Question about Harley Davidson FXST Softail Standard Motorcycles

2 Answers

Shifting problems, 1984 FXST

My 1984 FXST will not shift into first when started. I have to rock the bike and rev the engine (slightly) to get it into second, then slip it into first. If I force it it will grind, engage with the clutch pulled in and stall the engine. On the road it shifts satisfactorily 90% of the time (especially at lower RPM's) but at the higher RPM the shift is rougher. During downshifting to a stop, sometimes (10%) it will not shift into first. Again I have to rock it or shift into second, then first.

Posted by on

  • chrisbh1 Aug 02, 2009

    First thing I thought of was fluid levels. I changed them all just to be sure. No luck.

  • Mike McDowell May 11, 2010

    Are you low on Tranny fluid?



2 Answers

  • Level 2:

    An expert who has achieved level 2 by getting 100 points


    An expert that got 5 achievements.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 20 times.


    An expert who has answered 20 or more questions within one hour.

  • Expert
  • 188 Answers

Thats an old transmission. May be time for a rebuild.

Posted on Jul 31, 2009

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert who has answered 20 questions.


    An expert that has over 10 points.

    Problem Solver:

    An expert who has answered 5 questions.

  • Contributor
  • 23 Answers

Clutch cable stretch,clutch adjustment,bent shift detent,bent shift forks?

Posted on Mar 11, 2010


1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

a 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
Best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
the service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of.(from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones)
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.

Posted on Jan 02, 2017

Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

Will go into neutral but will not go into first gear

Assuming you mean with the engine running, you can't go from neutral to first, I sometimes have this problem too.
I'll slowly let out the clutch just a little bit, shifting into 1st as I'm doing so, and it'll drop into gear.
Also, try shifting up into 2nd, then back down to 1st.

If you mean with the engine NOT running, then you have to rock the bike a little either forward or backwards as holding shifter down until gears line up to engage.

Jan 06, 2014 | Harley Davidson FLSTC Heritage Softail...

1 Answer

I shifted through my gears while idling with the clutch in. Then it stopped shifting at all. I have to rock the bike back and fort to let the shifter engage. Now eeven in neutral the drive is engaged. ...

I did this on my Vstar recently.

My solution was, engine off, ignition off. Hands off the clutch, Rock and downshift, rock and downshift a good half a dozen times to make absolutely sure you are in 1st gear. Now, still without touching the clutch, rock and VERY gently upshift. If you can push the bike back and forth without the clutch and the gears aren't engaging the engine, you're there. NOW turn on the ignition and pray for the green light.

Aug 23, 2011 | Yamaha Vino Motorcycles

1 Answer

1989 XLH1200 will not shift into 3rd & 4th gear

Try shifting through the gears with the engine off and rocking the bike back and forth. If it still does not shift, the only thing you can do is to pull the transmission out and check the shifting mechanism. It could be several different things but in any case, the transmission has to come out.

Good Luck

Aug 18, 2011 | Harley Davidson XL 1200 S Sportster Sport...

1 Answer

I have suzuki gsxr 1000 2007,the gear wont go to nutral when the bike is on and shiftting is a hard when shifting.when its off its ok

worn shifting fork,,,located under sidecase where shift lever is located,,or possibley stretched clutch cable,,not totally dissengageing,,,adjust cable,,,usually wont shift when off unless you rock bike back and forth.

Mar 12, 2011 | Suzuki GSX-R 1000 Motorcycles

1 Answer

I have a 1984 Harley Davidson ,transmission problem:does not shift into 3rd gear after riding 25 miles.Just need some ideas what this problem could be.

Ok, we need to determine whether you have a transmission problem or a clutch problem. Ride the bike until it will no longer shift into third gear. Then stop the bike and turn the engine off. While rocking the bike backwards and forwards, try to shift the transmission though all the gears. If it shifts through the gears there, you have a clutch problem if it will not shift though all the gears, you have a transmission problem.

Please try this and repost with me. I need to know whether your transmission is a five speed or four speed. I seem to remember that those bikes had a four speed that year.

Let me know what you find.

