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Old 03-18-2020, 06:18 AM   #1
46international
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Default shovelhead clutch

I know this must have been answered before but I did some searching and could not find the answer.
I have a '76 FLH and the clutch drags, hard to find neutral you know the same old story. I pulled the clutch apart and found nothing bad, the plates do have some oil on them so I guess I should run a little less oil in the sealed primary... The main thing I will do is install a clutch tamer as the drum can walk out some and without the motor running the clutch is fully releasing. The main question is, on the steel plates, some of the buffers have fallen apart, on one plate two balls are missing. on another plate one ball is about to fall out. I think I have heard that you can run without them, is that true? and if so should I remove all of the buffers on all of the plates or remove just the damaged ones?
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

Running with no anti-rattlers is prob in my world.

I find fingers that ain't worn, a Ram-Jet retainer, and long rollers make most clutches work mint.
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

Some more to check . . .

If the steels are polished to a mirror finish and have oil on them, they are likely hydraulic locking to the frictions and not releasing cleanly when clutch is thrown out. Break the glaze on the steels, clean the whole mess, run less oil in the primary.

When you setup your pressure plate, make sure it throws out square when you disengage the clutch. Adjust the nuts/screws (three or five, doesn't matter) until it throws out square. Check at a couple point in the basket rotation.

Rattlers are unrelated to clutch disengagement behavior. They were intended to keep the steels from banging on the shell dogs when the clutch is disengaged. I've run with them and without and can't say they make much difference.

Jason
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

thanks, I did check that the movement is square and it was. I did not think about the slick plates sticking together but I can see that happening. thanks. I can't see any ware or groves on the studs or tabs in the basket. I just ordered parts and will replace the missing buffers and install a retainer, clean the plates and scuff them up. Thanks all.
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

also oem clutches as well as the cheap ones are made of paper compressed but paper what we have found is the paper ( over time ) soaks up the oil, and when warm its sticky and when cold they squawk and chunk into gear, in some cases they slip as well neutral was always a thing

others will / might disagree but we only use the steels with out the ball and spring, as we feel they cause a drag on the clutch separation when the lever is pulled - it almost never affects the foot clutch as they have more open travel - we have found in the shop the long bearing will in time wreck the clutch hub as it does not get the lubrication the spaced short roller does - reason they did that - its an up date from the 1/8 ball set up that also ended up lean on oil for other reasons as well

then 2 choices are available in a replacement clutch - alto clutches are made in the USA and are used in everything racing in this country with an automatic transmissions

for Harley we have settled on the alto red smooth clutch discs - but the also make them in kevlor green waffle finish - no one with a racing automatic uses the waffle discs that knows anything - reason we use the smooth red alto since the 80s they were in springfield NJ for many years before moving south
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

I found the retainer stabilized the clutch basket(big time!), would have to think it would help in a more even disc engagement?
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

forgot to add that ram jet is what it was originally called but they are made in china today

and it does keep the hub still so it does not walk out with the works
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

Im sure you already know this and some may argue but ditching that stock clutch was the best mod I've done. I'll never go back to the stocker.
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

yea, I have the red smooth discs in it, don't know if they are the Alto's but the look good other than some oil on them
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Old 03-19-2020, 11:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

put the ram jet in it before buying more stuff its under 10 bucks and your apart
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Old 03-19-2020, 11:38 AM   #11
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

Agree on the shell retainer (ram jet).

A note for those worried about five vs three stud clutch hubs. . .

Most of the ram jet kits i've seen are cut for three stud hubs. If this is what you have or all you can get, don't worry.

You can orient the retainer on your five stud hub such that two of the lettered depth positions can be clipped to the stud grooves. This works fine. I've done it for two decades with no problems.

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Old 03-19-2020, 12:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

To build on that, I've also just removed a little material to pop on the third clippy.
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Old 03-19-2020, 01:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

here's a few random thoughts...
oem stock friction plates must be free of any type of oil. if your running the red alto brand fiber friction plates or any Kevlar type, they do need to be first cleaned of any motor oil then wet with red auto trans fluid and then wipe off any excess oil before installing. once the red alto or Kevlar types are first soaked with most any red atf fluid and then wiped dry, they will not stick to the steel plates. just the same, most any kind motor oil or heavier gear oil like used in a 4 or 5 speed, it will stick a clutch pack like glue. another thing that some miss is do the friction plates slide freely on the clutch hub studs? quite often the studs get bent or slightly tweaked out of alignment and the friction plates will not slide freely on them. if you find that the studs are tweaked, bend them back in line till there is no more binding in the friction plates. as a last resort, you can enlarge the stud holes slightly in the friction plates to get a free sliding movement on the studs.
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Old 03-19-2020, 02:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

if I can only add this - the studs get grooved out from rocking in one spot at a light with the clutch pulled ( its a potato potato potato thing ) - they do not slide easy over the grooves ( another thing to look at ) - the hub is to be repaired changing the studs or replaced completely

today no USA hub is available we restore originals as the hardness is perfect in them compared to the china junk and we only use the short oem rollers with the cage
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

FWIW, OP is running a sealed primary. I usually am dicking around with a belt drive.

In both of our cases, lack of lube is probably not an issue.
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Old 03-20-2020, 09:20 PM   #16
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonMcElroy View Post
Agree on the shell retainer (ram jet).

A note for those worried about five vs three stud clutch hubs. . .

Most of the ram jet kits i've seen are cut for three stud hubs. If this is what you have or all you can get, don't worry.

You can orient the retainer on your five stud hub such that two of the lettered depth positions can be clipped to the stud grooves. This works fine. I've done it for two decades with no problems.

Jason
Just to add, I just counterbored mine so 5 were the correct depth....
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Old 03-21-2020, 10:26 AM   #17
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

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Originally Posted by hammerweight View Post
Just to add, I just counterbored mine so 5 were the correct depth....
So did I, eventually!

But not everyone has a Bridgeport in the garage so I didn't' mention it ;-0

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Old 03-21-2020, 01:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonMcElroy View Post
So did I, eventually!

But not everyone has a Bridgeport in the garage so I didn't' mention it ;-0

Jason
Humblebrag. You can just scrape the nylon out manually, too
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:59 AM   #19
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

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Humblebrag.
That isn't me.

#GFY #Blessed #NamasteBitch
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:10 AM   #20
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Default Re: shovelhead clutch

sorry I have not checked back in, work has been wild the last couple of days. I cleaned the friction plates the other day and they are Alto, I can still read the name and part number on them, I installed the ram-jet style retainer and will replace the few damaged buffers. I should get it together today, but I,m stripping powder coating off of the primary cover and polishing it so it will be a while before I get that back on.
thanks for the help.
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