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Solved Hard to change gears down

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by Al_Cam, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. On the morning commute, without warning had trouble changing gears to a lower number. i.e. from 3 to 2 or 1. Ever tried to take-off from the lights in 3rd with only 17HP?

    Changing up works, but sounds more clunky than normal. I suspect the clutch not fully disengaging. When the clutch lever is released it doesn’t seem to have any free play.

    Thoughts anyone?

    'twas dark this morning so couldn't get a good look and getting the rubber boot covering the cable off the lever end is a pig of a job. I had a breaking/stretching cable in the past & know there is a narrow range of adjustment where the dang thing works.

    Only 17,350 km on the clock so doubt clutch/box wear or damage. Just had new forks & front end fairings repaired over Christmas so maybe the clutch play was adjusted and now something has moved?

    - Bike is a Yamaha YZF-R15, cable clutch. Adjustment nuts at both ends.

  2. Sounds like the clutch adjust is out or the clutch cable is damaged.
    My ZZR did something similar, when I looked at the cable it was down to 2-3 strands and had stretched
  3. Is it under warranty still? If so (and nobody comesup with an obvious and easy to fix solution), just get the dealership to fix it.
  4. I'm hoping it's just adjustment as new cable comes with lever & clamps for $70+
  5. Nah. But next service is only about 2.5 weeks commuting away. So have thought about whacking it on the trailer & taking it in.

    I think it may just need fiddling with the nuts as at the lever end, even though it's under a real tight rubber boot, I have had the nut come loose in the past. Should've used loctite.
  6. #6 Noidea, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
    I'm not familiar with your model but on most bikes you can see the cutch pivtol working as you pull the lever. Here are a few things to try.
    First adjust the lever out to introduce minor free-play in the cable to eliminate the possibility of the cable binding?
    Then have someone sit on the bike activating the lever and take a look at the pivot to see if its completing it's full cycle of opening and closing. Your pivot/arm should be located at the other end of the clutch cable behind the fairings which I've circled in "Yamaha" blue.. :)

    This should tell you if it's simply the cable or the clutch mechanism (my money is on the cable).
    If it's the cable, it may not have been re-routed correctly after the fork install and is causing binding, is rusted, or just shagged.
    If it's the clutch. It could be some of the fingers are crabbing but really, you won't know til you remove the cover and take a look.

    Good luck
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  7. After I got over the fright of your avatar, I wasn't happy with the pivot lever movement this morning from what I could see in the dark (*&%^* just remembered the torch function on my mobile) it didn't look like it was going far enough aft. Luckily it's out in the open and checking it's movement is a one person job.

    Hadn't thought of a re-routing issue. Thanks for that.

    First happened this morning on a tight left hand off a 70km/h highway which is tight enough to require 2nd and steep up hill. Didn't make it stuck in 4th.
  8. Well I had a fiddle with clutch cable adjuster before leaving work (big bike parking area, had 3 offers for help and one bloke balanced the bike while I changed gears with the stand up and bike running. Gee Bikers are nice people. Got me no where though.

    After a joyless run home in heavy traffic at home put the bike up on the pit stand and tried adjusting both ends of the cable while running the motor. No joy. The cable has crimps (?) at both ends and is only maybe 18 months old & looks in good nick.

    The behaviour is that it is as if the gear lever doesn't want to return to centre. No matter how I adjust the cable the change feels very clunky & rough. There isn’t anything adjustable in the gear linkage and the lever on the gear box splines isn't slipping. Clutch? Pawls in Gearbox? Wet clutch so I'm not up to taking the cover off.

    Nothing has happened since the repairs at Christmas and the little blue slug has been great. Having had a few decades of manual cars I never change clutch-less -it's a 150cc R15 not an R1. The bingle that prompted the repairs involved bouncing across a round-about on the right hand side, but still maybe something has had enough of a learner after nearly 3 years.

    After a couple of hours of fiddling and a few red wines it's time to admit defeat and that I don't know squat about bike gearboxes and take it in to Yamaha City and someone who knows what they are doing.

    Time to use that ALDI motorcycle ramp I brought a couple of years ago "just in case".


