Series C Rapide - wish me luck, I'm going in!


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Afternoon All,

Well, after 230 miles in the hot sunshine the other day on my Series C Rapide I got an awful clutch slip just 3 miles from home. I couldn't get above 40 miles an hour but it did pull that up hill seemingly OK,it just started to slip when trying to pull above that so that may well be a clue about which of the two clutch's is failing and why?:confused:

When cold the following day - no problem.:p

I've been "brave" enough to take off the cover and have a peek inside - no visible signs of oil or anything else untoward but of course you can't see a whole lot from here - probing with a cotton bud didn't locate any oil.

Primary chain case oil level doesn't appear to have changed dramatically either.

However, having spoken to my engineering Vincent mentor, his recommendation is to strip the clutch for examination on the basis that clearly something is not right to cause that problem on a hot engine, things may well get worse and I don't want it to fail in the wrong way at the wrong time in the wrong place and leave me stranded.

So, having been tutored on it being a straightforward job I am "going in" this weekend to strip the clutch for examination. Yes, me, myself, I.:eek:

I'll spend the evenings this week reading up on the books and articles, plus planning the job. This'll cause many readers of this Forum to have a great laugh (go on, get it over with) but maybe one or two of you can recall the trepidation when you attempted this kind of thing for the first time.

I've done one or two mechanical jobs on the bike before (dynamo strip and replacement was one) and I did a lot of the strip down last year when the cams and followers ate each other, but that time with John Coates sitting watching over me.

I'm assured it's pretty straightforward common sense kind of thing with the right tools, with which I am blessed.

So, wish me luck, think of me and if anyone has any special tips that they'd like to give me in advance of the job (other than getting someone else to do it), then they'd be most welcome and gratefully received.:D

The bike has an original Vincent Clutch and has operated pretty much flawlessly over 5500 miles, I like the feel and operation of it and intend to keep it as standard.

Thanks all.

Stuart Metcalfe


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Brake cleaner does a wonderful job of cleaning up the drum...something that can be "in situ" for a quck check to see if the drum has become contaminated with oil...a thorough cleaning of course will involve removal of same...a handheld impact driver might come in useful. Order a new set of the screws that go through the drving and driven plates before you start, I have never been able to reuse them.


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You can do it!

Regarding those screws that Bob mentioned. It is a good idea to file the end of a good screwdriver tip to fit the thickness to the screw slot width and use it only for that purpose. File across the tip, not on the sides, if I wasn't clear. You'll read about checking for plate flatness and matching spring heights.


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I think I've checked the basics....

Evening All,

Was going to say the same thing , start with the simplest things first , adjustment in this case.

Absolutely right both of you, luckily he was on the telephone as I checked around a few things as instructed last night, right amount of free play at the handlebar before activation, free play on the clutch actuating rod, actuating rod closing properly without touching up against the abutment, all designed to prove that the clutch effectively is fully engaged and not being held slipping.

We've talked some more and are both pretty convinced that the 230 odd miles and so thoroughly warm engine before the slipping presented itself, and the fact that then on a cold engine it returned to "normal" and showed no symptoms are linked.

If I take care, use common sense and my time then I guess, having checked all the other basics, then stripping, inspecting and re-building can do no harm, bring with it a little education and worst case scenario I'll find/see nothing so that can be ticked off the list - maybe it's the hydraulic master cylinder at fault and the fluid is boiling in the heat:rolleyes:

Some of you may recall that when I had a stuck pushrod there were two clear camps of thought, firstly there was the "take the timing cover of and check what is going on" and secondly the "leave well alone crowd and ride it" - well, if I'd taken the cover off I'd have found the carnage of the destruction as my cams ate the followers earlier, been able to book it in for the work sooner and in a more relaxed fashion ahead of the Manx GP and perhaps stopped quite so much metal debris whizzing around the insides of my engine. I've learnt my lesson I think the hard way so I think with all other possible straightforward culprits eliminated, time for a peek inside.

There's live open heart surgery on TV this week - so I should be able to manage a clutch I think - it's probably the anticipation as much as anything, once I get going it's only nuts, bolts, washers, screws, springs, plates, shoes, drums, oil seals, retaining springs and the requirement to transfer all the torque of 1000cc of V twin motive power to the rear tyre, what can go wrong!

Cheers all
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