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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #4
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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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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?

Scott
 

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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?

Scott
This is my experience also - although I wouldn't say it even happens once a month - but it does happen. I just assumed it was my fault.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
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?

Scott
Out of curiousity, how much are you riding?

When the problem first started for me it was happening on average about every 200-300 miles. It seems like more now.

Since it has been at the dealership so often, they've done some of services so far. I'm asuming that they're using synthetic since that's what the book recomends. (though it never did it before their first service) I use synthetic. Haven't used seafoam, didn't think it was necessary with only about 5100 miles on the machine.
 

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I've been getting about 1,000 miles a month. I should get more now that it's warming up.:D

The owners manual lists Kawasaki oil in regular dino, semi synthetic and full synthetic.
I would assume the dealer uses regular dino unless you specify otherwise.

I bring up the oil because I had a warm engine knock and heat issue the first couple thousand miles I had my bike. That made me think MY bike had a sludge/oil flow problem.

Scott
 

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The Dealerships put back Dino Oil everytime UNLESS requested otherwise and to what Synthetic you want to use.

I have been running Amsoil in all my bikes for many years and many many miles. Have nearly 30 thousand on my 2011 Vaquero and been running Amsoil in it since 1000 miles, it does make the bike's trans shift smoother and engine run cooler, too.
 

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Had a similar issue when we bought a used Kawasaki for my wife, although it was more like 95% of the time that it wouldn't shift into second - the problem turned out to be too much oil in the crankcase. The previous owner had overfilled it. Once the oil was lowered to the proper level - viola! Doesn't sound like this is your issue, but food for thought. :)
 

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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?

Scott
Same thing here. And like you, I thought it was me.
 

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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.
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.

You do realize that I didn't say you couldn't shift. Please reread my post. I highlighted the phrase. I was saying that that is what the techs were saying to each other when you left.

I would find another dealer and keep looking until one is able to replicate the issue.
 

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I have a question for you all. If you are sitting still with the bike running, can you shift into second? Or do you have to be moving?

My bike will shift into second while sitting still. None of my other Kawasakis will do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You do realize that I didn't say you couldn't shift. Please reread my post. I highlighted the phrase. I was saying that that is what the techs were saying to each other when you left.

I would find another dealer and keep looking until one is able to replicate the issue.
No promblem there. I knew you weren't saying it was me.

Still was bad to be hearing it from both of the dealerships that I had it to and from the people at corporate. :mad:
 
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