83 XL200R 1st gear knocking

Hi all, I recently purchased a 1983 Honda XL 200R and the main problem with it is the transmission knocks in 1st gear but it is fine in all the rest of the gears, not a sound.

When I am in first gear if I squeeze the clutch the knocking is gone but when I let the clutch go it's back, and Like I said, 2nd through 5th gears are just fine. When the wheel is suspended off the ground there is no knock until I apply load on the wheel through the rear brake.

If I had to make a guess i'd think a gear was chipped or there may be a tooth missing.

Please reply with any info you may have about how to do the repair and what all is involved. Is this something that can be repaired without splitting the case? If anyone has done this a list of the parts needed will really help.

Is there a link to an online manual for this bike?


I think you guessed correctly about the cause of the knock. The bad news is the cases must be split in order to replace the bad gears (you should replace both gears). The good news is it is not too hard to do.

I suggest a Honda Service manual (Ebay), second choice is a Clymers (available at MC shops and online).

Hello, Thank you for your answer.

When you say the cases must be split, that means the jug has to come off and everything? No accessing the gears any other way?

If that turns out to be the case I will probably look for another motor. My main question now is What other bikes engines will bolt right in? are the XR200r the same engine or no?

Thanks a million, any inf will help greatly.

XL/XR/ATC185-200 all the same motor mounts except for 1984/85 XRs. The XLs have higher output alternators for street lighting and those with batteries have a DC system in addition to the AC lighting system. XRs thru 83 the systems were 6volt, 86 and on are 12 volt, but the alternator parts will interchange. Some engines have centrifugal clutches and electric start so I suggest sticking with the XL/XR versions. 185s have a lower first gear. Intake manifolds are frame specific to align the carb to the airbox.

Good luck

Thanks Chuck!

Do you think a 3 wheeler motor out of a 83 185s will work?

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