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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For several weeks, now, the Grub has been difficult to shift in the lower gears. Lots of mis-shifts into neutral. Then, during a ride today, I found I couldn't shift up into 2nd gear. After a block or so, it loosened enough to shift again, but still stiff.
This fault seems to be increasing, and I shouldn't ignore it any longer. Has anyone here experienced something similar? I'm assuming it will be inside-the-case work. What should I be looking for?
Thanks.

P.S. this is the first season running synthetic Rotella
 

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1982 GL500i
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A member of the Classic Goldwing forum I'm part of is having similar issues. See if this thread from there helps any.

Sounds like you have clutch issues, whether mechanical, or oil related, I couldn't say. Even my '82 GL500i is getting fussy about finding neutral from 1st gear, unless I blip the throttle a little. I haven't had any trouble with my other gears, though.
 
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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The clutch feels completely normal, and it's only an issue around 1-N-2. The upper gears are fine.
Oddly, when I set out this morning, it shifted as easily as it ever has. Seemed to tighten up a little after the first half mile, but not enough to inhibit function. I wonder if I don't have something moving around in, and occasionally blocking, the shift linkage.
 

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change your oil. My 650 does that sometimes - an oil change seems to fix it
 
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If you can go thru the gears easily when it is up on the center stand then the clutch cable and foot lever function is fine.
Then I am thinking clutch plates are sticky, so oil is maybe the culprit.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Riding home again tonight, all seemed normal. I'll probably be doing the cam chain in the spring, so I can look into it then. If it returns, I'll try fresh oil.
Just hoping I don't have to lay her up early.
 

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Riding home again tonight, all seemed normal. I'll probably be doing the cam chain in the spring, so I can look into it then. If it returns, I'll try fresh oil.
Just hoping I don't have to lay her up early.
oil is cheap and easy. Just do it now anyway
 

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I agree with changing the oil now. I really think you should go back to conventional oil to see if it cures it. It has been noted by more than one respected “expert” on this forum that these motors don’t like synthetic oil as well as conventional. I only use conventional in my gl500 because of the wisdom of the experts here. Synthetic gear oil is also known to not be good in the old bmw airheads.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Somehow, I haven't heard that opinion on this forum, only that frequent changes with cheap conventional oil is good. I'll consider making that change.
 

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Somehow, I haven't heard that opinion on this forum, only that frequent changes with cheap conventional oil is good. I'll consider making that change.
If you do, please report your findings. Earlier this summer I was having harder shifting on my bmw and remembered that I had put synthetic gear oil in it earlier to try and fix the issue. I later learned I needed to lube the splines for the clutch and that fixed the problem. Recently it started shifting harder. I was getting false neutrals when shifting from third to fourth. This is when I remembered I still had the synthetic oil in it. I drained it and put conventional back in and it’s now shifting great again. I hope it’s the case for you.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Problem is, It's behaving well the last couple days. If I change the oil now, I won't know if that fixed it, or something else that has already happened. Still trying to determine if other factors, like cooler ambient temps, are part of it. If this turns out to have been a brief reprieve, I'll try the oil change.
Oddly, I'm getting fewer false neutrals than before the synthetic, which has been in there since spring. It's possible the oil is breaking down and causing this new problem, but synthetics are supposed to break down LESS quickly. Of course, with new- tech lube in an old-tech machine, incompatibilities shouldn't be a surprise.
 

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I usually do an oil change of 10w40 MA oil. But because of 1 pint burned per 500 miles roughly, I top up with either 20w50 or 15w40 mineral oils, whatever is cheapest that I have in bulk.

I don't have any issues doing this and it's been the case for around 18k miles now- but yes, when the weather starts to turn colder, getting the bike into gear can seem more difficult. Most of the time the only issue is after first start, pulling away it will often jump out of first. But normally okay after that but sometimes an issue changing down when at a slow speed, even when warmish.

What's the weather like around you lately? it's getting colder here now about 45 which isn't too cold, but it will get colder. It's just suddenly come down from 60 that's all.
 

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Its probably more the oil properties rather than if synthetic or not......
Correct viscosity, good antiwear package eg Zinc/Boron and correct MA rating.....
One of the smoothest shifts many have inolder Hondas has been Castrol Synthetics....Power1 which had been around since the 1980s Green "Gps" back then....
I know motofaction indicated no issues with mineral, semi-synth and full synth ..il link to that later ..
There is opinion that muneral in the final drive is the go as most still have original seals...
 

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I generally only find two common faults with these transmissions.

The main one is throwing themselves out of second back to neutral. Easily sorted by giving a small rev as the change is made. I have never had one hop out of second if I've remembered to do this.

The other is the usual cold start clutch plate separation hop and sometimes stall. Once again, a few revs with the clutch pulled in to separate the plates by inertia and put it in first on the tail end of a rev as the revs drop usually prevents this for me.

This is based on a number of CXs that I either own or have had here for jobs to be done.

On rare occasions I have found false neutrals when gearing down too quickly, around 5-4-3.

I only use mineral oil in various grades to suit weather and engine milage.

Generally I find these to be good transmissions.

I've rebuilt a number and have yet to see any real wear though sometimes the bearings are a bit grumbly.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We're getting a little off topic here. My recent issue isn't false neutrals, but difficulty shifting. There's physical resistance to moving to lever.
The trans hasn't been removed for several years, and has never been serviced since I've had it. I wonder if there isn't some sludge in the channels of the shift drum, and the switch to synthetic has somehow exacerbated that.
As I said, it seems to have improved this past weekend. We'll see if that continues in the next week or two. Thunderstorms in the forecast, so no riding today.
 

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I was going to ask earlier if you had difficulty moving the lever.

Some possibilities for that.

Bent shift spindle binding in rear case.

I'll ASSume the correct number of shims in the correct locations.

Stiff pivot for the crossover assembly. Unlikely I'd think.

Failing bearing on shift drum.

Worn selectors or shafts. As I stated above, I have never seen significant wear on one of these transmissions. Anything is possible though.

Is the lever reluctant to return to centre?
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No problem with return. Just hard to move the shift drum around 1-N-2.
It has lessened since I first posted this, so I'm doubting mechanical wear or damage.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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I ran Rotella T6 full synthetic 5W40 in Eccles for a few years and had no trouble shifting even at temperatures much colder than you would have in October.

What grade is the oil in it now?

Have you checked the clutch adjustment?
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
15W-40, per what seemed to be the consensus here. I could try the lighter grade.
Again, the clutch operation is as smooth as you could want.
From what's been discussed in this thread, the same oil in my GL650 might contribute to the clunky shifting and uneven clutch action there. But I think that's more due to clutch basket wear, as it has changed somewhat with different clutches.
The Goldwing thread linked above mentions oil pooling around the clutch, rather than draining to the sump, contributing to hard shifting. I think that works differently in the Goldwing, though.
 
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