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  1. #1
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    Default 2002 Sportster Clutch Adjustment

    This sounds extremely rudimentary but I have done this a number of times and looking for confirmation or a suggestion otherwise

    2002 Sportster with new Barnett extra plate clutch. Has maybe 1200 miles on it so it’s pretty fresh. Recently the throw out bearing went out so I replaced that. Very straight forward job and no issues there. Adjusted the clutch to the letter per the FSM. Clutch adjuster lightly seated, 1/4 turn out and locked in place. Cable slack was adjusted to 1/8” (1/16 can be verrrry grabby). I usually go 1/2 turn out but the trans has struggled to find neutral for awhile so I made sure I followed it correctly no deviations. Primary chain was also set to 1/2” slack cold. Primary fluid has about 28 oz of fluid after replacing the primary cover and gasket for the TO bearing. It’s where it should be just under the derby cover opening.

    I go to test ride it tonight, drop it into gear and it slingshots out like I had no clutch disengaged at all. Fucker ran itself into the front of my car! So obviously something is off.

    The biggest issue I’ve been trying to solve is hard neutral. Everything I read is adjust per FSM. Clearly that’s not working. I had it adjusted 1/2 turn the other night with just under 1/8” slack and it rode great, just couldn’t get the thing into neutral. (Re measured and found I was low on primary fluid by about 8oz. So I redid all my adjustments as listed above thinking this thing is gonna be tits. WRONG.

    My question though, is finding neutral based on clutch drag? Like there should be no drag right? And if so, is more clockwise turn from seated less drag? I’ve read all sorts of “this amount of turns out from seated” posts and trying to sort through what’s right and wrong. My guess, based on my evening is that less turns out, more drag, clearly evident by the bike doing what it did. But I have been very wrong before.

    Any input on what should seem like such an easy thing?
    Last edited by brooklynbomber; 03-13-2019 at 10:40 PM.

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    Sounds like ya did it right...ya only replaced the throwout bearing - was the replacement the same as what was in there?
    Since you mention an easy thing...how about the cable; any tight bends or damaged ferrules that may cause intermittent slack preventing a fulll pull from the lever?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriNortchopz View Post
    Sounds like ya did it right...ya only replaced the throwout bearing - was the replacement the same as what was in there?
    Since you mention an easy thing...how about the cable; any tight bends or damaged ferrules that may cause intermittent slack preventing a fulll pull from the lever?
    The only difference is that this new bearing is a sealed type. My previous bearing was a ball type in a cage that when it let go, it went into a handful of small pieces. Thankfully I shut it down immediately and got all the pieces out. The cable is actually new. I bought a new one thinking I snapped the cable before I got in there and found the bearing in its condition. I’m going to lube it again for safe measure but there was nothing that lead me to believe that was a problem. There are no tight bends at all

    The more I read other xlforums, the clutch pushrod adjustment seems to just change where on the level the friction zone starts. For me I like it right in the midddle or so, it saves my hand in traffic so I don’t have to pull it allll the way in to get it to release fully. Further out on the pushrod clockwise seems further out on the lever it releases and further in, it’s closer to the grip.

    I’m just going to try it again, at 1/4 turn, and try a few different levels of slack. If it’s got more slack it may have more drag, which may have caused my problem or been a part of it. I’m going to use a drill bit and pull the cable out tight and use a 1/16th bit to start at the tightest it should be and work my way out

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    Sounds like the clutch drum is walking... ??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Sounds like the clutch drum is walking... ??
    Can you elaborate? The drum is where the bearing sits in? Not familiar with that term.

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    I go to test ride it tonight, drop it into gear and it slingshots out like I had no clutch disengaged at all. Fucker ran itself into the front of my car! So obviously something is off.
    That's why I always verify clutch disengagement when the engine isn't running. I hold the brakes if I'm pointed at anything that matters.

    I'd investigate by pulling the derby cover and observe how far the clutch release actually moves the clutch. You can experiment with the engine not running by adjusting the release screw until the clutch actually releases (check by putting bike in gear and rocking back and forth without and with the clutch lever pulled in) then note results.

