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Sportster Motorcycle Transmission, Clutch, Primary & Secondary Drive Transmission, Clutch and primary or secondary drive problems, advice, and/or how tos.

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adjustment, cable, clutch, primary, transmission

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  #1  
Old 30th September 2008
Streak70's Avatar
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Default Clutch "snatching" after routine maintenance

Did some maintenance work on my '99 Sport weekend before last and am experiencing a "snatching" sensation when I let the clutch out slowly. Sort of feels like I've got maybe three flat spots on my rear tire. Most noticeable in relatively slow speed operation, like when in a string of traffic advancing toward a stop sign or maneuvering in a parking area. Starts just as the clutch is in the friction zone and the bike is starting to roll, often before my feet are back on the pegs and is usually two or three "snatches" or whatever you want to call 'em.



Here's what I did that weekend:
  • adjusted primary chain tension (had to ease off 1/8 turn)
  • changed primary/tranny fluid
  • removed 9 year old OEM clutch cable
  • adjusted clutch (at clutch pack)
  • installed aftermarket braided SS clutch cable
  • adjusted clutch control
This might possibly be unrelated but the reason I did the work was because my clutch seemed to be dragging a lot. My bike is a bitch to get out of the garage in the morning with it is in gear and clutch pulled in because it drags so much. Also, if I leave it in gear, pull the clutch lever in and hit the starter, the bike will lurch noticeably. So, I figured if I was gonna' do the adjustment I might as well put on the shiny braided SS cable that's been hanging on the garage wall for a year or so. Everything went pretty well until I put the new cable on. I was surprised to find a tight spot in the primary tension but it only took 1/8 of a turn to fix that. The new cable was a flat out bitch to get adjusted. I must have gotten pretty frustrated because I didn't notice what it was that I finally did right when it all came together. Anyway, once it did, almost everything was as it was before I started screwing with it. Engagement and release points are the same, lever effort is reduced - probably because of the new, freshly lubed cable, and the drag is exactly as before, but now I also have the "snatching".
Anybody have any suggestions other than pulling the derby cover off and going through the clutch adjustment procedure again? I guess since I screwed with the primary chain tension I ought to do that again, too. Also, does anyone else notice the same amount of drag? Mine won't creep in gear - it is just noticeable pushing or duckwalking the bike.
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  #2  
Old 30th September 2008
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Default

Well, since the dragging is still there, it might be time for some new plates and checking the clutch hub for wear.

How many miles are on the bike?

I would adjust the clutch again, since that is the easiest thing to do. What meathod did you use?
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  #3  
Old 1st October 2008
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Default

Yuck, I didn't even think of that. Bike has about 30K miles on it. I use the method in the manual for both clutch and primary chain tension. Clutch - turn screw in until resistance is felt and then back off 1/4 turn, then go through the drill for the cable and lever, ending up with 1/16" - 1/8" free play between the ferrul and lever bracket.
I picked up a new SE extra plate kevlar clutch pack a couple of years ago at a dealers clearance sale and put it on the shelf. Not sure I want to use it because since then I've heard they often don't work correctly or come apart.
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Old 1st October 2008
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Streak70 View Post
This might possibly be unrelated but the reason I did the work was because my clutch seemed to be dragging a lot. My bike is a bitch to get out of the garage in the morning with it is in gear and clutch pulled in because it drags so much. Also, if I leave it in gear, pull the clutch lever in and hit the starter, the bike will lurch noticeably.

This is normal if the bike has set for a few hours and the clutch plates are not wetted by the primary lube. My bike also is hard to move in gear with the clutch in until the plates get lubed up on a start. That's why you should always start in neutral. As far as the "snatching" problem.....It sounds like you eased off the primary chain too much and your bike is "lurching" at slow speeds because the chain is now too loose.
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Old 1st October 2008
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Just went thru this on the bobber and I ended up backing off the "setscrew" a little. It's real ambiguous as to when it snugs up and then a 1/4 turn after that (that's HD precision, baby)...
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  #6  
Old 1st October 2008
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I'm glad to hear that. Yeah, the dragging is worst after sitting overnight. I have to duckwalk the bike backwards out of the garage in the morning and if I don't flick it into neutral I can really feel it dragging. I have rarely started it in gear, after doing so with a cold bike I learned I didn't want to do that! I don't have anything to compare my clutch dragging to because I've never ridden another Sportster!

I hope you are right about the primary tension. I could have accidently backed it off when I tighened the lock nut. Mine is AWFULLY sensitive - that is, small movement of the adjustment screw = big change in tension. Since I've also never adjusted anyone else's I don't know if that is common or not.



Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxBlue View Post
This is normal if the bike has set for a few hours and the clutch plates are not wetted by the primary lube. My bike also is hard to move in gear with the clutch in until the plates get lubed up on a start. That's why you should always start in neutral. As far as the "snatching" problem.....It sounds like you eased off the primary chain too much and your bike is "lurching" at slow speeds because the chain is now too loose.
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Old 1st October 2008
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Yup. Pick a random point and proceed with micrometer accuracy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman View Post
(that's HD precision, baby)...
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  #8  
Old 2nd October 2008
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Default Update...

Looks like it's the primary chain tension. Last night I made two, one eight turn adjustments to the tension and it was better each time. That's all I was willing to do without actually putting the bike up on the lift where I could check the tension, but I think it needs a little more. I'll wrestle the lift out this weekend and make another stab at it.

One lesson learned. I was fighting holding the adjustment while tightening the lock when I remembered that I had a hex key with an extra long leg. Rattled around until I found it. What a difference having some leverage makes! Dunno' where it came from - it's long leg is almost 8".

I guess what surprises me most is that I've successfully adjusted this bike so many times since '99. Oh well.
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Old 2nd October 2008
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I like to snatch clutches and vice versa
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Old 17th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superwarden View Post
I like to snatch clutches and vice versa

LOL! Also, remember, you can prick your finger but not vice versa!!


Streak70, glad you got it worked out.
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