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Harley Riders USA Forums » Harley Davidson Wrenching Info, Tech Tips, and DIY Forums » How Tos » How to Replace Clutch and Brake Lever


How Tos Post and Review videos and written guides. No general chit chat in this section please.



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Old 07-11-2010, 05:02 PM Top   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to Replace Clutch and Brake Lever

I searched the net for a photographed tutorial on how to replace the clutch and brake lever on a Harley. While the process is damn easy, understanding it with words alone is sometimes daunting to the newbie. So here's a write up with some photos. Hope it helps.

What you'll need:
- C/E-ring tool
- Two lock pliers
- New levers
- Large plastic bag (i.e., Ziplock)
- Cheap beer in a can

First things first. I suggest using a large plastic bag, as seen in the picture below, to ensure you do not lose the C clips, as they will shoot and bounce all over the place!

While I provide coaching in this article, you are responsible for the quality of your work and your own safety. You are changing vital control mechanisms of your motorcycle. Do not attempt this without proper training. My coaching is not proper training. I suggest having your work checked, before riding, by a licensed H-D mechanic. I will not be held liable for your mistakes, injury, or death. Be responsible for yourself.
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:21 PM Top   #2 (permalink)
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Default Brake Lever

Step 1: Remove C clip, which holds a shiny, metal mounting pin in place. Use a C clip removal tool available at a hardware store. If you don't have one of these tools, use micro-sized needle nose pliars and be very, very, very careful not to scratch your control housing. Place the C-clip somewhere safe and away from the action, so you don't lose it!

Step 2: Push out the mounting pin. Place it next to your C clip. You'll notice, when you take out the lever, that there is a metal or plastic guide that snugs up the pin. Your new levers should have a new sleeve, but, just in case they don't, retain this sleeve. It's necessary.

The lever should now be very loose but probably won't come out just yet.

Step 3: Be VERY M'FING CAREFUL and maneuver out the lever. Be careful because, as you can see in the photo, there is a rubber coated switch that is pretty fragile and if you rip it off or compromise it in some way, it's a huge pain to replace -- so I'm told.

Step 4: Install your new lever in reverse. Be EVEN MORE CAREFUL not to hurt the switch mentioned above when installing your new lever. It's most vulnerable when you install a new lever, more so than when taking out the old lever. Be careful!

Step 5: Line up the mounting pin and press it through the hole. I put some light oil on the pin so it would slide in easily and aid motion, but it's not necessary.

Step 6: Re-install the C pin. Triple check that it's in there properly and safely.

You can see the new handle I have. I don't like them, as my skin digs into the slots and they are angled ever so slightly in a different way than stock. Maybe I'll get used to it.

Sorry -- I'd put the photos in-line with the text, but I can't figure out how.
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:34 PM Top   #3 (permalink)
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Default Clutch Lever -- Slacken the Clutch Cable

This one is more complicated as you'll be adjusting the clutch cable, but it's still pretty easy.

Step 1: Dismount the clutch cable from the frame down where the cable adjuster is. Look on the level of the top of your engine, right under the tank for an accordion-looking cover. There's a pressure ring holding the cable to the frame... pull this out carefully.

Step 2: Remove the rubber accordion-looking cover. Since I've been in the rain, recently, some water came out of mine and you can tell it had its way with the metal in there.

Step 3: Slacken the clutch cable. To do so, loosen the lock nut all the way to the top and then twist the cable adjustment "nut" (which is a huge, long nut thing) all the way to close the gap.
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:47 PM Top   #4 (permalink)
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Default Clutch Lever -- Remove The Lever

Step 1: Follow the exact same steps to remove the retention pin (including C-clip) as noted in the Brake Lever section. Again use the plastic bag to avoid losing the C-clip. This will cause the lever to be very loose and since you have already slackened the clutch cable, you will be able to pull the lever to the right and jockey out the clutch cable from the mount (see photo).

Step 2: Remove clutch cable retention pin. Please retain all plastic or metal bits that were there. Your new lever may not come with replacements.

Step 3: Install clutch cable retention pin into new lever. I used new plastic grommets, which came with my levers. I also used a metal retention pin where as H-D's OEM pin was plastic. I suppose I prefer metal over plastic for my clutch lever... thanks.

