Clutch Adjustment Procedure

This is a 3-step procedure. It helps if you have $10K worth of hand tools plus very small hands for Step 1 which is a royal pain! The good news is that Step 1 rarely needs attention for the life of the clutch cable once it’s properly set. Before you begin, loosen the adjuster at the handlebar perch and screw the barrel all the way in. Also, loosen the lower adjuster locking nut (where the clutch cable enters the rear housing) and screw the adjustment barrel all the way in (this would be clockwise from above). You should now have lots of slack in your cable.

  1. Remove the small access cover at the rear of the engine. I use a 10 mm socket on a ¼” racket. This is the semi-impossible part of the job. Now loosen the clutch actuator lock-nut and run the adjustor all the way in until you feel slight resistance (using a small screw-driver). Back the adjuster out ¾ turns and tighten the locknut. Replace the access cover and the worst is over!
  2. Rotate the lower cable adjustment barrel (counter-clockwise from above) until you have about 5/8″ play at the end of the handlebar lever. Now tighten the lower lock-nut.
  3. Final free-play adjustment is made at the handlebar lever. Set this according to preference, but it should be in the neighborhood of ¼” to make sure you get full disengagement of the clutch. These should be at least SOME free-play or you run the risk of damage to the clutch.


  1. Todd Lyman says:

    I have a 77 GL1000 that I acquired just before winter, it hadn’t been on the road for many years, the advice has been very helpful, great resource for advice and parts. I thought I was all set, took it for a test ride on the first day above 40F and found the clutch slipping badly. I followed the instructions here, and after a little more than an hour of work, the clutch was working great. Thank You.

  2. mark schindler says:

    Thank you for all the information you provide about Honda Motor Cycles like the repair videos and instructions too do almost any repair you bike will need too stay on the highway for years to come. Ok my bike is a 1978 honda gl 1000 goldwing owned it for 8 plus years paid $800 on payments to my uncle took 6 months to cover that much thanks uncle lue. To remove the bolts and nuts on this year bike and possable more i used a wratchet wrench set i took cover bolts off in short time and many other spots like starter the blog said 10,000 in factory required tools try like 45 dollars for all metric and standard sizes you helped me on couple repairs no shop in my area would even try thanks keep on doing the right thing providing average joes a chance to fix motorcycles.

  3. ray anderson says:

    I need a lot of help folks. I have a 1977 Honda GL 1000. I am trying to adjust the clutch. The free play is adjusted for slack in the cable. The book says loosen the adjuster nut, turn adjuster screw in till it lightly bottoms out then back the screw out 3/4 turn. While doing this hold with screwdriver to keep adjuster from turning while tightening the lock nut. I cannot turn the adjuster screw in or out. The housing is not threaded so what is the screwing adjustment for? I cannot adjust the clutch. The weather is to perfect to let my bike sit in the garage.

  4. Invaluable. Took 20 minutes and solved my slippage issues. Thank you for the time you put into your tech write ups!


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