98 883 sportster xl shifting gears issues

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by rickc_77, May 27, 2010.

  1. rickc_77

    rickc_77 Member

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    Hello, I’m so glad that I found this web site as I’m hoping someone may have an answer for my issue. I have a 98 Sportster 883 xl. I have owned the sporty for about 5 years now and have never had a problem until about a year ago. The issue went away until yesterday…..let me explain:
    The beginning of 2009 spring I took my sporty out and all of a sudden when I shifted from 1st to 2nd……the tranny could not find 2nd 3rd 4th or 5th. I have forward controls and once it left 1st gear the shift lever would just slide up and down without finding any gears. Last year I spoke with a veteran HD rider and he came over my house and we changed the oil and tranny fluids. All summer long I had no problems until yesterday. I went out and rode about 20 miles and then stopped in at the local shop to get an inspection sticker. When I left I started in 1st of course and when I shifted to 2nd the same issue happened again…..the gear lever would just free float up and down without connecting to a specific gear. I pulled the bike over and would use my hand to move the shifter up and down while I held the cluth in. At the same time I would release the cluth a little bit and then suddenly the bike found 3rd gear I believe……..I started up the street in 3rd and then I was able to shift all 5 speeds with no problems.
    Has anyone ever encoutered this type of issue. I do not put many mile on the bike during a year of riding….maybe under 1000 miles per year (weekend rider mainly).
    I will try to change the fluids again to see if this corrects the issue, but I just wanted to pass this out and see if anyone has seen this and if there maybe a permenant fix to my issue.

    Thanks
     
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    I don't think changing oils again is going to do anything. Try to figure out if all the external linkages on the bike for shifting are intact and moving properly and that they are not loose or stripped causing the shifter arm to move but not the transmission. After that more than likely if you don;t find anything, it's a job for a mechanic to get into the trans.

    Also make sure the linkages are free and not binding of in need of lubrication.
     
  3. rickc_77

    rickc_77 Member

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    Thanks for the quick responce......I will check the external linkages this morning and as you stated if everything looks fine I'll need to get the pro's involved. I too was very surprised last spring that just a change in tranny fluid had corrected the issue, but the issue went away for the entire summer until now.

    I'll keep you posted on my findings.

    Again thanks
     
  4. vpats

    vpats Member

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    This is a late post, however, if you haven't solved the problem, you might want to give the shift drum some consideration.
     
  5. rickc_77

    rickc_77 Member

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    Hi,

    The shift drum ? Sorry, but i'm unclear on what that would be and also what would I be looking for ....basic wear or something broken?

    The bike is running good again so this looks like it is something that happens now and then......it has me confused for sure.

    thanks
     
  6. vpats

    vpats Member

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    If it has cleared up, then perhaps it isn't the shift drum. The shift drum isn't something that you'd normally be looking for as it resides inside your transmission cavity with the gearing. It is a shaft that controls the shift forks and slides the gears into position for the gear that you've slected, ie. 1st going into 2nd and so on. You need to pull the primary cover and clutch then open the trap door to access the part.

    Obviously something is not working correctly all the time, I had a similar problem and would have sworn it was in the clutch assembley, but it turned out to be the shift drum and shifter forks.