First to second gear shifting problem - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2016, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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First to second gear shifting problem

I am in the process of buying a 2004 VN 1600 Classic.
Did a test drive today as a sort of confirmation the bike was all OK and everything is except that shifting from 1st to 2nd gear goes only well at low speeds until 20 kmh (about 13 mph). Beyond that speed upshifting to 2nd becomes increasingly more difficult with rpm and with a grinding noise or impossible at all in the high rpm range. Is this normal and/or a typical issue for a 2004 VN 1600 or is it just this bike having this problem? And will fixing the synchromesh solve this or are there other potential cures? Bikes shifts pretty good to all other gears.

TIA
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2016, 03:45 PM
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Sounds like there is a problem,Not sure if the dreaded 2nd gear issue affects this model,someone will chime in
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2016, 10:01 PM
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Not normal. I would pass on it unless you love case splitting.
The problem will only get worse.

Lots out there that shift just fine.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. The shop who is offering this bike is most likely willing to do the case splitting and fixing as part of the deal. If they do is there good probability it can be fixed? Assuming the shop mechanics know their job of course.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Beam View Post
Assuming the shop mechanics know their job of course.
And that is a HUGE assumption. Their motivation will be to repair at the least cost, check nothing else, in order to maximize profit. Case splitting is a big deal and if not done correctly, you could be left holding the bag.

Sorry, but you asked.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the answer but the actual question was if there is a good probability it can be fixed? As opposed to no matter what is done the 2nd gear of a VN 1600 Classic always is troublesome so trying to fix it isn't worth the effort?

TIA
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Beam View Post
Thanks for the answer but the actual question was if there is a good probability it can be fixed? As opposed to no matter what is done the 2nd gear of a VN 1600 Classic always is troublesome so trying to fix it isn't worth the effort?

TIA
1. It can be fixed.
2. If you currently owned the bike and needed the repair...worth it provided it is done correctly.
3. If you do not own it, then I would look for another. First to second gear issues can be a sign of abuse.
4. If you are in love with the bike, then nothing I can say will change your mind, but if it were me, I would look for one that shifts as it should. They are out there.
5. Shifting gives no problems on a 1600 if all is in order.
6. The choice is up to you.
7. My opinion only.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-30-2017, 11:54 AM
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so the 1600 DOES have tranny issues

Interesting to read, as I am considering buying a used low miles VN1600, lots of nice aftermarket parts, but no 2nd gear. I am a capable self taught mechanic, and if I have to pull the engine/split the cases i would do the work myself. But I need to know what extent of an ongoing issue this is for the VN1600.
Fix it once and done is fine, especially if I can do some internal mods/upgrades.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-01-2017, 08:30 AM
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This is based on my experience. There are thousands of 15 & 1600cc bikes out there that share the same 5spd transmission. Many if not most have thousands, if not 10s of thousands of trouble free miles on them. I have repaired several of the 1500 transmissions & only 1 of the 1600 transmissions. What I have found that has been consistent with all of those repairs, is rider abuse. I will never understand why people buy a big heavy cruiser bike and think it's a café racer.
When driven as intended, and with regular maintenance, these bikes will typically last a long time.

As for purchasing and repairing the afore mentioned bike, if it can be purchased reasonably, and you have the mechanical skills and time to make the repairs, I would suggest going for it.

I just two weeks ago purchased an '04 Nomad that had a bad bevel gear unit. Got the bike at a fair price, fixed it in a few days and am now considering keeping it for a while.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-01-2017, 02:57 PM
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So how hard is it to repair anything in the tranny? As I understand, the engine must come out of the frame and the cases must be split correct? I can do that. Once in the tranny I can check for any other damage. Once the cases are split I assume it is a typical motorcycle tranny with multiple gearsets on shared shafts and the shift forks/shifting dogs move the dogs into place for each shift.

Were there any design upgrades in the tranny from the 2003 VN1600 going up to later models? I can do some research on BikeBandit to compare part numbers in the tranny.
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