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Engine/Transmission Rebuild

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  • Engine/Transmission Rebuild

    Hey all,

    Roughly five months back I purchased a used 2003 Road*. After riding the bike (this was my first big cruiser) I noticed 5th gear was nowhere to be found. The shifter would click into 5th but the gear would not engage. Anyways, I have since then done a full engine tear down and transmission rebuild. Obviously it has been quite the journey as it has taken me five months to write a follow up. My question for the forum is would anybody like a write up on everything that I found wrong with the engine and what steps I took on the journey to rebuilding the damn thing? I feel like I learned all there is to know about the Road* as I had to tear it down to the frame and completely split the case to get to the transmission out. So chances are I have some information somebody is looking for in regard to the their bike.

    Thanks everybody!!


    Alright everybody this might be a long post with all the info that I have.

    So as I said before, fifth gear was not engaging for me when I shifted it into place. With the engine and trans running perfectly otherwise, I decided that it was the gear dogs that had sheared off and there were no teeth to engage fifth gear.

    I went into the local dealership to start getting the parts I needed for the engine tear down and trans rebuild and ended up discovering that Yamaha had created a transmission rebuild kit for Yamaha Road* owners who were effected by the recall. The kit was a little over $200 but incorporated every single part I would need to rebuild the transmission, tear down the engine and take everything off the bike. Everything that was one use like the engine gaskets and crush washers were in there. Even a goddamn oil filter was in the kit! The guy at the Yamaha dealership was as shocked as I was. Apparently, after the transmission recall was over, Yamaha released this kit for purchase so Yamaha owners weren’t completely screwed.

    Fast forward to the engine tear down. It was quite an easy process getting to the trans once the engine was out of the bike. The engine tear down probably took me about a couple hours total. Once I separated the case and looked at the transmission it was confirmed that the gear dogs that engage fifth gear had completely snapped off. What’s interesting about this whole thing is that when the dog gears snapped off they shot around the inside of the engine like bullets!! The inside of the case looked like someone had fired a bullet inside and the bullet ricochet off every side and smeared the metal in the places it hit. I only have one picture of the case and you can barely see where the gear dogs had smeared the metal. Luckily enough for me, there wasn’t any moving parts that were damaged. All of the damage was on the outer walls of the case. I was able to take a metal file and file down all the sharp edges until everything was back to smooth. I unfortunately don't have any pics that show the metal smearing.

    As for the transmission, when I replaced all the parts that came with the trans rebuild kit, which was just one shaft and one gear that was “faulty”, I still had to order the specific part that had the sheared gear dogs. This is probably what took the longest. I did not want to spend a crazy amount of money from the dealer so I went on Ebay and was able to find an entire trans with the part I needed for only 25 bucks. This was a lot better than the 150 bucks it would’ve cost for the part I needed. So when rebuilding the trans I replaced everything from the rebuild kit so I didn’t have to worry about the trans again and I replaced the part I needed that had broken off. So if you haven’t put two and two together yet, my problem wasn’t actually part of the trans recall! I was just dumb and bought a bike I didn’t test on the freeway. My guess would be that the previous owner was lugging fifth gear and that is what caused the gear dogs to snap off.

    Click image for larger version

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    Sorry about the crappy quality with these! They are screenshots from a video I made. You can see the gear dogs that snapped off and where they snapped off from. The picture on the right shows gear dogs that aren't broken off.

    Ok so fast forward to putting the engine back together. Once the case was put back together I went to go adjust the valves since it was easily accessible. I opened up the housing that holds the camshaft drive gear and driven gear. When I opened it up I found that the camshaft driven gear was nearly broken in half! I had been riding around on this bike that was pretty much a ticking time bomb. From what I can figure. I think one of the dogs shot through the case and ended up in the teeth of the camshaft driven gear. Causing it to pop off track and nearly break in half. However I found all three gear dogs inside of the case, not inside of this housing.

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    Now with that being discovered I had to purchase a new camshaft driven gear. I was able to just replace that gear because none of the other components had been damaged in the whole fiasco. So once the gear was replaced I went to go turn the camshaft to check engine timing. It turns out the two timing marks on the camshaft timing gear and the camshaft driven gear don’t line up when the engine is top dead center. Obviously, I was pretty much devasted discovering the timing of the engine might be out of whack and I had just finished closing the case. Well I went to check the timing on the other side of the engine because there are those two timing marks on the primary drive gear and the marks on that side of the engine line up perfectly with the case markings at top dead center. So now I think that the engine timing is good but there is something out of whack with where the camshaft driven and drive gear is. The engine always ran perfectly besides the fifth gear not working. Any input on that issue would be awesome!

