Basically, the entire motorcycle must be disassembled in order to get the gearbox off and thus gain access to the clutch. However, contrary to popular belief, neither the luggage rack nor the front fender need to be removed to replace the clutch!! This is written for those of us who, like me, are not highly experienced in wrenching, but have some basic understanding of maintenance, tools, nuts and bolts--- and are not afraid to ask stupid questions and are highly adventurous!!

Many thanks to Pete Roper, Mike Haven and Todd Haven for their technical advice and patience with me through this process. Pete has added some comments to my text, and his comments appear highlighted and followed by his initials.

First, take your time and be very patient. If you have only the weekends to work on the bike, like me, count on being without your ride for a month--or more.

Mark and label every thing that you take off of the bike. Mark and label everything that you disconnect, but leave attached to the bike. There are several “round things” that you will remove--e.g. gears, pressure plates, toothed crown. Always mark these “round things” with a swab of paint or Magic Marker so that they can be reassembled in the same position from which that they came off. Stop after each major component is removed and write down the steps that you took to remove that component while they are fresh in your mind.

Strips of duct tape are great for labeling things. Tear the tape into three strips, and use a Magic Marker type pen to write on the tape---most other pens will smear off. Use cable ties to hold things like brake calipers out of your way and to position some components near to their reinstallation position (e.g., the rear brake master cylinder can be cabled tied through the threaded holes where it goes, but out of your way). Have several flaps of cardboard around. When you remove a bolt, or more often, several bolts to remove a component, punch the corresponding number of holes in the card board and shove the bolts through, draw a square around the bolts on the cardboard and immediately write on the cardboard where the bolts go back on the bike.

Taking a little time to label things and make notes will save you lots of time on reassembly, lots of frustration, and in all likelihood, your marriage---if she didn’t pack her bags and leave the minute you announced that you were going do the clutch job yourself!!

Put the bike in a part of the garage/shed where it won’t be in the way, because it will be there for a while. If you don’t have some sort of bracket on the ceiling of your garage, get two pieces of stout angle iron, long enough to span at least three ceiling joists, and bolt the angle iron securely to all three joists. Bolt one piece of angle iron above the rear of the bike and the other above the front of the bike. Then you can run two ratcheting tie downs to the rear of the frame (not to the luggage rack) and two to the front of the bike, like to the handlebar riser. Now you can jack up the bike, take up the slack in the tie downs and raise the rear of the bike away from the engine and gearbox (referred to in Australia and other foreign countries as “crabbing the frame”) when the time comes. 


The bike must be jacked up in some form or fashion that allows you to raise the frame of the bike away from the engine and gearbox. Bite the bullet and go to Sam’s or Harbor Freight and buy a motorcycle jack for $69 to $79. You won’t regret it. You will also need a torque wrench--get a decent one. Sears has one for about $89 marked in both foot pounds and Newton meters that even idiots like me can read. If your eyes are 20 years younger, you can get one of the cheaper ones. [I’d suggest a name brand wrench. Some of the cheap and cheerfuls are woefully inaccurate. –PR]

In order to get the input gear off of the front of the gearbox, you will need two special wrenches. They can be ordered from Moto Guzzi--don’t hold your breath. Or, fabricate one from one of the old clutch discs that you are replacing and order the other one from MG Cycle. Just grind off the rivets that hold the splined collar to the clutch disc, and take the splined collar to a welding shop and have a handle welded to the splined collar. You will see what I mean when you get to this point. This wrench holds the input gear in place while you use the other “dual use” wrench that you got from MG Cycle to loosen the strange nut that holds the gear on the input shaft. The instructions below assume that as soon as you get the gearbox off, you take the clutch off and make this wrench out of one of the old clutch discs. [Not stripping and inspecting the clutch while the gearbox is off is madness. You can clean and lube the splines while you’re there for a nice smooth action. -PR]

