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I say pull the clutch and just have a look see for sure before giving up on it.
Yes the type and age of oil can have some effect on clutch and transmission operation.
 

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I used to run Rotella T6 in my SV, but after about 1000 mi the shifting deteriorated. I've been using Mobil 1 10W-40 4T for a few years now, and shift is consistently smooth.

I'm not convinced there is a major trans problem.
 

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Yeah I see people all the time touting T6 like they discovered some secret recipe or something. The thing they dont realize is the only reason T6 meets the motorcycle requirement is that it doesn't contain friction modifiers. The reality is its a diesel oil first and foremost and while it technically meets the requirement there are better choices out there. The only advantage T6 has is its cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I think i will ride out this oil change, and come the next one I will pop the clutch cover off and take a peak. I rode it all round town today, got a wide variety of riding in, and actually today the transmission did pretty good. No odd behavior, but the lash was still there of course. My buddy thinks this is just an age thing, and that most bikes develop a non-zero amount of drive train lash just with miles, and that it in itself isn't all too bad. Maybe I am blowing this out of proportion? It is my first and only bike at this time, so I don't know much else.

Maybe my rushing to sell was a little too soon. Perhaps at the higher mileage, I should shorten my oil change interval or something of the like. Does anyone have a bike with like 50+ thousand miles with drivetrain or transmission lash not a real issue at all? Maybe the other day I reported all the issues, I was just having a rough day and my technique was poor or something. I guess it would have to do with riding style as well, I never notice any of this when I'm ripping through the canyon roads, it's mostly the calm rides that it gets to me most.

I'm a little over a third into this oil change interval, so I will report back on any updates or changes, and clutch condition. Thanks for your help guys.
-Mike
 

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What oil are you using?

Look for info on how to check for a worn clutch basket before you open it up. You are certain the clutch springs you installed are correct - right?

There's nothing wrong with T6 or other diesel oils. It's perfectly safe for cycle engines (has adequate ZDDP for a solid-lifter engine) - unlike current auto oils. I run T6 in a lot of different bikes, but found my SV just doesn't like it after a while.

No 40-grade oil (5W-40, 10W-40, etc) of any type contains friction modifiers. The issue is a lack of Zinc and Phosphorus (ZDDP) in current auto oils (all grades) due to emissions restrictions. ZDDP is a safety net for the cams/rockers/lifters/high pressure contact points to protect them from galling before there is adequate oil flow. Diesel and cycle-specific oils have what you need, auto oils don't.
 

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I don't think this is is correct. The JASO MA standard (the one for motorcycles) is specific to not having friction modifiers.
And says nothing about zinc content.
I looked up a few 40w gasoline engine oils and they all state having friction modifiers.
The issue with modifiers (and the reason for the JASO MA standard) is they can lead to wet clutch slippage.

As for T6, it has plenty of additives but according to their site they are all designed to enhance performance in diesel engines.

Like I said, T6 may be fine and won't lead to wet clutch slippage but I can't see how it could be as good as an oil specifically made for motorcycle engines. Everyone can make their own choices but for me I'll spend the extra few bucks and feel confident I'm used an oil designed for the purpose.
 

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I don't think this is is correct. The JASO MA standard (the one for motorcycles) is specific to not having friction modifiers.
And says nothing about zinc content.
I looked up a few 40w gasoline engine oils and they all state having friction modifiers.
The issue with modifiers (and the reason for the JASO MA standard) is they can lead to wet clutch slippage.

As for T6, it has plenty of additives but according to their site they are all designed to enhance performance in diesel engines.

Like I said, T6 may be fine and won't lead to wet clutch slippage but I can't see how it could be as good as an oil specifically made for motorcycle engines. Everyone can make their own choices but for me I'll spend the extra few bucks and feel confident I'm used an oil designed for the purpose.
Where did you see that?

If you look at the back of an oil bottle for the API "donut" you will see if an oil has Friction Modifiers or not. If it does it will say "Energy Conserving" at the bottom in the donut. If it doesn't say that it doesn't have them.

Find me any 40-grade oil that says "Energy Conserving".
 

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Well now I can't find them. I may have been looking at something different.
However the energy conserving tag just means the oil is rated to get slightly higher gas mileage. It doesn't specify how. Friction modifiers are a common way but having that label doesn't guarantee that there are modifiers and not having it doesn't guarantee that there aren't.
Regardless we are kind of straying away from the original point. T6 is technically rated for motorcycles. That is because they meet the jaso ma standard. This standard states there are no friction modifiers. The lack of friction modifiers is to ensure compatibility with the wet clutch. That's it. By rotellas own website T6 is specifically designed as a diesel oil with formulations and additives specific to diesels. I can't imagine it's as good for a motorcycle engine, clutch and transmission as a dedicated motorcycle engine oil.
In my now pretty extensive research into the subject I really can't see any advantage to t6 other than price while motorcycle oils are, ya know, made for motorcycles....
 

