Trouble getting into 1st gear - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 12:08 pm Thread Starter
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Trouble getting into 1st gear

I have a 2003 LT.
I've recently developed a problem whereby I have trouble putting it into 1st gear after sitting for a while. Each time I start up I attempt to put it into gear. The gear shift lever moves easily, but with no engagement into gear. If I make continued attempts it eventually engages.
Once engaged ,as seems well. All other gears engage correctly and I can even get back into 1st gear without trouble.

Can anyone help

Thanks
Don
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post #2 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 12:14 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Yeah, They all do that..

Just feather the clutch a little while you're trying to shift into first and it'll snick in...

John

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post #3 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 12:33 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

I have a 2002 and it does the same thing. I just feather the clutch a couple a times and it engages.

Al
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post #4 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 12:51 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

X 3
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post #5 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 1:57 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

It's just so automatic now that I don't even think about it.

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post #6 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 2:12 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

They All Do That.... TADT....

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post #7 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 2:51 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

...everyone has the same problem ?

Has anyone looked into the actual cause ?
Is there a fix ?
I'll certainly try the feather thing though.

Thanks for all the quick responses

D U
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post #8 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 3:32 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

09 same thing same solution though it doesn't do it all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by durq
...everyone has the same problem ?

Has anyone looked into the actual cause ?
Is there a fix ?
I'll certainly try the feather thing though.

Thanks for all the quick responses

D U

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post #9 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 3:38 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

I think it is so with BMW-gearbox. Or maybe we all got a failure

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post #10 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 3:53 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Any manual transmission can be difficult to shift into first gear, especially when it is started with the clutch in. When you pull the clutch lever with the engine running the gears coast for a short time which allows a smooth shift. Once they stop moving the shift dogs can be misaligned, so moving into first gear becomes a problem. I know it sounds odd, but the gears turning are what makes it drop into first gear smoothly so either feather it or release, pull, and try again. Whatever you do, don't "stomp" on it. Stomping will work, but will eventually reveal the weakest link in the system.
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post #11 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 4:00 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

I think every bike i have ever riden has done that.

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post #12 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 4:03 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

...everyone has the same problem ?

Has anyone looked into the actual cause ?
Is there a fix ?
I'll certainly try the feather thing though.

Thanks for all the quick responses

D U
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post #13 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 4:53 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

It's not a problem. If you could see the dogs you would understand that they have fairly large flat surfaces that must be rotating at different speeds so that one can latch into the other.

Phil Konzak

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post #14 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 5:01 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by durq
...everyone has the same problem ?

Has anyone looked into the actual cause ?
Is there a fix ?
I'll certainly try the feather thing though.
Double post

Dean has given you the correct answer.

The gears need to spin and be in synch with the engine for a smooth shifting. If the gears are totally still, the dog-teeth might not find the alignment to couple the gears with the engine.

This is because motorbike's sequential transmissions often incorporate a synchro-less dog-clutch engagement mechanism (as opposed to the synchromesh dog clutch common on H-pattern automotive transmissions, which is bringing the gears up to speed using the synchronizers during the shift).

Why is the problem happening when the bike is sitting for a while, and not when the engine is already warm? I believe that - on a cold, long-sitting engine - the oil has a greater viscosity and it's "holding" the gears still. Unless you feather the clutch of course, so that the gears start moving.

Starting the engine with the clutch dis-engaged might help. So does starting the bike and letting the engine idle for a minute before putting in first gear.

I've had this with any bike I owned. On some bikes (lighter than the LT!!) I used to roll the bike forward a little bit during the shifting, to let it find the synchronisation better.

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post #15 of 28 Old May 6th, 2010, 6:38 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by durq
...everyone has the same problem ?...
As others wrote - not a problem.
That is how it works.

If you had a car with non-synchro first gear, you'd also be spinning up the gearbox to get it engaged.

Robert in Northern NJ

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post #16 of 28 Old May 7th, 2010, 10:36 am
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

I'll chime in too. My '00 LT and '05 GS both do this. I really don't think you have a problem.

Feathering the clutch, quickly pulling in and releasing the clutch, rocking the bike back and forth to get it into gear in my opinion is normal operating procedure. My experience is that my shaft drive bikes have always exhibited the behavior more so than the chain drives (BMW or otherwise).

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post #17 of 28 Old May 7th, 2010, 7:11 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

+1 (they all seem to do it)

My 99 and the 05 LT sometimes does it - especially when the trans is cold. At first I just pressed harder until I found out (here) to pull the clutch in and pre-load the shifter down and let it out a tad (slight friction zone) and "snick!" she goes in gear. At least I think that's how it goes, I just do it without thinking!

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post #18 of 28 Old May 7th, 2010, 9:25 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Put it into gear as soon as you pull in the clutch. That way it's trying to shift before everything stops turning and it can mesh..............

