Rotational ticking on left side at main shaft - need advise!!!!!

O.K. - expert advise needed.

After clean up yesterday, while pushing my bike to the trailer I noticed an audible ticking down at the left side of the engine. At first I though it was something caught in behind the counter shaft sprocket. After more examination however, I pulled the counter shaft sprocket and spacer. The tick occurs once every rotation of the countershaft main (called the main shaft by the manual I think). So, the faster I spin the rear wheel while in neutral, the faster the tick goes.

I can feel a distinct metallic tick against the mainshaft when I turn the shaft itself while holding onto it with two fingers.

It feels like something is loose inside the case.

For lack of a better cliche' this motor is now "a ticking time bomb". Anyone who does not agree with me, please diffuse my concern.

Those of you who have experienced this condition, or if you have had your engine apart, please guide me as you would yourself.

Can I gain access to examine the internals from the clutch side only?

My bike is a 2000 - I have not had any problems (other than the cutting out of the carb), such as the clutch or gears going out. I have done all the required maintenence , ect. My estimate is only about 10 hours (I know, I know it's pathetic) on the bike since I got it last Summer. It seems my luck is just about to run out......




Just calrifying some terminology ..... Looks like the shaft on which the counter sprocket is situated is refered to as the "drive shaft".

Also, all I have done is play ride this bike - never raced or ridden hard. Considering such, this will just increase my disappointment if there is no easy fix...................................

Does it make the noise while in gear as well? Does the noise change as you apply pressure to the shifter?

Does the tranny still operate normally otherwise?

It could be normal, hard to say without hearing it. I’m thinking you have a gear dog making contact but not fully engaging as you turn it.

Hope this helps.

Related advice I would give you is splitting the cases now may save you a lot of money later if something comes apart under power due to a chipped gear wheel or bent shift fork.

Hick - you are the man - I was hoping you would reply.

Everything works O.K. I usually lube my chain just before I ride, so I am absolutely certain that my bike was not making this noise before yesterday's ride.

I can't tell if the noise would still be there when in gear because the countershaft (drive shaft) is locked up then. The only time I can detect this noise is when I spin the rear wheel and the tranny is in neutral. So when it's in neutral and I spin the rear wheel the counter shaft is turning freely - it goes "tick" with each rotation of the sprocket/shaft. When I down (1st) or up (2nd) this stops the wheel / shaft from turning of course. Am I explaining this correctly?

The noise is definately comming from the sprocket side - I acn not hear it on the clutch side.

I wonder if there is any way I can get a look into that area without splitting cases. I think the answer is "no" just from looking at the manual.

What are dealers charging to split cases - big $$$$$$ I bet. I can't do this because I have no special puller tools, ect. I have torque and air wrenches, along with some other specialty tools, but I have never split cases. I had a 1993 YZ250 I ran since new until I recently sold it, and never did do a bottom end. I don't race anymore, so that's how I managed to get away with that.

Any additional guidance would be appreciated.



I don’t know what to tell you. I wish I could hear the noise for myself, but I’m thinking if you noticed it walking your bike then it must be fairly significant and may warrant further investigation.

So if it were me I would try to find out more. Yank the plug or zip tie the compression release and see if spinning in gear sounds different or if shifting affects it. Then you would know you have some tranny problems, and may even pinpoint which gear.

You do not need any special tools to split the cases, but it is not what I would call a small job. I don’t know what a dealer would charge, I’m too skeptical to let them work on my bike, this is also how I know that splitting the cases requires no special tools :)

O.K. Hick - I'll try to check it out further by trying the methods you describe.

The sound is a very audible tick or click sort of noise. It is not quite as loud as the chain rolling around/over all the rollers, but because the tick noise occurs consistently at the same moment with every shaft rotation, it was very noticeable.

Oh, BTW, I'm deaf in my right ear, and have 10% loss in the left. That should give you an idea of the sound's "audibleness". As my wife says, "it Dennis heard it, it must be loud".

I'll check it out further this afternoon (Cincy, OH) and post what I discover. Thanks again for your advise - appreciate it a lot.


O.K. Hick, so far it looks like you are my only helper on this. An audible ticking on the "drive axle" as the manual names it - seems like nothing, but I am now growing very worried.

