Hard shifting with belt system

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panhandler
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Hard shifting with belt system

#1

Post by panhandler » Wed Aug 13, 2003 6:05 pm

Description: After about 5 hours of highway riding, the tranny becomes harder and harder to shift

I am running a 63 pan engine and tranny in a stock rigid frame with a 1.5 inch 8mm Karata primary belt in an enclosed tin primary which is vented. I have run this system with the oem 4 speed tranny for eight years but after about 5 hours of highway riding, the tranny becomes harder and harder to shift. I have followed all the install directions from karata and alignment and belt tension don't seem to be a factor. I run Alto clutch plates with oem steels, 5 finger hub with long needle bearing and a Ram Jett clutch retainer with aluminum pressure plate. I have run Barnett wet/dry plates but they make no difference. A friend suggested I go from 80-90 regular tranny oil to synthetic so I switched to 75-90 synthetic and went on a 1000 mile trip two weeks ago in 90 degree weather and the bike shifted like silk. Thought the problem was solved until I rode to Montana last weekend in cooler weather (80's) and again after about 5 hours the shifting started to get harder until it was just a plain bitch to shift. It seems easier to shift up rather than down. I had the tranny rebuilt about six years ago . I have a real gremlin on my hands and any advice anyone can give would be appreciated. I have contacted Karata for their help but don't know if the problem lies in the belt/clutch system or is a tranny problem.

TIA Panhandler



Ente
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#2

Post by Ente » Wed Aug 13, 2003 7:47 pm

Hi, just a few question.

You are right about that it probably not is a belt-issue.
Is it really hard to shift, or is the clutch dragging so it become hard to shift ?
If you try with your hand (when it is hard to shift) and just feel the friction on the gearbox's shiftdrum, do you feel any play or is it stiff?

panhandler
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#3

Post by panhandler » Thu Aug 14, 2003 1:17 am

Thanks for the reply, Ente. The shifting sometimes is extremely hard. other times it takes quite a bit to shift. eventually I can shift but with great difficulty. The clutch seems to be disengaging ok, I haven't felt the shifter drum cause I'm usually cruising a highway speed when this is going on and can't really get my hand down over the rear pipe to get at the drum. Karata has contacted me and advised they think the problem is in the long needle bearings transferring heat to the bearing race and pulley. They don't recommend the so called big fix kit on their drives so I'll have a look at that but keep the suggestions coming cause I don't think I through with this gremlin yet.
regards, Panhandler

kell
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#4

Post by kell » Thu Aug 14, 2003 2:03 am

Do you have a foot shift or a hand shift?
A dragging clutch can be caused either by plates dragging or clutch bearing dragging, anything that makes your clutch drag will make shifting harder.
Of course like you said the problem could be in the transmission instead of the clutch. How to tell? Well, if the problem is in the clutch and not in the transmission you should still be able to power shift (shift without the clutch) with the same ease whether the clutch is dragging or not. Power upshifts are pretty easy, you get a feel for just how to tickle the throttle so the gears don't slam or grind. Compare the feel of your power shifts under the different conditions, that is, at times of easy regular shifting versus when shifting becomes hard.
If your problem is not in the clutch you will have to look into that transmission! I had to take mine apart this season, thing about the old 4 speeds is the mainshaft changed length a couple of times over the years as a result of other changes in bike setup; I had to work out on my own exactly how and where to install shims to take out the kinks that were the result of a sloppy rebuild on the part of the previous owner. But gear spacing is not the likely culprit, maybe the forks could be binding on the rod they slide on? Or those cogs that the forks move on the shafts.
And it just ocurred to me... keep an eye on the level of oil in the transmission, maybe you have a bad leak!

panhandler
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#5

Post by panhandler » Thu Aug 14, 2003 6:54 am

Thanks for the suggestions, Kell. I have a foot shift and oil level is ok...first thing I checked. I have thought about the forks in the tranny doing something weird but wonder why they wouldn't be doing it all the time. Tranny was rebuilt in '97 by a reputable guy but stuff happens. If the suggestions that karata made don't work then it will be a winter time bench project but for now, I would like to stay 'outside of the box'. will try working from the outside in so will concentrate on replacing the 52 long needle bearings with the old cage and bearing and see if indeed it is a heat problem building up and causing this. Keep the suggestions coming, guys....much appreciated.

Panhandler

Ente
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#6

Post by Ente » Thu Aug 14, 2003 10:22 am

It is some point in the Karata-advice, I also convert to 'big-fix' with the long rolls, and after a warm day(not hotter than I had run in before) with original friction-plates in, the plastic plate that should keep the clutch and bearing in place was totaly melted. The friction-plate was also burned out and it all smell burned... and the clutch was dragging..and of course...it was a misery to shift gears. I put back the standard rolls (and change to kevlar-plates) and it have never happend again.