Step 4: Reinstall the lever into it's mount. You'll need to slide in the clutch cable through the slit in the mount, the same slit you pulled the cable out from when removing the old lever. Basically, here, you're going in reverse of removing the lever.

Step 5: Reinstall the clutch retention pin. You'll need to reinstall the C-clip, just like with the brake lever. Don't lose it! It's important!! I almost lost mine, which is where I came up with the plastic bag idea. Took me 20-min. to find the dang thing.

Step 6: Readjust your clutch cable in reverse of when you slackened it. Be sure to test it out so that you don't do any damage to your clutch, tranny, or your own body in a crash thanks to a poorly or improperly adjusted clutch cable. Be sure to tighten it back up properly and tightly and re-cover and re-mount the cable to the frame. I suggest cleaning off the frame where you remount the clutch cable to it.

Good luck!
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:51 PM Top   #5 (permalink)
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Default Finished Product

Got these levers off of eBay. Don't remember from who or how much. It was a LONG time ago. My suggestion, don't buy slotted levers. They are uncomfortable if you ride without gloves, like I do. I'll be replacing these soon, again. I just wanted black, now.

This, by the way, is a good time to do the following work:
- Hang mirrors under bars
- Relocate turn signals
- Install new handlebars
- Install new switch housings
- Replace the clutch cable
- Clean your dirty, nappy bike (like mine)

You might notice I removed my reflectors. I'm having a hard time getting the sticky stuff off... so I'm taking my sweet time. Using Goo Gone. Stuff is crap.

I have a lot more pictures that might help you. PM me, and I can send them in a ZIP file (138 mb).
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Old 07-11-2010, 08:26 PM Top   #6 (permalink)
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Sk8 uses bodily fluids to get sticky things off his bike. Seeing as how you're going to learn from the master, you may want to get the inside scoop on his cool methodology ...

Or maybe not ...
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:25 PM Top   #7 (permalink)
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Every bike that comes in the dude wants the reflectors removed & I used to use fishing line or my special bodily fluids, as Dax quite rightly pointed out

But now I've found you can shock them off clean by using a piece of 6x1 timber, pressed hard into the side of the reflector and then pound on it with a heavy lump hammer.

Whole thing flies off.

Good to see Nick is now changing his own nappies !
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:09 PM Top   #8 (permalink)
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BoomBoy, very nice instructions for lever change. You should write a book, "Levers for Dummies"
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:16 AM Top   #9 (permalink)
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Well done Nick !
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:18 AM Top   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sk8rod View Post
But now I've found you can shock them off clean by using a piece of 6x1 timber, pressed hard into the side of the reflector and then pound on it with a heavy lump hammer. Whole thing flies off.
That's what she said.
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:59 AM Top   #11 (permalink)
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Default Installing drivers backrest for 07 RG

Hello,

Is there a post that shows how to install the driverss backrest on a RG?

thanks- Gordon
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:03 PM Top   #12 (permalink)
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Backrest..?? Can you have that on a bike?
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Old 12-01-2010, 01:40 PM Top   #13 (permalink)
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Default Backrest for RG

Wish I didn't need one.- Planning a 21 day ride in August 2011.

Creature comforts are things we ignore when we are in our teens becauise we believe we are 'bullet proof'

Sad news is that it's just a theory!

so.... a backrest is a good idea for me.

cheers,

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Old 12-01-2010, 02:37 PM Top   #14 (permalink)
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Wish I didn't need one.- Planning a 21 day ride in August 2011.

Creature comforts are things we ignore when we are in our teens becauise we believe we are 'bullet proof'

Sad news is that it's just a theory!

so.... a backrest is a good idea for me.

cheers,

Gordon

Save your breath Gordon.......these guy's are minimalists........


they don't understand the benefits of creature comforts..........
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:51 PM Top   #15 (permalink)
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I always found that phrase to be very interesting - "creature comforts".

Apologize for the highjack...
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:11 PM Top   #16 (permalink)
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Default Creature comforts.....

All comments have merit.

Really like the open road photo through the handle bars.

Reminds me of my '71 Commando Hi-rider.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:09 PM Top   #17 (permalink)
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Gordon easiest thing to do is remove seat, Make shore mount is there, and install backrest with seat off a couple times. Get the hang of how to manipulate it.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:38 PM Top   #18 (permalink)
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Go for a Pintail, they have kick flips you can rest your back against
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:39 PM Top   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon CJack View Post
Hello,

Is there a post that shows how to install the driverss backrest on a RG?

thanks- Gordon
Its a no brainer Gordon. You will see exacty how it installs once you buy it. And I must say its well worth the dough once you have used it on a 3 or 4,000 mile trip. Get the adjustable one tho.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:17 AM Top   #20 (permalink)
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Default RG backrest install

Thanks fellas.