Today I determined that the noise in terms of sound is something louder than a tick, but not as loud as a heavy click. I can't think of a better way to describe it at this moment. It is definately rotational and consistent with the rotation of the countershaft axle. In neutral the noise can be heard while spinning the rear wheel backwards as well.

I tried pulling the C.R. lever - but there is no way the engine can be turned over easy / fast enough to try to hear any clicking noise. I even removed the spark plug AND held in the C.R. lever. The rear wheel will not turn over the engine - there is just still too much compression - as in it takes a bit of time for the compression strok to push all the air out through that small plug hole.

I can stand on the bike and kick it over, but by then I am too far up away from the motor to hear anything, plus all I can achieve by doing the kick method is a momentary spin of the counter shaft.

I ran the engine a bit to warm the oil - then I drained the oil, checking the screens thinking I might pick up a piece of metal gear or spring or shim that had broken off, but I did not find anything. If anything is broken off inside, it must be laying down on the bottom of the case somewhere.

After the oil change, I ran it up and down the street a few times - it shifts fine and all gears are O.K. BTW I have ridden this bike 75% of the time in second and third gears only - with no clutch fanning, so no gears shoud be broken.

Is it possible to pull the gears from the right side to the extent that I might be able to see what's going on in there? According to what I see in the manual, there would be a right side main bearing sitting under the right engine cover, which means the cases would need to be split.

Looks like I am most likely SOL.

I am going to stop at Y.O.T. in Dayton tomorrow to see if one of their mechanics can give me some insite. I don't have much faith in them though - they couldn't even repair an old XS650 Yamaha that I have without damaging the bodywork while it was in their possession.

I'm going to post another topic about this noise to see if I can get some guys to check to see if they have this condition with their bike - I assume your does not since you did not mention such.

Thanks again,



I can offer what I experienced and it may help you. When I initially bought my bike, I recalled that the chain was excessively tight on the bike. Well, since the bike only had about 5 hours on it (The guy never rode it) I put a new DID Gold ORing on it and properly adjusted it with 114 links, since he had 113 in the old chain. So, once I put a properly adjusted chain on it, I was getting a bad clicking sound coming from the countershaft sprocket. This was under load mind you, so I couldn't hear what you are hearing when I would just spin the wheel in neutral. This was under a load in first, second, third, or fourth. I checked everything 10 times before I decided the motor has to come apart. Well, I took the motor out, spent a week and a half patiently taking it apart and brought the countershaft and gears to a mechanic. Turns out that they recommended to replace one of my shifting forks on that shaft, and several of the gears since they had unusual wear. So, I actually replaced the countershaft bearing in the cases, the shaft, almost all of the gears on the shaft, and misc. circlips, etc..... I also replaced the countershaft sprocket as well. I put it all back together with some more time, beer, and patience and found that the problem was solved. No more ticking. It was one of the 10 parts that I replaced, but now I know that my tranny is solid and my motor has a fresh lease on life.

I know tearing into one of these motors is intimidating, but they really aren't too terribly hard to take apart. Once the top end is off, it's basically just like a two stroke on the lower end. If I were you, I would just bite the bullet and either find someone you trust to help you with it or take it somewhere reputable. Keep us posted.


Oops...saw that what I was going to suggest was already covered.

[This message has been edited by Boit (edited 07-17-2001).]

O.K. guys - I'll decide about (whom) will take the engine apart once I stop at YOT today - I waant to see how many arms and legs they want to guestimate the job.

One thing - Did you find that all the the torque specs are present in the manual? They look to be there, but I haven't gone through to review all of what is entailed.

I will keep you posted - Thanks again,


Yup, all torque spec's are there. The list of motor torque spec's are separate from the chassis torque spec's. Definitely use them and torque and untorque those head and cam cover bolts evenly using a cross pattern. All of the bolts on the cases are like 7.2 ft lbs. Not much at all. The clutch spring bolts are 5.8, so if you breath on them wrong they will snap. Use a good torque wrench. I recommend a 1/4 torque wrench that specializes in the 5 to 15 range, and a 3/8 torque wrench that goes up from there. Good luck.

Hey Boomer,

I have the same ticking that seems to come from the c/s. Its not very pronounced so i'm not gonna loose any sleep over it.


Don - thanks for your note. I am considering riding at least one more outing, with frequent stops to monitor the ticking noise. If it gets worse, or I (my bike) have any of the symptoms described within this thread - i.e.: jumping into gear, then I'll stop riding.

