Saturday, September 10, 2016

Repair, replace, upgrade (Honda PCX CVT clutch repair and variator upgrade)

The Honda PCX (both 125 and 150), seem to have an annoying habit of wearing out clutch bearings. From what I've been able to deduce from the things I've read, it's not so much a fault in the bearing but in the folks who install them without applying enough grease.

After about 6,000 miles, my PCX started making a light whooshing noise inside the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). By 10,000 miles it had become very loud, though it still did not seem to be affecting anything performance-wise. Just the same, prudence won out and I ordered a clutch bearing inner face assembly with the bearings pressed in (about $30, so not bad).

I had changed the belt around 9500 miles, and observed the drive plates were looking a bit worn, so I ordered a replacement for those too. These came in the form of NCY parts as it was only a mite more for performance parts than for the OEM equivalents. It seemed there was little wisdom in getting stock parts in this scenario, so I went for the NCY bits with 13 gram rollers.

Everything finally arrived this week, so I braved the heat and did the deed. It didn't take all that long, though I did have to run the clutch assembly to Lancaster Honda since I didn't have the tools to get it apart. Just the socket alone would have cost me more than the $9.00 I paid them to put it together.

With everything assembled, I went for a ride on rt. 283, and got it up to an indicated 74, which I guessed was probably 73. I'll admit, I chickened out at that point and let off the throttle. Riding a tiny little scooter that fast is just a bit nerve wracking.

I did go back after dark when the road was mostly deserted with a GPS running. It recorded a top speed of 71, which is still impressive from a 150. I'm sure if I had a perfectly flat stretch, or a bit of downhill, it could do better, but it's not something I really care to test. That was a bit fast for the little bitty PCX, and I'm fine with what I've learned so far thank you kindly.

So, my first impression of the NCY variator bits with 13 gram pulleys is complete happiness. The low end acceleration felt a bit weak at first, but once I'd ridden it around a bit, it seemed to loosen up.

The replacement clutch inner assembly was well worth it. I no longer hear the constant whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of the worn bearing, and my mind is eased.

Should you wish to watch the video of the process and my highway run, here it is:


Kyle Anderson said...

Hi - I ran into you today at Lancaster Honda picking up my new PCX. I love the blog - lots of great stuff! I'll definitely be a subscriber. Thanks again for your help today!

kz1000st said...

As an owner of scooters and motorcycles this is the one thing that separates the two for daily use. Scooters require much more maintenance. I could go on forever about the difference but my bikes run and run with only the very occasional chain oiling. I'm glad you enjoy the PCX but you would have a whole lot less to write about if you had something even like a Kymco K Pipe. Thanks for being honest. You and Steve Williams both have been my source. He has his Vespa in the shop at least a couple of times a year.

kz1000st said...

I'm flattered that you mentioned me in your Vlog. While it might seem to you that I am of the opinion that I have had no troubles with Chinese scooters, it is a little misleading. Actually I have a lot of problems with them.....and all scooters. I am bewildered why people even own scooters. The maintenance issues are just off the charts. Let's compare your PCX to my 250 Honda Rebel. Your PCX has had the belt replaced, clutch repaired, tire replaced and numerous other repairs in a scant 10,000 miles. My Honda Rebel has had both tires replaced and one chain adjustment in the same distance. I have saddlebags so it carries stuff just as easily as a scooter would. My Chinese scooters have been as troublesome as your PCX. Tires, valve adjustments and what's with the tiny sumps that only hold a quart of oil you have to change every 1,000 miles?? My Rebel holds two quarts and goes 3,000 miles on a change. How do you rely on something that needs so much attention? I want what the Rebel offers. Push the button and go, not work, work, work and go.

My Chinese scooters wouldn't be the first choice for a daily commute of length. Neither would a Honda scooter. Who needs the headaches? I have motorcycles to do real miles.

Scootin' Fool said...

Kyle, thanks so much for looking me up. Glad to have another reader/viewer.

Sorry I have not been in to check the comments here, the moto-vlog on Youtube has been consuming my attention.

Jim, There certainly seems to be a fair amount of upkeep on some scooters. Interestingly enough, the oil change interval on my PCX is about 5,000 miles according to the user manual, though I prefer to change it every 3k or so. The transmission repair in this instance is more of a mechanical failure issue, but for most users, they will likely never get to the mileage that requires it to be looked at. As for the valves, they really can wait until about 12,000 miles or so, though a check at 6k wouldn't go amiss I suppose. I'm not sure why Honda recommends checking them so frequently. TBH, part of the need for my more heavy maintenance on the PCX is that I ran it pretty hard over the last year. The belt and transmission components (other than the bearing which is a fault on Honda's part), were worn more heavily due to me abusing the scoot a bit. 15,000 miles is normal for these belts, and they could probably go a bit more. TBH, a chain might need to be replaced at about the same mileage.

I'll admit, I was a tad annoyed at the bearing issue. Had it been properly lubed from the factory, it would never have been an issue. When I had the new one put into the clutch, I had them grease the heck out of it.