Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Ball bearing in neutral finder could be jammed up
The Kawasaki neutral finder consists of three small steel balls that fit in recesses in the side of a gear in the transmission. When the bike is not moving you can only shift back and forth between neutral and first gear. When in motion the spinning gear throws the balls towards the outer edge, disengaging the neutral finder and allows normal shifting.
Your description of the symptoms, where you noticed a difference in shifting behavior and can now only shift above 10 mph, leads me to believe one or more of the little ball bearings is caught in a sticky spot until centrifugal force is great enough to spin it to the outside edge of the recepticle it rides in. Could be a small piece of grit in the oil, or gummed up oil jamming the balls.
(Edit: As mentioned above, it could also be just normal Positive Neutral Finder operation. But IMHO since you noticed a difference in functioning, something changed.)
What year in the bike?
How many miles on the clock?
How long since the last oil change?
Do you know if the bike has had regular oil changes at 3k miles?
If the oil has been changed within the past year and/or 3,000 miles, and is relatively clean looking now, add 4 oz of Seafoam to the oil and ride for several miles to see if it will flush the dirt out and allow the tranny to shift properly. Then change the oil and filter.
If the oil is really dirty now or due for a change anyway, drop it and check the screen behind the drain plug and spring for metal or rubber particles. These could indicate balancer dampers disintigrating, and be the source of the trouble. If there is no excess crud on the screen, change the oil and try riding with fresh oil to see if the problem corrects itself. If it persists, add the Seafoam to the fresh oil and try riding to circulate the oil and flush the PNF again.
Last edited by OlHossCanada; 03-01-2011 at 01:24 PM.