You will need a clutch alignment tool. You will need a clutch alignment tool. Did I mention, you will need a clutch alignment tool? This tool is a big gear that looks exactly like the input gear from the front of the gearbox, and I’ve been told that you can actually use the input gear. But after doing the job, I can tell you that the actual input gear will not work as well as an alignment tool--the input gear will not compress the clutch springs the way that the alignment tool will. You can get the alignment tool from MG Cycles ( for about $70. If you are strapped for cash, or just cheap, I will loan mine (and the “Dual Use” wrench) out if you put up a deposit and pay shipping both ways (contact info at the end of this article). [Moto International and others rent the tool out too. -PR]


The order of the below procedures is not arbitrary. You can vary it somewhat. For example, you can remove all chrome trim pieces as your first step. But logic and accessibility dictate that the below order is pretty close to the order in which the job must be done.

So, here goes:

I. Gas Tank
Prepare a padded place to put the tank once removed---this is hard to do while holding the tank! Remove the 5mm bolt at the rear of the tank that holds the toolkit tray and battery hold-down in place. Disconnect the electric pet-cock and fuel sensor on the left side of the tank (mark these connectors as they are identical). Now work the tank up and back enough to reach the fittings on the front of the tank.  Remove the tip-over/vent hose from the front of the tank. Remove the fuel line from the front of the tank---this is the 19mm bolt. Raise the tank up far enough to reach under the tank and remove the small vent hose in the middle of the tank. Now wiggle/work the tank back, up and off of the bike and place it on the previously prepared padded spot.

II. Mufflers and Crossover
These are pretty simple. If you can’t get these off, you may want to reconsider doing this job on your own!

III. Passenger Pegs and Brackets
First, remove the pegs from the brackets. Note that the peg bolt is a shouldered bolt, and it places the friction on the peg itself. The self-locking nut does not place the friction on the peg. Remove the brackets.

IV. Chrome Trim
These guys take up a lot of room and have lots of sharp edges just waiting to remove the skin from your knuckles.

V. Battery & Rubber Battery Tray
This is the rubber tray under the battery, not the plastic toolkit tray.

VI. Air Box (This is one of the more difficult items to remove/reinstall.)
A. Remove the cross-frame bracket that the rear of the gas tank, the toolkit tray and the battery hold-down were bolted to. This is also the bracket that has the two tabs that fit into the front of the seat.

B. Loosen and remove the hose/tube clamps (two each side) that hold the air tubes from the air box to the rear of the throttle bodies. The tubes can then slide back into the air box giving you enough room to remove the rubber collars that connect the air box tubes to the throttle bodies. These collars have a groove that accepts a ridge on the air box tube. The end of the collar that fits to the throttle body does not have this groove.

C. The air box has three vent hoses that must be removed: top, left side, push on/off; bottom left side, push on/off and front, middle, hose clamp.

1. You can reach the hose clamp on the front middle hose with a Phillips head or a 7mm socket on a long extension (my preference).

2. For reassembly, I found it easier to remove the male hose fitting from the air box, reinsert the hose fitting in to the hose and tighten the hose clamp. Then, when reinstalling the air box, you can reinstall the hose fitting, with the hose attached and clamped, through the air box and bolt it back in place. This is easier than trying to get the hose back on the fitting and the clamp tightened after the air box is reinstalled because you won’t have room to get your hand in there to push the hose back on at this point in the reassembly!

D. The fuse and relay holding/backing plate must be removed. Disconnect the rear brake linkage. Remove two 5mm bolts holding the rear master cylinder in place and lower it out of the way (you can cable tie through the bottom of its two bolt holes). Remove the two bolts and hangers (note how these hangers are installed) that retain the fuse box itself to the plate. Remove the two bolts holding the plate to the frame.  Tilt the plate down and forward, then lift it up, back and out.

E. You can now remove the air box by wiggling/working it back and tilting the front up and out.

VII. Rear Fender
A. Remove the computer. It is held in place by a strap or cable ties.  Unplug the computer and place it in a zip lock baggy. Also rubber band some sort of plastic bag around the multi pin plug that stays on the bike.

