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My transmission/clutch 1999 883 sporster xl when i put it in gear it wont move if i accelerate but i can push it with engine off or running.

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The tranny on these are bullet proof. So, this is most likely going to be the clutch. I say most likely, because I thought my clutch had gone out here recently on my Softtail, but when I got the clutch assembly off, it turned out to be the front drive belt pulley. They're aluminum, and spun the splines out., so keep this in mind if the clutch is good. Since this is an 883 that makes it easier to inspect the clutch. You'll need to pull the primary cover, check the clutch cable mechanism inside the cover, and check the friction plates on the clutch. You should be able to see if the frictions have any pad left, and the cable mechanism will be easy to tell if there's anything wrong with it. Use new primary fluid, and get a new primary gasket, do not reuse the old, especially the gasket. Although it may look good, even the smallest separation in the gasket will cause a leak. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out.

Posted on Aug 09, 2008

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1 Answer

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It would be extremely helpful if I had the year and model, the clutches differ through the years and models, but I'll give it a go. There are going to be a couple of thing that can cause this. You will need to yank the primary to get to the clutch.
1- the ramp that works the push-rod clutch release is bad or the push-rod has punched through it. On the Sportsters this is a different type of mechanism and is located all on the primary side with the clutch. It will be easy to see if there is a problem with it. On the big twins the ramp is located on the tranny side, so you will have to remove the tranny cover to inspect the ramp and bearings. You can remove the push-rod through the center of the clutch hub, by removing the c-clip that hold the center adjustment for the clutch release. Inspect the push-rod for discoloration due to overheating on the ramp end or bad wear on either end due to being overtightened.
2- the clutch is gone, frictions are the main thing that go, but don't rule out having to replace the steels until you get it apart.To remove the clutch assembly, you will need to remove the primary chain. To do this you will need to slide the crank hub and the clutch assembly off at the same time, the chain will not allow you to slide one off with out the other, if it does then your primary chain has stretched and needs replaced. *IMPORTANT NOTE* The nut holding the clutch assembly is reverse thread, so do remember this when removing, otherwise you can damage or break the tranny shaft. Once you get the clutch assembly off, there is a special depression tool for getting the clutch plates out of the clutch hub. The hub is aluminum, so if you don't use the tool you can break an ear off and will have to get a new hub.

I know this sounds difficult, and it will be if it's you're first time, but don't let it scare you off of doing it yourself. I'm a firm believer in working on your own bike, I also believe HD is over priced (used to work for a dealership), along with most other shops. Working on your own bike is a tradition that most riders today have gotten away from. If you haven't worked on your own bikes before, start, you'll find that it gets easier with time, it's not that hard, and you'll enjoy having that sense of accomplishment. If you need anything else feel free to ask, and let me know what you find.

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