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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for any information on a 1986 "positive neutral finder" feature of the VN.

The way the bike shifts into 1st and 2nd gear is seemingly inconsistent:
[From a dead stop]Sometimes instead of shifting from neutral,down, to 1st gear, the bike won't sit into gear. I have to shift UP into 2nd(? or is it 1st ?), begin accelerating and then shift back down to what feels like 1st gear. When (this above) happens I cannot shift UP, only DOWN and then back UP to find 2-3-4.

[Other times] The bike feels like it isn't making it into 2nd or 3rd, it somehow goes into neutral and as the RPM starts to whine I shift up or down to find a gear--which sometimes works first try, but other times takes 3 or 4 tries

I'd say 40% of the time everything shifts correctly from N-1st-2nd.. etc...from a sitting stop to go.

The majority of mess up's happen when trying to find 1st gear. The bike just won't let me get into 1st unless I *dumbly* start tapping the shift lever all around or shift UP into gear and back down

Now I'm wondering if I'm just not using the "neutral finder" thing correctly or maybe I need some clutch/tranny work. The clutch cable IS pretty worn (old).
If anyone's got any idea on this I'd love to hear it.
Thanks, and RIDE ON.
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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6,141 Posts
There's nothing you can do to be using the neutral finder right or wrong. It's all automatic. It wont let you shift to second unless above 8 mph or something like that.
My guess is the shift drum or arm may be worn.
How many miles are on the bike?
What grade oil are you using?
 

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Premium Member
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1,647 Posts
The shift sequence is 1rst, Neutral, 2nd, 3rd,4th, 5th. 1 down and 4 up. Neutral is between 1rst and 2nd. If you are having problems getting from 1rst to 2nd, there is a shift pawl behind the sight glass that moves the shift drum. If it is worn, it may not be engaging the shift drum and turning it enough to actuate the shift. It's a relatively easy fix as you can get to it by removing the sight glass. The pawl is about $6 or so IIRC. Also IIRC, the sight glass has a rubber gasket that doesn't necessarily need to be replaced if it's in good shape. The pawl is held on by a clip.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A New Quirk!

Thanks for the advise on that. But now I've found a (temporary) way to at least get the bike going semi-smoothly.

I found that if I push the gear shift lever *in* towards the bike and shift down or up, I can slip into proper gear. Also, this has proven to work while trying to find 1st from a sitted stop. Unfortunately all of this "discovering" happened today around town where I spent nearly 5 minutes at an intersection trying to get into 1st gear.

I have been trying not to plan anymore rides until the bike is fixed but I really hope It's not anything serious. Anyway, thanks again; and huge thanks to the people who give all this great information out.

'Keep on keepin' on'
 
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