gears won't engage - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Question gears won't engage

I am getting my 1987 Vulcan 88 back up and running after an extended storage of about three years. I cleaned the carbs and got the engine running with new gass and thought I would take it for a spin around the block. TO my surprize, none of the gears would engage. everything worked fine when I parked it three years ago but now, nothing but nuetral. It apears to go into first as the neutral light goes out and I think I hear it engage, but nothing when I let out the clutch.

ANy suggestions on where to start in solving this issue.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 05:09 PM
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Clutch plates could be "froze"/stuck together. One thing we used to do was to take some B-12 (chemtool not vitamins) and pour some in the oil. Then run the engine, work the clutch either with the clutch cable (lever) or manually. Then change the oil. No synthetic oil.

Good luck.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DustyV59 View Post
I am getting my 1987 Vulcan 88 back up and running after an extended storage of about three years. I cleaned the carbs and got the engine running with new gass and thought I would take it for a spin around the block. TO my surprize, none of the gears would engage. everything worked fine when I parked it three years ago but now, nothing but nuetral. It apears to go into first as the neutral light goes out and I think I hear it engage, but nothing when I let out the clutch.

ANy suggestions on where to start in solving this issue.
It sounds like it is actually going into gear but your clutch is not engaging. I would start buy looking at the clutch.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 05:45 PM
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Are you sure the transmission is actually going into first? Perhaps the clutch disks are stuck together and the clutch isn't releasing; the shift lever may be moving but not quite far enough to engage first. Shut the motor off while you think it's in first and try to push the bike in that state (without applying clutch lever). If it's in first and everything is kosher the motor will fight your progress. If it pushes easily it may actually still be in neutral; in that case you should be able to get it into first by applying pressure to the shift lever while pushing the bike (again, without applying the clutch lever). As it slips into first the bike should stop moving.

If that's how it pans out, then I'd say your clutch disks are stuck together. To free them, with the transmission fully in first, try pushing the bike (now WITH the clutch lever applied). Alternatively, you may be able to free them by starting the motor while in first with the clutch lever applied. You'll need to be careful of the bike taking off on you (use the brakes).

If the bike had a center stand, I'd say put it on the center stand, start it in first, and with the clutch lever engaged, use the rear brake to free the clutch disks.

When I bought my 440 LTD it had sat idle for at least 10 years. The clutch disks were stuck firmly together and it took quite a bit of pushing back and forth as described to free them. Once they were freed up the clutch was fine, though.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 08:15 PM
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Did you store the bike with oil in the crankcase? After 3 years the plates may need to be resoaked / replaced - the friction plates may have either frozen up (as suggested) or dried out.
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all very much for your suggestions. I now have my bike easily going through the gears. I utilize mauch of what you told me and was able to ride around the block the very next day. Here are the steps I took to freed up the clutch plates.

1. I didn't have any B12 , but added SeaFoam Motor Treatment to the crank case.

2. Found, as suggested, that the bike wasn't actually going into first gear, even though the neutral like would go off.

3. Utilized suggestion and put presssue on the gear lever while rolling the bike.

4. Once the bike went into gear, I pushed it forward and backward through the engine compression a few times.

5. Put the bike in second gear and rocked back and forth a few times for good measure.

6. Started the bike and was able to shift gears easily while going around the neighborhood.

I plan to run a partial tank of fresh gass through to make sure the SeaFoam has a chance to do its job in the crankcase and then I will change the oil and plugs and work on an actual tune-up.

Thaks for all your help. This is the first time I have been on this forum and I am impressed with the help I received.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-29-2008, 02:31 AM
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Glad to hear this one worked out, and thanks for the update. More bike repair knowledge to store away for possible future use.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2018, 05:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okiecop View Post
Clutch plates could be "froze"/stuck together. One thing we used to do was to take some B-12 (chemtool not vitamins) and pour some in the oil. Then run the engine, work the clutch either with the clutch cable (lever) or manually. Then change the oil. No synthetic oil.

Good luck.
Why don't you recommend synthetic oil?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2018, 07:08 AM
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Why don't you recommend synthetic oil?
This is a zombie threat as it is now 10 years old. You're not going to get a response from the poster as he has not been on the forum since 2011.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2018, 09:56 AM
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Killjoy! With the promise of an oil thread you had to pour cold water on it hehehe

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