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actuator, clutch, ramp

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  #1  
Old 19th March 2022
staniel staniel is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XLCH
Sportster/Buell Year: 1972
Sportster/Buell Model #2: XL1200CX
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Default Clutch doesn't seem to be disengaging

I got a new clutch cable and lever for my 1972 XLCH and after I installed it, I can't tell if the clutch is disengaging. I don't know if this was previously because this is the first time I've had a clutch cable installed on this build. I had it in a shop to do some fab work a couple months ago and I asked them to inspect the clutch to see if it needs to be replaced, but they said that it was in good condition.

I can see that the actuator pin is moving when I pull the lever, but when I am in gear and pull the lever, I can't spin the rear wheel freely.

The steps I followed to install the clutch ramp and cable were:
1) Install the clutch ramp lower plate, stake the case so that it stays in place.
2) Install the ball bearings and clutch ramp upper part and install circlip.
3) Install the cable thru the primary case opening and assemble to the clutch ramp actuator.
4) Center the clutch ramp upper on the ball bearings and remove the slack in the cable.
5) Install primary cover and turn actuator pin until it begins to touch the clutch pack.
6) Turn the actuator pin 2 full turns and remove any free plat in the cable.
7) Loosen the actuator until it is just touching the clutch pack again. Then loosen the actuator pin another 1/8th of a turn.
8) Install the locknut on the actuator pin
9) Adjust free play in the lever.

The lever is really hard to pull, but I think that is down to needing to lube the cable. But I'm still wondering why the clutch doesn't seem to be disengaging. Could it be that the plates are just stuck from the engine sitting from so long?
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  #2  
Old 20th March 2022
wedge's Avatar
wedge wedge is offline
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When you say you can't turn the wheel freely, does that mean it has drag or it is just plain turning the engine with it? Some drag is expected, and in some cases it can seem to be extreme drag yet the adjustment is still fine. It sounds like the engine isn't running so you can't test that. So, lets say you pull the clutch lever in and the wheel is turning with what seems like extreme drag... If you let the clutch lever out, does the wheel come to an abrupt stop? If so, then it may be OK, or maybe that 1/8" adjustment needs rechecking and maybe going closer to 1/4 turn?

If it's just not turning, I have seen plates that got stuck together after sitting a long time, and even nosing the front wheel against the garage wall and dropping it into gear wouldn't free them up. Pulled them out, they didn't even seem sticky much at all, but cleaned and back in they worked fine.

As far as the method you describe for adjusting, I am not familiar with that year adjustment, so that will have to be verified by someone else.
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  #3  
Old 20th March 2022
needspeed needspeed is offline
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Do not do your step 4 and step 9. Do both cable and adjusting screw settings after the cover is in place. Cable adjustment is done after screwing in the adjuster screw 2 turns. After that there's no more cable adjustment.

As to lever pull. There are good and bad quality cables. The difference in lever effort can be dramatic between the 2.

Follow this procedure:

http://xlforum.net/forums/showpost.p...44&postcount=2
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  #4  
Old 20th March 2022
ryder rick ryder rick is offline
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Ironheads often stick the cluch plates after sitting.

I ride the bike and use the motor to break the clutch loose.

Otherwise I would ask how the clutch was assembled. Single or dual spring? Spacers crushed? Note: always assemble with new nylock nuts.

They don't call me Ironhead Rick just because I'm hard headed
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  #5  
Old 20th March 2022
1Scooter 1Scooter is offline
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Just pull it apart and visually inspect and clean all the clutch plates, ramp, balls and lube the hell outta the cable. Ironheads NEED 1/8"free play at the lever. metal expands when heated . . . as in engine running.
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  #6  
Old 1st April 2022
staniel staniel is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by needspeed View Post
Do not do your step 4 and step 9. Do both cable and adjusting screw settings after the cover is in place. Cable adjustment is done after screwing in the adjuster screw 2 turns. After that there's no more cable adjustment.

As to lever pull. There are good and bad quality cables. The difference in lever effort can be dramatic between the 2.

Follow this procedure:

http://xlforum.net/forums/showpost.p...44&postcount=2
I followed the instructions you linked to to a T and yet, once I pull the lever past the free play, it's just totally locks up. Not sure what's going on.

I lubed the cable and the cable slides easy, but I can't disengage the clutch.
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  #7  
Old 1st April 2022
needspeed needspeed is offline
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Default

I just reread post #1 and some questions about the bike's history.

Since you've owned it has it ever been running with a working clutch?
You say you installed a new cable and lever. Why? Is that all you did, or did you have the clutch apart? Or did the shop take it apart? They said it was in good shape. How do they know? Did they take it apart to inspect it and then put it back together?
Did the clutch release mechanism stay attached to the cover when you were installing the cable?

There is a clearance spec on '72 clutches obtained by how far you tighten the 6 nuts on the releasing disk. That's why I ask about whether it's ever been apart.
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  #8  
Old 2nd April 2022
staniel staniel is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XLCH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by needspeed View Post
I just reread post #1 and some questions about the bike's history.

Since you've owned it has it ever been running with a working clutch?
You say you installed a new cable and lever. Why? Is that all you did, or did you have the clutch apart? Or did the shop take it apart? They said it was in good shape. How do they know? Did they take it apart to inspect it and then put it back together?
Did the clutch release mechanism stay attached to the cover when you were installing the cable?

There is a clearance spec on '72 clutches obtained by how far you tighten the 6 nuts on the releasing disk. That's why I ask about whether it's ever been apart.
I bought the engine and frame separately. I have never seen the engine run. I installed a new cable and lever because there were none previously.

The shop that worked on my bike builds custom bikes, old Harley's included. They're a trustworthy shop and they mostly did some fab work for me. They inspected the friction plates to see if they needed to be replaced. I don't have the clutch puller tool nor do I want to spend the money on one. And I don't have any material to make one myself.

The clutch ramp was attached to the cover when I installed the cable.

My thought right now is that the clutch plates are just stuck from sitting so long. That might explain why there is so much resistance. Or the springs need to be replaced. I hope that's not the case because of the reasons above.
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  #9  
Old 2nd April 2022
needspeed needspeed is offline
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Maybe a read of this thread will give some ideas. The diagram at post #18 shows the 11/32 setting for the earlier clutch that I mentioned. If your '72 clutch hasn't been upgraded to use the spacers then it's possible that the six nuts could be over tightened. If the setting is too small or the nuts tightened completely down the clutch won't disengage.

If the spacers are there then the nuts get snugged against the spacers. No measurement needed. (though the spacers need to be the right length)

You won't need to take the clutch apart to check this.

Yes, the plates may be stuck together but that wouldn't cause the lever to pull real hard. Weak springs won't either.

http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread...=922144&page=2
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  #10  
Old 3rd April 2022
staniel staniel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by needspeed View Post
Yes, the plates may be stuck together but that wouldn't cause the lever to pull real hard. Weak springs won't either.

http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread...=922144&page=2
I had seen a trick online that someone placed a little bit of grease to hold the 3 ball bearings of the clutch ramp in place while you put the cover on. I tried this trick and I'm wondering if it's possible that it's just that the balls aren't rolling with the clutch ramp so the lever can't push in the clutch enough (i.e. I used too much grease).

Any thoughts on this?

I'm going to check the springs this afternoon.
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