Author Topic: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear  (Read 473 times)

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Offline jas

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Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« on: November 09, 2018, 06:24:42 pm »
I attempted to commute to work on Wednesday morning.  I typically put the bike outside the night before and cover it in preparation for the commute the next day.  Hop on at 3:45 AM the next morning, start it up and let it idle for a few minutes.  It was about 40 degrees.  Shifted into first and down the driveway.  Out onto the road.  Shifted into second and then tried to shift up into third.  I could not shift into third.  Attempted multiple times with no luck.  So I continued on in second hoping the bike would warm up and that this would help with the shift.  No such luck.  So I eventually turned around and went home where I parked it and switched to the car. I was finally able to look at it this morning.  I pulled the bike into the attached garage, put it on the center stand and started it up in neutral and let it run until the fans came on.  I checked the fluid level in the clutch reservoir.  It was fine.  It needs to be flushed but the level was OK.  Standing alongside with my left hand running the clutch lever, I used my right hand to move the shift lever so I could feel what was going on. I shifted down into first and let out the clutch, back wheel spinning.  Up into second.  Also OK.  Up into third.  There seemed to be some resistance but it went into third.  Sigh of relief!  So I repeatedly ran up and down through the gears by hand to make sure things were OK.  The shift shaft seemed tight but I was using my hand rather than my foot. I plan to remove the external parts and grease them and put them back together.  I do have Murph's bearing'ed up shift bearings installed.  I think what happened was that the shift shaft was not automatically resetting enough (twisting back counterclockwise) to allow it to then perform the next shift up into third.  Does that make sense?  The bike is a 2011 with 28K miles.  Using Mobil 1 Racing 4t oil that is changed every winter. I was looking through the FSM to try to determine if there are any springs that may have weakened over the years and with the cold weather did not have enough oomph to pull the shift shaft back to reset it for the next shift.  I do see a spring on the external shift mechanism. I was think something may need to be lubricated but the majority of the parts are inside the case.  I guess I could remove the clutch cover, clutch, and shift shaft to inspect the parts.  Thanks for any suggestions.   

Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 07:11:19 pm »
you noted it was a 2011, is there any extended warranty left on the bike?
if so, have it looked at under warranty...

we haven't seen a lot, or really any countable instances of the springs and shifting drum pop up on the C14, but we have seen a few bikes, iirc 2010-2011 models, where the third gear 'cog' itself fractured, the gear on the internal shaft, and required a major service to rebuld the input/output gear stacks... hopefully it's not that, but it's the only tranny failures we have really seen to occur.


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Offline gpd323

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 08:43:19 pm »
MOB is always spot on, but do you have aftermarket rear sets? This can cause this if the adjustment on the shift rod is off.
Greg Downing
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Washington State

Ride while you can.

Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2018, 12:01:41 am »
MOB is always spot on, but do you have aftermarket rear sets? This can cause this if the adjustment on the shift rod is off.

Thanks, but I'm not always spot on, or perfect...
Without knowing other particulars, like if the shift linkage was adjusted due to adding simple lowering pegs, or other such issues, its not always simple... so I stick with the simple, and work back from there... again, it may likely be something minor, but as we all know... we can't see and recreate these things over the net, miles away..

I do hope it is a simple adjustment tho.

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Offline jas

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2018, 11:55:59 am »
Thanks for the replies!  In response to several questions: no warranty left; I did manage to shift through all gears with the bike on the centerstand and the rear wheel spinning...I seems the integrity of all the gears is intact; stock shift linkage with the exception of Murph's bearings; I have not adjusted the linkage up or down in years;  and no lowering pegs.  I have changed nothing since I last commuted on the bike several days earlier.  It does seem like the shift shaft is not returning far enough counterclockwise after the shift to second to then allow the next shift into third.  That's why I was thinking it may be spring fatigue of the spring responsible for twisting the shaft back to the reset position.  I have not spent much time looking into this and am really just assuming this is the way this works (the FSM shows a pic of the External Shift Mechanism with a spiral spring on the end).   I will test the shifting by hand again before getting it out on the road to see how it shifts and puts the power down through all the gears. I only change the oil at the end of the riding season which is rapidly approaching.  So the oil hasn't been changed this riding season and has approximately 2K miles on it.