B. Unplug the two leads from the tail light assembly. The cable runs along the under side of the fender. The two leads are similar looking, so mark them.

C. Remove the bracket that holds the front of the back fender. This bracket is also part of the bracket that holds the computer and the rear seat latch.

D. Remove the two 5mm Allen bolts that hold the back of the rear fender. These bolts go through to the rear of the luggage rack frame.

E. Standing to the rear of the bike, reach over the frame and grasp both edges of the rear fender and squeeze the fender in. The rear fender will slide right out without scratching.

VIII. Battery Plate.
A. This is the metal plate that the battery rests on. There are four Allen socket head bolts that run through a frame member, through the battery plate and in to the top of the gearbox. There are also three hex head bolts that hold this plate to the frame. You have to remove the two Allen head bolts that hold the fuel pump (big shiny aluminum thing that looks like another fuel filter) bracket in place in order to get to the hex head bolt on the left side of the battery plate.

B.  After you remove all of the bolts, you can remove the plate by working it back and tilting the right side up and out. Mark the top of the tray before you remove it from the bike--makes re-assembly much easier!

IX. Swing Arm.
A.  Remove the rear wheel. Since the bike is jacked up and stabilized by the tie downs, this is an easy task. (This is a good time to go ahead and remove the front wheel as well so that the bike will be in better balance on the jack.)

B.  Disconnect both shock absorbers from the swing arm on the left and the final drive on the right. Tie the shock absorbers up and back out of your way.

C.  Remove the final drive, a.k.a. the bevel box, a.k.a. the differential. After you remove the four acorn nuts holding it to the swing arm, the box and the drive shaft will slide right out. I cut the sleeve out of an old tee shirt to cover the drive shaft while it rests in the corner of the garage.

D.  Disconnect the front/rear brake-proportioning valve from the left side of the swing arm and cable tie it out of the way.

E.  Remove the front clamp on the rubber boot covering the u-joint.

F.  Remove the two, one each side, chrome bolts/caps on each side of the swing arm. These suckers are on real tight, and must be put back on real tight. The shop manual has a torque value for them, but I did not have a socket big enough to fit them. At this point, I tied up the swing arm so that it wouldn’t drop down on the floor.

G.  This is important!! Carefully measure the depth of both swing arm retaining pins/bolts that are under the chrome caps. These two pins/bolts must be reinstalled exactly as they were so that the swing arm will be aligned correctly in the frame. [They should be out of the frame equidistantly both sides. If you don’t have a vernier caliper counting an equal number of threads each side when all free play has been removed from the bearings is accurate enough. -PR]

H.  After you have measured the depth of these two pins/bolts, and written the measurements down, you can remove both of them. Now work the swing arm back and out.

I.  Inspect the u-joint and carrier bearing. If you can move the u-joint around in the carrier bearing, or as in my case, you can actually pull the u-joint out of the carrier bearing with your fingers, you should replace both the u-joint and the carrier bearing. [This is a contentious issue Joe. No, the UJ shouldn’t spin in the support bearing. The thing is that in many, many cases the UJ is, if not a loose fit, then at least not held in tight. I’ve seen evidence of many, many UJ’s having spun in their support bearings but very rarely does the damage become so apparent and bad that the UJ has to be replaced due to wear in the yoke before one of the couplings drys out and goes west. If the couplings are OK you can also purchase a new support bearing, (A C3 type.) and take it and the UJ to a good machinist who will grind the other end of the UJ down to a tight interference fit with the bearing. When this is done the bearing can be installed in the swingarm and gently heated after the UJ has spent the night in the deep freezer. You can then, if you are quick and careful, drop the Freezing UJ into the warm bearing and tap it home with a dead low hammer before the yoke expands and grabs. Cheaper than a new UJ J. -PR]

1.  Place the swing arm in something like one of those Black & Decker workbenches that won’t mar the finish, but will hold it firmly to work on. Use a 12” brass drift (less than $10 at Harbor Freight) to tap out the u-joint, if you couldn’t just pull it out. You need a drift that is at least 12” long because you have to reach all the way down the drive shaft housing to get to the lip of the carrier bearing.
3.  Turn the swing arm over and remove the big circlip that holds the carrier bearing in the swing arm housing.
4.  Turn the swing arm back over and use the drift to tap out the carrier bearing.
5.  Turn the swing arm back over (feels like you are cooking chicken on the grill) and use the drift to tap the new carrier bearing in to the swing arm. Replace the big circlip now--do not leave it on your workbench until you have reinstalled the whole damn swing arm!!
6.  Now use the dead blow hammer to gently tap the new u-joint into the carrier bearing.

