Can't shift into neutral when bike is hot | GTAMotorcycle.com

Can't shift into neutral when bike is hot

llaen

Well-known member
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Hi all,

I know this is sort of a common issue but I still find it a little strange.
A little bit about the bike: 2012 Yamaha FZ8 with 52,000 km on it.

The issue: when stuck in stop and go traffic for a while, in the heat, eventually it becomes impossible to shift out of first and into neutral when stopped.

The general advice is to rock the bike back and forth but there's often no space to do that.
If I shut the engine off, shifting becomes possible again.

In fact, it feels like the bike wants to go even though the clutch level is fully pulled in. Backing up becomes a little harder as well. If the wheel was off the ground, it would probably spin more than usual.
The clutch cable is fairly tight - the engagement is fairly high up on the release so I don't think it's a loose cable problem. Plus I have zero problems the rest of the time.
It only happens when crawling for a while and using the clutch a lot.
If anyone is familiar with Pottery Rd in the east end, by the time I make it up to the top in rush hour, I have to just hold onto the clutch - I'm not making it into neutral unless I shut the bike down.

I haven't had any other issues with the clutch. Haven't noticed any slipping or anything like that.
It's kind of like something expands when hot and the plates fail to fully disengage.

I've been thinking of changing the clutch in the off season but I'm not sure it's worth doing if this isn't a problem per se.
 

J_F

gringo diablo
Site Supporter
clutch is fooked
 

Baggsy

Well-known member
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Have you been doing clutch adjustments to maintain the recommended freeplay in the clutch lever?
 

llaen

Well-known member
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Have you been doing clutch adjustments to maintain the recommended freeplay in the clutch lever?
Last time I adjusted it was sometime last year. Since being stuck was happening then too I figured it's not it but it won't hurt to check.
Thanks for pointing it out!

Also a little suspicious is the fact that it only happens after using it a bunch in stop and go and never during regular riding. (which is why I was thinking it's not the cable setting though I could be wrong)

UPDATE: Yeah, cable freeplay is within spec.
 
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J_F

gringo diablo
Site Supporter
yeah, may just be overheated

it's counterintuitive
when it's worn out play is reduced
and ability to disengage eventually becomes nil

many factors possibly at play
maybe it's time to start an oil discussion............
 

llaen

Well-known member
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yeah, may just be overheated

it's counterintuitive
when it's worn out play is reduced
and ability to disengage eventually becomes nil

many factors possibly at play
maybe it's time to start an oil discussion............
Yeah exactly - it's the opposite symptom if it being worn out. Slipping I can understand.
I mean it's not a huge problem or anything. Just a head-scratcher.
 
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Trials

Well-known member
Start with the oil, that's the easiest, cheapest, if your transmission uses the same oil as your engine oil do an oil change and see if it alters it, if your transmission has a separate oil from your engine, bonus (y) you can taylor the oil to suit the clutch and transmission issues (if oil is going to fix it)
Stiff shifting can be a symptom of clutch drag, does your clutch drag at all?

+ i've had bikes that went into neutral from second gear way easier, try that.
 

llaen

Well-known member
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Theres no space to rock the bike? It requires inches. If you dont have that much space you have much bigger problems than a grumpy neutral.
If it only required a couple of inches, we wouldn't be talking.

Sent from my ASUS_Z012DC using Tapatalk
 

Trials

Well-known member
"feels like the bike wants to go even though the clutch level is fully pulled in" = clutch drag.

If in doubt, dismantle the clutch, clean and inspect all the parts and put it all back together again. It's not a complex service to perform on most bikes. You will end up refreshing the oil in that process and the problem will likely go away.

If your clutch is cable actuated then consider replacing the cable, they do deteriorate with age and use resulting in a progressively less positive clutch disengagement.
 

matt365

Well-known member
Do you have 1/4" of free play at the clutch lever?

You say "in spec", but that doesn't mean much.

Buy a clutch cover gasket. Inspect the steels and friction plates. Change the oil.

I don't expect the clutch would be worn out at 50,000k unless you're real hard on it.

Sent from my SM-G903W using Tapatalk
 

TK4

Well-known member
When clutches wear out, they slip - not drag.
There's likely a top and bottom adjustment on the cable, examine both, adjust properly and your problem should go away.
 

Trials

Well-known member
When clutches wear out, they slip - not drag. ...
The rare exception being if a chunk of clutch pad material folds, or breaks free and doubles up between the pressure plates.

add: clutch material swells on contact with any water or gasoline in the oil.
 

llaen

Well-known member
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Manual suggest free play between 10 and 15 mm deflection in the lever. It's pretty much in the middle of that so hence it being in spec.

I changed the oil in the spring and always use synthetic. Hard to imagine anything wrong with it already.

By the sound if it, it'll be worth checking the plates and springs so that's what I'll do.
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!
 

Baggsy

Well-known member
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Did the symptoms appear after you switched to synthetic? My bike's clutch doesn't like synthetic.

Also, like TK4 said, has the bottom clutch adjustment been adjusted?


Edit: Course bikes end up like that, after years of having beginners on them weekend after weekend.
 
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cycling

Well-known member
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I have a Ducati and it is a common problem with Diavels. Not sure about the other Duicatis.
 

bitzz

Well-known member
When clutches wear out, they slip - not drag.
There's likely a top and bottom adjustment on the cable, examine both, adjust properly and your problem should go away.
As clutches wear, they slip. When clutches slip, they make excess heat. Excess heat warps metal clutch plates. Clutch drags.
Older, worn clutch baskets get grooves worn into the 'fingers". Said grooves hang the plates up, causing the clutch to drag.
... give me a minute....
 

Blackfin

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Check the lever down on the clutch cover. Make sure it passes through 90-degrees when the lever is pulled so you get the maximum release action inside the clutch. This is where adjustments at the handlever and the lever down on the trans are critical.

Do you have anything that could limit clutch lever movement, such as thick grips ("Grip puppies" or the like)?

Is it possible the clutch cable has stretched (or is stretching when used) and you're getting lost motion there?

Also make sure all the brackets that hold the cable are in place, are tight and are not flexing/moving when the clutch lever is pulled. The most important one is down by the clutch housing lever; if it "gives" there will be less clutch arm movement and possibly more drag.
 
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llaen

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Check the lever down on the clutch cover. Make sure it passes through 90-degrees when the lever is pulled so you get the maximum release action inside the clutch. This is where adjustments at the handlever and the lever down on the trans are critical.

Do you have anything that could limit clutch lever movement, such as thick grips ("Grip puppies" or the like)?

Is it possible the clutch cable has stretched (or is stretching when used) and you're getting lost motion there?
I'd say the cables stops at around 95 degrees when fully pulled.
I do have aftermarket grips actually and that's a good point, though they aren't as thick as the grip puppies appear to be because they replaced the stock ones and didn't go over them.

A stretched clutch cable would definitely explain this. It could be that working it a lot on a single ride (in stop and go traffic) loosens it up some, reducing travel.

I'll lube and tighten it a tiny bit more and if it doesn't make a difference, I'll check the plates and springs in the offseason. Kind of curious anyway.
 

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