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Discussion Starter #21
Hi guys, old thread revival.

My 2005 650 is still as described in the original post, another 10k miles later. Reminder of problem:
"I've read in the reviews how slick shifting the tranny is, but ever since I've owned mine the shifting is intermittently clunky and stiff. I'd say well over half the time I have to pull significantly harder on the lever than is normal, finding neutral is difficult, etc. Occasionally it does indeed shift very easily and smooth. It's a night and day difference."

I've followed the advice here, thank you all! But no dice. In particular, the following was recommended:
1. Adjusted chain slack to 1" on side stand.
2. Aligned rear wheel with chain alignment tool.
3. Disassembled, cleaned, greased clutch screw assembly. Also cleaned entire front sprocket area. (Thanks to advice online, didn't drop/lose any of the tiny ball bearings.)
4. Replaced clutch cable
5. Adjusted clutch screw assembly (used a tiny bit more force before backing off, but still gentle. Probably 1/8 turn more "in" than before).
6. Adjusted clutch lever free play to 1/2"
7. User: preload shift lever up before squeezing clutch

I've done all this. Also tried the clutch-drag thing. #7 does help, but as I mentioned before, this is supposed to be a slick-shifting machine, what's going on? I bought the chain alignment tool and improved my rear wheel alignment, but no help for the shifting. Does anybody understand how the chain drive makes the shifting clunky and difficult, even when not moving?

The thing with the spacers and the DL1000 is interesting, but it states in the thread that this does not affect the 650.

Looking for more ideas. Thanks!
Jeremy
 

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Hi guys, old thread revival.

My 2005 650 is still as described in the original post, another 10k miles later. Reminder of problem:
"I've read in the reviews how slick shifting the tranny is, but ever since I've owned mine the shifting is intermittently clunky and stiff. I'd say well over half the time I have to pull significantly harder on the lever than is normal, finding neutral is difficult, etc. Occasionally it does indeed shift very easily and smooth. It's a night and day difference."

I've followed the advice here, thank you all! But no dice. In particular, the following was recommended:
1. Adjusted chain slack to 1" on side stand.
2. Aligned rear wheel with chain alignment tool.
3. Disassembled, cleaned, greased clutch screw assembly. Also cleaned entire front sprocket area. (Thanks to advice online, didn't drop/lose any of the tiny ball bearings.)
4. Replaced clutch cable
5. Adjusted clutch screw assembly (used a tiny bit more force before backing off, but still gentle. Probably 1/8 turn more "in" than before).
6. Adjusted clutch lever free play to 1/2"
7. User: preload shift lever up before squeezing clutch

I've done all this. Also tried the clutch-drag thing. #7 does help, but as I mentioned before, this is supposed to be a slick-shifting machine, what's going on? I bought the chain alignment tool and improved my rear wheel alignment, but no help for the shifting. Does anybody understand how the chain drive makes the shifting clunky and difficult, even when not moving?

The thing with the spacers and the DL1000 is interesting, but it states in the thread that this does not affect the 650.

Looking for more ideas. Thanks!
Jeremy
Just a thought, based on what's already been mentioned, but have you checked the clutch actuator rod that goes through from the left across to the right isn't bent? Another option is the shift forks on the selector shaft, though I'd expect the latter to cause more false neutrals than hard shifting.

On the matter of the chain, a loose chain allows more backlash in the system which takes up suddenly and can make gear changes feel abrupt and lurchy. When you pull the clutch the extra slack makes the countershaft accelerate and decelerate less smoothly. Since there are gears in a constant mesh gearbox that are permanently attached to the countershaft that can make shifting less predictable both up and down. The same can happen if the cush rubbers are sloppy in the rear wheel hub. With everything adjusted properly and in good condition there isn't nearly as much movement in the system so the "thunk" isn't remotely as noticeable.
 

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There is linkage in the 650 shifter that a lot of bikes don't have. I cleaned/flushed the linkage then lubed it up good. the bike then shifted a whole lot better. try that grasshopper.
 

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With the linkage ensure both ends are at right angles to each other and they do dry out where the shifter pivots on the frame/foot peg bracket.

Both my Wee & my V2 shift better with a freshly lubricated chain but I would never call the box slick more like slunk, my Yamaha MT09 is slick.
 