    The Missus has upped the ante and said a New Bathroom & a trip overseas before I get that Ducati.
  9. Give this a try. The cover where the spline from the gear leave goes into the gearbox. Loosen the cover and with the cover loose see if you can get the gears to change down. If it does, carefully tight it up but keep checking that the gears are working.
  10. EricEric thanks, but no cover on left side just bottom casting of engine block and shaft goes through a seal. Looking at the manual looks like you get at the "shift shaft" end, "stopper lever" & spring via clutch housing on RHS. Have to drain the oil (wet clutch) then remove cover. Looks like you may be able to get access to shaft, stopper & spring without removing the clutch though. Given that the gear lever doesn't want to come back to centre suggests that perhaps the spring is the issue. Can change up but it feels rough. Need to move the lever up slightly & gently to enable a change down. Not something I could manage with my left foot slowing down at lights. Maybe the spring has broken or slipped after the bashing around the little blue slug has had what with being t-boned & bouncing across roundabouts. Job for the weekend and daylight. God I wish I had a Garage.

    Got knocked over and pushed along on the LHS so that the gear peg (?) was ground down at 45 degrees on the end, so that may have stressed something other than me.

    Maybe this is development training for my desired Ducati ownership.

  11. Umm, I hope you aren't running the bike whilst it's on the pit stand! Adjusting a clutch cable is simple, you don't need to have the engine running to see if it's adjusted correctly....

    Not practising clutchless changes has come to bite you in the ass on this (you could have ridden too and from work no worries depeding on the problem), practice them for if you clutch cable breaks. Can you clutchless change down gear? If so, the cluth or cable is the problem. If not, then the gearbox is.

    With the bike on the pitstand, and engine OFF! Roll the wheel forward and try pressing down on the gearshift. Does it change down gears?
  12. #12 Al_Cam, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
    Yeah I know but... Front wheel chocked fore & aft. Pit stand adjusted so cant slip off back as axle ends in the way, can’t move forward as stand brackets hit exhaust, LHS bracket can’t touch chain or sprocket (plastic has parts ground off from sprocket onece). No spools on this bike. Use plastic coated L brackets that rectangular section swing arm sits on. Stand brackets pushed inwards so pressing against sides of swing arm and locked. Have tried and can’t move bike in any direction on brackets of stand. Check stand bracket lock nuts are tight every use (bike is a single). Bike just idling. Sounds risky yes, but I’m not the type to get under a car without 4 axle stands and strategically placed wheel ramps just in case. The dogs hate the noise & smell & vacate the area. Have only forgotten to put the kick stand back down once but caught it in time.

    I did do a clutch hydraulics replacement on the ALFA once and when driving off the wheel ramps, even though telling myself the engagement point will be different, launched two wheel ramps 20m in to backyard like cannon balls. Luckily no other damage than some gouges in the concrete. Thank god the dogs where inside (and the missus).

    Won’t change down with downward pressure on gearshift, have to give a slight lift upwards first. Going in to 1st is most difficult. Can change up as gravity makes gear shift drop back down, looks like it drops all the way past normal centre position. I suspect shift shaft spring broken.

    Couldn’t clutch-less change down riding. Blipping throttle & all. Gear change just sitting disconsantlety at the bottom of its range of movement. Changing up not a problem. Lots of mucking about stopped at lights then heaps of revs and clutch slip. Case where wet clutch is useful.

    I do clutch less changes very occasionally but wouldn’t say I had mastered it. I’ve done a couple of car clutch replacements & on an ALFA trans-axle it isn’t fun at all, so I try to look after the poor little thing.

    Sitting on the stand luckily both ends of cable on same side so could adjust clutch lever through full range of movement using just lever end adjustment easily and see operation no probs. From 100% free-play to clutch dis-engaged with lever almost fully squeezed, so it’s not the cable. Didn’t make any difference to ability to change gears, needed delicate small lifting of gear shift before pushing down gently to change down. Always very clunky, rough change. No “snick” like it used to between 2nd to 6th. All loud clunks like going in to 1st if things were normal

    Not far off it's next service so maybe off to Ymaaha. Next trick is getting it on the box trailer with the Aldi ramp. I’ve seen so many videos of bikes falling, might try and hire proper bike trailer instead. I think I've seen one at a local servo. Or an early saturday morning slow tootle down to docklands in maybe 2nd. Should rig up hazard lights.
  13. lol, try saying 'shift shaft spring' fast 5 times!

    Yep, I think you have it worked out. Something must have been damaged in the fall, and repeated use has simply finished it off.

