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1977 sportster, cable, clutch, ironhead, snap

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  #1  
Old 5th October 2018
Roane Roane is offline
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Default clutch diagnosis? first dragging then snapped, then able to shift again... ideas?

So, I've been lurking on the forum for about a year as I started working on getting my old 77 Sportster back in shape after an engine rebuild. I'm in the home stretch but just had a weird clutch issue. In testing out the bike after checking compression, adjusting the valves and putting on a new generator/voltage regulator, I noticed the clutch was causing the bike to creep. I wanted to heat up the engine to adjust the carburetor and messed with the cable a bit (not much but thought I could just turn the cable out a bit since I was in a rush instead of dealing with the problem correctly). Once the bike warmed up and went a few miles the clutch became harder to dis-engage and I had to kick it into neutral while rolling a good clip every time I got near to stopping. At one point, when I pulled the clutch in, the lever just went to the handlebar and I lost all use of the clutch. While stopped, I put it into neutral and gave it a little running push to try to pop it into second, which didn't work but, after stalling, the clutch was again able to engage and disengage (with the dragging again). I limped home in second and tried it through the gears there. Everything seemed to work again, but am wondering what would cause the cable to pop back into position, and if it might stay there. I was going to adjust the clutch properly this time, but would rather not open up the primary and mess with the ramp etc, since it was opened very recently to get the clutch cable installed (not by me). A mechanic I know said the massive spring in there might have just helped pop things back into place. Any ideas?
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  #2  
Old 5th October 2018
1Scooter 1Scooter is offline
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Pull the primary cover and look at the clutch ramp. Look for all 3 balls are in place, excessive wear on the ramp and did the stake come loose. Adjust the clutch per Factor Service Manual and you should be good.
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Old 5th October 2018
Roane Roane is offline
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Thanks. Was hoping to avoid that but will do it. Any advice on what I need to have on hand before I open her other than what's in the manual. I've not done that yet (a shop replaced the cable a few weeks ago when I was getting it inspected for re-entry to the world).
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Old 5th October 2018
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I had a stiff/no lever situation a few years ago and it turned out to be the tube that connects to the ramp broke off. I had it welded back on and all was fine. I don’t think that will be your issue though, since you said it started working again. For clutch creep, I would say go through the adjustment procedure again. For stiff lever I would take a close look at the ramp mechanism and/or the clutch basket and hub itself - the surfaces where the frictions and steeles ride need to be smooth with no where for them to get hung up. For this you would need a clutch compressor and maybe a new primary gasket.
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Old 5th October 2018
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Many thanks.
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  #6  
Old 7th October 2018
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So, I adjusted the clutch twice as per the manual, but it now doesn’t want to disengage. Two questions if anybody has the time. When I released the lock nut and turned in the screw to just where there is tension, I can’t get a full two turn in after that because it just locks in, too tight to turn. It’s been a long time since I did this procedure but I don’t recall it locking down like that. Is it normal? Also, any suggestion on tweaks? Should I back the lock nut out more? Anything this might signal other than user error?
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Old 7th October 2018
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if, once the adjusting screw touches the thrust bearing collar in the release disc, you can't turn it any more than just a little and it stops, something is wrong and i think it's time to pull it apart (clutch) and see what's going on. you should be able to get several turns - at least 1/8" worth of total distance - on the adjuster before the release disc is bottomed out.
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Old 7th October 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roane View Post
At one point, when I pulled the clutch in, the lever just went to the handlebar and I lost all use of the clutch. While stopped, I put it into neutral and gave it a little running push to try to pop it into second, which didn't work but, after stalling, the clutch was again able to engage and disengage (with the dragging again).
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Scooter View Post
Pull the primary cover and look at the clutch ramp. Look for all 3 balls are in place, excessive wear on the ramp and did the stake come loose. Adjust the clutch per Factor Service Manual and you should be good.
Something's not right inside the primary cover. Do what 1Scooter and Doodah suggest and pull it off and take a look.
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  #9  
Old 7th October 2018
Roane Roane is offline
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Ok,
Last question before I yank it. Apologies if this is a dumb one but you are really turning that screw in so it will eventually bottom out in the plate and not move? Was just wondering if maybe I could be going the wrong direction somehow. And, should I grab new parts before opening it so I can put in a new ramp etc just in case? And run 20w50 since I’m in New York now and winter comes?

And should
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Old 7th October 2018
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In southwestern Ontario I always switch from 50W to 20W50 for the fall and winter
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