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Old 1 Week Ago
ProLibertate ProLibertate is offline
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Default '66 XLCH Shifting Issues

Hey, guys. I was hoping I might be able to recruit your help regarding some clutch/shifting issues I've been experiencing on my '66 XLCH.

I've just installed a new clutch cable and the heavy duty worm from Chevelle. I've followed Dr. Dick's "dry clutch adjustment" article to the best of my abilities, and I'm having some problems.

Initially (immediately following the install) when the bike was in first, I wasn't able to move it forwards or backwards with the clutch disengaged. So I started the bike up and ran it for several minutes, shifted in to first, and allowed the bike to creep forward several feet to hopefully loosen things up a bit. Clutch seems to disengage when I have the lever pulled about 1/6th of its total travel to the rear. Shut the bike off, and the ability to rock it forwards or backwards in gear just isn't there. I'm also having issues even going into gear. I'm a big proponent of not forcing things, but shifting from one gear to the next is more difficult than I would expect; don't even get me started on trying to find neutral!

I have my concerns, as the previous owner had installed an additional threaded adjuster into the original perch-end adjuster, and the worm stop/roll pin was bent in the sprocket, which leads me to believe he may have been mashing the thing in and out of gear, possibly bending the selector fork. What's more, it was the victim of a grenading speedometer gear drive... they did a nice job welding up the case though, so it's hard to believe they wouldn't have taken care of any collateral damage to the transmission gears. What do you guys think? Does this sound like something"s simply out of adjustment, or something more sinister? Is a transmission rebuild in my near future?

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Are the clutch disks new or old, are they dry or wet?
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I received a folder with the purchase of the bike that included a series of instructions for various aftermarket components-- one of which was a Barnett clutch. I can only assume this is the clutch that's in there now, but I have no idea how long ago it was installed (or by whom). It's a dry clutch.
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If I understand your description, you are saying the clutch is NOT disengaging despite having it adjusted (you believe) correctly.
Without know too much about what Barnett parts are in there it's only a guess as well as to what's wrong.
If a "dry" clutch leaks and the plates become covered in oil, if the clutch is left for any length of time the plates may stick together. This will cause a dragging clutch situation.
Some people will install heavier *generally listed as 20%) heavier clutch springs to help avoid a slipping clutch. There are cables that don't really fir into the clutch adjuster at the perch very well. With too much pressure you end up pulling the cable through the adjuster.
If it has the heavier springs, the heavy duty Chevelle parts are a good coice. The stock flimsy arm will bend.

I suspect your going to have to just bite the bullet and pull the clutch apart. If the plates are wet you'll need to clean them.
If nothing else you'll discover what you have in there. 8 plate setup, sintered plates, could be anything although the invoice should tell you what he bought (even if it didn't go in there).

The dry 900 Sportster clutch is one of the best in the business when set up right.
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Thanks for the input, Ferrous Head. I marked the position of the worm with a sharpie prior to adjusting it at the perch. I turned the adjuster out until the index marks I made were no longer aligned (indicating the worm was no longer touching the roll pin/stop). I then adjusted the center screw until I had the desired amount of free play at the lever, while still allowing some shake in the worm cover (so it's just nearly contacting the push rod).

The only thing I didn't quite understand in Dr. Dick's article on clutch adjustment is the part about "Pulling and holding the lever to the bar. You should be able to lift the adjuster from the perch. If not, it's because the the worm is hitting the sprocket nut, lock tab, or sprocket." I was able to lift the adjuster, but it required a fair amount of force. Even if the worm was contacting the aforementioned components... how would one go about resolving this?

At this point, it appears as though my clutch is working (correctly or not), and I am able to disengage the clutch and roll the bike forwards or backwards when the bike is running. If it's been sitting for a while, this becomes difficult or nearly impossible. The biggest thing I'm struggling with now is the amount of throw on the shift lever-- even when the bike is in gear. There's lot of slop and it's difficult to shift from one gear to the next.