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Well now I can't find them. I may have been looking at something different.
However the energy conserving tag just means the oil is rated to get slightly higher gas mileage. It doesn't specify how. Friction modifiers are a common way but having that label doesn't guarantee that there are modifiers and not having it doesn't guarantee that there aren't.
Regardless we are kind of straying away from the original point. T6 is technically rated for motorcycles. That is because they meet the jaso ma standard. This standard states there are no friction modifiers. The lack of friction modifiers is to ensure compatibility with the wet clutch. That's it. By rotellas own website T6 is specifically designed as a diesel oil with formulations and additives specific to diesels. I can't imagine it's as good for a motorcycle engine, clutch and transmission as a dedicated motorcycle engine oil.
In my now pretty extensive research into the subject I really can't see any advantage to t6 other than price while motorcycle oils are, ya know, made for motorcycles....
I'd like to clear this up first.

If an oil contains Friction Modifiers typically it's Moly. In order to be labeled as Energy Conserving (containing Friction Modifiers) it needs a certain amount. The higher amount is what reduces friction and gives better lubrication and mileage, but also what may build-up on clutch plates in cycles and cause slipping.

The bigger issue than Friction Modifiers is the lack of other additives you really want - like ZDDP. Use a motorcycle-specific of diesel oil (like T6 or and Rotella Multigrade) and you have what you need. All standard auto oils are not suitable for cycle use.

T6 is fine, and surpasses many conventional motorcycle-specific oils.

Rotella T6 is not the best, but it's significantly better than adequate and is a safe and solid choice for most motorcycle engines.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
I've been using standard Kawi and Honda conventional 10w-40 4 stroke oil. Nothing special. I used to use motul synthetic, and that was what my CCT didn't work well with. I do my oil changes absolutely no later than 3000 mile intervals. I am starting to get into higher mileage territory, and I like to keep on top of those things, especially using conventional oil. I also change the oil after any service on the motor, or track day.

I've been riding it some more, and the lash is the same so it seems since before the shimming, and I've been focusing on making sure my shifts are as "by the book" as possible, and it has been working okay recently. No clutch issues, no slippage. I fixed that when my previous one wore out, it had rainbow'd steels.

Also yes, when I did the clutch replacement I was aware of the types of wear that can form in the clutch. The basket had only polished areas where the tines on the friction plates would start to wear in, no actual wear. I couldn't feel the shiny spots with my fingers at all, So I left them as is. The clutch basket is on the crankshaft output right? or is there a gearing between the actual crankshaft and the clutch basket? I am wondering if there is any easy gears to inspect right behind the clutch basket.

Thanks guys.
-Mike
 

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I would do some research about the Factory Pro Shift Kit for the Ninja 300 before disassembling the trans.

Not sure if it's going to solve all the issues, but it's supposed to stop it from popping out of gear and hitting false neutrals. Might cure the problem for you.

Also make sure the shift linkage is adjusted and lubed. Some people have reported that the linkage can hit parts of the rearsets and not move completely when shifting.
 

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I was looking at that kit. So far I've had no shifting issues but I dont like leaving well enough alone so maybe I'll get it:)
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Kenny yeah you are right. The lash has slowly been worsening, so the least I can do is investigate the gear set between the clutch basket and the crank. Wouldn't be a terrible job to replace if that was the only issue, Id gladly do that over a transmission rebuild even if I have to split the crankcase, but hopefully I wouldn't.

Once I finish my brake job on my car, then I can afford to pull the bike apart. oil change is coming up soon here too, so not a bad time at all.

The lash has gotten so bad that when I am riding hard, and you come into a turn in the twisties and are trail braking, and then when you apex and start adding throttle in, the knock is almost unsettling, causes momentary unbalance and sketchy stuff. Almost feels like a tiny clutch kick right then, and it sucks. So Im going to really start looking into opening er up to get this at least addressed. The shifting has actually been going quite well lately, I have been sure to make very positive shift changes, and it has rewarded me with complete shifts every time.

Will update probably this weekend or early next week when I pull er apart.
-Mike
 

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If it's something that is rapidly getting worse I'd signing asap. Small issues can become big ones if something let's go.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Hah! Finally a great lead. Based on general research, I strongly believe this is my entire issue. Video link attached.

