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1979 Can-Am Qualifier 250 Tough Clutch Issues

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I have been putting together a 1979 Can Am Qualifier for the last few years that was left to me in pieces (enough to almost build two) by a very close collector friend that passed. I recently finished putting it all together and getting the motor dialed in and running almost flawlessly. The bike runs and rides great, all except for the clutch..

I have taken it apart and put it back together many times trying to diagnose this issue and am starting to worry the magnesium casting beginning to wear or come close to damaging it. The issue I am having is that the clutch will not fully disengage from the drive, and it is very tough and difficult to pull. I have been riding bikes all my life so I know what a clutch should feel like and this is definitely too tough. In order to keep the bike from stalling, it has to be revved up when shifting into first while stationary. When the bike isn't running, pulling in the clutch seems to do almost nothing, but if the bike is rolled forward about 2-3' it softens up and is easier to roll.

My work to solve this has included - 

- Replacing clutch cable

- Filing down small grooves/ridges in clutch basket fingers

- Adjusting clutch push plate

- Inspecting plates for bends/warps

- Replacing clutch spring retaining plate bolts (not springs themselves)

- And a few other misc. things

After checking all of this, I still find the same result of the clutch being very difficult to actuate, and will not fully disengage. Let me know what I am missing or can try before turning it over to a professional and emptying my pockets!







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There must be a spec for the stack thickness. Have you checked that all is in order in terms of overall thickness? If for some reason the stack is too thick it would cause this issue.

Too much spring pressure ? I’m not sure why this would be the case but if you have too much spring pressure it could compress the disengagement assembly enough that it doesn’t release effectively .

The other option is the plates are sticking but you say that there is a tremendous amount of force required to actuate the lever leads me to think that it’s either a spring or thickness issue since it’s not a seized cable.

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https://www.yeoldecycleshoppe.com/roadtestlibrary/2016/10/25/1979-can-am-250-qualifier-road-test?rq=can am 250

Thought you might enjoy reading that. Loved these bikes. It was my dream in high school to own one. 

Like the others said, it seems like you need more plate clearance, less spring pressure. How's that arm work on the case? I assume it rotates and releases the clutch. I'd guess there should be a bushing or bearing behind that arm assembly. Is there one?




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I owned and raced a 76,78,79,81,82, they had the hardest clutch pull of any bike I have ever owned. I would cut and weld the actuator arm longer and it would help a little. Do you have 1 too many steel plates? If no solution seems apparent maybe try 3 clutch springs as an experiment.

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