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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #1  
Old 4th May 2008
fndrbss fndrbss is offline
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Default 77 clutch plate questions

My sporty (Black Mabel) had been sitting awhile and now suddenly no clutch (won't engage). I did initial cable/screw adjustment and still nothing. Pulled primary cover and disassembled clutch. Upon inspection found plates sort of oily and fused together. Gently pulled them apart with a putty knife and cleaned them. Didn't notice any major wear or distortion so I reassembled. Should this do the trick? Haven't tried it yet (gotta get a new gasket tomorrow). Any thoughts/ideas?
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Old 4th May 2008
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A spray can of brake cleaner works great to clean up oil soaked friction discs.
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Old 4th May 2008
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Sounds like a good starting point. Keep us posted.

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Old 5th May 2008
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Sounds weird. Usually, stuck together plates makes the clutch so it won't disengage, ie the bike leaps forward when you put it in gear with the clutch lever pulled in.

But you say it won't engage? So it just sits there without moveing when you let the clutch out in gear??
If that is the case, check that the gearbox is ok, that when you turn the clutch shaft in gear, the sprocket on the other side turns. If that is ok, is was most probably the clutch actuating mechanism hanging up somehow.
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Old 6th May 2008
fndrbss fndrbss is offline
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Default uhhh...engage...disengage...uhhh...

yes! the clutch won't disengage. the bike is still in gear even when the clutch lever is squeezed. I'm gonna try the brake cleaner suggestion before I put it all back together. wish me luck.
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Old 6th May 2008
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I believe you may have a problem with the clutch push rod, either broken, misadjusted, or maybe unsecured...
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Old 6th May 2008
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I had this problem with my 67. I soaked the plates in gas just to get the oil off, degreased the entire clutch hub, steel plates and all, works fine now. What can happen is if the clutch hub cover is bent oil can get in, or more likely if the clutch hub seals are worn, there is one on the backside of the clutch hub and one that is fitted into the "clutch shaft" where the clutch push rods insert into. These are cheap parts and worth replacing if you are already inside the clutch.
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Old 7th May 2008
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oil the clutch before assembly into the hub.check the ball and ramp plate.make sure refill the primary,
Even still, with the plates slightly stuck, you would have been in gear anyway.If you pulled the lever in and tried to shift, it would have jumped into gear and stalled the motor.
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Old 7th May 2008
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You say the bike has been sitting for a long while but the clutch worked ok before that.
So the problem is mostly likely just the clutch plates stuck together.
Easiest way to free them is to get the bike runnning in neutral, and run it till it is good and hot.
Get someone to push the bike along the street to about running speed with yu on it and then slip it into first gear on the roll. Keep the clutch lever in and ride the bike for a bit, faster and slower until the plates free up.

Sometimes you have to go for a long ride to free things up, and keep working the clutch lever .You can shift gently into higher gears witout the clutch and ride around.
Obviously, dont try this in peak hour traffic.

If this doesnt work, you have to pull the plates out and clean them.
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Old 9th May 2008
fndrbss fndrbss is offline
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appreciate all the replies. Here's what I've done/found:
cleaned all parts and reassembled clutch. adjusted cable/screw. now I couldn't even squeeze the clutch lever! opened everything up again and found the release ramp was not seated fully. I pushed it back into place and had to give the dimples a whack with a punch to resecure it. Now i've got everything back together and now the clutch works although I still feel it dragging when the lever is squeezed but no more than it did originally. could that be due to the plates still being a little dirty? I didn't replace the seals because I didn't go as far a pulling the clutch hub assembly but I probably will now.
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