Question about 1984 Suzuki Gs 550 L

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How does the clutch cable release work under the clutch release cover?

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The clutch cable hooks to the screw assembly. The assembly is bolted to the case. When the clutch lever is pulled in, the center part of the assembly, ( a giant screw mechanism ), pushes on the clutch rod which then pushes on the outer clutch pressure plate to separate the clutch plates. The clutch springs supply the pressure to push the clutch lever outward thus engaging the clutch to move forward. I hope this answers your question. Please rate my answer. Thanks.

A diagram of the entire bike and engine can be found at www.babbittsonline.com/pages/parts/viewbybrand/default.aspx


How does the clutch cable - a9457e4.gif

Posted on Aug 06, 2010

Testimonial: "Very knowledgable and prompt feedback to my question!"

  • mag38727 Aug 09, 2010

    Helpful description, but I would like to know how to disconnect the clutch cable to allow removal of the crankcase cover to get to the front drive sprocket.

  • tombones Aug 09, 2010

    There is no need to remove the cable to get access to the sprocket. Just remove the cover and the cable will just stay attached to the cover. Now you know how the mechanism works ( the question you posted ) and how to get access to the sprocket. With the cover removed you can easily see how the cable disconnects from the clutch arm. How about a better rating for the answers? Thanks.

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Step 1: Remove the magnetic drain plug with a wrench. (The drain plug is underneath the outer primary chain case on the left side of the motorcycle). Drain the fluid into a drain pan.
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I usually leave the clutch cable hooked up until I remove the bolts holding the cover on.
The reason is sometimes the cover is tight to get off, due to the locating dowels.
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Then loosen the clutch cable adjuster to get maximum play in the cable, and remove it from the lever end.
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You need to adjust the entire clutch release mechanism. Find the clutch cable adjuster in the cable. It should be covered with a rubber bellows type boot. Move the boot up or down to expose the adjuster. Loosen the lock nut and turn the adjuster barrel inwards getting as much slack in the cable as possible. Then, remove the "derby cover" from the primary cover on the engine. There is a spring and locknut under the cover. You'll see a slotted screw in the release mechanism. Turn the screw counterclockwise until it stops. The turn it back 1/4 turn. Reinstall the locknut. You may have to turn the screw a bit clockwise to get it to line up. Replace the spring and the derby cover. Go back to the cable adjuster and turn the adjuster barrel outwards until you have about an 1/8 inch of free travel. Tighten the lock nut and replace the rubber boot.

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To change the clutch cable, find the clutch cable adjuster and slide the cover up or down so you can get to the adjuster. Loosen the lock nut and turn the adjuster barrel inwards to get as much slack in the cable as possible. Disconnect the cable at the handlebar lever. Drain the oil out of the transmission. Remove the bolts that hold the chrome endcap, clutch release mechanism cover, from the transmission. Look inside the transmission end cover and disconnect the clutch cable from the release mechanism. Note how the "hook" is positioned holding the cable to the release mechanism. Unscrew the clutch cable end from the end cover. While you are in this area, replace the clutch throw out bearing and retainer clip. Take note of the routing of the cable from the handlebar to the transmission. Replace the cable along with a new O-ring on the transmission end of the cable and install a new gasket. Torque the bolts to 100 inch pounds. Adjust the cable adjuster until you have about an 1/8" freeplay at the handlebar grip.

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If you had to take the clutch basket off to change the stator, you are undoubtedly working on a Sportster. Assuming you reassembled the clutch correctly, you may need to readjust the clutch release mechanism. Remove the cover so that you can gain access to the clutch release mechanism in the primary. Loosen the clutch cable adjuster so that you've got all the slack you can get in it. Now, remove the spring and the locknut from the adjuster. Turn the screw counterclockwise until the screw stops and then turn it back clockwise 1/4 turn. Reinstall the locknut and the spring and cover. Adjust the cable until you've got 1/8 inch of freetravel in the lever at the pivot.

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1 Answer

I am reassembling the clutch cable, is there an online manuel for this job or bike


I'm afraid there is no online manual available. Harley is very protective of their copyrighted material.

If you've already gotten the outer primary off the bike and the old cable out. Insert the primary end of the cable into the primary cover and screw the adjuster with the lock nut on it all the way into the outer primary. Reconnect the cable to the release mechanism with the link.

Replace the outer primary but starting the screw for the clutch release into the nut in the release mechanism. Turn the screw counterclockwise while you put the cover back on. Do not forget the gasket. Once you get the cover in position, replace all the bolts in the cover an tighten them. Adjust the primary chain by removing the top plug and checking the slack with your finger. Adjust the primary chain adjuster on the underside of the primary until you 1/2" to 5/8" up and down play in the chain. Finish the assembly of anything at the primary, shifter, foot pegs, etc. Refill the primary with one quart of oil.

