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Thread: Early 79 FLH Clutch/Throwout Bearing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Dallas, Tx
    Posts
    11

    Default Early 79 FLH Clutch/Throwout Bearing

    I lost my clutch (won't disengage). I went through the whole adjustment process (3/8"-5/8" between clutch rod and starter) and it worked momentarily. There was a little noise coming from the clutch and then the clutch went away again. I'm thinking it's the throwout bearing.
    Is this something an average guy can fix or should I just take it to a shop?
    If it is something I can tackle, can you recommend a good source (printed or internet) where I can see how it's done?
    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    66

    Default

    TOB is a good spot to check.

    Unless you're all thumbs you should be able to check it and replace it yourself if necessary.

    I personally prefer to switch to the early-style "witch's hat" bearing. Your '79 should be the "dime" style.

    This might give you a good idea of what you might be up against: http://tearitupfixitrepeat.blogspot....up-part-6.html

    ...but the FSM is the bible.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northern Colorado
    Posts
    792

    Default

    Your 79 has the dime style throw-out bearing, which is not overly strong. When replacing the bearing, make sure you back off the clutch adjusting stud a little, to allow a little free play for the bearing.
    VPH-D

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    17

    Default

    "Went away again"? Does not sound like the correct adjusting procedure is being used. Run clutch cable adjuster sleeve cable in so lots of clutch lever play, loosen lock nut on clutch, back off center screw 2 turns, adjust to 5/8" arm to starter, run center screw in to contact throw out bearing, back out 1/8 turn, lock nut down on adjusting screw. Go ride! If still no clutch action the 3 tension nuts have to be each turned in 1 click(1/2turn) at a time, after adjusting nuts check to see if clutch holds by putting in gear and try rolling bike. If not there has to some kind of mechanical failing in the clutch assembly itself since you heard a "noise" in that area. G/L

    Unless something really bad happened like no oil in TO bearing area neither of those styles should be the fault, if they were there would be no "clutch here, oops clutch gone again", just gone gone gone!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Dallas, Tx
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Just got back from my weeklong NY vacation. I had ordered the Eastern throwout bearing from J&P. Very nice kit and arrived with no problems.

    The old throwout bearing (dime disc with tiny roller bearings) was bad. No roller bearings were left. Also, the rod was worn at the clutch pack end. It was concave (cupped) instead of convex (rounded).

    The biggest problem I had was I couldn't remove the exhaust pipes to slide the transmission side cover off. I didn't want to heat the exhaust pipe bolt that screws into the head because the head is aluminum. I didn't want to force the bolt, fearing it would break off in the head.

    What I ended up doing was buying a small air reciprocating saw at Harbor Freight to allow me access to the transmission side cover studs. I was able to screw out several studs, but the 2 that were next to the exhaust pipe didn't have enough room for me to back them out. The exhaust pipe was in the way. I cut those two studs, which gave me enough room to slide the transmission side cover off between the transmission and the exhaust pipe.

    Had a lot of rain in NY last week and the job took way longer than I thought. I did get an hour though on Friday night to take the 79 for a ride before I had to leave and drive back to Texas. Clutch is perfect!! What a joy to ride! 50 degree, cloudy October weather in rural upstate NY. Absolutely fantastic!!

    Thanks again to you guys for helping with the info!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    66

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 60pan View Post
    Just got back from my weeklong NY vacation. I had ordered the Eastern throwout bearing from J&P. Very nice kit and arrived with no problems.

    The old throwout bearing (dime disc with tiny roller bearings) was bad. No roller bearings were left. Also, the rod was worn at the clutch pack end. It was concave (cupped) instead of convex (rounded).

    The biggest problem I had was I couldn't remove the exhaust pipes to slide the transmission side cover off. I didn't want to heat the exhaust pipe bolt that screws into the head because the head is aluminum. I didn't want to force the bolt, fearing it would break off in the head.

    What I ended up doing was buying a small air reciprocating saw at Harbor Freight to allow me access to the transmission side cover studs. I was able to screw out several studs, but the 2 that were next to the exhaust pipe didn't have enough room for me to back them out. The exhaust pipe was in the way. I cut those two studs, which gave me enough room to slide the transmission side cover off between the transmission and the exhaust pipe.

    Had a lot of rain in NY last week and the job took way longer than I thought. I did get an hour though on Friday night to take the 79 for a ride before I had to leave and drive back to Texas. Clutch is perfect!! What a joy to ride! 50 degree, cloudy October weather in rural upstate NY. Absolutely fantastic!!

    Thanks again to you guys for helping with the info!
    That sounds like a ton of work. I believe your head should have studs for the exhaust, not bolts. You'll get different opinions on this, but IMO, the studs were chosen for good reason and should be used.

    You're trading pulling an exhaust stud and wasting the threads for pulling kicker studs and wasting the threads.

    I'd fix the exhaust correctly, too. I think you could heat that bolt pretty aggressively before you had to worry about aluminum head damage.

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