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Hard to find first gear

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My grandson reports that finding first gear on '91 XR200R is becoming a problem, at a stop or riding. Heard a 'shifting star' may be worn. Is that the piece on the end of shifting drum? Any advice is appreciated. 

Edited by Dirty_Dave

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Usually it's the shifter fork is bent. This happens when the gear lever is pushed down savagely rather than a nice smooth movement. I have straightened them myself and fixed the problem before.

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Usually it's the shifter fork is bent. This happens when the gear lever is pushed down savagely rather than a nice smooth movement. I have straightened them myself and fixed the problem before.

 

:thinking: Are you sure you don't mean "shift spindle", not fork...........? 

 

Actually myself, the first thing I'd check would be clutch adjustment..................too much free play causing clutch drag.  Makes it a bear cat to find neutral..............! ;)

 

Old School Al

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I would have to agree with OSA. I would also check the clutch adjustment freeplay. If it is still an issue there are options to look at.

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It is a cause for certain. I have had a Honda CT125 and a XR200 do it. The fork that engages the star bends slightly causing missed gear changes going through neutral to second and very hard to engage first gear. Badly adjusted clutch will cause a harsh engagement of first gear. Try the clutch first though.

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It is a cause for certain. I have had a Honda CT125 and a XR200 do it. The fork that engages the star bends slightly causing missed gear changes going through neutral to second and very hard to engage first gear. Badly adjusted clutch will cause a harsh engagement of first gear. Try the clutch first though.

Yeah you are right.....It is and can be a cause for total transmission selection but It is not where you would start. 

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Usually it's the shifter fork is bent. This happens when the gear lever is pushed down savagely rather than a nice smooth movement. I have straightened them myself and fixed the problem before.

First... Thanks for all the suggestions. I checked the clutch free play and it was a little sloppy so tweaked it in some. Same issue. Pulled the right side case cover and checked the 'star' wheel and shaft plate. Star wheel looked a little worse for wear so figured I found the culprit. Just for grins I pulled the plate off and looked it over. At first it appeared to be good then on closer look it seemed to be bent slightly away from the wheel. A few taps with the precision adjustment tool and it looked better. Reassembled all and it shifts like new. I am going to order the star wheel anyway and then it should last another 22yrs. Thanks again for the advice. 

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Easy fix! Just teach the young fella to go easy on the gear lever when selecting first gear and trying to find neutral. No stamping on the gear lever.

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Easy fix! Just teach the young fella to go easy on the gear lever when selecting first gear and trying to find neutral. No stamping on the gear lever.

 

............and not to crash hooking the shift lever! ;)

 

Working on this engine family since 1970 with the SL100, I've found it best in the long run to replace the star.....and plate also, even if replacing one or the other gets it working initially.  A bit like replacing the sprockets ...... when replacing the chain. :thumbsup:

 

Old School Al

Edited by Old School Al

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Could this be why i can't get to sixth gear? I'm sure my 93 has this same problem because I have a heck of a time finding first when shifting down (usually goes to neutral). But I can't get to sixth at all. I'm going to start pulling this thing apart this weekend (redoing the clutch).

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Could this be why i can't get to sixth gear? I'm sure my 93 has this same problem because I have a heck of a time finding first when shifting down (usually goes to neutral). But I can't get to sixth at all. I'm going to start pulling this thing apart this weekend (redoing the clutch).

 

Very likely a star wheel/shift plate. A slightly binding shift shaft can also make it difficult to feel the neutral detent.   I've replaced star wheels that improved shifting although the old star wheel appeared good. 

 

From my experience with shifting problems on these engines I agree with OSA.  And as OSA said don't crash on the shift lever; it can bend in and hit the left cover during upshifts, and/or bend the shift shaft so it binds. 

 

But as others suggested check the easy to fix possibles first. Problem solving should always start by eliminating the easy and cheap possible causes before pursuing the difficult and expensive possibles, even if the later may seem most likely.  Checking clutch adjustment and the shift lever are quick and easy, replacing the star wheel/plate requires removing the right side cover, while fork replacement requires engine removal and splitting the center cases. When replacing the star wheel check the shift shaft for lack of binding.

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First gear is usually in the gearbox. When I lose it I always look there first.

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Usually it's the shifter fork is bent. This happens when the gear lever is pushed down savagely rather than a nice smooth movement. I have straightened them myself and fixed the problem before.

 

 

First gear is usually in the gearbox. When I lose it I always look there first.

  

:thinking: In the gear box, if there is "nothing there" when when trans is in first gear detent position.  Here it's described as a problem "getting to" first gear detent position, which is most often a right side case shift mech problem.  A bent shift fork can cause the "nothing there" in first gear symptom.....................usually not the problem "getting to" first gear symptom. :thumbsup:

 

Old School Al

Edited by Old School Al

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I did actually destroy third gear in a 200 gearbox a few years ago. A couple of teeth came off it. So it's possible a more major problem has occurred.

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I did actually destroy third gear in a 200 gearbox a few years ago. A couple of teeth came off it. So it's possible a more major problem has occurred.

 

The actual symptom described on this post has "nothing" to do with gear teeth missing................if not a dragging clutch, it's screaming shifting mechanism problem!  ;)

 

Old School Al

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Excellent diagnosis. It also has nothing to do with loose spokes. I bet it has some of those too.

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