Connect the cable at the clutch lever. Back down at the clutch release mechanism, make sure you have the screw turned all the way counterclockwise until it stops. Then turn the screw back 1/4 turn. Adjust the cable adjuster at the front of the primary cover out until you have about 1/8 inch of freeplay at the lever. Lock the lock nut and replace the cover over the clutch release mechanism.

If you need a drawing, contact me directly at wd4ity@bellsouth.net I'll send you one directly.

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1 Answer

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To adjust your clutch on your Sporty, find the cable adjuster in the middle of the clutch cable. Move the cover out of the way, break the locknut loose, and adjust the adjuster inwards to get as much freeplay in the cable as possible.

Now, remove the cover from the clutch release mechanism on the primary cover. Remove the spring and the locknut. Inside you'll see a slotted adjuster screw. Turn the adjuster counterclockwise as far as it will go. Then back up clockwise 1/2 turn. Reinstall the locknut and the spring, then the cover.

Go back to the cable adjuster in the cable and adjust the adjuster outwards until you get about a 1/8" freeplay in the clutch cable. Work the clutch several times and check the freeplay. If correct. lock the locknut and replace the protective boot.

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1 Answer

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Ok. Don't panic, I'll get you straightened out. Find the cable adjuster in your clutch cable. It's hidden under a rubber bellows type cover. Slide the cover up or down to access the adjuster. Loosen the lock nut and turn the adjuster inwards making the cable as loose or short as possible.

Now, remove your derby cover. In the center of the clutch assembly, you'll see a screw and a lock nut. Loosen the locknut. Turn the screw inwards until you feel a resistance. Do not force the screw as you'll be releasing the clutch if you do. Do it a couple of times to get the feel of it. Turn it inward until you feel the resistance. Now, back the screw out 1/2 to 1 full turn and lock the locknut down. Reinstall the derby cover.

Now, go back to the adjuster and turn it outwards until you have about an 1/8" freeplay in the lever. Lock the locknut and replace the bellows cover. To make futures adjustment easier, it's a good idea to rub a light coat of oil on the cable adjuster to keep it from rusting should water get inside the boot.

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2 Answers

When pulling in the clutch there is a loud squalching noise.


Sounds like your clutch throwout bearing is either bad or going bad. This is due to improper clutch cable adjustment. Just like in a straight shift automobile, if you keep your foot on the clutch pedal, the throwout bearing runs continuously shortening the life of the bearing. On a motorcycle, if the clutch cable is not adjusted to have just a bit of freeplay in it, the bearing will run continously as well shortening the life of the bearing. But, then again it could have just been a faulty bearing.

To repair the problem, you must remove the outer primary cover. First, drain the primary/transmission oil. Then you must loosen the primary chain adjuster beneath the primary cover. Loosen the lock nut and turn the adjuster bolt outward to lower the adjuster shoe inside the primary.

Then remove the clutch inspection cover, the small spring, and the locknut on the clutch release mechansim. Remove the left hand foot peg. Remove all the bolts holding the outer primary cover on. As you remove the primary cover, you will have to turn the screw inside the release mechanism inwards to get it out of the release mechanism.

Once you get the primary cover off, you can see the clutch throwout or release bearing in the center of the clutch assembly. Remove the snap ring and pull the bearing out. Inspect and replace the bearing if found to be defective. Carefully drive the center bolt out and the bearing out of it's holder. Install in the reverse manner.

Reassembly is reverse of disassembly. Install a new gasket on the primary and slide the primary cover in place while turning the clutch release screw into the the release mechanism. Install the bolts that hold the primary cover on and tighten. Tighten small primary cover bolts to 80-110 Inch pounds and the left foot peg bolts to 16-28 Foot pounds.

Adjust the primary chain tensioner to obtain 3/8' to 1/2" up and down slack when checked through upper inspection cover on outer primary. To adjust the clutch cable, find the bellows looking cover over the cable adjuster. Loosen the lock nut and adjust the cable as short as possible. Back at that the adjuster on the primary cover, slowly turn the adjuster screw clockwise until it bottoms out and quits turning. Do not force the screw to turn, just until it bottoms out. Now, back it up 1/4 turn and install the locknut. You may have to turn it just a bit one way or the other to get the locknut in. Install the spring and the cover with the quad ring in place. ADD OIL TO THE PRIMARY, 32 OUNCES of H-D Sport Trans or equilivent. To adjust the cable, adjust cable adjuster in the middle of the cable out as far as it will go without forcing anything. Squeeze the clutch lever a few times and adjust the adjuster so that you have 1/16" to 1/8" freeplay at the lever, about the thickness of a nickle between the lever and lever stancion. Lock the locknut on the cable adjuster and reposition the bellows cover.

As you can see, this is not a very difficult job but it is not for the "faint of heart" since it involves removing the primary cover. I would rate the job difficulty as "moderate" due to this necessity. The only special tool required would be a set of snap ring pliers. Good Luck!

Feb 14, 2010 | 2003 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster 883...

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