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Thread: Clutch adjustment question

  1. #1

    Default Clutch adjustment question

    Iím getting ready to get my new to me Ď48 Chief on the road, hopefully next week. Iíve started it several times in my driveway. When I disengage the clutch and put it into first, the clutch pedal sort of sneaks itself back into the engaged position if my footís not on it. This usually stalls the bike. I tightened the castellated nut on the clutch pedal so itís fairly tight, but this still happens. Is this normal? If not, does anyone have any ideas what it may be? I might just have to tighten the nut more. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Saltsburg PA


    Not normal. If you have to tighten nut to the point the pedal is uncomfortably hard to move and it still won't stay put, try taking the friction assembly apart and cleaning/inspecting it. Always a possibly an incorrect spring was installed at some point in past.
    Jason Z
    AMCA #21594
    Near Pittsburgh PA (Farm Country)
    Allegheny Mountain Chapter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    Make sure no paint or powder coat is on surfaces. Mike at Kiwi has proper spring and may still have some original material friction pad in stock.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by tomfiii View Post
    Make sure no paint or powder coat is on surfaces. Mike at Kiwi has proper spring and may still have some original material friction pad in stock.
    On which surface? Also, are you referring to the spring and friction material for the clutch pedal, or something internal to the clutch? Thanks.

    Separately, how tight should the clutch pedal be?

  5. #5


    Please follow this link:

    With particular attention to parts Ref #5, 6 and 18.

    Clutch pedal friction disc, plate/washer and pin. Distinct and separate from transmission clutch.

    Additionally while on the Kiwi site GO TO

    'Get the Newsletter Archive Here' at top of page

    Please SEE March 2018 #26

    The following is taken directly from Mike Tomas Tech Talk but you will find helpful (at least to me pictures/ I am a picture sort of guy) but I digress.

    Per Mike Tomas March 2018 #26:

    "Clutch Pedal Tech
    I see a lot of bikes with the clutch pedal friction assembly not properly prepared for assembly or with poor quality reproduction parts fitted to them. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s such a simple assembly but just about every bike that comes in to my shop has a badly assembled friction assembly. When it’s set up correctly they are such a joy
    to operate. Needless to say that if a bike comes in messed up it will be corrected and leave my place working properly. Here’s my approach: • First off there must be NO oil or grease whatsoever on any of the friction surfaces. • The clutch pedal friction disc contact surface must be flat and down to bare metal (no paint or powdercoating). • The friction disc must be of a high-friction material. (For the record most on the market are not.) • The metal disc must be flat and free of paint or powdercoating. • Most tension springs on the market have the wrong tension and are soft. What happens is you have to tighten the castle nut so tight that the spring coil binds and becomes a solid mass, as shown in the vise photo below. The proper spring is designed to apply adequate tension to the disc and assembly for the correct feel and adjustability. • When assembling the clutch pedal shaft through the frame, apply some grease but work it in, back and forth, to spread the grease all the way through. Make sure no grease gets on the friction surfaces
    Last edited by PaulCDF; 10-28-2019 at 05:22 PM. Reason: More information.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Oak View, CA.


    Lipdog- Call Mike Tomas @ KIWI Indian, ask him to send you the Motorcycle Builders Guide, powerplant Edition. Mike has spent numerous hours with R&D on the Indian clutch,with particular attention to sidecar application, which is much more demanding on the clutch than for a two-wheeler. Be sure your clutch plates and steel spacer plates are properly installed. There isn't much room for error here. The measurements between the pressure plates is 1/8"-3/16". Its got to be correct. Indian clutches have issues when things aren't set up properly. When they are set-up and adjusted correctly, there're pretty much bullet proof.
    With all the issues you have mentioned here on this forum, you might be wise to pull off the primary cover and inspect all your clutch components. Get the clutch tools from Mike, you'll need them, yea, you can do the work without them, but they are money well spent. You'll use them in the future.
    BTW, when and if you finally get that '48 ready for the road, it looks like you should be pretty well prepared for the Indian experience... they don't call us "long suffering Indian owners" for nothing. It's all part of the magic. The Indian learning curve is a long and winding road... but the payoff is you'll have a machine thats going to last a lifetime, and before you're through with it, you'll know it... inside and out. Good Luck... you're gonna need some. C2K

  7. #7


    Funny, I just got off the phone with Mike before I saw C2K's reply. He mentioned I need to check the knurled ring on the clutch first, and then I should take apart the clutch pedal assembly. From my description he thinks the clutch is fine, but I may need a new spring and friction pad. I'll post what I find. Thanks again, this forum is really great.

  8. #8


    Curious what original material was. Have made them from 1/8" thick white nylon but suffered slow creep, This year went to Michael's and purchased thick craft leather, cut out 2 washers and contact cemented the milled (shiny) sides together so rough sides were out. Works good.

  9. #9


    This would be a good time to adjust "free-play" between heel pad of clutch pedal and footboard. Once I got this proper made riding much more enjoyable.

  10. #10


    Update: After I spoke with Kiwi Mike I took apart the clutch pedal assembly, removed the paint from the friction area, and installed his new spring, metal disk, and friction material. It may have improved things a bit, but the problem isn't solved. Even when the clutch pedal is adjusted pretty darn tight (spring almost totally compressed), when the engine is running, the clutch pedal sort of sneaks itself back almost halfway into the engaged position if my foot’s not on it.

    I have two questions about this:
    - How tight should the knurled nut over the worm on the primary cover be? Someone told me this is an important adjustment and could solve this problem
    - For a properly working and adjusted clutch, how tight is the action on the pedal? Can you move it easily by hand, or is it hard to move with your hand but moveable by foot?

    BTW, I've had the bike out three times now around the hood and seem to be working out most of the bugs, thanks to the help from the people here. I may do a longer ride this weekend. It rides well.

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