month after I bought my 2001 LC (approaching the 3,000 mile
mark) I began to have problems with the bike popping out of
4th gear when under heavy acceleration. For obvious reasons
having the bike come into a false neutral under heavy load is
something less than optimal.
problem seemed to only occur in 4th gear and only under higher
RPM conditions. One other thing I noticed was that the bike
seemed to be hard to shift for the first 20-30 minutes I rode
it, then it got easier. Next day it would, again, be difficult
to shift until after 20-30 minutes of riding.
that perhaps I was running an oil that was too heavy (Castrol
20w-50w) I went to Castrol 10w-40w oil. That didn't seem to
help at all. The bike was still difficult to shift and would
occasionally pop out of gear (predominantly 4th gear). Finally
one day I decided to pull the shifter assembly off and see
what I could see. Turned out I could see a lot! The first
thing I noticed was that the shifter has a bushing insert
between the bolt and the shifter lever. This insert, shown in
a picture at right, was rusted to the shift lever and I had to
drive it out with a suitable size socket and a rubber mallet.
inside of the shifter was also rusted. After some extensive
cleaning with a small tooth-brush sized wire brush I was able
to return both the shifter and the insert sleeve to a suitable
state of rustless metal. I then lubed the hell out of each
using a good quality wheel bearing grease.
back together I took the bike for a ride and immediately
noticed that shifting was now much easier and I don't have
that 20-30 minute loosening up period that I had before. Also
the problem of the bike bailing out of 4th gear under high-rpm
conditions has also gone, which leads me to think that even
though I was shifting the bike correctly, because of the
rusted condition of the shifter and sleeve that the power to
engage the gears was not being sent to the gearbox.