High Revs but No Power - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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High Revs but No Power

Posted yesterday that I thought I had pretty much killed my battery on Saturday, and even though I got it started, while driving home on the slab I noticed that if I tried to goose it , say anything over 4,000 rmp's, it just revved up, but I got no increase in speed. Charged the battery back up, and it shows a clean 12V, and goes to 14.3 V when the engine is in idle. But, driving in this morning I have the same problem with rev, even up to red line, but no extra power. Could no go over 75 in 6th, and that was at 6,000 rmp which usually has me doing around 80 mph. Is this being caused by a partially dead battery, or do I have some bigger issues? Thanks.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 10:07 AM
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Bike is running, in gear, clutch released?

If the engine revs up but you don't go any faster, it sounds like you have clutch problems.

First thing to check:
Is there any play in the clutch cable? There should be a couple mm of slack in the clutch cable. Your lever should have a little bit of play in it before you feel the tension of the clutch pull.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 10:09 AM
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RPM/MPH=Clutch

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Originally Posted by rayj View Post
Posted yesterday that I thought I had pretty much killed my battery on Saturday, and even though I got it started, while driving home on the slab I noticed that if I tried to goose it , say anything over 4,000 rmp's, it just revved up, but I got no increase in speed. Charged the battery back up, and it shows a clean 12V, and goes to 14.3 V when the engine is in idle. But, driving in this morning I have the same problem with rev, even up to red line, but no extra power. Could no go over 75 in 6th, and that was at 6,000 rmp which usually has me doing around 80 mph. Is this being caused by a partially dead battery, or do I have some bigger issues? Thanks.
If I read this correctly, the tach shows 6,000 RPM but speed is 75 MPH when it should be 80MPH? This bike doesn't have a torque converter, have you checked your clutch free play, also check at the clutch itself, there should be about .010 to .015 free play, some people have had the cable pinched in the mountings, appears to be lots of free play at the clutch lever but checking further you find no free play at the clutch itself.Continued use without adjusting will ruin your clutch.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by onewizard View Post
If I read this correctly, the tach shows 6,000 RPM but speed is 75 MPH when it should be 80MPH? This bike doesn't have a torque converter, have you checked your clutch free play, also check at the clutch itself, there should be about .010 to .015 free play, some people have had the cable pinched in the mountings, appears to be lots of free play at the clutch lever but checking further you find no free play at the clutch itself.Continued use without adjusting will ruin your clutch.
Thanks guys. It seems your comments mirror each other. So what is being inferred is that the clutch is staying partially engaged all the time? Wouldn't I be having issues with putting in gear initially and shifting through the gears, or creeping while sitting at a stop in 1st?

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 12:05 PM
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Clutch Slipping

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Originally Posted by rayj View Post
Thanks guys. It seems your comments mirror each other. So what is being inferred is that the clutch is staying partially engaged all the time? Wouldn't I be having issues with putting in gear initially and shifting through the gears, or creeping while sitting at a stop in 1st?
Clutch is slipping , the opposite of what you said, other words, if the clutch cable was seized, you were able to pull it in, but the spring tension in the clutch couldn't overcome the seized cable, you could rev the sh__ out of the motor in any gear, you would be still at home, not moving!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 12:06 PM
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What they are saying is that the clutch isn't fully engaging. The cable may be too tight (not enough end play). Have you recently changed the engine oil and put in a "friction modified" oil? That will also cause clutch slippage.

A clutch will usually slip during high torque situations more than high rpm ones. Does it seem to slip when you take off in first gear? How about high power roll-ons in 3rd gear (3500 rpm and crank the throttle)?

Last edited by Duffy; 11-08-2016 at 12:08 PM.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 01:31 PM
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You're clutch is apparently not engaging fully. By engaging I mean hooking up solidly. Creeping in first would be a symptom of the clutch not disengaging fully when the lever is pulled. The clutch is supposed to be engaged when the lever is out.

First thing to check is the free play and cable routing. It's free and easy.

Your pressure plate springs could be weak.

Or worse yet, someone used energy conserving oil or a slick fifty type of slop in the crankcase. In these cases, your clutch fibers(at least) are toast.

If you continue riding like this your entire clutch pack will be destroyed in fairly short order.

This all has nothing to do with whatever electrical issues the bike may have.

Good Luck.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SteveJ View Post
You're clutch is apparently not engaging fully. By engaging I mean hooking up solidly. Creeping in first would be a symptom of the clutch not disengaging fully when the lever is pulled. The clutch is supposed to be engaged when the lever is out.

...If you continue riding like this your entire clutch pack will be destroyed in fairly short order.
This all has nothing to do with whatever electrical issues the bike may have.
Good Luck.
Got it guys. I just drove it home and had some of the same issues described. And YES, there is no play in the clutch cable. I recently had the shop I favor fix my overly loose shorty lever array by inserting a small metal stay that should have been removed from the original lever, and inserted into the shorty when it was installed. Took the looseness and play out of the entire clutch array, but left me no play in the cable. I thought I was not getting enough play when disengaging (pulling) the lever, but you are all indicating that the opposite is true in that I need play the other way. Is this as simple as an adjustment to the cable connection around the lever, or do I need to go down to the housing area where the cable connects with the clutch release lever and make adjustments to a "barrel" type bolt? I looked at another thread and see the reference and diagram of the adjustment on page 6 - 6 of the manual.

