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  • Loss of Power in 5th Gear

    Hi everyone,

    I recently purchased a 2003 Yamaha Roadstar used on craigslist. After taking the bike apart and replacing a few things the bike is running great. However, after taking the bike on the highway for the first time I realized the 5th gear does not work (should've checked this when I bought the thing). I can shift into 5th gear no problem but the bike just revs as there are no gears engaging. There is no issue with any of the other gears and the bike shifts no problem. Has anyone ever dealt with a similar issue? I have heard from some that problems like this with the transmission resulted in a several thousand dollar bill as the engine pretty much had to be disassembled. Additionally, I have heard that this was a common issue with the 2003 R*. The bike only has 11000 miles on it but I cannot justify paying that much money to fix it if that is the case.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Classic issue......the clutch spring is toast. Easy to replace with either a stock one, an EBC one or a Barnett conversion. You’ll need a new gasket also.

    Comment


    • #3
      Are you using a motorcycle specific oil intended for wet clutches? If not, and you recently changed the oil using a regular automotive oil, that would cause it to slip. BTW, using the right kind of oil is probably the single most important thing you need to know about owning a R*. If you use the right stuff, the motor will last well beyond 100K miles, use the wrong stuff and you'll be kicking yourself. Search the site for "ZDDP" and you'll find lots of good info about proper oil. It's the *one* place you don't want to cheap out on these bikes.

      If you have the right kind MC oil, intended for wet clutches, then what Shores said. The stock spring is weak and starts slipping in high gears. It usually doesn't happen until 18-20k miles, but yes it's common and easy to fix. I personally wouldn't use another OEM spring because it will eventually fail again. Especially as the clutch plates wear.

      Compared to the Barnett, EBC is cheaper and easier to install, Barnet is about twice the price of the EBC and a bit more work, but it's the strongest by far. The EBC is a plate spring, just like stock, but it's about 20% stronger than stock. The Barnett is more like 50% stronger, and If you need to, once you do the conversion you can actually use different rate coil springs on the Barnett to get it as strong as you want. It was originally designed for high output Harley and S&S racing motors. It can definitely handle anything the R* can throw at it.

      Comment


      • Doc_V
        Doc_V commented
        Editing a comment
        Also make sure your clutch cable is properly adjusted.

    • #4
      Everyone else is assuming your clutch is slipping but from what you say that does not sound like the case. If it's slipping that bad in 5th, you should be able to get it to slip in the lower gears. Get it up around 3000 rpm's in 4th and crack it wide open and see if you can tell if the clutch is slipping. I would determine that before I spent a penny on anything else.

      You mentioned you took the bike apart and replaced a few things. Was it you who took it apart or did you pay someone else to do it? If you're mechanically inclined and have tools, there's no reason you couldn't pull the transmission yourself if you had too. Parts probably wouldn't be that much.

      For now, let's all hope your clutch is the culprit. Figure that out and you're halfway there. Hard to imagine at 11K it wore out the clutch, but you never know how it was ridden by previous owner(s). That could be 44K passes down the 1/4 mile for all you know. I have 58K on a stock clutch which is just now barely starting to slip.


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      Comment


      • #5
        If you determine that it is the trans that is the issue check to see if the trans recall has been done. If it hasn't been done the repair cost is on Yamaha. Try putting it in 5th gear while stopped and slowly release the clutch.to see if it try's to pull or if it just spins free. I have never heard of 1 that the 5th gear was completely gone. Usually as said when it is a clutch it will slip in 5th especially if you throttle hard on it.

        Comment


        • #6
          My 2002 lost 5th gear a while back. The bike would shift and power through the first 4 gears, but had no drive at all in 5th. The bike shifted perfectly into the 5th position, but passed no power through the transmission. The bike shifted back to 4th perfectly, too. I checked the adjustments and found nothing wrong. The bike wound up having the three shift dogs on the 4th gear broken. One dog got a bit tangled in the gears, luckily I didn't lock the transmission up riding it home. The engine came out and was stripped down to the crankshaft to replace the entire transmission, and shift drum and forks. I had a bad habit of lugging the bike in 5th gear. I believe the shock loads from lugging damaged the shift dogs over the years, and they failed. Since the rebuild, I don't ride that way any more.. I paid about $1400 for the job, the mechanic sourced a like new transmission with no signs of wear (out of a low mileage wreck) for $200. I believe the labor was around $700. The real surprise was the cost of the OEM gaskets.

          He he did a good job, the bike shifts like a hot knife through butter now..

          Comment


          • Kenkaman
            Kenkaman commented
            Editing a comment
            Bseward...I'm new to riding MCs and still learning.
            I have a RS 1700 Silverado ...What do you mean by "Lugging the bike in 5th gear" what's 'lugging' Tks!

        • #7
          BSeward Seems like I am running the same problem you went through with your transmission.
          The clutch and rest of gears shift perfectly with no slip or play. Just no engagement once in 5th gear. I have put it up on craigslist stating what is wrong with the bike so hopefully someone will pick it up and I will just take a loss and learn my lesson.

          I have flirted around with the idea of utilizing a local garage that rents out space so I could attempt to pull out the engine and get to the transmission myself. The garage charges about $200 a month for storage of one bike and use of whatever I need. Has anyone done work on their R* transmission?

          Father Pobasturd Have you done any trans work?

          Thank you all for the feedback! It has been a bit stressful trying to figure out what I want to do. For now I at least have a nice cruiser for around town with gears 1-4.

          Comment


        • #8
          I'd think twice before riding that bike! If you have broken shift dogs, they are still in there somewhere. Here's my busted gear. Notice only 2 shift dogs are there. Luckily, the third one wound up on the shop floor and was swept up. The damage to the gear in the other picture was done when the busted dog tangled up in the gears on its way down to the bottom of the case. It's a big job, but in reality, the bike is only worth parting out with that damage. I'd get it repaired, if you can get a used transmission and can do it yourself (or have a friend who runs a shop, like I did).

          Comment


          • Danman1995
            Danman1995 commented
            Editing a comment
            Ok thank you for the info. I’m sure that’s exactly what happened with my bike. I am most like going to do the work myself with a mechanic friend. At this point I just need to see if I can find a used transmission to throw in.

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