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Easy Clutch Adjustment Method


Veteran Member
Here is an almost fool proof method for clutch adjustment. It takes the guesswork out of the "feel" for the adjuster.
Once you have opened up the derby cover and are ready to proceed.
ALWAYS adjust the clutch on a COLD motor otherwise you could have shifting problems as the motor warms up.

1)Collapse the adjuster on the cable sleeve all the way.

2)Pull the lever against the bar and hold it there with light force.

3) After breaking the clutch lock nut loose,turn the pushrod adjuster bolt in with the allen wrench while holding the lever against the bar lightly until it starts to force the lever away for some distance. (Do this more than once to get the feel). While keeping light pressure on the lever back the adjuster bolt out just until the lever touches the bar again and then another little bit, about 1/2 turn , then tighten the lock nut in this position while holding the adjuster in place so it doesn't move. Easiest done with a "T" handle allen wrench.

4)Adjust the cable free play at the lever for 1/16"-1/8" free play and lock the lock nut on the adjuster. Slide the protective cover back over the adjuster.

You should be good to go .

Always adjust the clutch on a cold bike for best results.

It's better to adjust the clutch so that it starts to grab at least an inch or more from the bar for complete disc separation, which translates into better/quieter shifting.
Using this method, you can "feel" where the lever is going to grab with a little practice.

ALSO see clutch clutch adjustment by the book.

Clutch Adjustment By The Book - Harley Davidson Community

Hydrallic clutch adjustment...

Remove derby cover. Loosen bleed screw with hose to redirect any fluid discharge.
Loosen clutch lock nut and screw in adjust screw until clutch piston bottoms out lightly. Tighten bleed screw and back off adjust screw 1/2 to 3/4 turn. This will give you full travel on piston. 1/2 to 3/4 "slop" will come out first time you cycle clutch lever. Tighten lock nut and reinstall derby cover.
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Excellent technique Mr. Data. My scoot has never shifted better using the method you describe!:rider
Glad it worked for you. It takes the possible "error" factor of the adjustment and lowers it considerably.
I have had trouble with this since the I did my 1000 service. I just finished my 20,000 mile service and had the same old problems using the method in the shop manual. Your way works much better. It still goes into first gear with a loud clunk until it warms up though. This is my first fuelie and I am used to having control of the idle speed with the enrichener. Am i shifting into first too soon? How long of a warm up does it need on a 40 degree farenheit day?
thanks hd dan
All harleys do the clunk thing going into first and even shifting between gears, it's the nature of the beast. You can minimize it by pulling in the clutch and waiting a few seconds before shifting into first. It gives the gears a bit of time to stop spinning before engaging which will minimize and in some cases eliminate the clunk.
Used this technique today while doing the 5k service on my 08 Ultra, worked like a champ. Thanks Mr. Data. :)
Really? They all clunk when engaging first? It's a 30 degree day here. It seems it doesn't matter how much I let it warm up; my 2005 custom still clunks into first. Forgive me. This is the first time I've really had clutch issues, and I'm new to riding. Should I be patient and wait for a warmer temp, or should I adjust the clutch?