I was riding my KLR home from the gym the other day and all of the sudden I couldn’t change gears. ‘Weird,’ I thought. I tried to change up and down gears multiple times however nothing was happening. With the clutch, without the clutch, from a stop, nothing. ‘Ah shit, that can’t be good.’ I was stuck in fourth gear and rode the bike home. The last time I had to limp a vehicle home like this was when my clutch cable snapped on my old Ford Laser TX3! It certainly makes for an interesting ride…
I got the bike home and I’m not going to lie, I was panicking a little bit. It’s funny when things like this happen; your mind starts to think the worst. “My bloody transmission is stuffed!’’ Or, ‘’I’m going to need to rebuild the damn thing!’’ I jumped on the Google machine and saw that a few other people had suffered the same fates on their venerable KLR’s. The internet said it was most likely the gear change spring, a $5 part that I could replace myself. Fingers, freaking crossed!
I got to work, draining the oil and radiator fluid, removed the water pump and clutch cover. The clutch cover took some serious coercing to get off. It involved a plank of wood and a hammer, that sucker was seriously stuck on. I took the gear change spring out and straight away I could see it was damaged. Thank the old gods and the new! Now, time to order one.
It took some searching, but I was able to find the spring on Partzilla. It was about $5 and then shipping on top. I also ordered a water pump gasket and clutch cover gasket. The water pump gasket was buggered. The clutch cover gasket I ordered without checking properly, turns out mine would be good to use again. Looks like I’ve got a spare clutch cover gasket.
Putting the new spring in was a piece of cake. Seriously, only could do it. The clutch cover however, was not. Why? Because the clutch cable shaft didn’t want to sit properly, meaning the cover wouldn’t sit square and go on. I was able to get it eventually with some fiddling, it just took some patience.
I put everything back together and topped up the fluids again. All done! It was a pretty easy job TBH. The whole fix cost me about $30 all up. A lot easier on the wallet (and my sanity!) than doing a transmission rebuild. If you can change gears but your shift lever is still moving, definitely check your gear change spring.