    Getting a 125 into a box trailer should be ok, it's a very light bike, walk it up. But also riding down in second should be ok, just ride like you are a pushy rider. It's not that far and there are plenty of backroads from North Melbourne.
  14. So you've pretty much eliminated the cable which is one less thing to worry about.
    Can you clarify if it's been down the road on the left or right as you mention both sides in two different posts..:confused:

    If it's been down the LHS and "ground" the shift lever down then it's def suffered some unusual abuse. By this I mean that we've all tried to change gears and miss timed it resulting in that horrible grinding noise that just sounds like $$$ pissing out of your ears. But so long as you stop it, and learn your lesson, you're gearbox is usually OK.
    However if the lever was subjected to this relentlessly over a period of several seconds as it went down the road, that could be whole different story.
    If the lever has been damaged, it now sounds more like a gearbox issue and you may either have damaged the spring return or bent the shifting forks. Again not being familiar with your bike, I suspect they'll need to split the case to make any repairs which will be soul destroying for a $5 spring.
    Good luck and all the best and I sincerely hope we'll all wrong and it's needs a minor adjustment. Even a new clutch will be better news..

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  15. NoideaNoidea yes the poor little thing has been down on both sides. November 2015 on RHS didn't touch engine casing. Gear foot peg got abused way back in December 2014 cable got damaged at lever end with wires snapped and starting to stretch after that incident. Cable replaced & gear change was a smooth as you would expect for a major Japanese manufactures bike since then. As a complete learner I have missed the occasional gear, but no banging down through the gares from 6th to 1st at the end of the straight at the Circuit of the Americas before the tight left hander. More the embarrassing 1st to neutral taking off in drag race mode at the lights.

    The picture oldcorollasoldcorollas put up is on the RHS (Gear casing never damaged) the extremal gear linkage on the LHS rotates a shaft that goes right through the engine casing from Left to the complex bits on the right. Change was smooth as coming up to last Monday, no warning deterioration unlike a stretching clutch cable. Rode through several sets of lights up and down through gears no problems then gear pedal suddenly flopped to the bottom coming up to a tight corner.

    So… could be spring(s), stop lever, bent shaft, that lever on the end of “shaft 1” maybe even pawl(s) fatigue failing. The shift shaft that passes through the casing hasn’t suffered any damage on the end, just the gear pedal itself. Must say the linkage from the Gear level to the shift shaft has an awful lot of slop in it and has no adjustable bits, just bent wire going through too-large holes in bell-cranks/levers. This was Yamaha’s cheapest bike.

    Drain the engine and remove the cover and I could see the parts in the picture above. Easy access, no faring’s need to come off but… it’s nearly due for a service which includes oil change (umm new chain after less than 18,000 km, broken O-rings, one was a little lax with the chain-lube over winter), front pads etcetera. May as well have the service department do it hoping they have the parts on hand instead of wandering in to Yamaha at lunch time ordering a $5 spring, wait a week for it to come in. Or taking the cover off and still not able to work out what’s stuffed.

    Sat on a new Monster 821 at Frasers, mmm very nice. There are some cheap used Monster 696s around. Street Triple new is a bargain. I did mention to the Missus that the bloke at service said they are having a ride-try day on Saturday and it would be chaos (he didn’t sound like he was looking forward to it) and the lovely Wife said “Are you thinking of buying a new bike?” rather than “YOU ARE NOT GETTING A NEW BIKE UNTIL I GET A BATHROOM AND AN OVERSEAS HOLIDAY! :blackeye:” What harm could a few test rides do?
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  16. Good plan, they'll either have parts on hand or easy to order. Not that much labour to find what's wrong.
    When gear lever got hit, could easily transfer forces further along mechanism.

    And Striple... Why not :)
  17. Well If I got the Striple & I would have to trade in the old bike & probably a couple of glands.
  18. Based on the pic oldcorollasoldcorollas has very kindly provided you should be OK if it's just the shift shaft spring.
    That case seems to come off pretty easy so if it's something simple, I doubt you'll be donating any kidney's for a fix.
    You prob already know this but I wouldn't ride it until it's looked as you may turn a $5 problem into a much bigger bill.

    Do let us know how you get on?
  19. I suppose there is one concerning fact in that all of the gear changes since things went pear-shaped have been pretty rough or clunky. There may be collateral damage.