Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 99' Vulcan 800 Classic with 13k miles. I started having a difficult time shifting gears about 300 miles ago. When it's cold with the idle on, I cannot get it to shift into 1st gear without a swift kick. Shifting to a higher gear makes a louder clunk than normal. Someone told me I may have a clutch problem, but I feel no slipage at all.

If I put it into 1st gear before starting, I can feel the engine drag.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

René
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
so the bike goes into every gear except first normally, but makes a louder clunk then normal, how much abuse has she took in her lifetime? have you/ or how often do you change your transmission oil? change the oil.. and look in it, if it has a bunch of fragments of metal you have transmission problems, also.. take a look around were the shaft for the shifter enters the bottom end, if the seal is broken maybe water got in and ruined the bearing. plus if it has been sitting maybe theirs no problems.. ive seen it were a bike has been stored and it will shift bad,and sometimes the lever will just lock up... just change the fluid and drive it like your breaking it in brand new. i think this is because the cold air will cause saturation inside the motor, so a little internal rust is normal.. its also possible that you drove it untill it was superheated and just let it cool down right away when you do that the metal can change shape and stay warped untill the bike warms up and expands again.

so i hope that helps, and if it turns out you need transmission work.. dissasemble it yourself, it will save you tons of money.. some transmission rebuilds can take 9 or 10 hours just because getting to it takes so long..

cheers
 

·
AZ's Official Mechanic
Joined
·
5,201 Posts
sounds like you need to either go to a lighter/thinner oil (5w30) and give the bike a few minutes to warm up or adjust your clutch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I bought her when she was a year old from a friend. It had 76 miles on her. He complained of had cramps, so he never rode her.

I've treated her with kit gloves. I ride single most of the time, so no excessive weight.

I changed her oil often. Never more that 2.5k miles between oil changes. The first 3k, every 500 - 700 miles. Oil has been very clean, even the last oil change about 1.5k miles ago.

Most of my riding is on the weekends, between 150-250 miles. For the past 3-4 months, I rode her into work (65 miles round trip) about 1 or 2 times a week, depending on weather conditions.

I normally use the oil my dealer has on their shelf. I don't even know what brand or the weight it is. I just know where to get it off the shelf. And I do use new filters on every oil change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Before you do anything else, adjust the clutch.
There is no need to suspect all these 'bad news' possibilities until you have adjusted the clutch and it still does not help. Your symptoms are typical of the clutch dragging...

8)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
2nd on what Brett said. It sounds like you simply need to turn your adjuster barrel out on your clutch. When you lightly touch your clutch lever, how much of a gap (see below) is there between the lever and housing? If it's more than the thickness of a nickel, the problem is almost certainly because your clutch cable has gone a little slack and needs to be retightened.


At the clutch lever housing, (which is the part that is mounted on your handbar) there should be a little serrated barrel and lockring that the clutch cable pokes out of. Loosen the lockring and then back the smaller adjuster barrel out 1 to 1.5 full rotations and see how she shifts after that.

Don't back the adjuster barrel out too much, just enough that when your fingers are barely touching the lever, the gap between the lever and the housing is about the thickness of a nicke;.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
-Calamari Chris in C'bad
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
P.S. All bikes are a little snickity going into first when you first start them in the morning. The best cure I've found is to walk it forward a little bit while plunking her into first.
-CCinC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Brett/Calamarichris,

I have adjusted the clutch until there is no play what so ever in the cable. I cringe everytime I drop her in 1st gear. It's like I am trying to shift into 1st without using a clutch. grrrrrrrrr, grrrrrrr, grrrrrrr...
 

·
AZ's Official Mechanic
Joined
·
5,201 Posts
if you have adjusted the clutch CORRECTLY and its still doing this then there is eieither ......
1. no problem
2. your clutch plates (the steels) are slightly warped and causing a bit of grab at engagement
3. your cush drive in the rear wheel is wore out
4. your chain is too tight
i know on my ZRX first is a bit clunky on engagement. from what ive seen kaws are notourise for this.
:wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
Hmm... How is the shift into first when the engine is hot?
I'd be surprised if you'd already cooked the clutch plates/discs, but everyone has different riding habits and that is the real determiner of clutch life.
I'm concerned about what you're doing to your shift forks if you're having to stomp it really hard into gear when cold. From now on, start the bike and run it for about 30 seconds, kill it, then put it in gear and pull in the clutch before restarting it.
Replacing the clutch on Japanese bikes is a snap, but replacing a bent shift fork---ugh.
Good luck.
-CCinC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
It is hard to shift even when the bike is warmed up. It's just more noticable when she's cold. I have resorted to cutting off the engine, shifting into 1st, then starting when she's cold.

Someone mentioned to me about sticky plates. I said OK, without have a clue what he was talking about.

I don't know what a cush drive in the rear wheel is??? The chain slack is OK. Also fyi, I had new tires on her about 1k miles ago. She really likes em.
 

·
AZ's Official Mechanic
Joined
·
5,201 Posts
renetrahan said:
It is hard to shift even when the bike is warmed up. It's just more noticable when she's cold. I have resorted to cutting off the engine, shifting into 1st, then starting when she's cold. -does the bike seem to catch and move forward a bit when you try to start it in gear ?

Someone mentioned to me about sticky plates. I said OK, without have a clue what he was talking about. -they are talking about the clutch plates sticking to each other. this usually happens after a bike has SAT UNUSED for a long time. never heard/seen it happen on a bike that is being used reguraly.

I don't know what a cush drive in the rear wheel is??? The chain slack is OK. Also fyi, I had new tires on her about 1k miles ago. She really likes em. -the cush drive are the rubber dampers in the rear hub that take up the force/rotation of the chain/sprocket when you put it in first gear, ya know the CLUNK ya get
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
If it's also a difficult shift into first when the engine is hot and there are no noticeable problems with the other gears, then I fear we have a bent shift fork. The engine will have to come out, and the cases will have to be split.

But take it to a dealership and see what they say. I would REALLY love to be wrong about this, but judging from your typed description, a bent shift fork is what it sounds like to me. It probably happened when you were stomping it into gear on those cold mornings when the clutch wasn't entirely warmed up.
Pulling the engine and splitting the cases is a good deal of work, so it's not going to be cheap.
I personally would rather spend the money on tools and manual than simply pay some dealership to do it, but everyone's different. While you're replacing the shift fork, you can also get the gears undercut, which will make it the smoothest shifting machine you've ever ridden. I did this to my Honda Superhawk when I had it apart. My shift forks were fine, but I bought new ones anyway, just because I was already splitting the cases for a different problem. You'll gain a new appreciation for your bike after doing an operation like this. I learned that my Superhawk was an inferior design, but I still feel a little heart-pang whenever I see or hear a Superhawk go by.
Take it to a dealership and describe the problem without telling them about my shift-fork diagnosis. They might have some good news for you.
And if I was wrong, please come back and tell us. I would LOVE to be wrong about this. Good luck.
-Calamari Chris in Carlsbad, CA
http://www.chrisandlisachan.com/superhawk.htm
http://www.chrisandlisachan.com/hondasvietnam.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
OK, we are running again.

After talking with many folks about my problem, one of the techs at my dealer suggested a visual inspection. This is what I did.

Clutch cable adjustment - OK
Clutch Cable (might be stretched) - fine
Gear shift pedal - Bingo. The gear shift pedal was hitting the frame when I down shifted. I adjusted the tie rod, and it's working.

I was really sweating with the possibility of replacing my shift forks.

Thanks.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top