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post #19 of 28 Old May 8th, 2010, 4:24 am
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

I was wondering how long the original poster is riding his LT and why has he wrote "I've recently developed a problem"

We're all assuming that the behaviour is the "normal" one of each bike, but maybe he's facing something havier than that.

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post #20 of 28 Old May 8th, 2010, 6:44 am
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrado68
I was wondering how long the original poster is riding his LT and why has he wrote "I've recently developed a problem"

We're all assuming that the behaviour is the "normal" one of each bike, but maybe he's facing something havier than that.
Yeah, I wondered that too. Has something really changed, or is he just discovering that sometimes depending on where the gears come to a stop in the tranny? The gears need to be spun a little to get them to mesh depending on where they have stopped.
Kinda like a slot machine where things line up "wrong" some of the time.

I wondered if his linkage was going or something, but decided he probably has just discovered this "feature". All the above posts about gear teeth needing to be aligned are correct. Everyonce in a while the gears will come to a stop in a position that prevents engagment, and the gears will have to be spun a little to get them to engage.
This isn't true only for first gear, it just that we only notice it in first because we are stopped and the tranny is at a standstill.
Witness, if you put the bike on the centerstand with the bike not running. Try shifting through the gears from 1st to 5th. You won't generally get very far without either starting the bike or manually spinning the rear wheel.
It is pretty fundamental which is why several folks are seemingly a little perplexed by the orignial post.
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post #21 of 28 Old May 9th, 2010, 7:11 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

I'm the original poster:
Let me explain..... The Lt is new to me as of late last summer. (previously a 84 GoldWing)
And yes....the reaction of the first gear is a recent development. It only started shortly "after" (not immediately) I fired it up this spring. ( or it may be better to say..."I only recently experienced the first gear thing" )
Hence...I asked the question.

I've recently tried the "clutch feathering" approach and it seemed to work out well.

Thanks for all the help.
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post #22 of 28 Old May 9th, 2010, 7:42 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Hi Don,
BMW has historically had pretty "clunky" transmissions compared to the Japanese. So your query is understandable.
Most of us are probably so used to feathering the clutch that we no longer remember how many times the tranny won't let you into first when at a dead stop.
It is a "feature" and not a problem.
It is much like a slot machine in that things randomly come to a stop, sometimes lined up right, sometimes "wrong". So I think you are correct when wording it to say you only recently "experienced" it, rather than calling it a "development". Very likely nothing has "developed", you just got lucky enough to discover the "feature".
Enjoy the ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by durq
I'm the original poster:
Let me explain..... The Lt is new to me as of late last summer. (previously a 84 GoldWing)
And yes....the reaction of the first gear is a recent development. It only started shortly "after" (not immediately) I fired it up this spring. ( or it may be better to say..."I only recently experienced the first gear thing" )
Hence...I asked the question.

I've recently tried the "clutch feathering" approach and it seemed to work out well.

Thanks for all the help.
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post #23 of 28 Old May 9th, 2010, 7:49 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

It might be that you noticed it more this spring, also because it's colder than last summer when you got the bike, and colder weather means that the oil is less fluid and producing more rolling/shifing resistance.

Or maybe you need to change oil: do you know how long it was since the last oil change?

Living in Ottawa (assumingly cold climate) you might also consider an oil with a lower viscosity grade

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post #24 of 28 Old May 9th, 2010, 10:17 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

It's only Ottawa....not the Artic circle

All fluids have now been changed. All Synthetic. Sure not as easy as the GoldWing to work on. But it sure rides a whole lot better. Especially with the extra baggage attached

I'll go with the the "slot machine" theory . It may have just not lined up that way.
I did have it out a few times this spring without this "feature" showing itself.
I'll also go with the "clutch feathering" technique.

There is also a sidecar that I've "duct taped" to the side of this slot machine. I haven't had it out in a while lately because I've just built a new sidecar for the grandchildren to ride in. When it's fully attached and wired, I'll spend some time exploring this transmission feature further.
You've all been helpful.
tx
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post #25 of 28 Old May 10th, 2010, 1:17 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Great color for your bike, is that original?

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post #26 of 28 Old May 10th, 2010, 2:20 pm
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrado68
Great color for your bike, is that original?
I'm pretty sure that's the BMW OEM color Impala Brown.

Somewhat maligned by others, I kinda like it.

I heard it is the only color bike that has trouble shifting into first gear though.
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post #27 of 28 Old May 10th, 2010, 8:40 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Yes..the colour is original. I understand that it was used sparingly by BMW. The sidecar was taken in over the winter to have it colour matched. The sidecar was installed on it last Sept. (you'll notice that I'm using the correct spelling for "colour" ....I'm old and I'm Canadian...this is the way we do it)
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post #28 of 28 Old May 11th, 2010, 9:25 am
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Re: Trouble getting into 1st gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by durq
(you'll notice that I'm using the correct spelling for "colour" ....I'm old and I'm Canadian...this is the way we do it)
Another colourful character on the forum... and he can spell!
Pisses me off the way the spell-checker always tries to make us spell incorrectly

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