2012 Voyager Shift Issue? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2013, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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2012 Voyager Shift Issue?

Excerpt from the letter I sent Kawasaki early this week.

When starting out in first gear, either from a cold start or from a red light, the motorcycle will not shift through neutral into second gear. Once in neutral it feels spongy or bouncy on the up-shift and will not go into second gear without first shifting back into first gear and then through neutral into second. It usually, though not always, will find second gear this way. Occasionally it has taken more than one try. As stated, this is an intermittent problem and will repeat for me. I have attempted to 'flop the block' and attempt to shift at the same place, speed, and rpm without being able to replicate the failure.

There does not seem to be any predictable pattern as to when this issue will occur. It does not seem to matter how long the motorcycle has been running as it has failed to find second gear at an intersection less than a mile from my garage, but on one occasion it shifted perfectly the for more than 500 miles on a three-day road trip before failing, and on some rides the problem never occurs. I ride nearly every weekend, most times both days, and it is a rare occurrence to go for anything less than a very short (less than 25 miles) ride without a failure. This failure has occurred both when I was riding solo and when I was riding two-up with my girlfriend. It is also not unique to my driving style. Both my cousin, who has been riding in excess of 35 years, and my friend, who has been riding for at least 15 years, have experienced this issue on my Voyager when they were testing it out on a longer ride in consideration of purchasing their own. (My cousin opted for a Yamaha Venture after experiencing the problem, though he allows that the Voyager is a more comfortable ride.) Shift speed and RPM also does not seem to affect the failure rate.


Bought the Voyager at Twigg Cycle in Hagerstown, MD. They nor Freedom Powersports in Everett, PA have had any luck duplicating the issue. It's spent 6 or 7 weeks between the two shops since the it had about 900 miles on it, which was when the problem started, til now (about 5100 miles). My girlfriend has been on the phone 3 times with Kawasaki's customer service over this and no one is being any real help.

I had a 2004 Vulcan 1500 before this. About 20,000 miles and it never need anything but oil changes and tires.

Has anyone else had this problem?
(Or have any advice for getting Kawasaki to actually fix the problem.)
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2013, 02:00 PM
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I've only been around 1500 miles so far but no issues so far.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2013, 07:24 PM
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Just a random thought - do you use the heel shifter or just the toe shifter? Both Kawi's that I've had (900 and Voyager) took a little more kick from 1st to 2nd than they did through the rest of the gears. If that's not it, then something is definitely wrong. Got almost 15,000 on mine and no shifting problems.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2013, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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That was about the first question that the dealerships asked too.
It really doesn't make a difference.

I just got done filling out a survey from Kawasaki. "False Neutrals" was one of the points they asked about. This only adds to my wondering if it's not a more common problem than anyone there is telling me.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2013, 09:24 PM
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A buddy of mine had what you described happen on his new '07 ZZR 600. When the shop opened up the transmission there was a part that had come loose in there.

If they can't replicate then they are basically saying you need to learn how to shift. Fortunately, in my buddy's case they were able to replicate.

If you truly believe you have a problem, you could pay for them to open the transmission and have them agree that if there is a problem, Kawasaki pays for it, and if there isn't then you pay to put it back together.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2013, 09:39 PM
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I found an explanation on a forum explaining how the Kawasaki positive neutral finder works. Your problem may have something to do with one of the steel ball bearings not moving out of the slot as it should when the bike begins to move, effectively locking it into first gear/neutral.
http://www.RiderForums.com/trivia-qu...est-you-2.html

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2013, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
A buddy of mine had what you described happen on his new '07 ZZR 600. When the shop opened up the transmission there was a part that had come loose in there.

If they can't replicate then they are basically saying you need to learn how to shift. Fortunately, in my buddy's case they were able to replicate.

If you truly believe you have a problem, you could pay for them to open the transmission and have them agree that if there is a problem, Kawasaki pays for it, and if there isn't then you pay to put it back together.
It was definately a little insulting to be told I couldn't shift - been riding 15 years or so. Two of my friends (both experienced riders) have been on it and had it fail to find second for them too - though those were both on longer rides.

When I spoke with the local dealership about paying for them to open it up, they told me that Kawasaki most likely wouldn't cover the issue unless it replicated, even if there was an obivious problem once they got in there.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-25-2013, 12:48 AM
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You need to find a new Stealer !


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-25-2013, 08:14 AM
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I had that happen to me with my old nomad occasionally. I always thought I didn't shift it hard enough into second. At least now I know I wasn't crazy. I hope this doesn't happen with my new vaquero.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-25-2013, 10:57 AM
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About once a month I will hit neutral instead of 2nd.
At first I though I could be giving a weak push; so I started making sure EVERY shift was firm.
Still, about once a month I end up in neutral. If it happened more often, I would be very unhappy!

Just curious; Have you tried using synthetic oil? How about using seafoam/sludge-remover for about 100 miles then changing your oil?

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