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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    15

    Default Shovelhead clutch adjustment issues

    So I have a 78 fxs and Im having trouble adjusting this goddamned clutch.
    It started creeping at stoplights and shifting real hard, and I couldn't find neutral to save my life. The clutch was adjusted and then twenty miles later my clutch lever goes completely slack. Open up the kicker cover and find my throwout bearing and the washers sitting in a bunch of pieces.
    So I got a new clutch pushrod and throwout bearing installed, i even got a new clutch adjustment screw put in. Then i cross threaded the nut on the stud that holds the kicker cover on and accidently unscrewed the whole stud out of the transmission, so had to fix that haha.
    I follow all the instructions in my hd manual to get the clutch adjusted ...proper space between starter motor, clutch adjustment screw set to spec and right amount of slack on clutch lever (even though I had to back out the cable adjuster way farther than I would've liked to get the lever to feel right)
    So I guess I'm wondering if there's any other little tricks that anyone has that they'd like to share..
    The bikes pretty much brand new, only three hundred miles on a complete rebuild ( new clutch, cable, everything, motor rebuilt, tranny rebuilt yada yada yada)
    Thanks ahead of time

  2. #2
    step
    Guest

    Default

    these clutches have such a small amount of throw, they are very hard to get right.

    So a lot of folks go with mods or aftermarket fixes. Some that I have seen include:
    • remove a pair of plates
    • change to a diaphragm spring
    • aluminum pressure plate
    • clutch tamer
    • ramjett retainer
    • adding/removing springs or swapping them out for stronger or weaker ones
    • 5-stud hubs
    • "long" bearings ILO the small OE caged hub bearings
    • enlarge the holes in the clutch plates where the studs ride

    But you should not 'need' any of those, but they can help. (I run a retainer).
    On the stock setup, I believe the most common problems are:

    • gummed up plates (soak in gasoline and scrub clean)
    • warped steel plates (check on flat surface & replace if not flat)
    • grooved or notch wear marks on the studs (sand smooth and/or enlarge holes in clutch plates)
    • worn throwout pawl (replace)
    • bent hub studs (straighten or replace)
    • contamination from inner primary bearing lube or clutch hub bearing grease


    I did not see that you adjusted your spring tension with the hub-stud nuts? IMO that is very important because the line between slipping and dragging is very fine. You also may need to individually fine tune each spring setting to make sure that the pressure plate pulls away squarely from the plates. All of the factory service manual settings should be considered as starting points and from there you need to fine tune it.

    Once you get it right, you will find it easier and easier to do it next time.

    When the bike is not running, and you pull in the clutch, you should be able to spin the clutch pack by hand. If you can't, it will drag...... good luck.

  3. #3
    Member

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    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    36

    Default

    + 1 on what Step said,hey Step,how ya doing....
    Gummy plates are common for this problem,a little oil or to much grease on the hub will cause this,clean as stated,gas or I use brake cleaner,rough 'n them up a bit,I glue a piece of emery cloth to a flat piece of wood and do a couple of light figure 8's on both sides,wipe'n off and put them in.
    A retainer and a aluminum presure plate works good to...hope it helps,
    GBM

  4. #4
    step
    Guest

    Default

    Hiya Mike.

    Long time no see. Hope you are well.

    seems like all young whipper-snappers on this forum.

    too young for one forum, too old for anothers. WTF?

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    15

    Default

    No I haven't adjusted the spring tension yet, cos I wasn't quite sure how to or if I could do anything else first. I appreciate the responses fellas and when I get a chance to get to the bike with my manual I'll see what else I can break...I mean fix.
    Also just talked to my dad, he thinks he put on a longer clutch cable housing when he was throwing the bike together so I'm gonna check on that.it sucks being two thousand miles from my pops and his bike builder friends, but I'll get this shit figured out eventually.

  6. #6
    aaronc
    Guest

    Default

    That lil thrust bearing fucked with me for the longest time when I first started out on my 4-speed.I must have went thru 10 of em.Be cruisin pull in the clutch then crunch no clutch,had to change one on the tollway outside of O-hare airport.Replace everything thats even a little fucked up bearing,slinger,pushrod and the knuckle thing if its worn.Run the set screw with the jamnut loose in till the whole thing stops then loosen it a turn or two and lock the jamnut down.Then you can adjust the slack in the cable till theres about an eight inch of slop in the handle.You could look into the old style thrust bearing which is very heavy duty and will never break.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Yeah I noticed my oil slinger looks like it rounded out on the clutch pushrod and smashed up my throwoutbearing and the washers . I got a kit from a nice parts store down the street from my house with the heavier duty bearing, but I know about the old style conversion. If this happens again I'll get it probably.
    I just got the bike back from a shop after they replaced my inner primary with a nos in the box Harley inner primary and replaced a bunch of seals that dried out while the bike sat for the last ten years or so. The shop said that they surfaced my clutch pushrod and I'm still a little unsure what that even means. I already gave them a grip of cash so I want to just get this done on my own

  8. #8
    aaronc
    Guest

    Default

    Carry a spare and some tools.Im changin both of my trans to the other style Im just not sure if I got to machine the pushrod or what.I dont know what they meant by resurfacing the pushrob.

  9. #9
    Senior Member

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    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    485

    Default

    anytime one of those wafer thin late throw out bearings eats itself save yourself the headaches and convert your throwout bearing to the early style you will never replace another one ! but be sure to replace the finger too

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    15

    Default

    So thanks again guys! I adjusted the springs and pretty sure I got the clutch dialed in pretty good. I had to get a new starter relay cos i can't not break shit when I take off or put stuff back on.
    Now I have to figure out if I put my kicker cover back on wrong cos when I go to kick her, its making a bad grind and gets stuck half way down. I know how to line it up when I'm putting the cover back on, but I may have just not done it right. Thanks again guys for the help
    Michael

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Nice, broke off a bunch of teeth on the gear inside the kicker cover. One day I'll get this thing back on the road.

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