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  1. #1
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    Default Hard to pull clutch lever

    My handlebar clutch lever is extremely hard to disengage the clutches.

    I have a basket case '95 Softail with a custom drivetrain, been getting it together for about 4 years now, project bike.
    Custom because one; It's 1995 motor/trans all in a '91 frame, two; It is an S&S engine within Delkron cases, third; It has a CCI 5 speed transmission.

    During this build I have assessed that the motor & trans are new, from my inspections and they have never been ran as of yet. The inside of the trans is damp from having oil in it, but does not have any of a level of oil in it. Also, I believe it's a BDL clutch pack with the 9 hold down bolts circle on the pressure plate. Most of which has been new to me, (the Delkron engine & CCI transmission, of which I still know little about the trans, and y'all here at 33 have been a great help to me here on occasion.

    Finally acquiring a new 9" over clutch cable for my set up and installing it. The ball ramps look good, and as I mentioned, the trans is in new condition. In the end, the clutch lever is very difficult to squeeze. I played some with the cable adjustment and pressure plate set screw with no bettering results. The cable is routed as smooth a transition from handlebars to transmission as could be expected, no kinking or tight bends

    I am beginning to think that the spring pressure in this clutch assembly is too aggressive. Am I looking in the right direction?
    Can I remove some of the springs and still be okay? I think it will not hurt to take 3, maybe 4 out altogether evenly spaced as there are 9 to begin with. My thinking is: the lever will ease to pull and still have enough grab to go down the road engaging the clutch. Besides, doing so will need to remove the outer cover, and I want to mark the inside for engine timing like that Frisco dude gave a tip once (no oil spraying the face from the crankcase, I like that idea). Bike is not ready to start yet.

    My next step is to see if loosening the pressure plate bolts will ease the clutch release. Trust me, I would not run it this way, I'm just trying to determine what to do and if the spring tension is too high.

    Please clue me to things to look at, or the error of my ways, I appreciate it.

    I did a search and could not find much about this particular dilemma on ChopCult.

    TIA, Rusty

  2. #2
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    Default

    I know this might sound like a silly question but have you oiled the cable?????????

  3. #3
    tzienlee
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    what make clutch is it your using, pictures might help,
    Clutches often have a number of various strength springs depending on if it's stock power or top fuel dragbike (hahaha)
    you may just have too strong a spring choice in it,
    I know it's different, but on my 4 speed shovel, I fitted a diaphragm clutch,
    with the heavy duty spring that came with it, I could hardy pull it in, but with a stock spring it became a one finger clutch,
    the same can happen with the 5 speed later trans with a 9 bolt clutch,...
    the springs (depending on make) often have colour coded springs for easy identification of strength....
    put up a picture or two of it if you can, might help ID it if you dont know the make....

  4. #4

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    Assuming that everything is functional and not binding (cable lubed (nod to Tattooo), not pinched or binding, ball and ramp not binding...) the BDL Competitor clutches are real mofos to pull. speaking from personal experience.

    They are designed so that removing or adding shoulder bolts will increase or lighten pressure on the pressure plate and all 9 are not required.

    I don't have a clue anymore what BDL states is the minimum required number of shoulder bolts and springs. It might be worth giving them a call or shooting them an email and asking.

  5. #5
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    You may want to invest in a Clutch assist gizmo ..





    E-Z Pull clutch assist reduces manual effort required to pull the clutch lever by 40%.
    Mechanism fits inside transmission side cover and extends clutch operating mechanism for improved leverage.

    There is another that mounts on the handlebar clutch lever too ..



    Both could be used together to have a super light pull and be able to keep the clutch as is ...

  6. #6
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    Update

    I ordered the clutch easy pull as Dragstews pointed out about.
    Now that it arrived... and yes the clutch cable was lubricated, sorry to get back late on ya, I added more lube to be sure it migrates in the sheath well.

    I started to pull the shoulder bolts and springs, as they were accessible with the derby cover removed.
    The springs were hard to pull out of their bores.
    So, I stoned the outside of the springs and honed the cylinder bores for them, with an emery holder I made, until I got a slide fit, then I re-assembled them with some assembly lube in those spring bores.

    It did help a lot, but it is still a lot stiffer than needed to be. I figured the friction of the pressure plate against all 9 of those springs rubbing in there was most of my problem.

    I installed the EZ clutch assist bracket and got the pull down tolerable, still a little more than my liking. I tried symmetrically loosening out 3 shoulder bolts, that was barely noticeable difference. I put them back in for now because I am not sure I want to run it with only 3 holding it down. There are no plans to race this bike, it's just a rally bike to me, or will be.

    I added a couple extra pictures to show what I am building. I hobby with these old HD's. This one has a Delkron block with S&S innards. Seems like every step of this basket case has been special interest, or custom fabbed part I have had to machine out.

    Thanks again on the tips.
    Keep it in the wind!
    Rusty

    edit: cannot figure out how to rotate pics upright, sorry for the inconvenience.

    2nd edit: the springs had no color added to them, they were all stainless steel in color
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20220119_175148.jpg   20220119_182845.jpg   20220119_182912.jpg  
    Last edited by 10scDust; 01-19-2022 at 6:29 PM. Reason: try to rotate pics

  7. #7
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    Can't see what clutch lever you are running...
    But if you're using the early panhead style lever with a five speed ball and ramp, cable pull geometry is not ideal. Mechanical advantage wise.

    Also with the easy pull. You loose actuation travel at the ball and ramp. Meaning your clutch plates won't move apart as much as without.
    This can be an issue especially with a loose/worn clutch hub bearing. Causing the plates to drag, especially under load.
    It's been covered before in detail. But if You clearance the side cover shift shaft retaining rib. You can ditch the easy pull cable spacer and, more importantly, get the ball and ramp to rest completely flat. Restoring the lost clutch travel.
    Also, running fat grips can kill clutch lever travel as well.

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