. There are three o-rings that are supposedly very important.

Are the three "necessary" o-rings all the same? Note the big circles on the picture, and the only accompanying referenced o-ring part number that I saw.

front cover orings.JPG Oring number.JPG

I have to make a note about the fan removal. I read another thread where it says to use an M8 bolt to remove the fan. That is wrong. I think the bolt that holds the fan on is an M8. I also saw where someone had used their front or rear axle to remove the fan, just because they had it off and it was handy (that will work). I also saw reference to a M17 bolt, which is also wrong. The size of the bolt needed to remove the fan is a M14 x 1.5.
 

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Using the axle to pull the fan is not recommended because the taper on the axle prevents the threads from engaging well enough to apply enough force. Several people have pulled half of the threads out of the fan that way and then pulled the rest of the threads out using the correct bolt.

You can look up the correct o-ring sizes n the parts lookup on any Honda dealer's website.
 

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The reservoir tank was very low (maybe empty), but that's all I can say. I have a Vetter fairing on the front of it. Getting to the radiator cap is an absolute pain in the butt. I don't remember if, or how much was low in the radiator when I took it apart 10 years ago.

I ripped the whole front of the bike apart so I can finally take the front cover off. There are three o-rings that are supposedly very important.

Are the three "necessary" o-rings all the same? Note the big circles on the picture, and the only accompanying referenced o-ring part number that I saw.

View attachment 116946 View attachment 116954

I have to make a note about the fan removal. I read another thread where it says to use an M8 bolt to remove the fan. That is wrong. I think the bolt that holds the fan on is an M8. I also saw where someone had used their front or rear axle to remove the fan, just because they had it off and it was handy (that will work). I also saw reference to a M17 bolt, which is also wrong. The size of the bolt needed to remove the fan is a M14 x 1.5.
The sizes and which goes where are on the front cover installation page here:

https://motofaction.org/motorcycles/honda-cx-gl/replacing-front-engine-cover-what-check-honda-cx500-gl500-cx650-gl650/
 

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WOW, how did I miss that? You can probably tell that motofaction.org is where I got the pictures from. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I somehow completely missed where it said the part numbers in the captions, and it was pretty obvious.

The (metering jet) O-ring is 8mmx1.7mm and is part number 91303-001-000 or the later 91306-HB3-003
O-rings on the dowels (x2): 14mm O-ring 91301-268-020

I am assuming that I can reuse the existing dowels, unless I somehow damage or lose them, right? I must only replace the O-rings?

Thanks again for the help!
 

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Some have left stuck dowel pins in and tried to clean the mating surface around them but it is difficult to get it perfect enough to guarantee good sealing. After I remove them I inspect for tool marks and rust and decide whether to replace them. Dowel pins are cheap enough that I would rather spend a couple of $$ than put the effort into re-using one that isn't in perfect condition. I also put a little anti seize on them before installing to help prevent future corrosion.
 

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I can not imagine riding that bike and not knowing the radiator was full of coolant,,,10 years???
 
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