1984 XR500R Shifting issue

I have an 1984 XR500R, The other day when I was riding my local trails I noticed when I down shifted down from second to first the shift lever nearly pointed to the ground. I stopped the bike to see if anything was visibly wrong or if the shift lever spun on the shift shaft. This wasn’t the case. The bike still shifts, but the throw in the lever went from 3 inches (normal) to nearly 8 inches! I was able to ride the bike back home and it still shifted fine in each gear but just took me physically lifting up my leg with my boot under the shifter to find the next gear. Down shifting I had to push down with my toe way further than normal. Also the “return to normal” spring does not bring the shifter back to the normal position and the shifter just flops around.

My question is, what causes this? And does this require me to split the cases on the engine, or can it be fixed without splitting the cases? My mechanic first told me that he could fix this by removing one of the side case covers but has called back to tell me that he has to tear down the whole motor to fix. Has anyone out there experienced this? I cant afford putting $500 into getting this fixed. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Scott from SLO.

Based on your description it sounds like a bent shift fork and return spring, possibly more.

Bad news: if I'm right, to fix it properly you will have to split the cases... this takes some time but I would not say you have to "tear down the whole motor."

Good news: the parts will not be too expensive.

If you plan to keep the bike, have the normal wear items inspected and replaced if necessary (cam chain/chain guide/tensioner system, valve stem seals, etc.) Pay special attention to the cylinder head bolts, which may have small cracks (mine did). Hell you might put a fresh hone and new rings in the thing. But that's only if you plan to keep it.

May as well call it a complete teardown..Both the bottom casings need splitting to fix that..no easy way of doing it.

Thanks for the input. I found a 1983 xr500r parts bike in the area with a good motor, going to offer $250 for it. Then part out the good parts from my motor on flea bay. Maybe i will even make a little money on the deal!

Sounds like a plan, good luck with the swap and let us know how it turns out.

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