Disassemble A Sportster Clutch

Right hand controls the throttle, left hand controls the clutch.

A clutch in any motor vehicles controls and interrupts the transmission of power from an unceasing power source like a driveshaft. On a Harley-Davidson Sportster, the clutch makes it possible to interrupt the transmission of that power long enough to shift gears. It is located on the left-lower side of the Sportster engine under the primary chaincase cover. The usual procedure for disassembling a Sportster clutch, described here, allows for the replacement of the diaphragm spring and diaphragm spring retainer, the friction plates, damper spring and seat and all other parts and fasteners. It is the level of disassembly required to “rebuild a clutch.”


1. Stabilize the motorcycle in a fully upright position by driving the front wheel into a motorcycle chock or clamp or by raising the bike on a motorcycle jack.

2. Put a drain pan under the motorcycle. Loosen the magnetic, primary chaincase drain plug with either a hex or Allen socket; the same plug can be loosened with either one and a socket wrench.

3. Drain the primary chaincase lubricant into the drain pan.

4. Remove the derby cover and derby cover gasket with a Torx socket and socket wrench. Remove the inspection cover and inspection cover gasket with a Torx socket and socket wrench.

5. Remove the primary chaincase cover and primary chaincase cover gasket with a Torx socket and socket wrench. Remove the two tower gaskets inside the primary chaincase.

6. Remove the six clutch shell bolts with a metric hex socket. Loosen each bolt gradually and in a star sequence around the hub. Release the diaphragm spring ring retainer from the clutch hub.

7. Remove the diaphragm spring retainer, diaphragm spring and the pressure plate from the clutch hub by hand.

8. Remove the friction plates, steel plates, damper spring and damper spring seat from the clutch hub by hand.