X. L.H. & R.H. Cradle Arms, a.k.a. Side Frame Members.
A.  This step is optional to those who do not have a L.H. Cradle Arm that is completely broken!! Unfortunately, I had one that was slap-ass broken in two. I discovered this after taking the chrome floor board trim piece off of the left side and loosening the rear through frame/gearbox bolt so that I could remove the center stand. The whole frame moved in a way and in a place it was not supposed to move!!

B. You will have to remove the rear through frame/gearbox bolt that passes through the rear of the gearbox in order to get the gearbox off.

C.  Before you can remove the rear through frame bolt, you must remove the center stand. This is easy except for the two springs, which are a real PITA. After these springs are removed, you can remove the rear through frame bolt.

D.  Remove the side stand cut-off switch. Then remove the side stand, which involves removing the side stand springs---a real PITA.   

E.  Remove the front through frame/engine bolt.

E.  You can now work the L.H. and R.H. cradle arms down and off of the bike. [If you haven’t got a broken frame rail you can also leave the front engine bolt in and crab the frame. The only advantage to this is it saves a lot of time fartarsing about lining things up again when you put it back together. -PR]

XI. Gearbox (Includes replacement of the shift return spring)
A.  You can now hike the back of the bike up and away from the engine and gearbox assembly giving you plenty of room to get to the gearbox and clutch.

B.  Remove all shift linkage, except for the shift arm on the back of the gearbox. Take some paint and swab across that shift arm and the shaft so that you can get it back on in the same place. This shaft is called the “pre-selection” shaft.

C.  Locate and disconnect the speedometer cable. Rubber band a baggy around it and cable tie it out of your way.

D.  Remove the starter. This is a bit of a pain on the EV because of the chrome cover that perches atop the starter.

E.  Disconnect the neutral light connector on the left side of the gearbox.

F.  Remove the four (4) remaining nuts (Six total--two long guys that also hold the starter on, two chrome acorn nuts on the right side for viewing by the public, and two regular old nuts--sort of like Bill Hagan and me!) that hold the gearbox to the rear of the engine. Now you can just work the gearbox back and off of the engine and place it on a workbench. You will rightfully be impressed with yourself at this point!! 

G.  Remove the speedometer drive into which the speedo cable screws. You will need a magnetic pick up tool for the next operation. At the bottom of the well in the gearbox that houses the speedo drive, there is a “female” indent that corresponds to a “male” protrusion (every good novel needs a sex scene) at the end of the speedo drive. There is a washer/shim that goes between the end of the speedo drive and the indent. You must fish this washer out with the magnetic pick up tool. Be careful about jostling the gearbox around before you get this washer out because it can slip down into the innards of the gearbox. [Not quite as it is outboard of the bearing but it can and will mince and trash the speedo drive and then feed frag through the bearing if it isn’t in the right place! -PR] (Note about the “ball”. If you have a shop manual or a parts book, there is a “ball” that is shown as part of the speedo assembly. What neither the manual nor the parts book tell you is that this “ball” lives in a recess at the base of one of the splines of the output shaft of the gearbox. The “ball” cannot be removed until the retaining nut is removed from the output shaft. If you are not replacing the shift return spring, you will not be removing this retaining nut, and thus, the “ball” will remain safely in its little home.)

