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Yamaha Tech Originally the Yamaha XT600 Tech Forum, due to demand it now includes all Yamaha's technical / mechanical / repair / preparation questions.
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Old 2 Aug 2012
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can't find neutral

when driving my 1991 xt600 its difficult to find neutral, especially when the bike isn't moving. i can find it if i drive at slooow speed and shift carefully.

is this normal? has always been like this...
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Old 2 Aug 2012
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I don't know anything about Yamaha so I'm not sure if this is helpful or not. When that happens on my BMW F650GS it's because the clutch is not properly adjusted. This causes the clutch to not properly release when I pull the clutch lever in. By adjusting the tension on the clutch cable I've managed to get rid of that problem.

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Old 2 Aug 2012
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You're using fully-synthetic engine oil aren't you?!
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Old 2 Aug 2012
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i use mineral oil 15w-40


should i use something else? the bike uses some oil, i have considered using a thicker oil...
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Old 2 Aug 2012
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I have always found that neutral is found slightly easier when the drive chain is correctly adjusted, also as previously noted ,clutch adjustment.
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Old 3 Aug 2012
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Sometimes clutch cable adjustment or engine oil changes will make a difference - but often it won't. I hope it will in your case.

This is a problem I've found regularly on older bikes and the only reliable solution if adjustment fails to make any difference is to change the clutch plates (both the steel and friction plates) for a new set. Fortunately with the advent of Ebay and on-line stores this is no longer the major expense it used to be. Whilst I can't prove it I surmise the problem is due to slight distortion in the old plates leading to there still being significant oil drag in the clutch even when the lifter within the clutch is in the fully depressed position.

(By the way I don't believe going to a fully synthetic oil versus any good mineral motorcycle oil will make any difference - synthetics weren't around in 1991 and the clutch certainly wasn't like that from new)

Good luck

planning to get back on the road again

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Old 4 Aug 2012
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I'd agree with navalarchitect above. Mine has exactly these symptoms. I get round it by selecting neutral just before stopping. Also, I get a horrible crunch if I engage first from standstill with a cold engine. It's not possible to fix it by adjusting the cable - if I make it tight enough to disengage cleanly, it starts to slip. I have come to the conclusion that it is worn and/or warped clutch plates. I have also come to the conclusion that it is something I can live with until it gets a lot worse.

The bike is coming off the road for a bit of TLC before the winter, and a new clutch will be part of the treatment, along with a million other things
2006 XT660R daily ride, 1994 XT600E about to be reborn, Blog: http://goingfastgettingnowhere.blogspot.com/
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