Clutch Basket-six or seven friction plates?


XS650 Member
Reaction score
I am working on a chopper that has been sitting for a few years.
I am having trouble finding neutral and have been going through all of the usual suspects.
I freed up and set the adjuster properly but the problem still persists.
I opened up the clutch cover. there are six friction plates. My engine number is 447-700221, which tells me it is a 1977, which should have seven plates if the original basket is installed.:wtf:
I attached two pictures. Can anyone tell me whether I should be running six or seven plates?
From the condition of my pressure plate screws I will be purchasing a new set before I take the old ones off so I want to get all of the parts I need at the same time.
Thank you for your help, and have a great day!



  • Pressure Plate.jpg
    Pressure Plate.jpg
    184.4 KB · Views: 398
  • Clutch basket.jpg
    Clutch basket.jpg
    135.7 KB · Views: 422
Those screws aren't that bad, get a hand impact wrench, the kind you hit with a hammer. It gets those screws out nicely. Modifying those screws to use Allen head bolts isn't hard to do. Search on here about it.
It's hard for me to say how many plates your clutch should have. Perhaps others can tell by your pics, but I can't. Once apart it gets easy.
When you remove all the clutch plates if you see the hub has a flat alloy surface then it should use 7 plates.
If you look and see a steel plate held in with a wire around the hub then it uses 6 plates.
I wouldn't order anything until you have it apart and inspect what you have. I have built several clutches and only had to replace the fiber plates once.
Usually the plates are not worn enough to need replacing. Using the wrong oil can ruin plates. The friction modifiers in some oils seep into the plates and prevent them from gripping.
Springs get weak and need replacing much more often. Mike's XS springs ain't all that, get them from 650central. MMM has several strengths to choose from.
Having trouble finding neutral. Running I assume.
Clutch adjustment is critical for ease of finding neutral and shifting. With everything working at it's best the pressure plate only moves 4-5 mm. Even at this the plates drag and can make finding neutral tough.
The way the Clymer's book explains it is very good. I do it this way except for one thing. Where they tell you to turn the adjuster in till you feel resistance then back off 1/4 turn, I do it just a bit different. When turning the screw in I back it out a few turns and spin it in/out a bit to get a good feel for how much effort it takes to turn just the screw. Once I get the feel, then I turn it in, feeling for the increase in resistance. This is important, this is the point you have removed all the slack out of the mechanism. Now you need to add a bit back in. I watch the lock nut, it turns with the screw, turn it back one flat of the nut. Lock it down.
This gives you just enough slack.
This lets you adjust the lever for minimal freeplay. This opens the pressure plate the max amount, minimizing drag.
Thank you both for your input!

Yes, the problem with neutral is when running. when off I can find it easily.

I feel that I have adjusted the clutch properly. it does not try to creep when in gear with the clutch pulled in and my freeplay is correct.

I do have forward controls that may make the selection less precise and this may be my problem.

I will take apart the existing setup and see what I am up against. there is some galling on the clutch basket that I would want to file off as well.

I will post my results, and, as always, any input is appreciated.

Have a great day!:thumbsup:
Yes it looks like you have the wider first spring plate in there just like I do. I can see it clearly in the back of your basket Some say they are better that way. Having 6 instead of 7.Ill be watching to see how yours turns out as Im just getting mine finished up. You can get those hand impact drivers at harbor freight for just a few bucks and they come with the larger bits youll need for those screws. 2M did a great clutch thread. It is long and I read it twice.
This bike is a chopper with parts from multiple different bikes. I was concerned that the clutch lever was not pulling the cable far enough to disengage the clutch completely so I went to a junkyard and bought one off of a sportbike that had a better throw. First test seemed to go well, as I can get it into neutral from first and second gear now.

I will take it for a test ride tomorrow and see how it goes.