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    The two timing marks are not lined up on top dead center.

    All in all I learned a whole hell of a lot about bikes and engines through this whole process. Financially, I saved about $2,000 by doing this job myself. No mechanic would take the bike until the end of summer and all of them were charging around $2,500 to rebuild the trans. The dealership wouldn’t even touch the bike because it was too old (2003). I haven't put the engine back in the bike yet but once I do the rest of the bike is easy to put back together.

    Oh also for people wondering, when I took the engine out we used two metal rods slid into engine mounts to lift the engine up and out of the bike! Was fairly easy and did not require any special tools.

    Let me know you all would like to know anything else!

  • #2
    I obviously can't speak for everyone on the forum...
    I believe a write up of your experience rebuilding your
    motor & tranny would be a great benefit to the Clinic's
    information base.

    Guess the higher ups will have the last word on it tho.



    • Danman1995
      Danman1995 commented
      Editing a comment
      Got some more information and pics added for ya.

  • #3
    Ditto what Spydr says. I would be interested just to see what you found and did.
    Life is short, eat dessert first----Unknown


    • Danman1995
      Danman1995 commented
      Editing a comment
      Updated the post for ya guys!

  • #4
    Known the history of the bike? Maintenance that was/was not done? What were the major things damaged?
    "I'm Ricky Bobby. If you don't chew Big Red.....then Fuck You"


    • Danman1995
      Danman1995 commented
      Editing a comment
      Surprising enough the bike had only 12,000 miles on it when I got it. The engine was pretty much new as far as miles goes! I do know that the bike sat for many years without any riding or firing up of the engine. Other than that the bike was clean. Just needed new spark plugs and air filter and the thing was running like a top. Well besides the trans issue.

  • #5
    My guess is that the Trans recall was never done on your bike.


    • #6
      I have updated the post to include a short summary of the trans rebuild. The pictures are showing blue squares with question marks so let me know if the pictures didn't upload correctly.


      • davej
        davej commented
        Editing a comment
        Just curious did you check to see if the trans recall had been done on your bike? The pics didn't work in your post but what you wrote kinda sounds like the issue that initiated the trans recall. The dealer may have had to fix it for you at no charge under the recall. Also you didn't mention anything about checking or changing the oil pump drive gear located under the clutch basket. Some of the older R*'s had a bad design gear shaft that could break. They redesigned it with a thicker shaft drive end to reinforce it.

      • Danman1995
        Danman1995 commented
        Editing a comment
        davej From what I could figure the trans recall had not been done one the bike as there was no altercation to the vin label. My understanding is that the dealership will star the vin tag if they do a recall? Also the from what I have seen the recall is no longer active and dealerships would not take in bikes for the transmission issue. As for what happened to my trans, the part that broke was not part of the recall. It was a separate gear that should not have been faulty! Thats why I never got it in the kit I purchased from the dealership.

        I did not change out the oil pump gear as it showed no signs of wear and I did not want to wait for the part on backorder. I will probably keep searching for a deal on Ebay and replace it down the road sometime. The gear really is not that hard to get to.

        Also pictures should be uploaded correctly now!

      • Bikerron
        Bikerron commented
        Editing a comment
        “I did not change out the oil pump gear as it showed no signs of wear.....”
        They don’t fail from wear, but from fatigue and bad design.

        The ears that drive the pump snap from the lack of sheer bulk. When they do break some were able to retrieve the broken pieces before they reached the engine’s lower case, others weren’t so lucky.

        Link below.

    • #7


      • #8
        Thank you, very interesting. Still not sure I would attempt that deep in the bike.
        Life is short, eat dessert first----Unknown


        • Spydr
          Spydr commented
          Editing a comment
          It's not that scary at all Mikey. If you take your time and enjoy the experience, it also isn't that stressful.
          You have another source of transportation, right?

        • MikeyC
          MikeyC commented
          Editing a comment
          I have a second bike that I can ride

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