Adjust A Harley Clutch Cable

Adjust a Harley Clutch Cable

Harley-Davidson motorcycles are built to withstand the stress of long-distance riding. A proper maintenance routine, however, is the key to your motorcycle’s continued performance. As with most motorcycles, many Harley-Davidson motorcycles rely on a basic, cable-actuated system to operate the clutch. Cable upkeep is low-maintenance; however, these cables stretch over time, causing an excess of free play at the clutch lever. If left unchecked, excessive free play at the lever will prevent the clutch from disengaging completely, leading to premature transmission wear. Prevention comes in the form of routine cable adjustments, which rein in the amount of free play allowed at the lever and keep clutch engagement operating properly.


1. Locate the cable adjuster at the middle of the clutch cable and twist clockwise until the adjuster is seated against the cable sleeve. This will loosen the cable and place the clutch lever is at its loosest point.

2. Access the clutch adjuster in the primary cover by removing the derby cover, using a Torx-27 socket to unscrew the two mounting bolts. If the motorcycle is parked on its side stand, a small amount of primary fluid may spill out of the derby cover port.

3. Locate the clutch adjuster in the primary cover and loosen the clutch adjuster lock nut with the appropriately sized wrench, unscrewing the lock nut two complete turns out.

4. Reset the clutch cable’s slack by turning the primary’s clutch adjuster clockwise until it is seated against the clutch release. Do not over tighten the adjuster-it should be touching the clutch release without placing pressure on it. This will remove all slack from the clutch cable.

5. Loosen the clutch adjuster by turning the adjuster counterclockwise a full turn from the seated position to provide a small amount of free play in the cable. Tighten the clutch adjuster lock nut while holding the adjuster in position.

6. Pull and release the clutch lever to ensure that the cable is moving properly within the cable sleeve. Twist the mid-cable adjuster counterclockwise to tighten the slack in the cable, leaving 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch of slack at the clutch lever.

7. Wipe away any primary fluid that may have spilled and top off with fresh fluid before replacing the derby cover. Tighten the bolts with a Torx-27 socket.