Question about 2001 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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Clutch cable wont work. came loose on inside of cover

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Are you sure it just came loose? More than likely, it broke. To find out, drain the primary oil and loosen the locknut at the cable adjuster on the outer primary cover. Turn the adjuster inwards as far as it will go. Remove the four screws on the derby cover. and lift it away from the primary cover. Remove the spring and the locknut.

Now, remove any footpegs or anything else that may be in the way of the removal of the outer primary. Loosen the locknut on turn the primary chain tensioner out on the bottom of the primary cover. Remove all the bolts from the primary.

Now, turn the clutch adjuster screw back at the derby cover in a clockwise direction and remove the outer primary cover. With the primary cover off, you can replace the cable if necessary or simply hook it back up.

Reassemble in reverse order. To adjust the primary chain, turn the adjuster bolt upwards until you have 1/2" to 5/8" up and down slack in the top run of the primary chain. To adjust the clutch, turn the screw counterclockwise until it stops. Then, go back clockwise 1/4 turn and install the locknut, spring and the derby cover. Then adjust the cable adjuster out until you have 1/8" freeplay in the cable.

Good Luck

Posted on Oct 01, 2010


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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.

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Just replaced clutch cable on a 03 H-D road king. Adjusted and when pulling in the lever the clutch isn't engaging.

Ok, let's adjust the cable again. In the middle of the cable, there is a rubber bellows type boot or something covering the cable adjuster. Move this cover out of the way, break the lock nut loose, and adjust the cable to have as much slack as possible.

Stand the bike up straight and remove the derby cover from the primary cover. In the middle of the clutch assembly, there is bolt with a locknut on it. Loosen the locknut and turn the outward a turn or two to make sure it's loose. Then turn it inward until you feel the resistance. Do not force the bolt, turn it inward just until you feel the resistance and then back it back out 1/2 turn. Lock the lock nut.

Go back to the cable adjuster and adjust the cable adjuster outwards until you got only 1/8" freeplay in the cable. Lock the locknut. Now work the clutch a few times. Does it feel right. If not, you've got something else wrong. If it feels good, replace the cable adjuster cover and the derby cover.

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To adjust the clutch on your Fat Boy, find the cable adjuster in the clutch cable. It's usually covered by a rubber bellows type cover. Slide the cover off the adjuster and loosen the locknut. Adjust the adjuster inwards to get as much slack in the cable as possible.

Now, remove the derby cover. Inside, you'll see the clutch assembly with the adjuster in the middle of it. Break the locknkut loose and adjust the center bolt inwards until you feel the resistance. Do not force the screw, turn it inwards until you feel the resistance. Then, back the screw back out 1/2 turn and lock the locknut down. Reinstall the derby cover.

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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.

Now, your clutch should release. If not, your throwout bearing on the other side of the transmission has probably failed. let me know and I'll tell you how to fix that.

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I have a wet clutch an it wont engage the cable broke and the main shaft for the clutch on the inside is loose and moves aroundand i have a 2002 but on the web site it only has 2003 so i put that

I think you mean that the clutch has a broken cable and it is constantly engaged. The clutch dis-engages from the gear box when the clutch lever is pulled in. The push lever axle (I think this is what you are calling the main shaft) sits in a hole on the side cover. The gear on the axle engages the push rod and the push rod separates the clutch plates by pushing on the pressure plate to dis -engage the transmission. If the axle shaft is loose, check the lock bolt. Also check the cover plate. Is the casing cracked or broken at the mounting point?

If you are calling the push rod "the main shaft", then some movement is normal when the clutch is engaged as would happen with a broken cable. Please rate my answer. Thanks.

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The bike you are working on has a couple of way to adjust the clutch. Obviously the adjuster on the handlebars would be the first place but actually there is an adjustment on the other end of the cable that has a locking nut on it. You will need to loosen the nut that locks the cable and there should be another nut on the other side of the cable that you can tighten. As you tighten the nut it will take the free play out of the cable.
There is another adjustment on the inside of the clutch cover, it is on the clutch hub. The adjustment for this would be done by removing the clutch cover to access the clutch hub. On the outside of the hub there is an 12mm nut locking down a 6mm adjusting screw, the screw is adcually the first source of adjustment on initial assembly.
Let me give you the breakdown of how this works, your clutch mechanism has the hub adjustment, a ball, and a push rod that goes through the primary output shaft of the transmission. Then it goes to the actuating arm where your cable connects. The reason I'm telling you this is because often the ball in between the hub adjuster screw and the clutch push rod becomes welded to the push rod or it will actually start to come apart. When this happens your clutch adjustment goes away and you have no adjustment available through the cable or the clutch lever. Should this be your case I would recommend you take the clutch cover off, (be sure to drain the oil first), remove the six 10mm nuts securing the clutch hub, (this also holds the clutch springs in place), then you will have access to the push rod and the ball. You may have to tilt the bike over on the right side to get the push rod and ball to come out.
When you go to reassemble the clutch make sure all the adjusters are loose so you can adjust the clutch in the following sequence:
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  2. Install the clutch cover and the clutch cable all the way to the lever. You will first adjust the free play out at the base of the cable so you have maximum adjustment at the lever.
  3. Adjust the lever so you have 1/4 of free play at the lever.
This will give you a properly adjusted clutch that has lots of adjustment at both the handlebars and at the base of the cable.

Good Luck! This is a DIY job, you wont need to take the bike to the shop if you are able to do any routine maintenance. Should you have to remove the clutch cover you will need to replace the right side, (clutch cover), engine gasket. If you take it apart I would recommend replacing the ball if it has any signs or wear, it will be blotted, this is a very cheap item that can cause much grief.

Let me know if you need any further assistance.


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theres a rubber boot on your clutch cable, under it is your cable adjuster. free up the jam nut then turn your adjuster , you should be able to see it tighten at the hand control. If you wanna do the whole job, you'll need to remove your derby cover on the primary. You'll be lookin at the clutch. In the center is a jam nut. Loosen it and then u can turn the adjusting screw clockwise till it stops. Then back it out 1/2-1 full turn. Tighten the jam nut.... take up the slack in the cable..... replace the boot,,,,TA DA!

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