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Central Park West Crash takes out the ST3

A few Tuesday's back, I was trying to catch up to the DOCNYC at Columbus Circle, for an evening ride on my Ducati ST3.  Unfortunately going down CPW in the mid 70's, a cab was stopped in a traffic lane, and I stupidly decided to pass it on the right, just as a girl decided to get out.  She didn't look behind her, and though I managed to slow down to about 10mph, I hit the door and went down.  

I didn't see too much damage besides a few scuffs on the body and the pegs, and a witness helped me pick up the bike immediately and offered to testify it wasn't my fault.  I was a little banged up, but I don't currently have anything but liability coverage on this bike (and a high deductible), and considering i haven't even had a chance to get the bike inspected in New York State, I decided based on past experience, that involving the police or my insurance company would be more trouble than it was worth.

I hopped back on the bike and tried to catch up with the club, but started losing power after like 20 blocks, not topping 45 going down 6th ave.  I quickly decided to try to make it home, and got down to Chelsea before the throttle didn't do much of anything and had to push it the last 25 blocks

  Physically exhausted and a little shaken up, not to mention more than a little chagrined that I can't seem to keep this bike on the road, I called a few friends to try to decipher what the problem was.

The guy who owns my garage suggested that since i went down on the right, some oil could have leaked onto the clutch plates, causing them to slip.  He advised me to check my fluid levels (which were fine) and I bought some brake cleaner and tried to spray in between the plates to clean out any oily residue.
Another friend suggested that I look at other areas of the drive train, like the front sprocket and the chain, both of which appear to function normally.  After checking all this, I wheeled the bike down 8th street and started it up, and while the engine seems as strong as ever and the pressure plate engages when i squeeze the clutch lever, it runs standing in first gear, without almost any grab when  I squeeze the clutch.

As bizarre of a coincidence as burning out the clutch immediately after a crash seemed, I took apart the clutch just to see if there is anything my relatively uneducated eyes could see. The pressure plate spindle was a little goopy, but sure enough, the friction plates had variable amounts of meat on them.  The first few pads looked ok:
 But then the next couple looked totally worn down:

 On top of seemingly fried plates, the the steels looked a little machined in weird places, and which had also gotten extremely discolored, with a pettina of bright blue on the teeth indicating that the clutch had gotten crazy hot. 

Once i removed all the plates, i was surprised at how clean everything was inside. The hub looked fine and was as secure as the the aftermarket clutch basket the previous owner had installed.

There was a little wear on the hub and the slots in between the clutch basket, but i'm unsure whether that's normal wear and tear. There were also curiously two steels located at the end (whereas i thought it always rotated steel/friction/steel/friction). 
I bought a new Barnett clutch, and am going to look at the Ducati mechanic's manual tonight to see if I can just throw the new dry clutch plates in and hope for the best.

 © 2013 Tigh Loughhead

1 comment :

  1. Looks like your hub and clutch basket are both due for replacement. Did eventually replace them not long after this reassembly?


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