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Gearbox Help Please

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by Gypsy, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. I'm hoping that some of the more experienced here can help diagnose what may be happening.

    Firstly, the bike in question is a Yamaha XVS650 1998.
    When the bike is at rest, it is in 1st, and I pull the clutch in and try and move the bike around, it feels like it's difficult. Almost like it's in gear, but not quite, I think. When I put her in neutral she glides around almost effortlessly. Is this normal? Is it a symptom of a bigger problem?

    Also, when the engine is running and I put her into 1st, she 'clunks' into gear. When changing up from 1st to 2nd she is quite rough, almost like she is 'crunching' into gear. 2nd to 3rd and up etc seems OK, but 1-2 is troubling. It has been getting slightly worst over the last couple of rides.

    I'm suspecting that it is either the clutch cable (may need tightening) or possibly the oil. I tried checking the oil but can't tell if the oil is filled or empty. The windows appears all black and there is no noticeable level line of the oil. The bike has no oil leaks no does she smoke, so far as I can tell anyway.

    Should I change the oil anyway, just to eliminate that as a problem? Do these symptoms point to something obvious? Or is it a matter of trial and error? Any help and/or advice is very much appreciated.

  2. I would use some metho and a rag to clean the vis gauge, mine was all black when I brought my bike and I cleaned it up. To check the oil level, make sure the bike is upright, not on it's stand as you will see nothing when it's on the stand.

    I would suggest the first thing to do when buying a bike it to do an oil and filter change, it should take al, of 1/2 and hour. Maybe a manual would be a good idea as well.

    Cheap insurance for around 100 bucks all up, for a,manual, 4 litres of oil and a filter.
  3. Yea, I checked the oil with the bike upright. The 'window' was black, even with a light shining right next to it. I got a rag and tried cleaning it to no avail. The only thing I can think of was that the engine was relatively cool, although the crankcase felt warm to the touch. Does the engine have to be warm to check the levels? As for a manual, I have both the owners handbook and the workshop manual. They are helpful but will become more so as I grow in confidence and experience in bike maintenance/repair.

    I'm hoping that all that is needed is an oil change, but does anyone think it may be something more sinister....?

    Cheers All....
  4. When the oil is warm it should only drop a slight amount so it is not going to make much of a difference.

    When the bike is on the side stand does the oil disappear from the vissy gauge, it should.

    I know my bike clunks into first, when I drop it into gear at lights, etc. But I think that is pretty normal, I tend to hear them clunk when at light and when friends put thiers into gear

    Mate do the oil/filter change it is a piece of piss to do. And I think a good first step in bike maintenance, my oil still looked ok when I brought the bike, but I change the engine oil first thing on all cars I buy and bikes as well. Might be a good thing to replace the shaft oil as well. I plan on doing mine in the next week along with the fork oil.

    I know the manuals can be a bit vague at times as well and more photos and a few more details would be so much more helpful but I am sure you can nut it out.

    Maybe a newbie maintenance day would be good. I have the tools, just no space ATM due to building a new house.
  5. Whether on the side stand or standing upright the oil window looks black. Is there some way to check the shaft oil? I don't have the manual with me here at work to check it out so sorry if it is written in there somewhere. Maybe that needs to be changed as well.

    I know what you mean when you say it is normal to sort of 'clunk' into first. I thought the same thing as well. It wasn't until she was a bit rough going into 2nd that I started to think about it. And now she seems to not be too smooth with her in first and the engine off. It may be normal and I just haven't noticed. But if it isn't normal, I would rather err on the side of caution before a bigger problem arises.

    i would be very keen on getting to a newbie maintenance session. Where abouts in the West are you? Let me know when/if you can put one together. I'm sure a case of liquid gold or a bottle of Scottish courage could entice you. In fact, I wouldn't mind coming 'round to watch you change the shaft and fork oil when you're doing it, if it's alright with you. Nothing like matching somebody else do it the first time to give you a lead. If it's not convenient I understand, just say so. I already appreciate the advice thus far.

  6. i'd just adjust the clutch cable tension/freeplay to be safe. where along the lever throw is the friction point? cable might be too loose and not fully disengaging the clutch.

    also don't skimp on oil and filters. i'm in the middle of an engine rebuild because i was lazy.
  7. NOt sure exactly what you mean about the lever throw thing. I understand what you mean about the friction point, but don't understand how to explain at what point it is. How do I measure it etc? How do I know when the clutch cable is adjusted correctly? I'll try it out and see how we go. Also, I'll get some oil and a filter tomorrow and change them on the weekend. Any other advice from anyone....?

