If you own a Harley, at some point you will change a clutch cable.
The clutch cable connects the clutch lever located on the left handlebar to the right side of your transmission. Inside the transmission, you will locate gearing that connects the cable over to the clutch. In order to change the clutch cable, you must open your transmission casing. This requires a basic understanding of Harley-Davidson mechanics to ensure you do not damage anything inside your transmission.
1. Locate the clutch cable adjuster in the middle of the clutch cable. It has a rubber or chrome cover over it. Slide the cover up to expose the adjuster jam nut. Loosen the jam nut with a wrench, and turn the adjuster clockwise to add “free play” to the clutch lever. This means the clutch lever becomes loose.
2. Pull the clutch level in to create slack in the clutch cable. Pull the ball on the end of the cable out of the clutch lever. This disconnects the clutch cable from the clutch lever.
3. Locate the clutch cable clamp on the down tube on the front of the frame, and disconnect the clamp by loosening the setscrew with an Allen wrench. This releases the clutch cable from the down tube.
4. Locate the drain plug on the left side of the transmission. It is an Allen screw, and it is positioned on the lower edge of the transmission. Remove the screw with an Allen wrench, and drain the gear oil into a drain pan. Tighten the screw back into place once drained.
5. Remove the bolts that secure the transmission cover to the side of the transmission with an Allen wrench. Remove the cover and the metal gasket.
6. Remove the ball from the clutch cable seat.
7. Locate the 1-inch long hex coupler on the left side of the transmission where the cable goes into the transmission. The cable goes through the coupler. Turn the coupler counterclockwise with a wrench to loosen the coupler’s grip on the cable. Pull the clutch cable out of the transmission, and discard it.
8. Slide the new clutch cable through the coupler, and connect the ball on the end of the cable to the clutch cable seat. Tighten the coupler by turning it clockwise with a wrench.
9. Secure the clutch cable to the down tube on the frame using the clamp and Allen wrench.
10. Connect the ball on the end of the cable to the clutch lever, and pull the lever back into the uncompressed location.
11. Loosen the jam nut on the clutch cable adjuster, and thread the adjuster counterclockwise to remove “free play” from the clutch lever. Stop adjusting when you have approximately a quarter-inch of “free play” travel on the clutch lever.
12. Thread the jam nut against the bottom of the adjuster, and tighten it in place using the wrench. Slide the adjuster cover over the adjuster.
13. Place the new transmission cover gasket onto the transmission, and place the cover on top of it. Secure both into place with the Allen bolts and Allen wrench.
14. Remove the filler plug located on the top of the transmission using an Allen wrench. Drain three-fourths of a container of gear oil into the transmission. Check the dipstick on the filler plug, and add oil as needed. Close the filler plug.