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Clutch: hard to pull?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by AirsoftNY, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. AirsoftNY

    AirsoftNY XS650 Addict

    Hi all,

    Wondering why it's so hard to pull the clutch handle on my '80 Special. With the left cover off, it's really easy. The worm gear is in good shape, ball bearing is in there, and it looks to be correctly oriented. Brand new clutch cable from MikesXS, has been lubed.

    The pushrod in there doesn't move when I push it in with my finger, should I be able to?

    It is possible to cycle through gears, but it takes two hands to pull the clutch in, there is a lot of resistance. I can't see doing this for too long before my left arm gives out!

  2. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Your hand will get stronger. If everthing is adjusted right the pull isn't too bad. If your used to the clutch pull on some new bikes then this old bike will feel hard to pull.
  3. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Pack the worm gear with grease and oil the cable with motor oil. Don't use that spray cable lube. It's too thin and only lasts a couple days. Make sure the cable is routed the best way possible with as gentle bends as you can give it.
  4. Dusty

    Dusty Dusty

    I had the same prob on my last build. I changed cables, and it worked great. Turns out there was a fray in the cable. Just one stand was all it took to make it pull hard.
  5. renloy

    renloy XS650 New Member

    Like 5twins said, motor oil really improved the pull for me compared to the spray stuff.
  6. angus67

    angus67 Welder's penetrate deeper!!

    hmmm. motor oil. i'll try that next time. was thinking the spray stuff seemed too thin to last long, sure enuf, a few days later was stiff again.
    certain weight? 50? hypoid gear oil?
  7. xjwmx

    xjwmx It's just the unknown. Top Contributor

    The motor oil the manual recommends is 10w-30 which works good for me. I get some in a drinking straw or similar with my finger over the top end and let it drip down the wire. Or you could get fancy and use a little syringe. Fixes the hard lever issue for sure. I do the same to the throttle cable.
  8. angus67

    angus67 Welder's penetrate deeper!!

    i have one of those pressurized cans that you can take apart. it has a schrader valve on it to pressuize. then I could use the cable luber thingy.
  9. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I lube the cable the way the book talks about. I use some aluminum foil to make a funnel on the end of the cable. Tie the cable up so the funnel can hold the oil. Keep the funnel full of oil. I work the cable in and out of the housing a bit. Eventually the oil will come out the lower end.
  10. jimdi

    jimdi Jimdi

    It may be me just gettting older but.... My 81 Special (16K) - when I go for long rides it seems the clutch gets harder to pull in. I have a new cable that is well lubed.
    When cable is properly adjusted - I don't seem to have trouble finding neutral - could it be the Clutch Push Screw Assembly is getting worn?

    After writing this - I see that 5twins suggests motor oil instead of spray lube - I have a neat little cable oiler designed for spray cans - how do you get the motor oil in the cable housing - any tricks???
  11. AirsoftNY

    AirsoftNY XS650 Addict

    From what I can tell from responses to my original post, it seems that the the clutch is naturally hard to pull on these bikes.

    I was just worried because with the left cover off, it was super easy, but once I put the cover back on, that was when I started to feel real resistance. So I was worried that it was a clutch issue.

    Maybe I'll run into another 650 head one day and be able to compare...

  12. jimdi

    jimdi Jimdi

    Yes - I was taking advantage of a post you already started for my own question - ther reason the clutch is easy to pull with the cover off is - that the "screw lever is no longer pushing against the rod or the clutch springs. When the cover is off - you are pulling against "air" with the cover on you are pushing against the clutch.
  13. AirsoftNY

    AirsoftNY XS650 Addict


    Yeah, I figured as much, I was just surprised at how much resistance I was getting pulling against that clutch. It's true though, the more I mess with it, the more used to it I get. Pretty soon my left forearm will look like Popeye's.
  14. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Lithium grease comes mixed with solvent in a spray can and works with the cable luber tool. It's what I use and so far I am very happy with it, I yam, I yam.
    About 2 or $3 at the local farm store.
  15. jimdi

    jimdi Jimdi

    Thanks - I was wondering how to get motor oil in the cable housing - I will try the Lithium - I have that on my shelf for car door hinges.
  16. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    To oil the cable see post #9
  17. :agree: Post #9

    However for real progress go to 650 Central and get the right length one of these:

    Quality Control Cables

    Clutch Cables

    650 Central E-Z Pull Clutch Cable
    Using an over-sized, nylon-lined housing, and a slinky 7x7 wound inner, this cable has sufficient free length to allow a proper leverage ratio at the push screw. Others don't. Also eliminates the friction-causing metal elbow. 1974-84. Black

    Pulbacks, Tracker bars E-Z Pull 53 1/4" #CEN26-3350..... $19.95 Quantity:

    Daytona, Euro, E-Z Pull 46 1/4" #CEN26-3351..... $19.95 Quantity:

    Hi Bar, Ape Hangers E-Z Pull 61" #CEN26-3352..... $19.95 Quantity:

  18. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    If you have an original style cable with the elbow, you can mod it by clamping the elbow in a vice and straightening it slightly. Don't make it totally straight, just remove about half of the original bend. Hang the open side of the elbow out of the end of the vice or you risk crimping it closed. Then the cable won't fit back in it. Before .....


    And after .....

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  19. weekendrider

    weekendrider Iron Horse cowboy Top Contributor

    S.W. MO
    Sorry for the hijack.
    5twins your mod is to prevent "tooth" bites in the metal? Neat work on the fitting.
  20. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    What? The homemade "soft jaws" on my vice? Doesn't everyone use those? You really need them when clamping delicate little parts to, yes, avoid those "tooth" marks. Simple to make with a couple pieces of aluminum angle.

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