5th gear feels like its slipping....help?

So i recently purchased a 04' wr 450, i changed the oil, the plug, oil filiter and all other basic maintenance, then I took it out for a ride later that day and it ran like a champ. The next day i was out cruising around some back dirt roads, i then pulled out on to some pavement and ripped through the gears and they all felt fine untill 5th gear. Towards the top end of 5th gear it feels like the clutch disengages and then bites a split second later and hooks back up. i Took the clutch apart, fiber plates were fine as well as the friction plates, i thought it might be the clutch springs, so i ordered some off of motosport, barnets HD springs(thought i would start with the cheapest part hoping it would be that) which i am waiting for in the mail. Any suggestions? There are very minor grooves in the clutch basket, at what point should i replace the basket? Could it be the gear itself?

the weather is nice and i am caught with my pants down!:thumbsup:

please help


Edited by Ron Burgundy

At the very top of 5th? You're not banging off the limiter are you?

BTW if the gear itself was missing a tooth or something you'd probably see some metal shards or chunks either in the frame strainer or in the oil filter.

i know i am not hitting the rev limiter because after that funky little slip there is still more pull. i checked the oil filter and the frame strainer last night and no metal shards of any type. i get the clutch springs tomorrow so i guess we will see if the springs were just worn out, hopefully that is the case!

Measure your clutch plate thickness while your in there. The clutch often starts slipping in the higher gears first. Your springs alone will not compensate for a worn cluch pack.

I know this will sound stupid, but check your chain and sprockets.

Mine did the exact same thing once in 3rd, then it was ok, finished my ride (It was short, and right from my house anyway), then started checking things and found I had a couple of broken teeth on front sprocket, and several missing rollers from the chain...lol

Guess I got full usage from that set...:thumbsup:

It only ever did it that one time, and never again, so that's what I'm chalking it up too.

This is a transmission problem, more than likely. You will probably find that the locking lugs, or "dogs" on the third and fifth pinions are worn and rounded over, so that they no longer hold in under a load, but push the two gears away from each other instead. This will also have bent the shift fork that moves the 3rd pinion along the shaft.

Welcome to the club.:thumbsup:


thanks for the pointers guys i am going to pull those gears tonight and take a look see. i am going to post pictures in the next day or so to get your opinion on the gears before i go and spend a couple hundered bucks:banghead:

Had the same problem in a 90 CR 125 transmission, stripped out the dogs on first and second gear. Exact same symptoms.

So i ended up not removing the gears the other night, just put in the new barnet HD clutch springs...........i took it for a 20mile ride yeterday afternoon and everthing was fine!!!!!:thumbsup:

Good for you, but a clutch slip doesn't feel anything like a gear jumping over the dogs. I would still pay attention.

Good for you, but a clutch slip doesn't feel anything like a gear jumping over the dogs. I would still pay attention.

Then again, what he described:

...it feels like the clutch disengages and then bites a split second later and hooks back up.

...was nothing at all like a clutch slipping, either.

Yesterday I took my wr out on some mixed trails. I'm pretty slow meaning lots of first and second gear. All in all, I had a nice ride and everything worked great.

Until on the (tarmac) road home, where I noticed the clutch started to slip momentarily. But it was kind of strange. I would imagine that once it started to slip, it would slip until I let of the throttle, or gain more speed. But for me it started to slip for a fraction of a second and then grip again.

Today I took it out again to verify this behavior. The thing is that it ONLY does this on fifth gear. Even in fourth gear with the break applied, it will not slip.

To me, this really sounds like there's something wrong with the gears. And lots of threads support this. The thing that bothers me is that this behavior started very suddenly.

Then I found this thread. The symptoms are almost the same (for me, I don't have to rev it that high, just hold the throttle wide open for a second or two. And it really feels/sounds like the clutch is slipping. If the problem is with my gears, how could I tell the difference? I would imagine it would be more harsh sound if it is the gearing. Has anybody else had this symptoms and fixed it by servicing the clutch? I know my clutch isn't i top condition by now.

If I have the time, I'll lift the clutch cover this afternoon and check it out. Probably should check the oil filter too. Since I haven't split the engine before, I don't want to do it if it isn't absolutely necessary.

Any thought?

I opened the clutch cover. Springs, plates and friction plates were all within specifications. Nothing metallish in oil filter either. I suppose I have no choice but splitting the engine. Perhaps I should put it back with some washers on the springs, just to make sure it's not the clutch slipping.

My thoughts on this are neither is the issue. After I bought my 04 late last year, i thought sort if the same thing after I rode the roads around my folks house in 5th for a while. Turned out to be the TPS issue that's been covered here many times. I disconnected mine, ran the same roads for a bit and the "problem" disappeared. Plugged it back in and just live with the little it does after adjusting it.

Try that and see what happens.


I have tried to adjust my tps to get rid of the mid end stutter, but I ended up running with it disconnected. So unfortunately the tps is not the problem in my case. But thanks for the tips.

I suppose it is the gears, but it feels like it is disengaging/engaging quite smooth. I would have imagined a rougher scenario if the gear-dogs slip under full load. Unless the clutch is slipping due to the peak it would experience when the gears slip...

Since it's most likely the gear-dogs, would it be stupid to ignore the problem and just make sure it doesn't slip in 5th gear?

In other words, use the bike as usual when I ride in the forest (never use 5th there anyway) and take it real easy on the way to there/from there? I don't really want to tear it down and wait for the stuff i need in the beginning of my vacation....

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now