2006 Sportster Clutch

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by rmarshall234, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. rmarshall234

    rmarshall234 Member

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    Searching for a little troubleshooting help, please...

    I have 36K miles on my original clutch that has not been abused and has needed little to no adjustment during maintenance. Out of the blue, I'm now experiencing a "drift" in the clutch cable adjustment. I'll set it to the factory manual specs (1/8" free play at the clutch lever) and during the course of a ride it will change to much more free play (maybe 3/8" or so) and then return to normal by itself. No slippage, no grabbing...(maybe a slight amount of vibration that didn't used to be there, but it's hard to tell).

    Is this the beginnings of a clutch replacement coming due?? Why the changing free play? Heat related?? What's the normal service life of a clutch? All questions I have no answers to.

    I'm an aircraft mechanic so pretty knowledgeable, but have never had a clutch fail on any of my bikes. Yet.

    I appreciate all responses.
     
  2. Webbtron

    Webbtron Banned

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    I might try a new cable.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    The wet clutch is pretty stout, I would lube the cable good and readjust clutch, if that fails replace the cable JMO
     
  4. rmarshall234

    rmarshall234 Member

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    Thanks, guys. I'll lube the clutch cable again and inspect it really well. Also, I see in the manual that there is a release mechanism which looks like a ball riding within a curved ramp. I'll pull the clutch cover and take a look-see.
     
  5. You may need an extra plate kit to pick up the slack.
     
  6. rmarshall234

    rmarshall234 Member

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    I removed and inspected the clutch cable and release mechanism today. Both are fine. No issues with the cable strands or housing, it rides smoothly and the clutch lever is fine. Also removed and inspected the clutch release mechanism and found no abnormal wear there. The gear oil was awfully dark for only having ~ 7K miles and one year on it, so that got changed. I noticed that adding 32oz of gear lube doesn't bring the level quite up to where the manual says it should be, it's almost a quarter inch low. I need to research that.

    Meanwhile I'll see if the oil change makes a difference but still searching for a logical answer/explanation otherwise.
     
  7. rmarshall234

    rmarshall234 Member

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    Changing the gear oil and adjusting the clutch and cable (again) seemed to improve things but only slightly. Think I'll just ride, and see if it gets worse or stays the same. Thanks for the responses.
     
  8. softailsteve

    softailsteve Active Member

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    rmarshall i put together a 01 xl for my son to ride looks like a 72 i think harley copied my ideah ha ha but anyway it recently started shifting weird and sometimes jumping out of 2nd gear. I pulled the primary and found the detent plate retainer broken in half laying on the bottom of the primary and the detent plate worn so i replaced the detent plate and retainer it shifts fine now,it too seemes to have more free play in the clutch lever when its cold but but once its warmed up it tightens up to factory specs.and its been doing it for 14k miles. so ride it and as long as the clutch doesnt start slipping you should be good.the
     
  9. rmarshall234

    rmarshall234 Member

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    Okay, thanks. I'm not surprised to hear that the free play in the clutch tightens up as yours warms up and everything thermally expands, I would expect the same from mine but it is pretty much the opposite. On mine where I notice it most, is after disengaging the clutch after a long ride in 5th gear. That's when the freeplay will be much greater. It is better after having changed the gear oil, so for now I am just riding as you suggest. If I'm still having issues at the next gear oil change I'll pull the entire primary cover and take a really good look inside.
     
  10. rmarshall234

    rmarshall234 Member

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    I noticed when I changed the trans oil this time (early because I was concerned) it was pretty dark and a slight amount of "mud" on the drain plug. SO....I tore it apart over the weekend and found the problem. The Spring Plate in the clutch pack has been coming apart. Broken rivets and such. All that movement in the clutch pack was changing the throw on the release bearing. Replaced the spring plate and both friction plates on either side of it as well as the release bearing, and all is right again. Moral of the story...listen to your bike when she talks to you.