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  1. #1
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    Default Sportster Transmission Issue Question

    Recently picked up a 1999 xl883. I haven't started digging into the issue yet or making any adjustments, or even adjusted the clutch, have only given it a short test ride down the block. Wanted to get some insight before I start into it, as transmissions aren't my strong suit.

    Here's what I noticed: When you click down into first and then start to give it gas and let the clutch out it moves forward and seems as though everything as normal, then just a second later you hear/feel what seems to be like it really getting into gear. At first I thought I left the kickstand out and thought I heard it come to a slam against the stop but that is not the case. It runs good. Doesn't seem to be an issue in any other gear, only while clicking down to just starting out in first.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Possible gear dogs have rounded off some
    Perhaps the shift drum and forks have a bunch of slop ..

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    Thanks. Looks like i'll be going in the ole trap door! More to follow.

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    Wanted to get some insight before I start into it, as transmissions aren't my strong
    suit.
    This may help ya:

    EVO: Transmission & Final Drive
    1991-2003 5-Speed Constant Mesh Wet Clutch Transmission w/Trapdoor
    http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/t...o:transfinal03

    ^^^ includes a link to this thread:

    1200S 5 Speed Transmission Inspection

    "I am posting pics of my transmission tear down and any help would be appreciated. I am doing this because I have felt uneasy with the trans ever since I bought the bike. I bought an Energy One clutch to upgrade and I figure I'll find something else as I go along. The drivetrain seems to skip a beat in 1st gear half the time I pull off. But recently it has started doing it twice to three times before I get into second. It's like the belt is too loose and skips over the pulley. I have the gauge for ten pounds of pressure while checking, it is in tolerance. When I accelerate hard from standing, it lands between the gears like it's in neutral. I have adjusted the clutch a hundred times and I don't feel that was the problem. It recently started whining. It has begun clunking into 1st gear. Anyway I figured it can't hurt to look around in there..."

    http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1848977

  5. #5
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    Been reading lots of different forums and have found a few threads that seem to have the same issue as mine. In general, lots of sporty trans issues out there. Anyhow I will be digging in soon so I can make some sense of it all for myself and see what is really going on. I will post pics.

  6. #6

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    Watch this video, just something to check while your in there https://youtu.be/NT_MxPOHw5w

  7. #7
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    Well... I got the transmission out! Actually went pretty smoothly. Nothing fought me much at all. Now I gotta read through the manual outline on inspection. Thing is it all looks pretty good but I don't really know what I'm looking for. Without a full tear down I did notice one section of abnormal wear on the mainshaft 1st gear dogs. Not too bad but they look different than the rest. I have read a bunch of people having issues and problems with there shifter detent plate and shifter pawl settings. I don't have a good enough understanding of it yet to wrap my head around why it would start to drive as if it was in first and then a second later clunk in again. I'm thinking first I will do some forum searching of what it is that makes that normal 1st gear clunk anyhow and then try to understand why it would kind of do that while already riding/starting out in first.

    Dragstews: You mention the dogs being worn or the shifter fork slop. Help me understand why either of those would possibly make for the situation I a having.

    29749

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    Oh. One other thing i noticed be for pulling the trans. After i removed clutch assembly I shifted thru the gears a few times and noticed that the shifter detent plate would get cocked/slanted as it went around instead of just staying on the same plane. After removing the plate it seems as though one of those dowels is a bit more proud than the others. Also I noticed if I clicked down thru the gears and then went back to neutral then back to first to simulate the riding scenario, the detent plate wouldn't full seat in it's groove. It would be slightly on its lobe. Then with little rotation of the trans it would come to rest in its groove. There was also some wear on the face of that plate.

  9. #9

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    I think you had best pull the shift drum and forks and look for burrs on the drum at the edges of the slots, and grooves or wear marks inside the forks. You can dress any burrs on the drum down with a file or stone. The forks should slide on the drum and be completely free, no drag.
    Replace the clip for the detent plate when you put it back together.

    Also you should check the output pulley for worn splines. It should fit tight on the main drive gear.

    Jim

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    Thanks JB. I will be getting into it further this week and will check as you said.

    The output pulley is a brand new sprocket for chain conversion. If that's the part you are refering to.

    Id Still like to understand. Let's say there were burrs on the drum or wear in the forks. What would it have to be doing to act the way it is? It drives forward first, so to me that means it's in gear, then u move a bit more and "clunk" like it shifted for you without pulling the clutch. What would the gears/forks be doing in that time?
    Last edited by BlackCloudSalvage; 02-16-2020 at 9:02 PM.