So i opened up my clutch cover today for the hell of it, and I learned a few things.
-zero wear on the clutch gear and crankshaft gear. They look stellar.
-my friction plates and steels from my recent replacement also look perfect.
-fingers on the clutch basket and the slots on the clutch hub look extremely minimally worn.
-and of course, the basket moves a ton about its gear. There was an audible rattling when you jiggle the basket, and I can clearly see the gears weren't moving at all.

So I did some research and it appears just about every bike has "dampers" of some kind actually inside the clutch basket unit, which is one piece, because its riveted together. Not sure what types are common, but I can see that some bikes have rubber dampers, similar to the type in the cush drive in the rear wheel, and others, like the ninja, have springs instead of rubber pieces.

According to this DIY article on replacing these "non serviceable" dampers in your clutch basket, the "clutch basket *should not* move independently from the clutch gear".
https://www.diymotofix.com/blog/how-to-repair-your-clutch-basket-dampers-for-less-than-30

I couldn't find a lot more solid information regarding how the dampers are supposed to be when they're new, but I am assuming that, much like the cush drive, these dampers of all kinds are only effective when there is no literal play in the system. As promised, heres the video of me handling the pieces on the bike before removal, and after pulling the basket.

https://youtu.be/508HPwDcJFE

As you can see in my video, there is gross play in the basket, and when I pulled it off, you can see the springs loosely sliding back and forth in their groves. I can spin the springs around along their axis in the groves very easily, the springs have clearly been permanently compressed.

It's really annoying that bike manufacturers' solution to this problem is a $300 clutch basket because 6 little springs wore out. It sucks, the basket is in great shape, the gear looks perfect, its otherwise a perfectly good basket ready to take on thousands of more miles. And just about every bike manufacturer sells an entire clutch basket as a unit, that you cannot disassemble. I haven't done any research on the topic, but that article mentioned replacing the dampers (springs in this case) with parts from aftermarket makes, but the way they are installed, you couldn't remove or install them without permanently deforming the metal on the clutch gear...

I may try to defeat the rivets to get inside it and see if I can make myself my own serviceable basket, by doing kind of what that article described.
I see other threads online about these springs being loose, but it seems almost every case that the rider only notices noise, not any performance issues or lash. It looks like people shim these, but looking at the design of the 300 clutch and the other bikes, I don't think shimming is a good idea, since retaining the shims would be hard.

All in all, I am pretty sure this is my issue. So I ordered:
-new clutch basket assy
-new center hub (damaged it in removal, I'm stupid)
-new nut and washer for the clutch hub, I had to cut it off, that thing was SEIZED on there. only 10 bucks for both, so why not.

Can I get any confirmation that you guys think this is indeed my issue? Out of all the steel gears inside my motor anywhere, I have seen zero visible wear on the teeth on any of them. Cam chain gears, all the gears behind the clutch basket like the oil pump and others all look as good as new. So based on that assumption, I am assuming my actual transmission gears are likely in pretty good shape as well. They are straight cut gears, and have a designed in amount of gear mesh to allow for proper shifting, and when I was handling the clutch hub and the countershaft after I got the clutch off, it spins the transmission very very smoothly in neutral, very little noise, no hitching or anything adverse whatsoever, so I would say it's in great shape. The clutch basket was the only thing I found that was blatantly messed up, and I was expecting to find something blatantly messed up to match with my blatant ridiculous lash, so to me that fit the description. It also makes sense that things like springs would gradually weaken/get squashed over time with use, so that fit the bill as well.

I need some feedback here, back me up if you think this was the right item to replace. It was a lot of cash, so if it was the wrong thing, I would certainly want to return my items...
Everything else looked as perfect as I could expect a bike with some mileage on it could look without taking the motor out.

Thoughts? Sorry for the long write up, I had a lot to share. Hopefully this could help some poor sap in the future with the same issue that I've got.
Thanks in advance fellas.
-Mike
 

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This was actually one of the first things I mentioned. If there is play in those springs it can cause the issues you mentioned. The springs are in just about every motorcycle clutch setup and they do wear out over time. Can't guarantee it's your problem but it's definitely a problem.
Hopefully replacing this fixes your issue!
 

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This was actually one of the first things I mentioned. If there is play in those springs it can cause the issues you mentioned. The springs are in just about every motorcycle clutch setup and they do wear out over time. Can't guarantee it's your problem but it's definitely a problem.
Hopefully replacing this fixes your issue!
Yes it was - back in post #8.(EDIT - actually you first mentioned it in post #6.)

You were more specific than I was in post #7, but we were both looking at the clutch basket assembly as a possible issue - but you nailed it.

Sure sounds like the problem to me.
 
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