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couple questions on my 1500A rebuild with pics

14331 Views 68 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  kcducttaper
I'm tearing down my 1500a and rebuilding it due to the beloved 2nd gear issues. While I'm tearing it apart, I figured I'd just give everything a good once-over and fix it all up nice so I can run it for a couple more years. It's got 27k miles on the clock and it in really solid shape other than the 2nd gear thing.

Q1) When I first bought it, I took it for a spin around the block. It didn't have 2nd gear, so I went from 1 to 3. When I was cruising in 3rd, I pegged it to see how much torque it had and the clutch started slipping. I called up the dude who owned it before me to ask what kind of oil was in it and he had no idea (he had just bought it himself a couple months before and got intimidated by it). My question is how do I tell if the clutch is actually worn out, or if it just had the wrong kind of oil in it? Perhaps I should just replace them anyways while it's already torn apart. The clutch plates look pretty solid, but I didn't measure them or anything. Here's a couple crappy pics of the clutch plates.

Q2) Obviously the lovely yellow thing has to go. I haven't done any looking yet, but is there a good source of steel gear to replace the ever-so-fabulous POG?

Q3) It sputtered and popped when I rode it and the headers were discolored a bit. It has an aftermarket exhaust and intake, but I don't know if it's been re-jetted. What size are the stock jets and what would be a good size to run at with a good intake and exhaust system in the Kansas City area (700-1,000 feet above sea level)?

Random overall pic just for the heck of it.

It was a glorious day today (about 60 degrees outside), so I took my mountain for a couple mile ride and I saw quite a few motorcycles cruising down the roads. It made me jealous. I ran to Walfart later today for some parts organizing buckets and just happened to park next to a super nice deep red Vulcan Vaquero. It was gorgeous! :desire: It's giving me some good motivation to get this beast up and running. :D It won't be a show queen, but it should be a super nice, mean commuter when I get it all buttoned up. :D

Before tear-down.
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It's hard to tell by looking at the pics if your clutch plates are good or not, but since you're neck deep into your project now, I'd replace them. As for your POG, you'll have to do a little more engine work and split the cases to get it out. You're almost to that point anyway, so it's not a big deal. To fix your 2nd gear issue you'll have to get in there anyway. I just went with an OEM steel gear. I don't think it cost more then $15. The gasket kit was the killer. I like the debris field in your garage. Looks like you were on a mission.:D
Yeah, that's why I was wondering if I needed to measure them with a mic or something, but it almost seems like I should replace them anyways while I'm in there.

I figure another evening's worth of work (the left side isn't torn down at all yet) and I'll be able to split the case, get rid of the POG, and see why 2nd gear didn't work. Got any pro-tips on where to get a steel gear and gasket set? I figure ebay is probably my best bet.

It's organized to some degree. I have some plastic drawers (not in the pics) that organize all of the engine components. Besides. It's just a motorcycle. How hard can it be? :p
Oh. Another question I had was about the hydraulic valve adjusters. I saw in the book that it wants you to get some special vacuum thing from Kawi to suck all the air out before putting the rockers back on, which makes no sense to me. It doesn't seem like they would be in any different environment sitting on the garage floor as opposed to sitting in an assembled bike. Was that only if you disassemble or replace the adjusters themselves?

I know this is probably a silly question, but what sort of clutch plates should I be going for? I'm seeing the standard stuff for $80, 'heavy duty' for $110, and carbon fiber stuff for $160. Is there any real difference between any of these?
I think I bought my stuff for that job at Cheapcycleparts dot com, but I shop around and who ever has the best price for the stuff I'm looking for at that time gets my business. I remember just pumping my HVA's by hand in some clean oil. They seemed to be fine so I just put them back in my engine with oil in them. No problems with them since. I've actually never worn out a clutch, so don't have a recommendation for you on what material would be better. For another $30, I'd probably go for the heavy duty one.
Thanks Rick.

Well, I've got it all torn apart now. Picture time!

Well, there's that...
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Here's my parts list for now:

- Replacement shifting fork and possibly the gears it was rubbing against depending on how they look. Do they make a beefier version of the shifter fork? I'd hate to drop in an identical fork only to have it bend again in 20k miles.

- Steel oil gear

- Clutch plates and spring. I think the MeanStreak spring will work nicely here. Can anyone confirm this?

- gasket set

Anything else I should be looking at while I'm in here?
Make sure the dogs and corresponding slots are in excellent condition, particularly second drive and driven gears.
Is that bent shifter fork the cause of the notorious 2nd gear problem that vintage bike had?
Is that bent shifter fork the cause of the notorious 2nd gear problem that vintage bike had?
It is indeed. I'm a little hazy on the root cause though. It is from an insufficient fork design, or is there something causing the gears to bind up?

I will be taking a good look at all of the surfaces in there to see if anything else is damaged as well, but upon first glance, everything else looked solid.
The only way a shifting fork can bend is if it is forced.
The only way a shifting fork can bend is if it is forced.
That's what I was wondering, but these bikes have a reputation of having this problem, so it has to be more than just people flying into 2nd gear like they do on any other bike. Does something bind up a little bit and then people try to force it? :confused:
Link to a previous thread about the 2nd gear issue. May have some relevant useful information.
Slightly worse than I had originally anticipated.

So, there's that...

I'm a bit surprised the only thing it was doing was not engaging 2nd gear with all that going on (didn't try 4th though).
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There was a TSB for the later 4 speeds when they jumped out of second gear.
Replacing the offending gearsets was the repair.

As far as the bent shift fork goes:

1. The one/two shift is the shift that gets slammed in the stoplight drags, so takes the most abuse.
2. The one/two shift can be balky at times because of the neutral finder, so it sometimes gets forced.
3. The heel shifter can be an issue because if the one/two shift hangs, it is soooo easy to give the shifter a stomp or five and a bent shift fork results.

I removed the heel shifter from my bike. The toes just do not have the power on an upshift to do any damage plus they are more sensitive to a shift that might like to hang and they are more sensitive to completing the shift successfully.
I'm not familiar enough with the transmission to see everything that's not correct in your pictures. Did that smaller hub fracture off the larger gear? Also looks like the engagement dogs may have wallowed out the mating gear some. If that's the case it looks like some new gears are needed. Needing a new shifter fork and some gears, might just make it worth searching for another tranny on ebay. What are your thoughts?
Just another thought, if you do go with the new tranny option, would a 5 speed fit in there? Don't know if Kawi made a case change when they went from 4 to 5. If it does fit, I'd probably opt for the 5 and it will increase your chances of finding one. Keep us posted on your project. Good luck.
I'm not sure what a TSB is, but I'm looking at this post to get 2nd to engage better:

Yeah, that gear has broken off of the center. Why it actually popped off is beyond me. I had thought that the center might have tried to seize up since it looks a bit sketchy and the shaft has heat marks on it, but it slid off smooth as butter, so I don't really know what happened for sure.

There is a lot of wallowing going on with the dogs too, so a new gear set will be in order. I've wondered about throwing in a 5-speed a couple months ago before I took it all apart and unfortunately it didn't look very promising.
1. One thing you do not want is to make any modifications where the shifting fork "holds" a gear. The material they are made from will not stand up to that and wear/burning is the result.
2. The TSB, if I remember, was to do with the gears themselves not being made correctly, so modifying the shift barrel will not help and could cause #1. Updated gears are (were?) available.
3. If you decide to repair, check first with a dealer that ALL needed parts are available and not obsolete. Looking at online vendors will not be good enough as that information can be stale dated.
4. One thing to be cautious of is costs can spiral out of control in a hurry making the repair not cost effective.
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