Bet You've Never Seen This Before...

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  • Bet You've Never Seen This Before...

    This is my shift drum at 14,000 miles; notice the chunks missing in the left and right fork grooves.

    The result of this damage is that the bike would not hold 2nd gear; shift into this gear, roll on the throttle, and the bike pops into neutral or a false neutral between gears where the neutral light did not come on.

    If I haven't mentioned it before, I ride my bike HARD... like a sport bike on a race track. Check out my brake pad thread and see the devastation of those at 16,000 miles as proof I like to think that I don't *abuse* the bike but I believe I got into a mode where I contributed to this damage, if I didn't cause it out right, which I may have. I maintain my bike meticulously. I devour maintenance threads and articles trying carefully to discern the best known practices of scheduling, methods, and which products to use. Cruiseman's videos have been invaluable in this regard btw.

    At the time of this damage, however, I was using a heal-toe shifter. The reigning opinion of guys in the "know" like Goldwing Greg says these can be used harmlessly for many many miles. Who am I to dispute this; I believe this opinion is true... but... IMO it comes with many unspoken stipulations.

    If an HT shifter is used *mildly* by a skilled operator who knows that a firm and full engagement and follow through of each shift is needed, then yes; no problems. An unskilled or unfamiliar operator, like myself, however, can cause immediate damage like mine or SLOW damage over time that results in ghost shifting after several thousand miles. If I may speculate a bit, the issue as I see it is the physical disconnect introduced by the HT shifter which reduces the "feel" and feedback that your foot senses. The other issue, and the one that I believe screwed me, is the tremendous additional force that you're able to put on the shifter due to the leverage provided by the HT shifter.

    In the midst of at least a couple rocketship full throttle launches, I missed the 1st to 2nd shift, and immediately tried to re-engage 2nd gear. Using the HT shifter and treating the bike like a Mack truck I applied quite a bit of force thinking that I could force the shift. No dice. The tranny emitted terrible grinding noises, which I believe, eventually caused this damage. So... yes and no; HT shifters IMO can be used safely but they can also be dangerous.

    Fortunately for me I have an out-of-this-world pro-customer dealer (TampaBay Powersports) who repaired my bike under full warranty at no cost to me. $1200 in parts and about $4000 in labor later, my bike was returned to me in tip-top better-than-new condition.

    I immediately tossed the HT shifter in the trash and will never use one again on this bike. Further, even though I still ride my bike as hard as anyone, I pay MUCH more attention to shifting. Let's call it an experiment in long term durability. If shifts are done with the OEM shifter... and if they are practiced and studied and executed in a firm manner with full follow through, that's the best that can be expected. No?

    I encourage each of you, ESPECIALLY riders new to the GL1800 platform, to give shifting special attention. Practice for several thousand miles the timing of your clutch and throttle blip and foot motion. Be conscious and diligent about engaging gears FULLY by actuating the shifter through its' full range of motion. If you do this, you may notice like I do that on the 4th to 5th shift there is sometimes a secondary engagement that you can feel with your foot. I have no idea what this is but I wonder if it's the low and high dogs of these gears; if you happen to catch a low dog, and you continue to apply pressure on the shifter, it engages deeper onto the high dogs. I think this is a good thing.and may even help to minimize the type of dog wear that causes ghost shifting.

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    George - 2013 F6B Standard - Largo, FL

  • #2
    Another thought I had was where did those pieces of metal go? Did the first piece possibly inflict further damage?
    2008 Red GW1800 -- NRA Life Member - American Legion PUFL, American Legion Riders
    USMC 21 YRS/9 MO and when dead, a dead Marine.
    US Four Corner Ride https://clayusmcret.blogspot.com/
    2014 Mid-States Ride https://mid-states.blogspot.com/
    2015 NC to UT/NV Ride https://2015nvride.blogspot.com/

    50th State ridden on 19 Aug, 2016 DS #1584

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    • #3
      I should add... don't ever take your bike to a dealer with an HT shifter installed; as far as I know that's grounds for immediate dismissal of your powertrain warranty. And it's probably a good idea to not admit using one.