Good luck

Sep 28, 2010 | 1993 Harley Davidson FXR Super Glide

1 Answer

I bought a 2003 R6 from this guy who said the chain broke on him. The bike only in neutral and first gear. i cant hift up from one to two or neutral to two. Plus I dont the clutch is engaging at all. once...

personally I have never heard of a chain breaking and having any affect on the transmission and shifting. although if the chain broke and caught the shifter, it may have pulled the shifter so hard that it could have bent the shifting forks inside the transmission.. this would explain most of your problems..replace the chain,and with the bike "off" and in neutral, on level ground, rock it back and fourth about 6 inches and try shifting from neutral to 1st and then back up to neutral, and then to 2nd. keep rocking the bike back and fourth while doing this and do this WITHOUT using the clutch. If it wont go to the gears easily, the shift forks are likely bent. there is a safety switch for the kickstand that will shut the bike down if the kickstand is down and bike is in gear. if the kickstand is up and releasing the clutch shuts down the bike, the chain may have damaged that as well. Hope this helps..

Sep 26, 2010 | 2003 Yamaha YZF-R6

1 Answer

I changed engine oil then when shifting only had 1st &2nd, shift linkage was full up position. would over filling the engine oil cause shifting problems

No, engine oil would have no effect on the transmission. When a big twin will not shift the problem is usually in the transmission. To test this, try to shift the transmission from first to fifth gear without the engine running. Rock the bike forward and backwards while trying to shif the gears. If you can go all the way up and back down, the transmission is alright.

If not and you can only shift from first to second, check the shift lever where it attaches to the shifter pawl shaft. Make sure that it is tight and not slipping. If it is tight and not slipping, it is probably your shifter pawl return spring.

With the transmission in neutral, lift the shifter lever with your hand until just before it shifts. Feel the spring tension. Now, depress the lever until just before it shifts into first gear. Does the spring tension feel the same in both directions? If not, the spring is probably broken. Do NOT start the engine if this is the case as further damage can be done to the transmission. To repair this requires a major disassembly of the transmission and is usually beyond the capability of those other than trained mechanics.

Good Luck

Jun 20, 2010 | 2003 Harley Davidson FXST Softail Standard

1 Answer

When hooking my new vrod battery up i can hear the starter spinning when i try to attach the ground...what am i doing wrong

When you discovered your battery was kaput, you were probably trying to start your bike at the time. I have seen on rare occasions that when this happens, the starter solenoid gets "stuck" in the "engaged" positon. Try rocking your bike backwards and forwards a few times with the transmission in high gear. Rock the bike while shifting the tranny until you get it into high gear. The with the clutch out, rock the bike and turn the engine over a few times. Shift the bike back down to neutral and try to connect the battery. Rocking the bike while in gear rotates the outer clutch drum. If the starter jack shaft is still engaged with the ring gear on the outer clutch drum, rocking the bike a bit will turn the drum allowing the spring in the starter to pull the jack shaft and starter gear back out of engagement. I hope this helps.

Mar 26, 2010 | 2008 Harley Davidson VRSCAW V-Rod

1 Answer

Wont shift into 2nd

First, with the bike not running, rock the bike back and forth and try to shift the gears. You should be able to shift up through all the gears and back down. If you can't, the problem is in the shifting mechanism. They've had some shifter pawl problems on earlier models. You'll have to pull the primary cover to get to the shifting mechanism.

Next, put the bike in first gear with the engine off. Now, pull the clutch in and try to start the engine. If the bike lurches forward, you're problem is the clutch. Check the adjustment of the clutch according to the service manual.

Sep 23, 2009 | 2005 Harley Davidson XL 883L Sportster

1 Answer

Revs up in idle and and has to have full choke at all times

wrong jetting can cause reving up buddy also the backfiring is due to too much fuel going in the engine on the carb is a screw mixture screw turn this in 1/4 of a turns at atime until it stops back firing also has the bike been rejetted before buddy

Sep 19, 2009 | 1984 kawasaki Z 550 F

Not finding what you are looking for?
Motorcycles Logo

Related Topics:

232 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Harley Davidson Experts

Arnie Burke
Arnie Burke

Level 3 Expert

4536 Answers


Level 3 Expert

4340 Answers


Level 3 Expert

76649 Answers

Are you a Harley Davidson Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides