Make Your Own Clutch Cover Protector


Got inspired to make my own clutch cover protector. I already had some sheet of aluminum laying around. Bought some adhesive and bed liner paint. Total invested is about $20 with materials left over to do other similar jobs.

I first stenciled a pattern using some paper and a pencil to get the basic shape and lines of the cover. I then added about 1/8" to the outside of the pattern to allow for mistakes when cutting and a better final tuned fit with some filing and sanding.

Image 001

I clamped the sheet to my bench with a piece of wood and a C-clamp, then cut it out with my 20-year-old Black and Decker jigsaw with a metal cutting blade.

Here is the adhesive and paint I used.

So, if you look closely you'll see that the clutch cover is not flat, it has a contour. I had to use a hammer, crescent wrench, and my bench vise to form the piece. This was the most frustrating part of the job and I almost gave up once, but eventually I figured out a technique to get it shape the way I wanted. This is the piece after some sanding to rough up the surface just before cleaning it and paint. I wasn't too bent on making it pretty since I knew it was just going to get covered in paint anyways.

I masked off the clutch cover to hopefully make any excessive adhesive that squeezed out easier to clean. As it turns out this step wasn't entirely necessary as I had minimal adhesive squeeze out. You can see the scratches on my cover. This is from my boots, and only after about 2 rides in the dirt. That is some weak ass paint KTM...

And here is the final product.

Still plenty of clearance for the brake pedal. I did file the inside leading end on the pedal to help a bit.

Another note is the adhesive is slow to cure so I had to babysit it for about an hour to make sure it stayed in place. I just couldn't figure out a way to apply clamping pressure to it without it being uneven pressure.

Hopefully the paint and the adhesive will prove to be durable. If the adhesive doesn't hold and this thing falls off I'm sure it will be lost forever or worse case it will bind in the brake pedal.

New and improved clutch cover

Quick follow up. I had made an aluminum clutch and ignition cover for my bike. It turned out great, but I couldn't find a finish/paint that would stay on it without rubbing off -- MX boots are hard on paint.

Fast forward to now...

This time I made it from Kydex. What is Kydex...well I'll let you Google for the technical stuff, but basically it is very tough plastic that is easy to form at high temperatures. It is commonly used for gun and knife holsters. Any DIY can experiment with this stuff and have great results with nothing more than simple tools.

I'm not expert in working with Kydex. This was literally my first time ever working with it. I have spent a lot of time reading and watching how-to-videos on how to work with it though, so if you decide to try this I suggest you do your homework. I had to use some good old ingenuity at various points to get the results that I got.

Tools of the trade (ones I used):
-- Kitchen oven or toaster oven.
-- Cookie sheet
-- Jigsaw with metal cutting blade
-- Palm, vibrating sander with 180 grit sand paper
-- Some scrape boards
-- C-clamp
-- Heat Gun
-- Temperature gun/laser device
-- Gloves, work or mechanic style
-- Black Silicone Adhesive
-- Kydex forming foam
-- Kydex sheet, I used .093" thickness

Where to buy Kydex and forming foam:
-- has lots of stuff. This is the foam I bought.
-- I got my Kydex from Amazon. This seller ships for free with Prime.

Up front let me say sorry for not taking more pics. I was very involved and working with this stuff can be very time sensitive because it cools quickly.

-- Start off by putting your bike on the side stand and removing your rear brake lever and the clutch cover. You should be able to do this without oil draining out, but in my case I had some oil come out so be prepared to soak it up.
-- Clean the clutch cover so you can work with it without any oil residue. Clean the outside as well.
-- Lay the clutch cover down on the top of your Kydex sheet and scribe with a ruler and pencil where you want to cut. Don't make the mistake I made here, give yourself plenty of extra to width on all sides to work with. It matters not if you have too much because you are going to have cut off the excess later anyways.
-- Cut on the scribed lines with the Jigsaw. Then clean up the edges of the piece you are going to be working with.
-- At this point have all other tools you plan to use at the ready. Test out your clamping method (without the Kydex of course) so that everything is staged and ready to go.
-- Place your Kydex texture side down on the cookie sheet and put it in your cold oven. Then turn on the oven at the lowest heat our about 170 degrees to start off. You want the Kydex to warm up slowly, not shock it in a hot oven. Check the surface temperature of the Kydex frequently, and raise the oven temp as necessary, slowly until the Kydex surface temp reaches no more than 320 degrees.
-- When the Kydex is almost ready to be pulled from the oven, use your heat gun to heat up the clutch cover and the foam. You want them good and warm so they don't suck up all of the heat from the Kydex and cool it too quickly.
-- Pull the Kydex from the oven. Work quickly. Lay it shiny side down, texture side up on your clutch cover. It will be very pliable and hot. Make sure you use gloves. Place your forming foam on top, then a board on top of the foam, and clamp it down very tightly. You want the foam to compress as much as possible, but don't clamp so hard you damage the clutch cover...
-- It will cool in about 5 minutes. You can check by touching the parts of Kydex that are sticking out for firmness.