      Before taking my bike in, I reinstalled the OEM shifter. One of the FIRST questions they asked, by several different people, is have I ever used an HT shifter. I never exactly answered the question... I only replied that the OEM shifter is on the bike and if you have a good dealer, this should suffice.
      George - 2013 F6B Standard - Largo, FL

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      • #4
        I think you're spot on Clay. I can't say for certain what all happened, but it looks like a chunk of metal got caught in the gears. These two pics show "serrations" on both the gear peaks and valleys, as if a foreign object got trapped in there.

        A chunk from one side of the shift drum could very well have migrated over and caused the second damage point on the drum. Definitely possible I think.

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        George - 2013 F6B Standard - Largo, FL

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        • #5
          When my 03 transmission took a dump, I recall that the shift drum had to be replaced along with a shift fork. 4th and 5th gears and a thrust plate.

          I do agree that firm full engagement with every shift will probably prevent most transmission problems from ever occurring.
          As far as hell toe shifters go, I have never liked them, but blaming them for failures is just Honda trying to pass the buck.

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          • #6
            I had HT shifters on my other, Bikes they worked well no problems after reading lot of post and having some shifting problems myself lazy shifting i decided not to put them on my 2010. Glad i past on them these trannies are weird and need Full engagement for sure.
            2010 Pearl Yellow L3, Double Darksider #856, Ultimate Midrider Seat w Yellow inlays, F4+4 Tinted, Live To Ride, Love my Wing

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            • #7
              hmmm... "...I ride my bike HARD..."
              Look at the damage I did....
              uhh...Maybe ride it a little less hard...?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Wingsconsin View Post
                hmmm... "...I ride my bike HARD..."
                Look at the damage I did....
                uhh...Maybe ride it a little less hard...?
                That would surely be Spock-like logic to some people, eh I'm not yet a stodgy old-fart who is only interested in Sunday rides though.

                If I can't enjoy it, I may as well sell it. If it keeps breaking while I'm enjoying it, again time to sell. The damage above was due to operator error and I *think* I'm a bit better now at operating the bike like it needs to be; we'll see how it goes I guess.


                George - 2013 F6B Standard - Largo, FL

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                • #9
                  Na-new na-new ...... beam me up scotty!!!
                  Retired, Lifetime NRA, IBA #5831, AMA Lifer, HOG Lifer, Gypsy Tour Rider

                  "There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."

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                  • #10
                    Mork from Ork on Star Trek?

                    That would be a good episode
                    George - 2013 F6B Standard - Largo, FL

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by srt8-in-largo View Post
                      Mork from Ork on Star Trek?

                      That would be a good episode
                      They'd have to put Spock down. Breach the space time continuum and Worf would end up taking the bat'leth to Mork.
                      2008 Red GW1800 -- NRA Life Member - American Legion PUFL, American Legion Riders
                      USMC 21 YRS/9 MO and when dead, a dead Marine.
                      US Four Corner Ride https://clayusmcret.blogspot.com/
                      2014 Mid-States Ride https://mid-states.blogspot.com/
                      2015 NC to UT/NV Ride https://2015nvride.blogspot.com/

                      50th State ridden on 19 Aug, 2016 DS #1584

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                      • #12
                        ROFL!!
                        George - 2013 F6B Standard - Largo, FL

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                        • #13
                          As an aside, it's been about two months and 5,000 miles since this warranty work was done.

                          Yesterday I got a call from the American Honda corporate office in Los Angeles asking me how the bike is running! Wow... does customer service like this exist anymore?

                          They also asked if the dealer charged me anything (no) and if I had any comments about the dealer; top-notch is all I could say about them.

                          So why is Honda calling customers after warranty work?

                          I can't say for certain... except to say that it speaks to Honda's seriousness about taking care of us.
                          George - 2013 F6B Standard - Largo, FL

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                          • #14
                            That's excellent information and a good reminder to many of us including myself to pay a little closer attention to a firm shift.
                            Harvey Barlow
                            Crosby County, TX
                            2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
                            2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

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