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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up a 2003 Vulcan 1600 for a unpassable deal. older fella just didn't want to deal with it anymore. I think it maybe a shift fork because when in third gear it feels like it's jumping in and out of gear. all the rest of the gears are fine. I took the chance a rode it home just short shifting into fourth to bypass third. I'm sure the case going to need to be split to have that repaired. all in all im still coming out ahead by a couple of thousand bucks. anyone else have a similar story and is there any advise out there for your old boy.
 

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You and I have the exact same project coming up, almost. I picked up my 03 Classic with lot of really nice aftermarket goodies, 30,000 miles, starts and runs great, never been down, very clean and solid. But,...no 2nd gear. I rode it 300 miles home to Green Bay from Minneapolis, after paying only $1200 for the bike.

There are definitely some 1500 and 1600 Vulcans that have tranny issues. I was shopping for a cheap Vulcan last fall and found a VN1500 Nomad near Detroit for only $1900, but no 1st gear. I found another 1500 Classic in Indiana, cheap, but no 2nd gear and it had the plastic oil pump gear issue. Luckily the VN1600 has the steel oil pump gear.

For both of us, the choice is either an engine swap (and hope the other tranny has no issues) or pull the engine from the frame, tear it down and split the cases to repair the tranny issues. I too believe it is a shifting fork issue so this winter I'll tear it down and replace the defective parts. 2nd and 3rd gear are both on the same gearset shaft so its common to also replace the gearset shaft assembly if the shifting dogs on the sides of the gears are damaged in addition to a damaged shift fork. Possibly the nub on the shift fork that engages the shifter drum could also be damaged/broken but that stub is pretty sturdy. Also, the 2nd and 3rd gear shift forks are on the same shaft assembly.

Since to me, buying another engine is another crap shoot (since we can't know how the bike was treated/mistreated by the PO) my take on the project is to tear down the engine/tranny I have and repair it with new or good/confirmed salvage parts. I already have a salvage shift drum assembly and a 2nd/3rd shift fork shaft assembly for the project. Lots of ebay shopping coming up this winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey Andy,
Thanks for the reply. I figured I wasn't the only one. I paid exactly the same amount for my 1600 and was super scared to ride it 10 miles to my house. are you still riding her in the mean time? Unfortunately I dont have the time to work on it myself so I'm researching local shops to sublet the work. please keep me updated on your work.
 

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As of yesterday I rolled up 1500 miles on my Classic since riding it home in late July. Once past 2nd gear there are no tranny issues. But I cannot put any load on 2nd gear without a LOT of grunching going on in the tranny and no go going forward. This winter I'll tear it down to fix the tranny.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My tranny got progressively worse affecting my neutral gear. So she is in the shop now getting worked on. Found a local shop with a great reputation. Good luck on the tear down and rebuild.
 

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I had also 3rg gear problem. After opening the engine I noticed there's nothing wrong with the shifter forks or transmission gears.
The reason was totalled transmission axle bearing from the left side of the engine. The shaft wobbled about 1/4 inch.

I guess this was the reason why 3rd gear hops off when accelerating. It does not engage well
 
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