    Cheers All.....
  8. I live at the Druitt ATM.

    I dont mind. Maybe I can suggest we do it at the same time. I find the best learning method is hands on and doing things yourself. I am a shift worker, so I am not sure what you schedule is like. But I am sure we can work a time through PM and go from there.
  9. Thats all normal, perhaps you just haven't noticed before?

    Again, that's all normal, but the symptoms can get worse when the oil needs changing. Definitely change the oil if you have any doubt, and use the type of oil that the manufacturer recommends (i.e. don't just automatically grab synthetic oil).

    The clutch will only need adjusting if the friction/engage point is at either extreme of the clutch lever throw (full in or full out). If the clutch engages around the middle of letting the lever out then I wouldn't worry. The oil can sometimes play a more significant role in determining how the clutch performs.

    Can't see the oil level through the sight? Perhaps the bike is overfilled?

    Fix it asap, change your oil! :grin:
  10. Firstly, change the oil and check clutch adjustment. Don't worry, i'm sure it's nothing sinister. I'm pretty sure you'll find that the problem is pretty much corrected by doing this. (standard maintenance)

    You can kinda speculate till ur blue in the face, but until you have checked these two things firstly, you won't really have anything to go by.
    At least you'll know where you stand and can further troubleshoot if necessary.

    Your local bikeshop "should" be able to answer most of your questions regarding oil choice etc.

    A bit of clunking is normal......
  11. If it's a cable clutch, it's not hard to adjust.

    The clutch will drag some, even if the clutch is set right. It's the nature of wet clutches.

    The correct drive chain tension will help gear changes. I'm not sure if your bike is shaft drive. If it is, then a knackered drive shaft may produce similarly poor gear changes.

    The correct wieght and volume of oil does help smooth gear changes
  12. gearbox problems

    Without sitting on it and having another same bike to compare to its hard to diagnose but if its any comfort,my bike,Bandit 1200,and several other bikes I have had,pretty much everyone,all clunk,like really clunk ](*,) ,especially if pretty warm,when you engage first gear,then when clicking up into 2nd,they can be quite notchy too,there the most commonly used gears so they wear the most first,the cogs in your gearbox,and heaps of other parts like the shaft in your shock absorber,rockers,cams,etc,are coated in a hard surfacing,I forget the compond,zinc and something,cyanide case hardening,I forget,google it if you could be bothered,once that hard surfacing wears of,the metals underneath really start to wear at a much higher rate,if you have ever seen a motor in bits thats pisd n broken,and you look at the cams or whatever,especially if they have had oil starvation,you will see a blueish hue,very visible,on the surface,thats the hard surfacing wearing off,if I spun you round :tantrum: at 1000 to 9000 revolutions per minute,you would be pretty worn,pretty quick too,but this hard surfacing wears on those gears first because of there frequent usage,so when they mesh,when you shift,there not as clean as they should be,2nd and 3rd often goes in gearboxes as well cause there the gears that get fanged the most.
    Yes in my experience its normal in a lot of bikes when you are in 1st and you roll it around with the clutch in,to have that resistance,like the clutch is slightly engaged but not really,kinda like when youre in youre car and you put your foot on the brake when rolling with the ingnition off,the brakes work kinda,but the brake booster doesnt work till the motors running,similar thing in hydraulically operated cluthches on bikes,whether its a hydraulic clutch or cable,the motors not under load and this creates drag as the clutch basket isnt fully disengaging,I think is the way it works,but this is perfectly normal.

    In my book Absolute number 1 thing in a bike,besides safety,CHANGE THE OIL REGUARLY,and oil filter,it should help with gear changes unless its just too worn then nothing will bar rebuild,and dont buy crap oil based on price!,its like buying McDonalds :-& or a 5star restaurant cuisine,the oils the equivalent of the blood in your body,and if you poor endless crappy foods and alcohol and cigarettes etc into your body,the body cant get the oxygen to your vital bits and you feel like crap,same if you fang your bike endlessly,the oil looses its protection qualities from engine wear,it still lubricates but doesnt protect wear,then you get metal fillings floating around,you get wear,then you get expensive rebuilds,I change it every 5000-8000km,depending on what sort of a hard time I have given my bike.Good luck :moped:
  13. @Mustang
    Thansk for the offer. I'd be happy to come along at a time convenient to you. I work regular hours, but can alter them to suit your shifts. Mid week, weekend, you let me know. I'm pretty flexible.

