Howard Gem – clutch adjustment? Or more serious…

Home Forums The Machinery Forums Pedestrian operated machines Howard Gem – clutch adjustment? Or more serious…

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  plonker 1 year, 2 months ago.

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #34417


    Hello all,

    About four years ago I acquired a Howard Gem off a chap who’d restored it (covered it in inch of orange paint).

    Every year I find the energy to tinker with the old girl, every year I run out of time and enthusiasm and she languishes in the allotment shed.

    Not this year! Got her fired up (smokey, seems to run a bit fast) and have moved her out the shed under power, span the rotors, deafened the neighbours….

    But the gears are horrendous – it’s very hit and miss what’s going on. Can get forward and reverse but it all seems a bit arbitrary, the clutch lever is a bit random… it seems possible to engage reverse without pushing the lever down at all, just pull it up.

    Now the rotors have no clutch either so spin loosely but stop on contact.

    Can anyone advise on a sequence that I should follow to try and adjust things – whether that’s the clutch control, the gear linkages, the separate clutch for the rotor tines….

    The fact that it moves forward, back and sort of engages the rotors makes me want to hope
    that the guy who put it together knew what he was doing, so for now i don’t want to take anything internal apart if I can avoid it.

    Plus, it’s currently stuck in the middle of the allotment… i don’t want to move it again in case i’m damaging the gears…



    I bought a Gem off an old chap a few years back and have been fighting it on and off ever since… for the first time i have finally got her running and took a trip out of the allotment shed…

    The gears are horrendous. I can engage first and reverse, the cutters on or off, but it’s all very hit-and-miss.

    The clutch lever does seem to work, of a fashion – but there’s a lot of clunking and jerking and it sounds terrible, so am worried i am causing it damage. The “push down clutch lever to operate reverse” doesn’t really seem to make any difference – just pulling up enables reverse to be engage….

    The rotors used to turn and cut, but now stop on contact with ground.

    I like to think that the bloke who had “restored it” (covered it in fresh orange paint an inch thick) know what he was doing as he had a load of machines. I really don’t want to be taking things apart… plus, it’s stuck in the middle of my allotment.

    Are there some simple, first steps that I ought to be looking at – and if so, in what sequence should i focus…. adjustment of clutch control linkages?

    Any hints or tips much appreciated.




    Tim, what model of Gem is it? The early ones had a simple gear lever that moved forward or back to select gear and later models had a cross shaped gear selection pattern. The early models with reverse also lacked an interlock between forward and reverse gears which could result in reverse been selected with a forward gear engaged. Later models had an interlock preventing this.
    There were differences in rotor drive clutch too.
    The machine serial number can be found stamped in the top surface of the tube running front to back from fuel tank to handlebars.
    What engine is fitted?



    The early Gems, had no Rotor Clutch Fibre Disc, It was the same principle as the wheels clutch ,Steel on Steel, If on tightening the rotor clutch bolts, you still have the rotor slipping on contact, it is probably oil leaking out of the chain drive case through a faulty oil seal, When I restored my Gem I made the mistake of following the workshop manual for the later mark, and sent off my clutch disk for a nice new Fibre friction disc to be bonded, when fitted, I could not fit the rotor as it was now too long! I had to chisel the fibre friction plate off, after someone explained it was not supposed to have one. If the main engine clutch is not right, you have plenty of allowances to use by tightening or slacken off the travel, all detailed in the workshop manual, which is a “Must”. Best of luck

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.