  11. #11

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    It may be shifting part way into first because of a burr on the shift drum, and it may be jumping out of gear and back in as you take off from a stop. And after it jumps into gear it has completed the shift into first gear. Also, as Drags pointed out, the dogs may be rounded off on the gears causing it to jump out of gear and back in. You know the problem is in first gear so you have that part pinned down.

    Jim

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    Pulled the shift drum and forks off this morning. Everything looks pretty darn good. I don't see any abnormal looking wear. I even sat each fork on it's mating surface and rotated the trans around to feel it for smoothness. I slid each fork up and down the length of the drum like turning over an hour glass back and forth and they all travel the length of the drum smoothly and rotate around nicely. The 3 pins came out easily with a magnet and they and the tracks they ride in on the drum look just fine. The dogs look good too. The worst of the rounded dogs are on the mainshaft gear furthest away from the trap door, so I guess I need to peek inside the motor case to see what they are meshing with. But...even so, they only appear to have the edge slightly worn as if you were breaking the edge of a piece of metal you just fab'd up. Nothing that would cause slippage in my mind. Those dogs are deep.

    I'm starting to think back on the detent plate and shifter I mentioned before. How it didn't fully come all the way around to rest in its groove in first gear and how it would cock at an angle because one of the pins stuck out a little further than the other. Maybe that was keeping the gear just far enough out to allow slippage once I put on the throttle.

    Well, atleast you guys are working with me. So many other forums I've read have people saying this is perfectly normal behavior for sportsters and you have to feather the clutch and throttle etc. I've owned 5 or 6 and ridden a few more and never had this problem. I'm working to sell this bike. I would never sell it like this and pass it on to as if it's "just a sportster thing" you have to get used to. It's alarming when it happens.

  13. #13
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    0217201039

    0217201041

    0217201040

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    With all the forks in place on the drum and the tranny still bolted onto the door ..
    Place in each gear and try to shake each gear ...
    You may see a lot of lost motion from the fork pins in the drum slots or the forks to the gear engagement ...
    Either or is not good to have ...

    With the lost motion in play allows for low percentage of gear dog engagement ...

    If you find that the drum slots have ware ...
    I have a Baker shift drum that has the reverse shift pattern that is new, if needed ...

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    Ok. I will give that a shot. Im on 2nd shift so I'll report back tomorrow.

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    Had a breakthrough and learning experience today. I spent over an hour standing over the trans rotating it and trying to make sense of things. At first I thought I was looking at it in 1st when really it was in 5th and visa versa, and was totally looking at everything all wrong, including the pictorial in the manual. Well, once I started seeing this correctly I was able to take a better look at the actual gear in question and indeed it is rounded more than any of the others.

    Pictured here in the Neutral position, gear #3's dogs are rounded as well as the female recessed areas of gear #1 that mate with #3's dogs.
    Now I can see what would be happening and was kind of able to simulate it by not getting 1st gear all the way clicked in and rotating the countershaft while holding the gears on the mainshaft. I can only imagine what the actual force of the motor would do. However I still believe the shifter had something to do with not getting them seated together well and allowing for less engagement. I did notice that whatever shift fork is meshing 2 gears/dogs together for a particular gear position, that shift fork has the most allowable slop/movement side to side due to the pattern in the shift drum. So the gears can be anywhere from fully seating inside one another to only having a little less than an 1/8" engagement. This of course is worse when you have the male in the already smoother rounded female receptacle as opposed to the 2 male dogs engaging as in some gear selections. Now I see why some people talk about putting springs on the forks to pull them in together. So, now I gotta decide if getting the shifter pawl/detent plate setup correctly will be enough to fix it or if I should replace these two gears.

    Anyhow, you guys nailed it. Thanks for working with me. More to follow.

    0218201245

  17. #17

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    If you have gears with rounded off dogs, replace them. Cheap insurance against future serious damage. A dragging clutch could be a contributor to the problem.

    Jim

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    Yeah, I know I better replace them. I will.

    As far as dragging clutch, help me understand how that would contribute. So dragging would mean that as you pull the clutch lever in the motor is still driving the main shaft. How's that any different than it just being in gear? Would it make the gears chatter back an forth or something?

  19. #19

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    Say you have a dragging clutch and persist in crunching it into first gear every time you get ready to go. Pretty soon the dogs are chipped up and getting rounded off and then it wants to jump out of gear. The dogs in a five speed aren't very deep.

    Jim

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    Gotcha

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