H.  By now, the paint swab on the shift arm is dry, and you can now remove the shift arm.

I.  Drain the fluid from the gearbox.

J.  Remove the input gear from the front of the gearbox--sounds simple, huh??  This guy is torqued on at about a zillion ft. lbs.!! Remember in the Introduction when I told you about that special wrench--this is when and where you need it. So the actual order of things will vary from these instructions, because you have to pull the clutch to get one of the old discs from which to fabricate the wrench that you need to remove the input gear.
1.  Now don’t ask me why you have to remove the input gear if you are not going to be rebuilding/placing major parts in the gearbox, other than the shift return spring. Pete Roper said that I had to, and I ain’t going to question Pete Roper ( on taking apart a gearbox!! (Sorry Joe, I thought you were going to  go through the box and check the bearings. If you only want to remove the endcase? No, you don’t have to take the splined hub off. Sorry. PR)
And, by the way, Mike Haven (MPH Cycles, Houston) is the guy that told me to replace the shift return spring while I had the bike torn down--or I would regret it a few thousand miles later!!  
2.  I used a c-clamp to hold the handle of the “input gear wrench” to the cut out in the housing for the starter, worked well for me.
3.  After you have the input gear secured, there is a washer with tabs that has one of the tabs bent up in to one of the slots on the bolt that prevents any chance of the bolt coming loose, should the zillion ft. lbs. of torque fail. Now use the “Dual Use” wrench that you got from MG Cycle and a breaker bar to get the retaining nut off. Gloves are recommended for this part!

K. Next, remove the clutch lever from the rear cover. Keep up with the counter spring. You can now remove the clutch rod and thrust bearing (what I would call a throw out bearing) from the gearbox. The front of the clutch rod can be seen poking out of the center of the input gear. Just poke it back through to the rear of the gearbox. Be sure to have your hand at the other end to catch the outer body and thrust bearing parts as they come out.  

L.  Now you are ready to take the rear cover off of the gearbox. The output shaft of the gearbox has a retaining nut that must be removed. The retaining nut has “collar” on it that is crimped between two of the splines, and it is a real pain to get the crimp out. [Called a ‘Stake Nut’ you simply break the stake when you undo it, this is another task where a rattle gun is really helpful. When you re-stake it it is important that the stake ring, the collar, doesn’t crack where you punch it in as this destroys the integrity of the stake these nuts can be re-used several times as long as the stake ring still has a suitable bit of stakeable rim left! -PR] I took a small, cheap chisel and ground it down to fit between the splines. There is a seal, usually blue/green in color, that does not have to come off--leave it alone, don’t poke around on it, or you may make it leak. After you have the crimp out of the collar, your best bet is to buy a 27mm deep socket, and take it and the gearbox up to the local tire/muffler shop and get them to take the retaining nut off of the output shaft with an impact wrench. 

M.  The eleven (11) 5mm Allen head bolts come out next. There is one long one and one that holds the bracket for the drain/vent tubes. I just took a pencil and wrote on the case itself where these bolts went.

N.  The rear cover is now ready to come off. If you have a butane torch, you can apply a little heat (not a lot) to the rear cover around the seal to loosen the gasket material. Use a dead blow hammer ($5.99 at Harbor Freight) to break the seal and get the rear cover started off.
1.  Now look at the rear cover. Just to the right of the pre-selection shaft is a bolt with a locking nut that goes through the rear cover. At the end of this bolt, inside the gearbox, is a groove around which the return spring is scissored to give the return spring the tension that it requires to return the shift lever to a neutral position between shifts--hence the clever name, “return spring.” This bolt must be removed now. You have to have the rear cover backed off enough to get a screwdriver in there to “un-scissor” the return spring from around the end of the bolt. [I don’t see why you took this out Joe? Once the end case is off I simply give the pre-seletor splines a whack with the DB hammer and the pawls and shaft pop out, complete with spring. PR] [Pete’s correct, it will come off as a unit -humble submission from JRM]

2.  The rear cover should now back right off. If you are lucky, all of the carrier bearings will remain nicely in place in the rear cover and the gearbox shafts will too. [Your shafts all stayed in the end cover??? –PR] [the shafts stayed nicely in place in the gearbox, while the bearings stayed nicely in place in the rear cover.- Clarification from JRM]

O.  Replace the old return spring and reassemble the gearbox using a new gasket and a very thin layer of gasket goop on both sides of the gearbox case.