    @Cammo, Mario,ibast
    Yeah, the clutch seems to engage (friction point) somewhere around the middle so it should be OK. I may have a little play with it to see what happens but I think it's the oil. All the suggestions and advice I have recieved both from here and talking to others seems to point towards that. Will change ASAP. Also, what brand etc do you guys suggets? Is there one brand preferable to another? Obviously not after the most expensive, but a reasonably priced quality oil is the go.

    I went out at lunch yesterday to a local bike shop to have a seat on a few bikes and for the first time noticed the 'drag' in 1st. I never noticed it before, probably because I wasn't looking for it. But it is definitely there, although more noticeable on my bike than these. So hopefully an oil change will reduce the 'friction' and al should be good again....

    Thanks for all the advice. Hopefully the discussion has also helped some others.....

    Cheers All....
  14. Re: gearbox problems

    cool explanation movin! second job - teaching maintenance 101 to newbies? if you need an accompanying manual, i'll put my hand up to do the grammar/apostrophe checking :grin:

  15. UPDATE

    I got some oil and an oil filter today. First things first. Got the pan underneath the bike, loosened the sump screw and out came the bubbling crude....oil that is....texas tea......sorry, got carried away....

    Anyway, I let all the oil drain out over the next couple of hours while I took my boy to his footy training. Upon my return, there was no more oil coming out, not even a drip. Let me tell you, the oil was black. I then undid the oil filter cover and replaced the oil filter. Put it all back together again. Checked all the screws and seals were in the right places and proceeded to fill her with oil. Hardest bit was putting the right amount of oil in. Does anybody have an easier way of measuring the amount of oil to be put in without using the missus' cake measuring cups? My manual says she takes 3.2L total so I poured about 1/2 of the 4L container, checked the oil level (which, I might add, is nice golden colour now) and saw some oil in the 'window'. I started the motor for a couple of minutes to get the oil circulating, then checked the level again and topped up as necessary.

    Now for the test. Started her up and double checked the seals etc for leaks. Looking good so far. Took her out for a quick spin around the local. What a difference. Although she still clunks into first, it's more like a smooth and solid change. Changing up from 1st to 2nd, so much smoother. And need I say more about the other gears. In fact the whole bike feels like she is running smoother. I'll be taking her out to stretch the legs a bit more on the weekend, but I'm confident all will be OK.

    I have to say, I am quite proud of myself for doing this. Everyone here gave me the confidence to have a go at changing the oil myself. Very basic for some, but a huge step for me. Thank you to all for your help and advice.

    Now for the hard part. I have to remove all my fingerprints and oil smudges from my chromey bits. Any suggestions.....?

    Cheers All....
  16. Get some "mothers" polish...works a treat.
  17. Congratulations. Now you are a real motorcyclist. :wink:
  18. Outstanding Gypsy, well done and be very proud. Just think it is something you dont have to pay to have done, plus you did it yourself.

    Plugs and air filter are a piece of piss. I will look at my roster over the weekend and we can plan a time to do the fork and shaft oil changes.

  19. Well done Gypsy,makes the world of difference dont it!you can actually feel the difference and she just seems to kinda hum a little better.I actually normally change mine using gear changes as a guide,as you put the km,s on and the oil burns,you will feel the shift changes start to get more and more notchy as the oil gets more contaminated.Then,its time to change,some like more,some less,depending on riding but around 5k-8k if you want the bike to last is my rule of thumb.If you have a viewing window in your bike for the oil,you will visibly notice the colour change around 3-4k and get progressively darker.

    Anyways,good job,I think more basic maintenance courses are needed for beginers 101 bike maintenance just to give them the confidence to try to tackle these things and not get charged 150 bananas for a basic service that you could do in a few hours and get by with a little help from your friends. :music:
    Anyone got a garage they want to offer that will fit round 10 people? :newb: :newb:
    Im about to my valve clearances on a Suzuki Bandit 1200 if anyone wants to learn,very similar motor to a GSX1100,need a venue though,my garage lucky to fit me,1 other and me bike.
  20. @ibast
    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm still a long way away from being a true motorcyclist, but I'm taking the steps towards it. I still need to get caught in the rain, push the bike up hill to the nearest servo to refuel, spit out a mouth full of bugs, repair a puncture, and all those other wonderful biking experiences I hear about. I am having fun learning though.

    @mustang (aka mark)
    Yeah, I would rather learn to take care of my own than pay someone else to do it. The way I see it, it is an all encompassing hobby. You can't ride the things without knowing how they work and how to get yourself out of a bind. Especially if you ever plan on doing some extensive travelling on one. I'll still take you up on your offer to 'jointly' change the fork and shaft oil. please let me know when it is a good time for you and we'll sort something out.

    Cheers All.....