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Changing FJR1300 Clutch Fluid
System Category: Controls
Activity Type: Scheduled Maintenance
FJR Model Year: 2003  2004  2004 ABS  All model years
Date Submitted:Nov, 2003

Changing FJR1300 Clutch Fluid

Strangely, changing the clutch hydraulic fluid is not specifically called out in the maintenance interval schedule, although the FJR1300 Service Manual does mention that hydraulic fluid should be changed every two years when you overhaul the clutch master cylinder (I bet few folks know the Manual calls for a complete clutch master cylinder overhaul every 2 years!)

Here's my factory clutch fluid when the bike was 3 months old, and approximately 10,000 miles:
As you can see in this photo below, things looks a lot worse once you remove the top of the reservoir! This crap turned a funky green-brownish tint! Blech! Leaving this grungy sludge in the system for two years just doesn't seem reasonable. My "old school" experience just won't let me wait that long between clutch fluid changes... additionally, hydraulic fluid is extremely hygroscopic, and absorbs quite a bit of moisture in a year's time. With the proper equipment, changing the clutch fluid is a 15-minute job, and requires no bodywork removal. So why not do it during your 8K servicing, or at least annually?



Tools Needed:

  1. #1 phillips-head screwdriver
  2. 8mm open end wrench
  3. There is no better tool for changing hydraulic fluid in your clutch or brake systems than a Mity-Vac. The MityVac Vacuum tester/brake bleeding kit gives you a clean, quick way to bleed your hydraulic fluid lines. It features a trigger release for one-hand operation. You attach the suction tube to the bleeder nipple, crack it open using a 8mm wrench, and the reservoir jar creates a vacuum that pulls the fluid into the jar. You can find a MityVac kit at your local Schucks Auto, Pep Boys, or mail order for about $35-$40. Trust me when I say it is about the best tool their is for bleed hydraulic fluid.
  4. A fresh bottle of your favorite Hydraulic fluid. My personal recommendation is the exceptional Valvoline SynPower High Performance Synthetic Brake Fluid. This stuff is most definitely The Shit when it comes to hydraulic fluids. It exceeds DOT 3 and DOT 4 specifications, and has a host of benefits you can read about on the Valvoline web site. I get mine at Schuck's Auto; it's about $5-$6 for a 32-oz bottle.
MityVac Fluid Bleeding kit

Valvoline SynPower Synthetic Brake Fluid


How to change the FJR's clutch fluid:
  1. Place bike on centerstand, front wheel pointed straight ahead. Drape heavy, thick terrycloth towels all around your fuel tank and left fairing. Just a single drop of brake fluid can *badly* mess up your paint.... protect your fairings! Obviously, once the reservoir is opened, do not allow handlebars to move or you risk sloshing hydraulic fluid everywhere!
  2. Use screwdriver to remove the two small phillips-head screws that affix the reservoir lid. Remove the lid, the white plastic retainer under it, and the black rubber boot under the retainer. You may or may not see small drops of condensation under the lid, plastic retainer, or on top of the rubber boot. Wipe all items dry with a clean rag.
  3. Use the MityVac to suck out almost all the old fluid out of the reservoir (not all of it, obviously... you don't want to introduce air into the system!), then top off the reservoir with fresh, clean brake fluid.
  4. Again, carefully ensure that your fairings are protected as seen in the below photo, attach your bleeder hose to the clutch slave bleed nipple, create a vacuum with the MityVac, then crack open the bleed nipple with the 8mm wrench.
  5. While carefully watching the fluid level in the reservoir to ensure it never gets too low, pump out the old fluid, stopping every so often to replenish the reservoir fluid levels as the fresh fluid gets drawn into the system.
  6. The nasty old fluid will be apparent as the MityVac sucks it out of the lines, but after several iterations of pumping, refill reservoir, pumping, refill reservoir, etc, you should eventually see fresh, clean, clear brake fluid being sucked out. At this point you're about done; I would still go through another 2-3 iterations of the pumping/refilling routine, just to ensure you remove every bit of the old fluid.
  7. Once convinced you've removed all the old fluid from the system, tighten down the clutch slave bleed nipple, remove the MityVac hose, and reinstall the small rubber boot over the bleed nipple.
  8. Ensure the clutch reservoir fluid level is at the correct full level, then re-install the rubber boot/plastic retainer/reservoir lid. Reinstall the phillips-head screws and snug them down.
Clean up, and Go Ride!


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