I have several bikes to maintain (most are old)- this bike is an '00 and is my newest, so I want to ride the thing - not park it and wonder when I'm going to get to ride it again. I had a 1993 YZ250 I just sold - never did do a bottom end - it was tight when I sold it - what a great machine that turned out to be - unlike this heap.

I may pull my right cover just to see what I can discover - I think that can be done without engine removal. I would really like to wait until this Winter before I have to disable this bike. How the hell am I going to learn to ride it when it's parked?

Keep us posted on your ticking noise - and I'll do likewise. What worries me is not knowing exactly what caused this in the first place. I have landed hard a few times on the rear wheel - sort of upright, but that should not be enough to screw up the tranny.

I'm officially adding "weak tranny components" to the deficiencies list for this bike to accompany the "bad carb", "weak hubs", and "cracking tanks".

email me also any specifics

For "Boomer";

You know, after reading this post my guess is that you have exactly the opposite problem that I have. My shift drum is probably machined with too much slack in it. Your shift drum is probably machined with too little (allowing shift dogs to rub against each other in neutral). I say this because the way I read your thread you have a constant ticking noise in neutral. I would bet that its the shift dogs lightly touching each other. I think you can test this theory by pushing DOWN lightly on the shifter while you spin the rear wheel in neutral. If the ticking noise goes away then it was a second gear dog that was on the verge of engaging. IF you pull UP on the shifter and the noise goes away then it was the 1st gear dog that was on the verge of engaging. Again, only push/pull hard enough on the shifter to cause it to begin moving a shift dog. Do not attempt go to far that it clicks into the next gear. Hope this helps your diagnosis. My guess is that if this test proves that its coming from shift dogs I would suggest you just ride the bike. In time the shift drum will wear and I can't imagine that lightly touching shift dogs (making the ticking noise) are going to do any degree of real harm to each other.


How about putting the bike in gear (any gear, pick one) and then hold the clutch in and rotate the tire. Does it still click? I'm not sure what this will prove or disprove, but it may give you some more info for trouble shooting. Good luck!

Ken - thatnks - that's another very good point. I'll try that and keep it posted. You do realize that your saying up for 1st and down for 2nd - right? That may be correct due to the "FORK" design - if I'm thinking correctly.

Sir - I'll try it... May be too hard to turn the wheel..... stay tuned.


I'm trying to get to these try-outs but the Troy race is this weekend............ this will be a rough rider's race track. Windham usually does well..... For Ferry, it may be too tight for himn to pull away.

For "Boomer";

Yeah, cause if it was the second gear dog that was "clicking" in neutral, by pushing down on the gearshift you will pull the engaging gear away from 2nd. And vice versa for first. Pulling the right sidecover off(preferably clutch basket too) will make all this really clear to you when you see how the shift detent works. Careful when you pull that right sidecover off. There are a lot of gizmos and o-rings. Not like a 2-stroke. Miss an o-ring on reassembly and its going to be low (or maybe zero) oil pressure until it frags.


O.K. Ken - we're on the same page here.

The clicking noise is present no matter if I go up or down with the shift lever.

I wonder if that means a 3rd gear fork (is there such a thing?) is bent? Of course, there is no way to tell without opening up the engine.

In regards to one other check method in this thread, to check for this noise, there is no way the engine can be turned over by spinning the rear wheel once it is in gear, even with the clutch level pulled, and the decomp lever pulled.

I'm going to ride the bike a couple more times, and keep an ear to the noise. Hopefully it will last the season - unless I find some reputable experienced shop, I myself will tear down the engine this Winter.



Yeah, I would ride it to. No doubt about that. But keep an eye out for contaminants in the oil.

If you do tear it down yourself, do yourself a favor and start with the right side cover. Then pop the clutch basket off. Under that is the shift detent. After observing how it works unbolt the shift detent mechanism (the lever with the round thingy on the end and the big spring) that causes the bike to stay in the gear that was selected. Now you can rotate the star wheel by hand. Its a 1,000 times more precise than trying to use the shift lever. This may help you diagnose your neutral ticking. Anyway, good luck with all this. Probably a whole lot of nothing.


For WFO - back to the top of the list on this one - what did you find in regards to the shift fork(s)? Was it/they bent?

I have not torn down my engine just yet - but the ticking is getting louder. That is why we call these engines ticking time bombs....


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