Clutch adjustment problems

Discussion in 'Other Service and Maintenance' started by buelly6465, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. buelly6465

    buelly6465 Member

    I am a new Harley owner, I've tried to adjust the clutch several times following the instructions from manuals and from videos, but every time it feels good at first but once the bike warms up fully I have to hold the front brake at stops. The last time apparently I went way too far because when it was warmed up and I shifted to first from neutral at a light it died on me. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Richard
  2. buelly6465

    buelly6465 Member

    Yes, I have and I have followed these exactly the main problem is to find out if it adjusted correctly or not you have to ride it, which warms it up, and then you have to wait several hours for it to cool off when you find out it is incorrect during the test ride.
  3. mouthful

    mouthful Active Member

    Made any upgrades to your bike? All info helps.
  4. HDSickness

    HDSickness Banned

    When you adjust slack in cable is front wheel straight or turned?
    Make sure it is straight it can make a difference.
  5. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Adjustment done on a stone cold bike makes all the difference.
  6. buelly6465

    buelly6465 Member

    Handlebars and braided clutch cable are only upgrades I know of.

    Ibelieve the front wheel has always been turned to allow easier access to the cable adjuster, I will try it with bars straight next time.

    I have always done it on cold engine, the problem is it feels great right afterwards when I go for the test ride. But afetr it warms up it starts creeping when clutch is fully disengaged. The last time I was at a light in neutral and squeezed the clutch to put it in first and the bike died.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2012
  7. Adamal47

    Adamal47 Active Member

    Here's a question for those in the know. When adjusting the clutch you turn the adjuster until you feel the slightest resistance then back
    it off half to three quarter turns before tightening lock nut. Here is my question. If the clutch lever is fully squeezed but the clutch is still engaged
    does this mean you backed it off too much or not enough?
  8. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

    In your case, the pressure screw adjustment was backed off too much.
    You can mal-adjust both adjustments and wind up with different results. My answer is based on only the pressure screw being mal-adjusted.

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    TRY this method i use.

    Harley Davidson Community

    IF your cable is Not pulling far enough and not changed out from stock pull, the bradded cable sheath Might be the problem; allowing too much play and loosing the full pull of the cable running thru it.

    Make sure the lever is @ 1/16 play (tight) to see IF that helps.

    You just want to make sure there is enough play so the clutch balls (throw-out bearings) don't run engaged constantly...

  10. Midnight Reign

    Midnight Reign Active Member

    Clutch adjustment is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. here is how I have been doing it for years with excellent results, some may disagree but it has been working fine with no return complaints.
    1). COMPLETELY loosen the cable adjuster
    2). Loosen the jamnut on the clutch adjuster a good bit, a couple of turns at least.
    when you do this you want to pay close attention to how it feels. If it feels chunky
    or sticky then take it completely out clean it up and get it turning freely both in the
    plate it screws into as well as the jamnut turning freely along the entire length of the
    3). Thread the adjuster back into the plate in the center of the clutch assembly 3 or 4
    threads then stop. Now push and pull on the adjuster and make note of how the
    plate moves under the snap ring that holds it in place.
    4). Continue to thread the adjuster into its center plate untill the first point of contact
    with the push rod, or zero lash. Cross check your work by backing the adjuster out
    just a bit then back in, you will be able to determine zero lash by observing when
    center plate just makes contact with the snap ring that holds it in place.Confirm
    by attempting to pull and push on the adjuster as you did in step 3. There should
    be no movement at this point, but also no noticeable pressure on the adjuster.
    5). When you are positive you are exactly at zero lash, no more no less, continue to
    turn the adjuster in 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn. This will set the preload on the pressure
    plate. 1/8 turn max for new clutch plates 1/4 turn max for rework or clutch plates
    with a bunch of miles on them.
    6). wipe the adjuster bolt with a rag wetted with some carb cleaner to get all the oil off
    it, put 1 drop of blue locktite on the adjuster where the jamnut is going to sit over
    it, run the jamnut down and torque it to aprx 1 grunt (thats a technical term).
    7). Pull the clutch lever all the way to the hand grip. remove the slack from the cable
    adjuster, watching the clutch lever move as you do this. As you get close to the
    lever being in its fully extended position, continue removeing slack from the cable
    adjuster, use a dime as a gauge between the clutch lever and the clutch perch to
    determine the correct freeplay in the lever, when a dime will just barely stay in
    place on its own due to cable pressure STOP. Operate the clutch lever while
    observing the clutch adjuster. As you squeeze the lever the pull should be smooth
    and even, and the adjuster will visually move in and out slightly.
    8). Secure the jamnuts on the cable adjuster. Put everything back together clean up
    wash your hands and give it a test run.

    As you mentioned the motor/clutch MUST be stonecold, If you got it right neutral will be very easy to find, and the bike wont lurch or creep when you shift from neutral to first.

    You will find that this procedure is made much easier if you use a T-handle allen wrench for turning the clutch adjuster, as this allows you to better gauge the 1/8 to 1/4 turn when setting the preload on the pressure plate. You can also make a jamnut wrench by having a 4 or 5 inch piece of 5/16 round bar welded on to the base of a deep well socket. This allows you to use the T handle allen wrench to precisely hold the adjuster through the square hole where the ratchet would normally go into the socket while you apply that critical 1 grunt of force to the jamnut. Keeping the adjuster from moving while setting the jamnut is absolutely critical, as the difference between a properly adjusted clutch and a maladjusted one is infintismal. If there is no lurching or creeping when shifting from nuetral to first you are ready to road test. When you get out on the road get rolling slowly (about 25 mph in 3rd gear) then briskly roll on the throttle. If the motor bogs a bit before cleanly accelerating you are good. If the motor revs faster than the bike accelerates then the clutch is slipping and a readjustment is in order. So in review if the bike is creeping with the clutch lever against the grip, and neutral is hard to find, or first gear is hard to get at a stand still, then there is NOT enough preload on the pressure plate. If the clutch slips under brisk acceleration then there is TOO MUCH preload on the pressure plate. DO NOT be tempted to make even slight adjustments with the cable adjuster, that is there solely to control the amount of preload on the throw out bearing, which you will certainly tear to shreds in short order if there is continual pressure on it.

    Sorry for being so long winded, hope it helps