Offline Grant

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2018, 12:27:58 pm »
You said you haven't  Changed any linkage adjustment in quite some time but how about your boots? Toe box can make a big difference you can easily be holding the lever from returning to center without realizing it and 2nd to 3rd would be the most likely shift for this to occur.
Just a thought.  ;)
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Offline Red Fox

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 03:15:37 pm »
Try the cheap quick solution first.  New oil. 
Last year I switched to a slightly different lower viscosity, 5W-40 Rotella T6 synthetic, and the bike likes it, shift-wise... 
57,000 on my 2011 model.
TryCities, WA.    2011  C-14, silver; 53,000 miles.

Offline NYbiomed

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2018, 12:34:14 am »
Try the cheap quick solution first.  New oil. 
Last year I switched to a slightly different lower viscosity, 5W-40 Rotella T6 synthetic, and the bike likes it, shift-wise... 
57,000 on my 2011 model.

ALOT of COGgers like that Rotella T6 5W-40, very good stuff and very reasonably priced!
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2009 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS
1999 Suzuki Katana 750   1993 Yamaha Seca II
1990 Kawasaki EX500      1983 Honda CB1000 Custom

Offline jas

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2018, 03:10:38 pm »
More good points...  I have not changed boots recently, but I have been there and done that previously having had to adjust the linkage, primarily to lower the lever. The recommendation to change oil brand is timely.  It is at the end of the season and I had already purchased five quarts of Mobil 1 Racing 4T and a new K&N KN-303 filter.  I was about to change the oil and filter and rear case oil when this happened.  I have been running Racing 4T since new, but maybe it is time to consider something else.  I plan to get it out on the road this afternoon (low 40's) and see how it performs.  If I can get it to shift OK, I may just change the oil and put it away for the winter.  If not, it looks like I may have to pull the clutch and the shift shaft and see what I see.  I will post later today with the results of my test ride.

Offline cuda

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2018, 05:54:45 pm »
I first used Mobil One 4T  in my 2011 and I felt the shifting get notchy early,

So at the parts store, I saw Royal Purple  on sale, a mechanic friend swears that it's good stuff so I bought

what was on the shelf and have never been disappointed, I go 8,000 to 10,000 miles between changes.

I started using Mobil 1 in 1978, always been a fan, back then I changed my oil at 15,000-mile intervals  in my

300 six Ford van that I drove for 360,000 miles. :13:
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Offline jas

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2018, 06:31:58 pm »
Some good news...  First, thanks for the replies.  And for the recommendation of Royal Purple, I may give it a try.  I have also noticed some notchy shifting with the Mobil 1 which seems to occur at the end of the season.  In any event, I found the culprit!  Before going on a test ride I removed the shift linkage at the rear to see if anything was bound up.  Everything seemed fine.  I then removed the connection on the front and pulled it off the shift shaft. Everything around the shaft looked OK with no leaks.  So I pulled the snap ring and the washer that sits underneath.  I cleaned everything.  While cleaning the shaft and the seal with a paper towel and WD-40 I started twisting the shaft.  It seemed somewhat loose moving easily clockwise and counterclockwise. I then tried to push it in while twisting.  Nothing.  I then tried to pull it out while twisting.  While experimenting with different positions the thing actually pulled out about 0.5 inch!  In this position there was no sloppiness when trying to turn it clockwise or counter clockwise.  Then I noticed it.  In this outward position I could see the snap ring groove!  It turns out that somehow the shaft was pushed in approximately 0.5 inch and the snap ring had come out of its groove and was just sitting on the shaft!  I have no idea if I somehow managed to kick the shaft in, which would be hard to believe, or something external hit it, also hard to believe given it's location.  So I cleaned everything up, reinstalled the washer and the snap ring ensuring it was seated in the groove on the shaft.  Eureka!  It shifted properly on the test ride.  I think when the shaft was pushed in it pushed out of alignment on the clutch side so it wasn't engaging properly.  Anyhow, as you might imagine, I am just a little relieved!  Others may want to check this pesky snap ring to make sure it is fully engaged!

Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2018, 08:03:33 pm »
 :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :beerchug:

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Offline jas

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Re: Couldn't Shift Into Third Gear
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2018, 08:21:12 pm »
Thanks to everyone for the replies!  I think I got really lucky on this one!  W/R to the oil recommendations, thanks to all.  I plan to use what I have on hand this year but may switch to something different mid-way next year.  I know a lot of folks here swear by the Rotella which may be next in line!