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  1. #1

    Default Early evo transmission/clutch trouble.

    Whats up guys, finally decided to fix my sporty.

    So here is the whole story.

    I find this sporty on local classifieds, guy is asking $3000 for a 1988 883cc sporty.

    The bike wasnt properly winterized and when he turned the fuel on the carb was puking gas.

    I knew nothing about carburetors and neither did he. The thing wouldnt shift into neutral either, dead battery so it was never started.

    So I was able to snatch up the bike for half of what he was asking.


    When I get it home I was trying to get the thing into neutral and the shifter gets super loose all of a sudden.

    Turns out between that guy and myself stomping on the shifter it broke the shifter off the shaft.

    So I order a manual(clymers not harley) and order the correct parts and got to work.

    I got into the transmission just fine, replaced the shaft and put the primary back together, all torqued down correctly, adjusted the primary chain and clutch.

    Then I got the carb cleaned up, no more leaking fuel.

    So now basically I cant get the bike into neutral. Its super intermittent, sometimes the neutral indicator light works sometimes it doesnt, most of the time when the light does work the bike isnt in neutral. I occasionally I can get the bike in neutral but the light doesnt come on.
    Aaand the clutch doesnt seem to engage completely.

    So pretty much im running out of ideas and I may just take it to a dealer or a shop to have them iron it out.

    Help me chop cult.

  2. #2
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    Your neutral switch may be going bad, if it works occasionally I would suspect it to be a wiring issue. Does the bike shift into and out of your drive gears, or is it just neutral you're having problems with?

    Have you checked your fluid level in your primary? If it's overfilled it will be hard to find neutral
    Last edited by Benny74; 02-13-2017 at 5:24 PM.

  3. #3

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    I can get it into 1st and 2nd for sure, when I give it a half shift up from 1st or down from second the neutral light comes on but the bike doesnt roll free.
    So it seems as if its staying in gear.

    The last time I had it in neutral( read I think neutral but no light) I was trouble shooting by carb. When it died it dropped into gear and I haven't been able to find neutral since. I figure i was in a false neutral in between gears. Since then the neutral light began working but no neutral gear.

    The multiple times ive dug into the primary to check stuff out ive replaced the fluid with a new bottle from the dealer once, so I dont think the primary would be overfilled.
    Could under filling cause a similar problem?

    Additionally the clutch has been doing its weird thing the whole time, not really engaging all the way.

  4. #4
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    Might be a good idea to take a look a few parts that happens to be inside the trans behind the trap door....

    Your manual will guide you on how to do this...
    There is a detent for locating each gear made from pot metal, after/market has a replacement made from steel...



    That year model has the alt located in the clutch drum, stater nailed to the door... The drum has the magnets on it...
    Very weak design from the Mo-Co ... If much ware is on the bearings and the magnets plays tag with the stater, all hell will break loose.

    One again the A/M make a improved drum with the magnets encased in a stainless steel non-magnetic ring keeping the magnets from being spit out and going supernova .... It will ruin your day if that happens...



    The L84 to 90 model Sporties needs to be spot on with being close to specs in that area....
    Last edited by Dragstews; 02-13-2017 at 8:59 PM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Might be a good idea to take a look a few parts that happens to be inside the trans behind the trap door....
    .
    Ive had the whole thing apart before when I replaced the shifter shaft., what youre talking about is what the shifter acts against to change the gears?
    shouldnt be that hard, however when I had it apart last I didnt notice any damage.

    I didnt know about the clutch basket alternator design flaw, ill have to look into a replacement.

  6. #6
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    The spring plate in the center of the clutch pack (part#36789-84) often fail. They are made from 2 thin steel plates riveted together(with shitty brass rivets) and sandwiched between the two are some spring steel waffel things. The rivets break and the whole thing moves around, causing weird clutch issues. Both slipping and grabbing. Also hard shifting.
    If your spring plate is bad it is best to replace the whole pack and not get a new spring plate. Get a Barnett "extra plate kit" expensive (200 bucks) but worth the money. That is IF your spring plate is bad. I also agree with previous, that you might have a bad neutral switch to boot.

  7. #7

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    Ive seen that clutch upgrade too. I may just do it anyway if the clutch is prone to problems with the OEM parts.

    Ive got to take it apart first tho.

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    incidentally the 1988 XL came with the first CV carb and it is a one year only carb. It came with no accelerator pump and an extra rich needle (jet needle vs needle jet) Some people experienced hard starting with that particular carb and the following year it had an upgrade which solved the problem. The -88 part number jet needle was used as a performance needle in future carbs to richen up the mid range on machines that had non stock air cleaners and exhaust etc. Holding the throttle open slightly (1/8th turn or there about) seems to help with starting on the stock 1988 unit.

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    The 88 CV's had a hell of a dead spot .... Had to do roll-on's with the throttle ...
    If ya nailed the throttle it would fall on it's face...

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    performance air filter helped...but your right there is a reason why it was a one year only deal.

  11. #11

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    Sounds like I should just throw the carb out at get one from s and s or something.

    Edit, Just took a look at it. looks like my carb was replaced with the later version. It definitely has an accelerator pump.
    Last edited by NotAHipster; 02-13-2017 at 11:21 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotAHipster View Post

    What you're talking about is what the shifter acts against to change the gears?
    Shouldnt be that hard, however when I had it apart last I didn't notice any damage.
    The detent does the job of holding the shift cam plate in position of each gear shift...
    In other words , kinda lock it from moving until the next shift is made...

    The factory pot-metal one is very weak and when it does give up the ghost..... Oh-Boy ..!!!
    Seen quite a few trany's that blew up taking the motor case with it...
    Last edited by Dragstews; 02-14-2017 at 6:34 PM.

  13. #13

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    I happen to have a book in my bathroom "101 Harley Davidson Performance projects" by love and woodring. On page 188 there are pictures and a how to replace a broken follower/detent ( as Drag stew pointed you to). Supposed to take 2 - 4 hours.

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