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  1. #1

    Default 75 Ironhead clutch

    I bought a 75 ironhead a couple weeks ago and a couple days ago when it got a tiny bit warmer I decided to fire her up and just roll around the driveway. The problem is when I pull the clutch and put it in first it lurches and dies. I also can't roll it when it's in gear and with the clutch pulled when it's not running. There is tension in the cable and has a little play.

    It's in a buddies garage so I haven't had time ti toy with it, so I'm looking for ideas and where to start and what to look into when I have time to tinker.

    I've seen some people talk about sticky plates and to roll it down a hill and pop it into 1st to unstick the plates, but that idea makes me a little nervous that I'll fuck it up more.

  2. #2
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    Yeah, clutch could be stuck due to oily plates. Some of those older XLs tend to leak oil into the primary/ transmission from the primary breather valve.

    Sit astride the bike with the trans in high gear and the clutch lever pulled in,and nudge it forward and back. That will usually break the clutch loose if it's just stuck from oil. Extra oil in the primary/ transmission will be pulled back into the crankcase and the level corrected after the motor runs for a couple minutes. Once you get the clutch unstuck, it may drag a little but should improve with use.

    Jim

  3. #3

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    That sounds like a better idea than popping it down a hill.

    Thanks for the quick reply , I'll try that out this weekend.

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    It may take a few tries. Just be ready, when the clutch breaks loose the bike is free to roll so don't hit anything.

    Jim

  5. #5

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    1975 ironhead would have a wet clutch http://www.classic-motorcycle-build....ad-clutch.html

    clutches like this can stick right up over time, when was the bike last used? My Yamaha XT500 has the same problem, I usually unstick them by running the engine for a while to warm up the oil, then shutting off and rocking the bike as described above. Once it’s free, start and run the engine while pulling the clutch in a few times, hold it in to let the plates clear. If that doesn’t free things off, the best course of action is to take the cover off, strip the clutch and clean it properly. It doesn’t take long and there are a lot of benefits to fresh lubricants!

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Hang on with the whole taking the clutch apart for a sec.

    Take off the primary cover (Make a note of which bolts go where). They are not the same length all the way around

    With the cover off, and the clutch cable still attached, take a look at the "ball ramp clutch engage/disengage" set up thats mounted on the inside of the pri cover itself. You will see it, its where the end of the cluth cable attaches.

    Its a pretty poor design in that it does wear, and pretty bad, especailly if the clutch hasnt been adjusted correctly over the years, or if its really been worked hard over the years. The whole set up is peened in and can come loose as well. The 70-early 80 sporties were nortoriuos for probs in the ball ramp design. Owners with this developing issue would try to compenaste by readjusting the clucth, when that wasnt the real problem

    Also check to ensure the balls (I beleive there are three of them) are in the pockets of the ramp, and that all works when you pull in the clutch lever. Mind that when you look at it, there will be no pressure on the clutch handle. Just work the clutch cable manualy in and out a few times in WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, gently holding the assembly in place, and out to ensure all is good in that assembly. Also ensure when you put the cover back on, that the assembly doesnt come loose, or a ball doesnt fall out.

    You can then check if it works together by putting the cover back on, and just put in about 8 or so of the pri cover bolts (Spread them around the cover) and tighten them dowm. Now see if there an improvement. If there is, put the rest of the pri cover bolts in and ride away

    Avoid reusing the pri cover gasket, and also change out the gasket o rings that the shifter and I beleive also the foot peg mount (cant remember) that goes thru the pri.

    Lastly, follow the factory steps to adjust the clutch: Remember, you have an adjustment where the cable goes into the pri cover (Some later models have an adjustment about midway of the clutch cable itself), as well as an adjustment thru the primary cover.

    Some have an adjustment at the clutch pull handle itself. Regrdless, the adjustment pionts work togehter. Read the tech manaual for your set up on how to adjust your clutch

    If it dont get better, look at the clutch pack Good luck

  7. #7

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    Don’t ‘75 and ‘76 ironheads have that crossover shaft with the footrests mounted on the frame?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45Brit View Post
    Don’t ‘75 and ‘76 ironheads have that crossover shaft with the footrests mounted on the frame?
    Yes. The crossover shaft is in the same place as the rear brake pedal shaft on the '74 and earlier. Which means, using the older parts, you can convert a '75 or '76 to right side shifting and left side brake pedal. I've done this a couple of times.

    Jim

  9. #9

    Default

    It was last used in October I think. The guy I bought it off of said it was a regular rider so I'm hoping it's just stuck plates. This is my first old harley, only ever dealt with old kzs, never had a problem with those sitting over the winter.

  10. #10

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    I'm about to head and try to pop them loose, if not I'll try this. Thanks for the detailed description!

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Not sure about 71 and later, but 1970 does not have this configuration. Clutch release mechanism is built into the sprocket cover. It has its own dysfunctional nuances!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by GodsTurd View Post
    It was last used in October I think. The guy I bought it off of said it was a regular rider so I'm hoping it's just stuck plates. This is my first old harley, only ever dealt with old kzs, never had a problem with those sitting over the winter.
    If it has only been sat around a few months, after regular use then you are probably OK with just a thorough warm-up and rocking them free. I’d do an oil change after warming the bike up, though.

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