How to remove the primary cover off your Sportster
This is a how to on how to take off the primary cover.
This allows you to replace the clutch (not shown in the tutorial), the primary gasket, the shift shaft seal, the clutch cable, the clutch cable seal, the primary chain tensioner and really anything that is under the primary cover. I did not need to service the clutch in any way so unfortunately you will not see that apart in this tutorial. That being said, I have helped take one off so if you PM me I may be able to assist. I'm not the best resource on that though I would reccommend you post to the forum, use the search function, or PM a smarter member for that info.
Tools you will need:
Inch Pound Torque wrench
3/8in drive ratchet
Hex head sockets in the pictured sizes (not allen wrenches)
Torx sockets as pictured
1. Mid controls: Remove the shifter arm bolt as pictured taking the allen screw all the way out then pulling the lever off. You may want to mark the location it was on so that you can match it up on re installation but if you slide it on and sit on the bike you will know right away if it is a tooth off or not. Just personal preference on where you place it.
2. Forward controls: Remove the shift linkage in basically the same fashion as above.
3. The whole reason I am doing this is because of that massive leak!
4. Take one or both of the footpeg bolts out if you have mid pegs. Disregard this if you have forward controls.
5. Remove the primary inspection cover with the two screws. Be careful not to loose any of the three oil seals. One for each bolt and a big one on the back of the cover.
6. Take all of the derby cover bolts off. Yea…mine is so scratched up from my boots, salt, dirt, snow, rain…you name it.
7-8. Take the clutch adjustment spring out
9. Look along the frame rail above the oil filter for the clutch cable adjuster
10. Slide the rubber off the adjustment shaft off… (let me save Chief Illiniwek some work “Xl1200R said rubber and shaft ahahahah”) anyways… then “tighten” the cable. I put that in quotes because we are really loosening the cable but the treads will disappear when it loosens making it look like you tightened it. Just turn the damn thing clockwise for god sakes!
11. Now screw in the little flathead screw on the clutch ball and ramp assembly. Screwing it in(clockwise) will again actually loosen it up.
12. Pull it out
13. Turn the ball and ramp assembly (under my thumb) 90 degrees from where it is in the picture to free it from the clutch cable.
14. Start unscrewing the primary cover. It will stick to the engine case don’t free it yet. NOTE: there are two little alignment stud things. They are barrel shaped and are guide sleeves for when you put the new gasket on DON’T LOOSE THEM
15. Under the clutch lever there is a little C-clip that holds the clutch on its pivot point. Take it out and slide the pin up and out freeing the clutch lever from the assembly.
16. Break the case free. To do this I used a rubber mallet. Don’t hit it with anything other than your hands or rubber mallet or you will just break stuff. Also, just tap on it you don’t need to kill it. It’s only head on at this point by the gasket being stuck to the engine case and the cover.
17. Where I am pointing is where one of the little sleeve things I was talking about goes. It is a noticeably larger hole than the bolt holes so it isn’t too hard to tell.
Reassemble in reverse. The torque spec for the Primary cover is 100-120 inch pounds. Follow that pattern when tightening the bolts.
Once you take it all off it is pretty easy to see how stuff goes back on. Be careful lining up the gasket with the primary cover. It isn’t too hard. I would replace the shift shaft seal and the clutch cable seal no matter what because they are cheap but take all tat work to get to!! Lastly, you can technically use a pick and get the shift shaft seal out. There is nothing holding it in from the inside. Problem is, I don’t think you will get the new one installed correctly so you will not ever help the problem. Could be worth a try though.
I am adding this post so that I can post more pictures that I think I may have tomorrow. It is late I will finish this when I am less tired as it is filled with crappy grammar and stuff now thanks to my weariness.
Awesome job!!! Invaluable help to those like myself who can do it with proper direction!
Keep up the good work!
Great post XL1200.. I don't know if you want to add this or not, but on the shifter, removing the bolt completely is necessary.. it will keep you from trying to slide off the shifter with a pry bar and scratching the beejeezus out of your cover.... don't ask....
If you did that means you really learned a lesson!
Thanks! Big help and very informative! I did hit a snag though.
When I reassembled everything the clutch ball and ramp assembly set a bit deeper and the second lock-nut wont make contact now, any ideas?
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