When to adjust the clutch?

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by hogsolo, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. hogsolo

    hogsolo Member

    Currently, I cant tell if something is broken, breaking or needs adjustment.
    What's been happening is that the bike is getting harder to shift. I can pull the handle in, but can't move the lever with my foot. Sometimes I can't get into neutral at all. Sometimes, usually when cold, it seems the bike wants to move forward with the handle pulled all the way in.

    I've seen a number of instructions on HOW to adjust a clutch, but not WHEN.
    What does shifting feel like if it needs adjustment?
    Does it make a noise?
  2. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

    If you pull the lever all the way to the grip, how much out travel is there before the clutch starts to engage and bike begins to move.

    That should not be. Take a look at the movie(s) on how to adjust your clutch. You should have the "dime" thickness for cable perch travel and 1/2 to 3/4 turn on Derby free play pressure screw. That will put you in the right lever engagement range of 3/4" at grip. Adjust them both with bike stone cold (movie forgets to mention that) and see if things improve.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2010
  3. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    The wrong type of oil and/or too much oil can cause clutch drag so when you open the derby cover to check the clutch adjustment check the oil level first

  4. hogsolo

    hogsolo Member

    Oh sometimes it wants to go forward even when I have the lever all the way in...
  5. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Guest

    Make sure you are adjusting the clutch cold
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    That could be either oil level or a clutch adjustment. Some bikes do that until the oil is circulated a bit.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    I usually adjust freeplay to the absolute minimum (near zero cold)...I turn bar left to lock, check it, then all the way right to lock, check it (right side is tighter) and adjust free play accordingly...!
  8. nwbikerid

    nwbikerid Member

    Sounds like maybe the clutch wasn't adjusted with enough freeplay before so it was running on the throwout bearing, so now the throwout bearing is failing, so when you pull in the clutch handle the clutch isn't disengaging all the way. I had that happen on a softail once.
  9. Plaid-Man Individual

    Plaid-Man Individual New Member

    Thought you may want to read this post from another forum about clutch problems with some Sporty models that sounds similar to what the OP is experiencing.

    Clutch Alert!

    Just a head's up on a real problem with the Sporty clutch. The stock design uses an additional spring plate in the center of the clutch pack. It is a double plate with small springs between the main plate. These plates are all held together by brass rivets.

    Those rivets are the weakest link in the entire drive mechanism! My first clutch went out around 25,000 miles. At first I just thought I could adjust it. Could never get it adjusted right. Finally took it to the dealer (it was still under warranty) and they thought they could adjust it. After working with it for about 4 hours, the dealer decided something inside was screwed up. And they ordered everything inside that could possibly be wrong so they could make a quick repair for me.

    Two weeks later, the parts were all in, and I was able to make the trip to that particular dealer. Once they opened up the clutch basket, it was a surprise to all. Everyone of those rivets and springs had come out, and had been floating around inside. That had caused the clutch hub and Shell to also be trashed. They had not ordered a shell or hub, and I couldn't fault them for that.

    When my last clutch started failing, it was showing the same signs (after 40,000 miles on the second clutch). The signs of the center spring plate coming apart is that the clutch will both slip and drag. In theory that's impossible, but that's how the clutch reacts to those extra parts floating around inside the clutch basket.

    The only clutch I could find that doesn't use that same center spring plate design was the HD Screamin Eagle clutch. It replaces that center spring plate with 2 extra friction plates and steel plates. Word of caution if you deside to go this route....that is one freekin stiff clutch! Part of the reason for the center spring plate design was to make the clutch pull easier, and then the outter spring also has to be stiffer on the Screamin Eagle clutch. Between those two, it makes for a very hard clutch pull, also a very reactive clutch. The friction zone is small on the SE clutch. Once you start letting it out, that baby will GO.
  10. oseita

    oseita Member

    I concur with you on the SE clutch. When my 883 had the 1200 conversion done the person had the clutch changed. It is a bit stiff especially when cold but I do love the quick response!