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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 11th May 2008
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Default Expected clutch life for an ironhead???

Here's the deal my clutch is slipping again, how often should I have to adjust the clutch, and I tried this evening and I think I'm at the end of the road with it. Problem with that is this is maybe the 4th clutch since I've owned the bike, got it in 1995. I'll admit I've been rough on them before, burn outs in the hot summer months, but after the last time I changed it, I don't do that anymore. Still it seems like I put one in and it does good for awhile then it starts slipping, how normal is this? The first time I changed it I put in "supposedly really good" kevlar clutches they seemed to have had the shortest life of any of them. Any thoughts?
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Old 11th May 2008
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In addition I've changed the big spring in it, and the drive plate ( I think that's the right name for it) the one that doesn't come with the clutches. I had a tamer in it once and I think it was worse on the clutches than anything. Do you guys have any recommendations as far as brand of clutches to get?...thanks again
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Old 11th May 2008
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Barnett, got 30K on my first set.
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Old 11th May 2008
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Stronger springs .. Seal it real good
with red rtv..
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Old 11th May 2008
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Hi teledude66,

Although I have a bit less experience with the wet clutch compared to the dry one, I did find out over the years that it lacks a proper system to make it easily adjustable so that you can "tune" the big springs to release the plates equally.

Check your plates edges. If you find them to be sharper on one side from the other, it means the plates are releasing at an angle and this promotes slip and uneven wear.

I made myself a "spider", a cut down primary cover, with all the spaces between outer screws and release mechanism cut away so I could assemble the clutch and check how it did release:



Most of the times, I found it was crap... Invested in a few decent 1/4" nylocks, got rid of the back spacers. then you can "tune" each nut so you end up with a "parallel" release.

The margin between good and bad on the wet clutch is narrow indeed, you've got to spend some time on it to improve its action...

Patrick
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Old 11th May 2008
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That is a neat gizmo, Patrick. I'm got to make me one.
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Old 11th May 2008
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+1 on what he said. What a brilliant gizmo.
Anyone got a primary cover for sale cheap?

Teledude, what kind of oil are you running in your primary? If you keep having clutch slip trouble maybe your oil is not right viscosity?
You are not using general purpose car engine oil, which has friction modifiers in it, are you?
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Old 11th May 2008
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Yes, Hopper,

... I forgot to mention: I have owned/ridden 3 wet clutch Sportsters in my stint and have always used ATF as primary/gearbox lube...

A lot of you do question this, but as I've said before, if it's good enough for an automotive big V8 tranny, it must be OK in a Sporty tranny!!! It does make the shifting and clutching a lot smoother...

Patrick
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Old 12th May 2008
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Patrick,
ATF makes sense. Lubricates the gears ok with V8 power as you say, lubes the roller/ball bearings and bronze bushes and is compatible with the friction material that auto trannies have on the bands.

Say, what is that smell in Harley Formula + transmission fluid? Stuff smells like it is made of fish oil, or something that smells very similar?

And I figured out I can use my clutch compressor on my '77 to push the clutch spring plate inwards with a small modification to make a bolt that fits in the clutch centre like the mechanism in the primary cover on this model, and then use your technique to get the plates running true.

Truing the plates like that is standard procedure on old Limey iron (but you can do it without special tools) so makes great sense on the Sporty. Thanks for the tip.
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  #10  
Old 12th May 2008
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I have replaced the big spring. I use the Sportster trans fluid, when I had the Tamer in, it said to use 20w-50 but when I took the tamer out I went back to Sporty trans fluid. Is it cool to ask where you guys get your clutch stuff from? Thanks for the replies.
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