Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions Sporties kickstarter engagement

kickstarter engagement

Post Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:27 am

Posts: 6
I put together my 64 xlch with new parts and notice the kicker engages down a bit further than normal. In the manual there is a running clearance spec of .040 between the faces of the starter clutch gear [kicker gear teeth] and the starter clutch [replacable teeth riveted onto clutch hub]. I have never measured this when putting together a Sportster motor however this distance must be greater than spec to make the crank arm travel farther to engage the teeth. I am sure the spacer was worn and replaced. There are two length[early] spacers listed in service manual. Short 1.025 and long 1.047. If the aftermarket replacement was /is 1.047 then this is[possibly but gotta be] causing the extra travel before engagement of the crank arm. There are two methods to measure for the .040 clearance between the clutch hub's starter teeth . One using math and one using a discarded [ya no such thing] cluth hub with a window cut into it. So the questions does this sound like the problem of the kicker arm engaging lower in the throw? [I guess thats a no brainer] longer space then kicker gear travels further- arm goes dowm more before engaging. And has anyone taken a cut of this spacer on the lathe as in how hardened is it ? I can do the math first to see how much to trim to achieve the .040 spec. I need that extra tooth catching to spin the motor faster with the mag,to ease starting. I used to post here awhile back as dr sportser but new site wouldn't allow it and Panic told me after thirty years of working on Sportsters I didn't know anything. Any replies appreciated even Mr. Diamond. :D

Post Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:38 am

Posts: 228
Location: Burlington Iowa USA
I think you may have the later wrong year kicker shaft or large gear installed. The later parts will cause what you are describeing. I think the shaft and gear changed around '77-'79 ?

Post Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:15 am

Posts: 6
Okay I did some googling and I see what you mean about the diferent parts but I am sure that is not the case here. Why they would design a kicker to engage at the horizontal for saftey I don't know but not desirable for a magneto scoot. But no I don't have any later parts. Thanks

Post Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:42 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

Could it be you need to load the kicker spring/arm, one more 1/4 turn on the shaft ? It has been a very long time since I monkied around a Sporty so I am just guessing at this point. Pa

Post Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:17 pm

Posts: 591
Location: Crewe, Great Britain

Don't know what parts you've got, but lenght of clutch spacer has nothing to do with the kicker gears clearance when crank is up. For a CH, you should have the narrow one anyway, the other one is for the lecky starter.

The .040 clearance is determined by the cam plate that's riveted on the outside of the kicker gear and the distance of that kicker gear from the clutch drum.


Post Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:20 am

Posts: 6
Where the kicker gear engages is occurring too low in the stroke of the kicker arm. I want it to catch a tooth sooner. If the clutch hub is slightly further away then wouldn't it cause this as the gear once released from the cam plate has to go a greater distance to catch the clutch hub teeth? Then what is the cause if not this ? All parts are from the original 64 with the exception of the new spacer possibly the long version.

Post Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:56 am

Posts: 591
Location: Crewe, Great Britain

Hi Timken,

In one word, I don't know why your kicker should only engage at 1/2 travel down... From memory of my old 53 KK, that's a K/KH caracteristic that was changed on the Sporty to get more umph out of your leg...

But I do know that, if you reduce the width of your clutch spacer, your primary chain line will be well and truly out.

What I was trying to say yesterday, after a long day at work!!!, is that it's your kicker gear that needs to come closer to your clutch, not the opposite, as the clutch position is determined by the chain line, hence fixed...

I'm also not too sure the diff in spacers' width would account for 2 or 3 teeth width of lost movement. Maybe your kicker side plate cam is riveted at the wrong position, hence more travel before it releases the ratchet gear???


Post Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:02 pm

Posts: 6
If the 1.025 spacer was originally in there and was replaced by a 1.047 spacer then the chain was pushed out .022 and possibly picked up the extra travel in the process. In later books only the 1.047 spacer is listed. I think I could go in and with one of each spacer , try the kicker action and see what happens. Once the cam releases the gear if the clutch hub is further away then the point of engagment would occur later in the throw. The other original question about the hardness of the spacer doesn't really matter because I have a tool post grinder. If I find the spacer to be 1.047 then I am going to remove 22 thou off it. First I will experiment with some used spacers to make sure this will work.Putting in a 1.025 spacer will bring the cluth hub back in where it's supposed to be. The only thing that changed was the spacer[ and a new NOS gear]. This has never happen to me before.

Post Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:09 pm

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Hi Timken,
I have never experienced your problem but I have repaired a few Sportsters through the years that the engagement just falls through extending your knee backwards from the normal position. I turn the worn down spacer to a good clean diameter and make a new bushing for the starter ratchet gear to match the turned down spacer. I have had no problem turning the spacer down using a carbide lathe bit.

Post Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:28 pm

Posts: 6
Thanks gents , I really wont know until I take it apart. I hate when you think somethings is done and its not but there is always a punch list of little things to do. I remember the first time I saw the new kicker gear bushing. The one thats not bushing stock but teflon coated something. I know you should covet your NOS shafts because the aftermarket is junk [as with all the kicker stuff]. I once compared sparks from NOS to Chinese on the grinder and they were two different colors and the aftermarket not so resistant to twisting force. Its only a 900 and starts easier with some jetting changes but I still got to see if the motor sprocket and clutch sprocket are aligned right. I think for the price of this spacer I could order a foot of bushing stock and do Neil's idea. [good fix]

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