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Thread: My bike is "stopping in" Neutral (not slipping into) it a lot lately - suggestions?

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    Flirting With The Redline robardin's Avatar
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    My bike is "stopping in" Neutral (not slipping into) it a lot lately - suggestions?

    So this isn't a case of the clutch slipping, or falling into "false neutral" in between gear shifts.

    Rather, when shifting from 1st to 2nd or 2nd to 1st gear, my bike has had an increasing tendency to stop in neutral, as if it were a full gear on its own. To fix it I usually have to release the clutch lever and re-do the shift.

    This is unnerving because I go between 1/2nd gear constantly while street riding. So I'll be shifting up from 1st to 2nd while accelerating from a stop or very low speed and suddenly realizing I'm free-revving and coasting in neutral. Or even worse, slowing down to make a 90 degree turn at low speed behind a car, I pull in the clutch, tap down hard and feel a stop/hear a click, release the clutch and throttle up, and find I'm coasting (which is really not good around a turn!).

    I'm riding a 2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS, if it matters. I got it new in Jan 2012 so I have a lot of time on this bike, rather than "I just have to get a feel for how this bike behaves" kind of thing. This only started happening about 2 years ago, and what was a "that was weird" moment is becoming something in the back of mind with every low speed shift. Every time I do a 1-2 or 2-1 shift I'm glancing at my dash for the green Neutral light, and it feels like every day I ride now, I have to re-do a shift "through" Neutral at least once.

    I've maintained it regularly but an oil change didn't help here. It's not been hit or dropped in any way. What should I check out or try next?
    Last edited by robardin; 04-26-2019 at 11:28 AM.

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    Flirting With The Redline 8000 Posts! Trials's Avatar
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    Has the shifting ever become very stiff at any point and is there any chance it was forced into gear with considerable effort?

    More often then not shifting problems are related to a fall on the shifter lever, but if neither of those things have ever happened it is less likely that you have a bent shifter fork, or the shifter fork engagement to the shifter drum is messed up

    Those are the 2 issues that I have encountered which produce the issue you describe, hopefully neither applies as inspecting those items means a complete tear-down. There is also a spring loaded detent mechanism deep inside there which is intended to make the shift selection more positive. Sadly all of these things mean exploring behind the clutch or deeper.

    One thing you might inspect is the transmission oil (guessing it is the same thing as the engine oil on that bike.) If there is or was any sign of metal particles in the oil, particularly brass coloured bits :/ that would confirm you have a serious problem deep inside. This is one of the reasons I always encourage riders to drain their oil changes into a clear glass container, let it settle and then hold it up to sunlight to see if anything sparkles or metal filings sink to the bottom of the jar. Shifter forks are made from brass so sadly particles that break free won't stick to the magnet on the drain plug, they are way more likely to end up in the oil filter or pre-filter screen if so equipped.

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    Flirting With The Redline 8000 Posts! Trials's Avatar
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    Does it ever kick out of gear while under load? If no that is encouraging.

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    Flirting With The Redline robardin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trials View Post
    Has the shifting ever become very stiff at any point and is there any chance it was forced into gear with considerable effort?

    More often then not shifting problems are related to a fall on the shifter lever, but if neither of those things have ever happened it is less likely that you have a bent shifter fork, or the shifter fork engagement to the shifter drum is messed up
    Ummm. Yes.... Maybe? But like the very first week I owned the bike.

    On my Vulcan, if I pulled the clutch in and dropped from second to neutral at a stop with a half-tap, I could then tap down again down to first gear to ride off without releasing and re-pulling the clutch lever (like if the light changed to green unexpectedly quickly). But with the V-strom, I found that I have to release the clutch and re-shift from neutral to first. But the first time I was in such a scenario, I stomped and stomped on the shift lever to drop from neutral to first before eventually realizing I had to release it first.

    I went for years without doing that again, but I guess it's possible I laid the groundwork for something to come back and bite me many this far down the road. The shifter lever looks straight enough, though.

    If, as you say, "the shifter fork engagement to the shifter drum is messed up", how would I confirm that, and how would I fix it?

    I'm going to change the oil tomorrow so I'll look for "brass colored bits" in what comes out. I've never noticed metal shavings of any kind in my oil, though I do checks its color and viscosity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trials View Post
    Does it ever kick out of gear while under load? If no that is encouraging.
    No, this is strictly a problem when shifting up/down between 1st and 2nd gear, that it stops in neutral with a firm stop/click that requires unclutching and re-clutching to shift into gear.

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    Flirting With The Redline 8000 Posts! Trials's Avatar
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    Stomp on lever is not good don't do that.
    Here are the parts that actually move your spur gears into position:

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    Flirting With The Redline 8000 Posts! Trials's Avatar
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    Give this a read through, it describes the detent part I refer to:
    http://www.factorypro.com/Prod_Pages...Centering_Stud

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    Flirting With The Redline 8000 Posts! Trials's Avatar
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    If a shifter fork was bent I would expect it to jump out of gear or not go into gear at all. By a read of that article I linked that is suspect. All that stuff is deep in the bowels of your motor.

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    Flirting With The Redline robardin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trials View Post
    If a shifter fork was bent I would expect it to jump out of gear or not go into gear at all. By a read of that article I linked that is suspect. All that stuff is deep in the bowels of your motor.
    Right, the way it is behaving I am thinking it's not this, if I'd actually broken something with catching into 2/N/1 gears, shouldn't it never stop there and just fall through? Most of the time it works as expected, after all, and I never have to do more than just release clutch / shift again, though that can be bad enough since neutral is involved.

    Come to think of it this is also starting to happen shifting into other gears, like upshifting from 3rd to 4th I sometimes have to do more than once (with a clutch release and retry) to do successfully, but in those cases I feel resistance and I know the shift didn't work. The problem is that going "through" Neutral isn't supposed to feel like anything, so when it clicks/stops in Neutral, it feels like I successfully changed gears, when in fact I'm not in gear at all.

  9. #9
    Flirting With The Redline 8000 Posts! Trials's Avatar
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    Unless you are very mechanically inclined, I think you are at the point where a lot of people would sell the bike and hope the buyer didn't notice a shifting problem. It might be something really small like just a collapsed spring, but honestly can't think of a way to explore inside that thing without extensive dismantle.
    or
    This would be a real long shot and require a ton of luck; fibre optic borescope inspection Might reveal something without taking anything apart. ... that's how you would inspect it if it was a jet engine, but jet engines are designed with that type of inspection in mind.

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    Flirting With The Redline robardin's Avatar
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    Yeah, this is what I was afraid of. Oh well. Thanks guys. I'll see if I can live with it like this a bit longer.

    I have farkled this bike up so nicely!

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