    Tell us what ya find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    That's why I always verify clutch disengagement when the engine isn't running. I hold the brakes if I'm pointed at anything that matters.

    (snip....)
    Yeah, I came to that conclusion as well. Via experience... well, just kind of a good scare.

    One thing I found on my 2001 bike which had about 45,000 miles on it is that the clutch hub can begin to get some wear where the plates rub.

    After I changed clutch plates, I never quite got the same, clean full disengagement that I had previously.

    Since I am the same guy, doing the same adjustment the same way... I don't think I forgot how to adjust it correctly or anything - I pretty strongly suspect that the new plates should settle into their own locations, but were following the existing grooves, which would make them drag very slightly at disengagement.

    FWIW, I followed the factory procedure in the manual. I find there is a very subtle dance between having just enough slack in everything that you're not putting pressure against the pressure plate to unload the disks, and getting the absolute maximum movement possible in the clutch pack on disengagement.

    If I ride the bike like a dick, I adjust the clutch pretty often for good lock up and clean release

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    Extra plate kit...
    Did you ditch all the stock stutter springs and/or damper plate?
    Did you pre soak the clutch plates?
    What are you using for soak?
    What are you using for primary/gear lube?
    Are the basket or hub "dogs" grooved?
    Put the plates in with the "stamp ramp" out?
    Someone already mentioned the clutch hub bearing...
    Make sure the ball and ramp actuator was flush before adjusting adjuster screw?
    With cable slack↑?
    Stock lever at the bar?
    Fat grips?

    Feel free to ask for extrapolation on any of the above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky View Post
    Extra plate kit...
    Did you ditch all the stock stutter springs and/or damper plate? YES
    Did you pre soak the clutch plates? YES
    What are you using for soak? PRIMARY FLUID
    What are you using for primary/gear lube? BEL RAY PRIMARY FLUID
    Are the basket or hub "dogs" grooved? DONT THINK SO
    Put the plates in with the "stamp ramp" out? NOT SURE WHAT THIS IS
    Someone already mentioned the clutch hub bearing... THROW OUT BEARING IS BRAND NEW, CLUTCH HUB HAS NOT BEEN CHANGED
    Make sure the ball and ramp actuator was flush before adjusting adjuster screw? YES
    With cable slack↑? YEA
    Stock lever at the bar? OLD SCHOOL STYLE LEVER
    Fat grips? PANGEA SPEED GRIPS

    Feel free to ask for extrapolation on any of the above.
    I added comments to your questions above.

    I got the clutch adjusted so it’s working properly but still will not hit neutral at 1/4 turn out and 1/16” slack. I learned that even while it’s between specs at 1/8 slack, it out too much drag on the plates, which is why it lurched. I’m going to try 3/4 turn out to move the release point on the lever and use the 1/16 slack again to see if that combo changes it. I’ve never gone more than 1/2 turn out on this bike but want to try more to see how it changes. Clutch is working properly though now. I just wonder if neutral is a separate issue, bigger than just clutch adjustment
    Last edited by brooklynbomber; 03-18-2019 at 8:18 AM.

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    Most likely it's still due to still having clutch drag ....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Most likely it's still due to still having clutch drag ....
    More than likely. Iím going to test all the slack out of it - 1/16Ē slack and see if somewhere in there, it will find it.

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    @thecarfarmer

    This bike had 60k+ really hard miles on it when I bought it. Within a week, the trans went and on my way home from picking that up, the oil pump drive gear failed and the motor went.

    Fast forward, the bike got a refurbed trans and full motor rebuild with S&S hooligan kit. While we did the trans, I had them throw the plate kit in. It’s a great clutch, just never have had good neutral with it. But yeah, it’s super finicky to get it right and while I’ve been following the manual every time, it may need to be adjusted by feel and go a little further to get full release on the plates. It may be an issue you mentioned too with grooves but I can’t be certain.

    Going to try again tonight and will report back.

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    You know how you install master link clips and snap rings with the sharp edge out? The stamping process makes a ramped edge on one side. Wouldn't want your clips to slip off...
    Well the opposite is true with the clutch plates. You want the sharp edges in. The clutch spring will drive them home. But might as well make it easier for them to release!