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It might be a good idea to pull your transmission to see just what's going on in there before something bad has a chance to happen.
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And replace both the 20 tooth grenades HD supplied them with.
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I always ran a dry stock clutch using XR 750 and Triumph springs alternately (3 each) If I am not mistaken aren't Barnett clutch packs wet plates? If so the little annoying things like plates sticking together and not releasing (Like a Honda) come into play.

If you approach the dry clutch with a goal of keeping it dry (Which is not difficult at all) the dry clutch is absolutely the way to go. I used mine in 55" motors 65" motors and 77" motors, it would never slip. After a year or so you might feel a bit but it is a 2 hour job to pull the clutch pack and basket. The oily plates are hit with a torch to sweat the oil out and then hit with some sandpaper and back together for another year. You need to clean the basket and hit all of the rivets with quality silver paint and a brush. A gob of silicone sealant on the derby and you are done. It just isn't that hard and like the trapdoor, it is one of the Sportsters best features.

P.S. The little sheet metal pieces under the derby screws can be reused forever. I would imagine that they are one of the difficult parts to find today. Just take a flat screwdriver and smash them in a different place and it is a done deed. I would also steer clear of aftermarket parts if possible as the stock stuff works well. The three piece rod that pushes the clutch pack from the right side should be looked at and a spot of grease placed on each end. If it is dry the clutch doesn't work as well.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferrous Head View Post
If a "dry" clutch leaks and the plates become covered in oil, if the clutch is left for any length of time the plates may stick together. This will cause a dragging clutch situation.
check for this first.it's a common problem with dry clutches that haven't seen service in a while.i experienced this myself when i first got my bike.42 yrs.ago.
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Quote:
The only thing I didn't quite understand in Dr. Dick's article on clutch adjustment is the part about "Pulling and holding the lever to the bar. You should be able to lift the adjuster from the perch. If not, it's because the the worm is hitting the sprocket nut, lock tab, or sprocket.
The Doc here is talking about the travel of the worm gear.

As long as the cover is correct - not been milled or shaved in some way where it mounts to the case and the sprockets and nut are stock items you should have no problems.
Having Chevelle's worm and cable is a bonus as you can rule them out as being a source of the problem.

You do need to make sure the spring is pulling the clutch arm (worm gear) all the way back. What you need is enough inwards travel by the worm gear to lift the plates.

If you pull the primary cover and the clutch dome cover you can watch as the plates lift when you pull the clutch in. They literally only need to lift about 1/4" to be free.
The clutch plates need to lift evenly. If not the springs are wrong, old or not adjusted correctly. That has to be fixed.

If you do pull the clutch pack (I would having gotten this far) you can see what's going on inside. Number of plates, type of plates, condition and so on.

Clutch plates are directional, meaning they wear in a particular fashion. For best results keep them in order for replacement. The seven (or 8 ) drive and driven plates when held together on their own form a "stack". Measure the stack height. There is an acceptable stck height range but what you want is 35mm (sorry I work in metric for this stuff).
While your looking at your clutch plates fully and evenly lifted, with the bike ib gear it should roll easily. If it doesn't your going to have to pull the clutch pack.

Barnett make different thicknesses of steel plates to allow you to adjust the stack height. I have a selection of these and adjust my stack height if needed every time I pull the pack.

Choice of plate material is up to debate. I have been through the lot looking for something that would hold with 900 lbs of rider, passenger and sidecar coming off the line at WOT. If I have the tire pressure wrong and get traction the thing wheel-stands on me instead of spinning up the back tire. A "Hoosier Racing 5 inch wide tire.

So my clutch works. I use sintered iron plates. But for 95% of applications almost any plates will work when set up correctly. (Well, excepting my sidecar)

I adjust my clutch by "feel". That is, With the bike in gear I turn the adjuster on the cable in to a point where I can just feel the bike (while in gear) starting to move with the lever in towards the bar by about 3/4 of an inch. That way I know the pack is full seated when I release the clutch and won't slip. Anmd at that point I can feel (by moving the bike) that the clutch is fully disengaged when I pull the clutch all the way in.

Sorry for the long post. I am old and ramble on I know.

Oh and all of this is just my opinion of course.
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