Anything I need to be concerned about in doing the adjustments besides creating some more play? Thanks all. Hopefully I havn't f...ed up the entire clutch at this point.
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File Type: jpg Clutch cable removal and adjustments 6-6.jpg (42.9 KB, 38 views)

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 03:33 PM
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Mk-1 & mk-2

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Originally Posted by rayj View Post
Got it guys. I just drove it home and had some of the same issues described. And YES, there is no play in the clutch cable. I recently had the shop I favor fix my overly loose shorty lever array by inserting a small metal stay that should have been removed from the original lever, and inserted into the shorty when it was installed. Took the looseness and play out of the entire clutch array, but left me no play in the cable. I thought I was not getting enough play when disengaging (pulling) the lever, but you are all indicating that the opposite is true in that I need play the other way. Is this as simple as an adjustment to the cable connection around the lever, or do I need to go down to the housing area where the cable connects with the clutch release lever and make adjustments to a "barrel" type bolt? I looked at another thread and see the reference and diagram of the adjustment on page 6 - 6 of the manual.

Anything I need to be concerned about in doing the adjustments besides creating some more play? Thanks all. Hopefully I havn't f...ed up the entire clutch at this point.
Earlier models like yours had a second adjustment, for taking up excessive adjustments, leaving the adjustment at the clutch handle for fine adjustments. Follow your cable from the foot brake side of the bike, up towards the gas tank, you should find a rubber covering over the cable, sliding the rubber covering will expose the coarse adjustment for the clutch, I think it is either 10mm or 8mm open end wrenches needed, in your case you want to loosen off the jam nuts and thread both ends towards each other, this will increase slack in the cable, you should be able to move the clutch actuator about .010 to .015 free play, while you are at it adjust the adjuster at the clutch lever to be less than middle of their adjust-ability, as at the lever requires no tools. If those levers had been installed right, the adjuster should have been at least 1 to 2 turns out at the lever.

So I read your last post again, and yes, that thumbnail posted is the adjuster I am talking about!!

Last edited by onewizard; 11-08-2016 at 03:39 PM.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-09-2016, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by onewizard View Post
Earlier models like yours had a second adjustment, for taking up excessive adjustments, leaving the adjustment at the clutch handle for fine adjustments. Follow your cable from the foot brake ... lever.

So I read your last post again, and yes, that thumbnail posted is the adjuster I am talking about!!
Thanks Wiz. I'll work on it Saturday and give you a full report next week.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-09-2016, 11:56 AM
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FWIW - on the THREE Vs I have bought, ALL had the clutch adjusted so that the point where the clutch was engaging/disengaging was FAR from the grip, and in EACH case (plus several others I've helped w/ this) I changed it so that that engagement/disengagement point was MUCH closer to the handle-bars.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-10-2016, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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FWIW - on the THREE Vs I have bought, ALL had the clutch adjusted so that the point where the clutch was engaging/disengaging was FAR from the grip, and in EACH case (plus several others I've helped w/ this) I changed it so that that engagement/disengagement point was MUCH closer to the handle-bars.
Eddie, I have shorty replacement levers, that have the 6 adjustments like the OEM's, and if I have them on the closest to bar setting, #1 I believe, there is hardly any gap between the bar and the lever. I guess this is partially due to having the grip buddies. Are you saying that to disengage you only need a very small amount of play?

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-10-2016, 12:12 PM
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Eddie, I have shorty replacement levers, that have the 6 adjustments like the OEM's, and if I have them on the closest to bar setting, #1 I believe, there is hardly any gap between the bar and the lever. I guess this is partially due to having the grip buddies. Are you saying that to disengage you only need a very small amount of play?
UNLESS I'm mis-reading your post, that adjustment has NO bearing on the engage/disengage point.

The problem w/ the OEM set-up is that the clutch is VERY close to the point where you CAN'T disengage it, so I set it up to be in the MIDDLE of the lever's 'arc'.

(I'm pretty sure I posted a thread in TECHNICAL about this - try SEARCH)

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Made the adjustments on Sunday afternoon and got some slack on the lever. Did not get to ride it yet to test. However, it is pretty apparent that the clutch does not fully engage since I have to push the lever out a little to get the cable to be drawn back in. Is this a sign that the clutch is cooked, guessing that the springs are not strong enough now to get full re-engagement? Or could be as simple as the spring has sprung around the clutch release lever?

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 10:36 AM
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Made the adjustments on Sunday afternoon and got some slack on the lever. Did not get to ride it yet to test. However, it is pretty apparent that the clutch does not fully engage since I have to push the lever out a little to get the cable to be drawn back in. Is this a sign that the clutch is cooked, guessing that the springs are not strong enough now to get full re-engagement? Or could be as simple as the spring has sprung around the clutch release lever?
You might just need to lube your clutch cable. They will corrode and stick.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 11:21 AM
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Trace the cable

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Made the adjustments on Sunday afternoon and got some slack on the lever. Did not get to ride it yet to test. However, it is pretty apparent that the clutch does not fully engage since I have to push the lever out a little to get the cable to be drawn back in. Is this a sign that the clutch is cooked, guessing that the springs are not strong enough now to get full re-engagement? Or could be as simple as the spring has sprung around the clutch release lever?
This has happened to several people, first you should get a cable luber and lube the cable. Next you should trace the cable, as several have found the cable clamp pinching the cable near the wiring harness/ cable connector from the right hand switch assembly.

One way of quickly proving the source of the problem , is to pull in the clutch, then go to the leaver above the foot brake, pull slack in the cable using this lever. Next try pulling the clutch in using this lever, it should be hard to pull in using this lever and releasing it should return it to the engaged position.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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After trying to fix it myself, I took it into the shop on Saturday and they got to it today. Turns out the bushing they took out of my old lever housing and installed into the knockoff shorty's was not seated properly causing the cable to get stuck and not be able to completely retract. They removed it, filed down some burrs, lubed it up and did x-way roll on's. Everything is good.
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