    I asked about the lever and grip because, changing those up from stock can loose you actuation travel...
    The older perch and lever have a different geometry and a fat grip will Rob you of lever travel.
    Try it with no grip and see.

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    E-Z Pull Clutch Assist also robs lever travel...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky View Post
    You know how you install master link clips and snap rings with the sharp edge out? The stamping process makes a ramped edge on one side. Wouldn't want your clips to slip off...
    Well the opposite is true with the clutch plates. You want the sharp edges in. The clutch spring will drive them home. But might as well make it easier for them to release!

    I asked about the lever and grip because, changing those up from stock can loose you actuation travel...
    The older perch and lever have a different geometry and a fat grip will Rob you of lever travel.
    Try it with no grip and see.
    Will have to check for these. I didnt even notice the different edge types. The clutch was installed by a mechanic so I’m hoping he was privy to the clutch snap ring. I recently did the TO bearing snap ring so I’ll double check that.

    Makes sense with the lever style. Grip is not fat, I’ve seen those and this is not one of those. May just mean I need to adjust the slack differently for correct travel range.
    Last edited by brooklynbomber; 03-18-2019 at 5:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    E-Z Pull Clutch Assist also robs lever travel...
    Don’t have one of these

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    Quote Originally Posted by brooklynbomber View Post
    @thecarfarmer

    This bike had 60k+ really hard miles on it when I bought it. Within a week, the trans went and on my way home from picking that up, the oil pump drive gear failed and the motor went.

    Fast forward, the bike got a refurbed trans and full motor rebuild with S&S hooligan kit. While we did the trans, I had them throw the plate kit in. Itís a great clutch, just never have had good neutral with it. But yeah, itís super finicky to get it right and while Iíve been following the manual every time, it may need to be adjusted by feel and go a little further to get full release on the plates. It may be an issue you mentioned too with grooves but I canít be certain.

    Going to try again tonight and will report back.
    Yeah, I've found that a REALLY GOOD clean release takes everything being "dead nuts on".

    IIRC, the spec on that pushrod screw under the ball-and-ramp is 1/4 turn (I don't have my manual with me, am waiting for a job interview...).

    I consider that a maximum value for slack... every little bit makes it harder to get full, clean release. OTOH, you have (HAVE!) to have a tiny bit of free play with that screw. If you don't, it's just like riding around with one finger putting a little pressure on the clutch lever all the time.

    Once you get that dialed in, then is try to run the cable with just a tiny bit of slack. Tiny.

    If that doesn't get a reasonably good release (there will always be a tiny amount of drag due to fluid in the spinning basket will try to turn the plates)... then, are the plates and steels flat?

    New, sure, but flat? Any of them that's got any warp will almost guarantee they'll drag on release.

    And as far as the "grenade plate" (double steel with springs) in the OE clutch, those were designed to eliminate chatter. By putting a "failure point" full of rivets in there... fawkin' garbage.

    I had an aftermarket (Barnett?) in my first replacement clutch, which had one friction disc that had a larger hole in the middle, with a Bellville spring (cone shaped washer made of spring steel) that made it a little tough to get a good release.

    I opened the primary back up and shitcanned that thing within minutes.

    Didn't mean to type War And Peace, but am trying to put down all the little crap I had to figure out so someone can spend minutes reading instead of hours wrenching...

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    I have the Barnett one in there. Didn’t install it myself, they put it in when we re did everything. I’m planning on selling this bike anyways so I just want the damn neutral to be easy to find for the next guy. He can deal with everything else. It sucks because it’s got a bucket of good parts but just hasn’t been a very good bike as a whole. Shit owners, shit luck and finger fucked it’s whole life. I’ve put the most love into its had probably besides when it was new.

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    Approx. 3/4 turn out from seated, pretty much no slack in the cable with the old style lever, made sure to check it after a handful of pulls and re adjust it so the slack was spot on and she definitely finds neutral much easier. With this clutch lever and disc set up, it just changed the settings from stock enough that it needed to go by feel. I also understand the adjustments more that I was making and spent about a half hour testing small increments on the cable slack and could feel the results change.

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