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Sometimes the clutch lever pivot point & clutch cable barrel (lugs) on the handlebar lever and bracket, need a bit of lube. Slack off the clutch, undo the pivot bolt, then pull the clutch lever clear of the housing. Lube the clutch cable barrel connector, where it fits to clutch lever and lightly grease the lever pivot bolt. Re assemble and test. It may just make the difference if all other adjustments have been addressed. Some reading: https://www.stromtrooper.com/maintenance-tech-products/291817-greasing-pivot-points.html and https://www.stromtrooper.com/v-strom-service-maintenance-questions-discussions/243337-clutch-lever-pull-too-light.html
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks all. Dark Angel, interesting idea. I’ve had the clutch screw actuator off before and I think I would have noticed a bent rod, or that I’d feel it in a sticky or binding clutch lever feel, but it’s something to check. I’ve thought about an internal shift fork problem, don’t like that one, but now and then it gets in a good mood and shifts just lovely.

Branson and Rolex, I’ve encountered that sticky linkage before on other bikes and tried to make sure this one was adjusted to a good angle and lubed, with high hopes, but no dice.

Gert, yeah, I lube that lever pivot and cable lug on a semi regular basis. The clutch lever and release action ALWAYS feels good. Only the shifting is sticky, like the clutch isn’t disengaging completely, except sometimes it does…

So…thanks again. Any other ideas why the clutch would feel draggy in that way? It does not feel draggy in 1st at a stop tho, only when shifting. I’ve adjusted it per the book – actuator screw ¼ turn out, cable adjusted for around ½” free play at the end of the lever.

Jeremy
 

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With extended mileage it's possible for the clutch basket to wear such that there are little notches in the tangs around the outside. They can prevent the plates from separating properly when you try to release the clutch (pull the lever). This isn't a Strom thing in particular, any bike with this style clutch can do it.
 

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On my 2006 DL650 the lever that connects the cable to the screw mechanism had the spot weld that secures the lever break. The lever then didn't always move as much as it should. This caused the clutch to sometimes not release properly which made some shifts sketchy.

1/2 inch clutch lever play sounds like way too much to me. 1/8 or somewhere in that areas sound better. Is it possible with the large amount of slack on the cable that the end of the cable is coming of it's recess sometimes?

is anything getting caught under the handlebar clutch lever interfering with it's motion?

..Tom
 

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Chain slack won't make the clutch lever pull harder.

Did you lube the cylindrical end of the cable wear it goes into the clutch lever?

Did you check for fraying of the lever there?

Is the cable routing such that something is interfering with the motion offers the internal cable?

..Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Thanks again! I have checked all those things tho, except for the clutch basket. I've seen one like that before, filed the worst of the grooves out in fact, forgot about that. I bought my bike with 39k miles, is that enough for that kind of clutch basket wear?

1/2" is the spec for play at the end of the clutch lever. But I'm thinking I'll have a look in there, make sure the actuator is all hunky dory, Maybe adjust it to 1/8 turn, and reduce the lever play as a test.
 

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Thanks again! I have checked all those things tho, except for the clutch basket. I've seen one like that before, filed the worst of the grooves out in fact, forgot about that. I bought my bike with 39k miles, is that enough for that kind of clutch basket wear?

1/2" is the spec for play at the end of the clutch lever. But I'm thinking I'll have a look in there, make sure the actuator is all hunky dory, Maybe adjust it to 1/8 turn, and reduce the lever play as a test.
Far enough? Maybe, but it would typically require some pretty consistent abusive treatment or a bad clutch basket to begin with. Might be worth checking just to be sure though.
 

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Just do the adjustment of the actual clutch adjuster in the front sprocket area the amount the factory says. (been a long time since I've did it but what did they recommend? I half then out after it contacts or something like that? ) No need to fiddle with different settings.

..Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #34
UPDATE:

This morning I fiddled with the clutch actuator and shifter. I found:
- Actuator seems fine. I did not remove it, but any movement of the clutch lever produced consistent rotation and axial movement of the actuator.
- Spun the pushrod with my fingers to verify that it is straight.
- Found that I had already set the actuator play on the tight side of the specified 1/4 turn out from first contact. I tightened it up a little to 1/8 turn out, and verified that the push rod still spins (so no pressure on the clutch release mechanism).
- Adjusted the cable so lever free play is about 1/4" (spec is 1/2").
- Verified that the shifter levers and connecting link are all at close to 90 degree angles.
- Found that the ball of the heim joint on the transmission-lever side (as opposed to the shift pedal side) was a little loose in the lever. The ball is installed into the transmission lever through a hole and then swaged on the back side, like a big rivet. That fit was wiggly, allowing some extra shifter free play. I removed the shift assembly and welded the back (swaged) side to the lever, no movement now!
- Applied wheel bearing grease to the heim joints under the rubber, and cleaned and greased the main pedal pivot. They were not bad as I have done this before.