Here are some pics of my clamping method. Crude, but it worked.

Note that the pic was done after the job was mostly completed and I don't have the clamp compressed in this picture.

Here are some pics of the completed job. I'll have some more instructions and pointers below the pics.

In this pic you can see how not having enough excess material to overlap the part resulted in an un-uniform width of overlap. I'm bummed about this, but you can't really see it once on the bike.

More Instructions:
-- Once you have the first form of the Kydex done, examine your work. If you messed up or aren't happy, no biggie. Just stick it back in the oven and it will fall nice and flat again, then repeat the forming steps.
-- If it looks good, but maybe some of the overlap is laying down to your liking, use the heat gun to heat up that spot and them press it with your fingers or thumbs while wearing some gloves. A spare rag helps here too to prevent the heat from burning your fingers. Keep spot heating and pressing all areas until you have the contact you desire on all sides.
-- With the Kydex on the clutch cover, and the clutch cover on a flat surface you will want to scribe a line with a pencil around the side of the Kydex for where to cut the overlap. To do this uniformly, stack something under the pencil to raise it to the correct height, then turn the clutch cover to mark the line all the way around.
-- This is where things got a little tricky for me. I had to use the Jigsaw while holding the Kydex part in my other hand to cut roughly around the overlap side. Go slow here, take your time and try to stay on the outside edge of your scribed line. You might need to make a really rough first pass to clear away and flaps of excess Kydex that are preventing you from making a clean cut on your line first.
-- Use the palm, vibrating sander with 180 grit sand paper to sand the rough edge down to the scribed line, all the way around the part. Again, go slow, take your time.
-- Once you are done sanding, test fit the part on the clutch cover again. Use the heat gun once again to coax any high spots to lay down.
-- Wash the part in soapy water and dry it off.
-- With your finger in a plastic shop glove, rub a thin layer of Black Silicone Adhesive on the inside of the newly formed Kydex part. You won't need a lot since it already is form fit to the clutch cover. I'd avoid the KTM and LC8 logo areas as that might make removing it later if so desired a real pain in the ass.
-- Lightly press the parts together in your make-shift press to ensure the adhesive bonds uniformly. Look for any excess adhesive that may be oozing out and clean it up. Let is sit for about an hour like this.
-- Install your clutch cover and brake lever. Let the adhesive cure at least 24 hours before running the bike.

Lessons learned and other stuff:
-- A thinner Kydex will probably form better to the KTM and LC8 logos if you want them to show better, but this will be at the sacrifice of thickness and protection, marginally I'm sure.
-- Have at least three clamps would allow for a more uniform press and clamping pressure.
-- A bandsaw would be a great tool for cutting needs.
-- A belt sander would be a great tool for sanding needs.
-- There is a divot on the clutch cover where each mounting bolt goes. This allow clearance for tools and screw when installing or removing the cover. The Kydex interferes with this. In my case, inserting the screws loosely before trying to install the clutch cover on the bike did the trick. I also used a Torx bit to screw them in rather than a socket as there was no room for a socket. It might be advisable to use a small sanding drum on a Dremel to sand away the Kydex at each of this divets before gluing it to the cover. In my case, I as long as I don't need to remove the screws completely, it will never be a probably. I will just leave the screws loosely dangling in the holes of the cover when I remove it in the future.

Next will be the ignition cover. Same drill, but I'll have to wait until the next oil change since the oil will need to be drained.

Ben ________________
2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition


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