I'll keep my original seat as it has been modified to fit the custom tank with extensions fom BadDad.

We plan to head west through Milwaukee to Sturgis and to Helena, MT where my Dad's regiment was raised at Fort Henry Harrison. From there we'll head through some of the great parks in Montana then up to BC and all the way to Tofino on the West coast of Vancouver Island.

I spent a few years logging in BC after high school, and my riding partner has never been to the West coast. That's reason enough to take him to Tofino.

If we had more time I'd ride down coast Hwy # 1 in Oregon to California as I had previously toured in my '69 Chevy van years back. wow- what a beautiful ride.

We won't ride more than 6-7 hrs per day, and can make stops when the mood fits.
Another riding buddy suggested a bike cam for video of the ride. I believe you can get a good quality one for a resaonable cost.

So that's the deal, and a backrest will do just fine.

Nice to hear from you all- cheers,

Gordon
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:32 AM Top   #21 (permalink)
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Default FL- 2007 bike ride

Just viewed your 2007 ride video, and the area looks outstanding.

Where did you travel on this ride?

Gordon
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:16 PM Top   #22 (permalink)
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Those pics are in Wyoming through Beartooth Pass into Montana and back down through Yellowstone back into Wyoming. My Brother and I went on that ride and it was perfect. No wimmin that time. Did a lot of riding and a lot of drinking
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:23 PM Top   #23 (permalink)
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If you are going into Montana ya gotta do Chief Joseph Highway and Beartooth Pass. Runs from Northern Wyoming into Red Lodge Montana. Breathtaking

Map
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:05 AM Top   #24 (permalink)
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Sure looks like a wonderful ride. I'll have to checkout my mapquest details to work it in.

thank you- Gordon
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:29 AM Top   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
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If you are going into Montana ya gotta do Chief Joseph Highway and Beartooth Pass. Runs from Northern Wyoming into Red Lodge Montana. Breathtaking

Map
Thanks Mike I hope to finally make it to Sturgis this year and that will definitely be in the plans. If I don't find a Job just might go back to traveling from one dish washing job to the next. Might get to see this great country of ours after all. Just looking on the bright side you know.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:44 AM Top   #26 (permalink)
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No problem guys. It is a long way from Sturgis tho. But much better.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:56 PM Top   #27 (permalink)
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We're only planning for 4 nights in Sturgis. The rest of the time plan on going out at least to Billings but no real plans today. This work thing has got my head in more of a fog then normal. Even for me.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:59 AM Top   #28 (permalink)
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The step by step illistrated instructions on how to replace the brake and clutvh levers were right the f___ on. I had both replaced in less than 30 minutes.
Thanks
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:41 AM Top   #29 (permalink)
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Yea,great job! I bought some from JP cycles installed em (blk) and the clutch lever is supposed to have a tit inside to engage the neutral safety switch damn things too short.Have to start with gear box in neutral.Levers are made by Custom Chrome.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:22 PM Top   #30 (permalink)
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Haha, I had to come back to this to remember how to do it to replace my clutch cable the other day! Glad it helped.
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:05 AM Top   #31 (permalink)
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Awesome writeup! I'm sure I'll be using this in the future. (Lol....love the disclaimer)
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:32 AM Top   #32 (permalink)
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Doods. That was really easy, but your posts gave me the confidence to go for it. Put my new clutch and brake levers on this morning. Took me all of a half an hour. Thanks for the cautions etc. I still shot my brake side c-clip off into Never Never Land when I removed it, so I'll just run by the Harley shop and get a new one. I can wait. Thanks again!
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:38 PM Top   #33 (permalink)
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I'm about to replace the clutch lever on my softail and I appreciate the walkthrough.
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:53 AM Top   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon CJack View Post
Hello,

Is there a post that shows how to install the driverss backrest on a RG?

thanks- Gordon
Best backrest I've found is a blonde with big tits.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:04 PM Top   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonhowl View Post
Best backrest I've found is a blonde with big tits.
So how do you install it?
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