Rode 25 miles to work. It was OK, need more time to tell. Sometimes it's so clunky I have trouble getting it out of 1st or finding Neutral, none of that this morning. It's feel was fine, a little clunky, but average I suppose. I can live with average as long as it doesn't fight me going into neutral or provide heavy resistance.

It's just that 1) sometimes it works truly slick, and 2) I read in a couple reviews of the 1st gen DL650 from back in 2003 or 04, something to the effect of "the gearbox shifts really slick as most Suzuki's do". This is my first Suzuki, so I can't comment on any others. FWIW, sometimes people try to correlate these kind of problems to oil type, so I'll mention (no debates please, wrong thread for that ;) ): I have used Rotella 15-40 conventional, now using Mobile1 10-40 synth. The difficulty has always been there.

Anyway, if there is still something preventing my bike from really shifting nice, I think the remaining possibilities are:
- Something inside the engine - grooved clutch basket fingers, something in the shift forks
- Maybe wear in the shift actuator (on the end of the cable down by the sprocket), but I really don't think so.

Thanks again for all the ideas!
Jeremy
 

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I misread your original post. When you mentioned the "lever" I mistakenly took it to mean the "clutch lever" but I realize now you were talking about the shift lever.

Tranny problems are rare but aren't unheard of. I wouldn't go there unless you have checked every conceivable other option.

I just can't help thinking your issues are clutch related.

You do have symptoms of the clutch dragging (hard to get into neutral is a strong one) and clutch dragging can make shifting difficult unless your technique is less than perfect.

You have eliminated shift linkage as an issue and seem to have taken care of the clutch actuator. Is the clutch lever original? Has the lever ever been bent? Is the hole in the lever that the lever pivots on nice and round or has it worn?.I once had issue with my clutch that were because of their from heated jacket (which wasn't plugged in) getting caught under the clutch lever.

..Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Tom, thanks for the ideas. I've checked and lubed the clutch lever, and it's all ship-shape.

I think it's a little better since I tightened up the adjustments and really minimized the clutch lever free play as described. Not perfect, but better. And I agree that it really seems like a dragging clutch. Maybe some of my plates are just a bit warped, or there is a little groovy wear in the clutch basket fingers, such that it hangs up just a little bit sometimes and causes intermittent dragging. Or maybe the actuator has wear in it such that it's not depressing the pushrod in a linear fashion? That seems far fetched though, since it looks and feels like it's operating consistently.

Jeremy
 

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Tom, thanks for the ideas. I've checked and lubed the clutch lever, and it's all ship-shape.

I think it's a little better since I tightened up the adjustments and really minimized the clutch lever free play as described. Not perfect, but better. And I agree that it really seems like a dragging clutch. Maybe some of my plates are just a bit warped, or there is a little groovy wear in the clutch basket fingers, such that it hangs up just a little bit sometimes and causes intermittent dragging. Or maybe the actuator has wear in it such that it's not depressing the pushrod in a linear fashion? That seems far fetched though, since it looks and feels like it's operating consistently.

Jeremy
Warped plates are almost unheard of so I doubt it.

I mentioned earlier about a spot weld on the little lever the clutch cable attaches to on the worm clutchvlever actuator. I forget exactly but it gave weird inconsistent actuation before l found the problem.

By any chance did you take off the clutch lever and look at the hole it pivots on?

..Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Yup, sure did. Lever is in good shape. And I looked closely at the actuator arm, I'm sure it's not slipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Folks, I got my old 87 Yammy Venture back on the road. It sure does shift nicely, like butta every time. My VStrom is terrible in this regard, same as when I first posted. The jerky, hard, nasty shifting is intermittent, but more often than not. When it is working properly, the shifting feels great; I just need it to do that more often.

I've checked all the stuff in this thread and have the lever / actuator tightened to where there's just the tiniest bit of slack / free play in the lever and cable. The feel of the lever is completely normal, consistent, doesn't seem as if anything is slipping or not moving properly in the mechanism. And I've watched it carefully with the cover off; the actuator moves and the push rod "pushes" smoothly and steadily as the lever is pulled.

I suppose that leaved me with only one option - something in the clutch assy is preventing proper disengagement between all the disks. Wear on the basket fingers is the only thing that makes any sense. I guess I need to get a gasket and pull that cover off, see what's going on in there.

Has anybody else experienced the symptoms that I am describing?

Thanks again, Jeremy
 

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Riding position and/or different footwear can make a huge difference in how smooth shifts are.

..Tom
 
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