XII.  CLUTCH (Finally)
A.  Get the paint out again and mark the “toothed crown” with a swab of paint on one of the teeth to a mark on the flywheel--it has two letters and an arrow stamped on it.

B.  Remove the “cup” from the center of the pressure plate. Removing the cup will reveal the threaded hole into which you screw the clutch alignment tool. I found the clutch alignment tool worked better shimmed out with several large washers. Tighten up the clutch alignment tool to compress the pressure plate. Mark one of the teeth on the pressure plate to the flywheel for reassembly. [I don’t see how you can mark the pressure plate until the ring gear is off and the clutch in pieces? Do you mean mark the ring gear? The pressure plate is the bit the springs sit in at the front of the clutch. -PR] {Yes, I mean the ring gear. But I marked everything that I took off of the bike, and I recommend that anybody with less experience than Pete do the same!- Clarification from JRM]

C. Now you will need some method to hold the flywheel stationary while you remove the eight (8) bolts that retain the toothed crown to the flywheel. If you have removed the left hand cradle arm, like I did, or at least dropped it down out the way, there is a “plug” on the left hand side of the engine that has a magnet on it to catch metal particles in the flywheel housing. You can remove this plug and go to your local bolt store and get a bolt with matching threads, but at least three (3) inches long. Thread this bolt back through the hole for the magnetic plug until it contacts the flywheel at one of the notches on the flywheel. Now the flywheel is stationary and you can remove the eight retaining bolts.  [Getting one bolt out and then using a short steel bar with two holes drilled in it hooked over one of the bell housing studs and then connected to that bolt to loosen the others also works well. -PR]

D.  Once the toothed crown is removed, back off of the clutch alignment tool, and the clutch just falls out in your hands!! Once again, you will be quite impressed with your self and your wife will fall in love with you anew as your manly prowess is now obvious to all!! [I usually get sneered at. What aftershave do you use????? -PR]

E.  Pay attention to how the clutch plates come off. They have a “flat” side and a “collared” side. The flat side goes towards the engine. [Yup, very important! -PR]

F.  Put the new clutch plates on, and begin putting everything back together!! [I’d also suggest giving the flywheel splines are ally good clean to get out all the dust and lube the splines lightly with copper or nickelcote. Note that the pressure plate has a punch mark on one tooth that aligns with the arrow on the flywheel. This makes all the recesses for the springs line up correctly betwixt pressure plate and flywheel. -PR]

G.  Getting the pressure plate back on with the eight (8) springs in the proper place is bit tricky. Gingerly put the springs in their receptacles, and gingerly put the pressure plate in place. [You can nip the ends of the springs together with multi-grips so they will clasp the mounts on the pressure plate, this makes it a lot easier to get them to stay there while you line up the punch mark and arrow. -PR]  Now you can put the clutch alignment tool loosely back in place and install the new friction plates and intermediate plate. Before you tighten every thing down with the clutch alignment tool, you will have enough room to get your little finger in between the flywheel and the pressure plate to be sure that all eight of the springs are in their proper place.

Now all you have to do is reverse the above steps, and you will be back on the road popping wheelies again in no time! Good luck!

[Is good Joe. I’m still a bit confused as to your getting the end case off and the shafts staying in the endcase. If I was going in that far I would of taken the box to bits to check the big input and output shaft bearings. These are the ones with the plastic cages that have a tendency to fail and if you’re in that far……….-PR ] [Lame excuse from JRM: See clarification above as to where the shafts stayed. Pete’s right, I should have taken the gearbox completely apart, but that’s easy for him to say! I was so glad to have gotten as far as I did and so ready to get the bike back on the road, I slapped the back cover back on and put the bike back together.]

Joe Martin
Baton Rouge, Louisiana