Last week, we were up in Liberty Hill, working on Debbie’s ’73 Shovelhead FL, doing some electrical wiring, and we started looking at the clutch adjustment after installing a new clutch cable. It seems that the cable needed to be adjusted as far out as it would go, to get the clutch to disengage at all, and in fact the clutch arm was hitting the transmission case, and was still not fully disengaged.


As you can see from this first picture (sorry for the blurring), there is almost an inch of space between the starter on the left, and the clutch release arm in the middle (click picture for a larger image). The book says it should be 1/2 inch when properly adjusted, so we had a problem. We tried playing with the adjustment on the clutch basket end of the clutch push rod, but to no avail. We decided to shut it down for the day, and went home to think about what could be wrong. We had purchased what we thought was the correct clutch push rod length of 14 inches. On further thinking, it appeared that the rod simply had to be too short. We looked in the catalog, and there was in fact a longer rod available for the 1975 Shovelhead transmission that was 14 1/8 inches long. We decided to buy that, but when Debbie talked to Ken, he suggested they just make one out of drill rod. Ok. Anyway, when Debbie went up to the shop today, and they got it all apart, Ken decided to try to put an 1/8 inch sleeve on the turned down end of the clutch push rod, insted of making a new rod. they did that, and it almost fixed the problem completely, but it still didn’t seem to be quite long enough. They decided to use a torch to heat the clutch release arm near the mount end, and bend it just a bit to give it a little more clearance from hitting the transmission. That fixed it. How do you spell custom?

Here is the “after” picture, where Debbie is using her middle finger (no she isn’t giving it the bird) to show that there is now about 1/2 inch of space between the starter and the clutch release arm. Piece of cake!