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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#7

Post by panhandler » Thu Aug 14, 2003 3:53 pm

Thanks, Ente. I think we are on the right track. Got another message from Karata who state that the big fix kit creates heat problems which when you think about it stands to reason since you are taking up any breathing space with 52 long bearings as opposed to the stock bearing cage which allows for air movement around the race. They advised to trash the bearings and the ramjett and go back to stock installation...say if it is installed right everything should work. Will try this and see but it sounds like the problem you had was identical to the one I am now experiencing. On the side, if anyone is running a Karata belt system they have an excellent tech support - web site is karata.com ask for Jim. Keep the suggestions comin cause they're much appreciated....

Panhandler

Ente
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#8

Post by Ente » Thu Aug 14, 2003 5:41 pm

Since this will be your evening-work to change it back... we look forward to hear from you tomorrow how it all went out.

panhandler
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#9

Post by panhandler » Thu Aug 14, 2003 11:34 pm

Well guys, went down to the shop after lunch and got out all the old parts for the clutch system....roller bearing basket, check; retainer plate, check; retainer springs, check; old roller bearings of which I had 19 out of 20!!! Soooo...back to the house and on the phone to the local HD shop - yup they got 18 in stock - send 'em all express post. So no work tonite on the old girl..did the next best thing and helped the wife stain the deck. Hey, ya can't always get what ya want, but if ya try sometimes, ya might get what ya need. I'll keep ya posted, guys. Stay ccol.

Panhandler

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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#10

Post by panhandler » Mon Aug 25, 2003 3:03 am

Well guys, got the clutch system torn down and replaced the long rollers in the hub with the old cage and bearings, adjusted everything to ensure there is no drag and buttoned everything up after putting on a new belt ( the old one showed a tiny pin hole starting to form between the lugs - got 36,000 miles on her and she'll do for a backup). Am going on a n 800 mile trip on labor day weekend so hope the problem is solved. I was browsing through the J&P catalogue in the kicker section and was reading on the heavy duty kicker covers and noted that they are to be used in conjunction with the new wafer style throwout bearing. I converted to a hvy duty kicker conver about 9 years ago but kept the old cone style throwout. Called both Harley and J&P and neither could say why the wafer is recommended. I imagine it has something to do with pushrod travel. Does anyone out there know??? Maybe this has something to do with my shifting problem. Advice lines are now open......Panhandler ???

Ente
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#11

Post by Ente » Mon Aug 25, 2003 9:07 am

Hi.. Just a thought..
Since you can change the throwout bearing to the 'new' style regardless of what kick-cover you use and the only thing that could have an effect on the shifting/clutch 'on the other box-side' is the rod.. So no I don't think it matters... but as I said: Just a thought

panhandler
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#12

Post by panhandler » Tue Sep 02, 2003 12:59 am

Well, this should be the final on this problem. Just returned from an 800 mile trip after work previously described and tranny shifted without any problems. I do believe some of the problem was with clutch drag but whatever, it seems to be cured. Am heading to the Black Hills this week and over to the West Coast so this should tell for sure if the problem is solved. Thanks to those who threw in their advice. Keep on Panning for the gold.

weezeo
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#13

Post by weezeo » Fri Sep 05, 2003 6:45 am

I do not take much stock in those Ramm Jett fix kits you did say it melted I also don'tuse any synthetic oils It was built way back when to run on motoroil and i think that is what to use But I also have used gear oil caue its so hot here in summer and didn't have any noticable problems. But motor oil is what they call for so I use Motor oil but i use 70 weight in Summer 60 all other. Adjusting is the major thing with a clutch, I also run Karata and have been since 79 upgraded a cople times but i swear by them, best belt out there for enclosed primary PANHEADS or exposed for that matter as I ran it 20 yrs. open. Jsut play with it and tossthe quick fixes like that Ramm job I tried it and it was in and out in the same day. GOOD LUCK

panhandler
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#14

Post by panhandler » Sat Sep 20, 2003 5:46 pm

And so the saga continues. Took the old girl out on a 3000 mile run thru Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and riding through Spokane with only 600 miles left for home got cranked by a tractor trailer unit who decided to do a right hand turn from the left lane. :'( Managed to get the war pony road worthy and limp her home to Alberta but now she needs a frame off over the winter. The tranny shifted well except for twice, both times at the end of a day of long and hard riding but she wasn't as hard shifting as in the past....so guess I'll go into the box over the winter while she gets a make over. Hope I'll be able to find and dispatch the gremlin once and for all. Felt like a calvary soldier at Little Bighorn watching my mount take an arrow for me...when your heart pangs like that over your bike takin a bruisin, ya gotta know she'll be with ya til the end. PFFP

suicideshovel65
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Re: Hard shifting with belt system

#15

Post by suicideshovel65 » Sun Sep 21, 2003 3:45 am

Panhandler,

My commiserations - at least you're still in one piece though. I hope the other guy was insured so you get something back!
At least spring next year will see you back in the saddle on your refreshed Pan.

All the best,

S.

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