I have just assembled my 1964 CH motor and it's still on the bench. MANY years of my experience with dry clutch Sportsters went into this rebuild and all the tricks I've learned over the years were implemented. However, one thing I know for certain - eventually, sooner or later, this clutch will get wet. Even if I do all the things necessary (like setting the bike on a center stand), this clutch will eventually leak. I just HAD to try (one last time) to get it all perfect, as I really love the feel of a properly working dry clutch. If and when this leakage occurs, I'll probably convert the early setup to a wet-clutch, most likely using Barnett plates.
Years ago, a few customers would ask us to convert their dry clutch Sportsters to a wet clutch using the Barnett wet-or-dry clutch plates. Remember now, I'm talking many years ago (pre '71 factory wet clutch), so I'm sure things have changed since then. But back then I recall mixed results. I remember that these setups often dragged a bit and the resulting 'difficult neutral' was a problem. Harley's wet clutch of 1971 and later worked a lot better. I suspect that, because we did not use the lighter primary oils back then, the dragging problem had more to do with oil adhesion and the resulting inter-plate suction than with the Barnett clutch plates (Barnett always sold the highest quality parts - even back then).
Has anyone had recent success with these dry-to-wet conversions? If so, what type of primary oil do you use? I'm told that the light weight oils, like automatic transmission oil work quite well but results in more gear noise, as I would expect. Does the clutch have a tendency to drag or slip and how difficult is finding neutral at a complete stop? Also, aside from the derby removal and plate change, are there any other part-changes that must be done for a proper conversion.
Last edited by Bill Pedalino; 07-04-2012 at 08:07 AM.
Huntington, New York