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Doug E.
Doug E., Kawasaki Master Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 2886
Experience:  Professional motorcycle mechanic since 1978. Vintage motorcycle restorer.
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A new question is answered every 9 seconds troubles but now wont shift into reverse

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Have a Kawasaki Bayou 300 that has been sitting for a few years ran for a hour or so with no troubles but now won't shift into reverse at all and is real difficult to get in any gear.

There are a couple of issues it could be. First, check the reverse cable and levers. Sometimes the upper knob will strip out and the reverse cable won't work. Check the arm on the motor to make sure it's turning the shaft all of the way, allowing the machine to be shifted into reverse. Pull it by hand to verify it is moving all of the way and returning back when you let go.

If the reverse arm is working correctly then the problem would be in the gear change area. Check the adjuster on the clutch cover to make sure it didn't come loose. All other parts are internal. It could be a broken shift pawl or spring. Check the items above first and if that doesn't help I'll post diagrams and instructions on the internal items. I don't see where anything you did would have caused a shifting problem, it could be a part that rusted and failed.

Is this a 4x4 model?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No it's not 4x4 and I have already checked the above items
Excellent, the 2x4 is much easier to pull apart. If you have checked the above items and your clutches are working then you will need to check the gear shifting parts to see which one has failed. The reverse parts are under the final drive cover. If you pull all the motor mounts you can slide the engine enough to get the cover off. Or you can just pull out the motor if you prefer. The other shifting parts are under the clutch cover. You can get that off without moving the motor so I would start there.

Here is the diagram. Sometimes the stud that is screwed into the crankcase will back out and jam into the shift shaft. Sometimes the weld on the shaft will let go. Check both springs, the one on the shift shaft pawl and the one that holds it in gear on the drum. I like to replace both. Check for rust on the shafts.

When I have it all apart I file and polish all of the parts so that when it's done it will shift like butter.

Let me know if you need additional information.


Doug E. and other Motorcycle Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
<p>Did check the clutch side this afternoon didnt see any problems there, wondering now if it might be the clutch it sounds like to me that it is slipping , may ride it to see if it will free up a little. do you have to take the assembly off to change plates?</p><p>Brett</p>
Yes, a clutch problem could cause it to shift hard. I would suspect the front clutch more than the rear clutch however. There is a one-way bearing in the center that might be sticking.

In the rear clutch the plates can stick together from sitting that long. You only have to pull the outer cover if you are just changing plates.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
thanks I'll try that
Spin the front clutch outer drum. It should turn in one direction and lock in the other. If it does, the one way bearing is OK. Check for excessive clearance between the drum and the shoes. If you see deep groves in the drum, it's probably all worn out.

Pull all of the plates in the rear clutch to make sure they are free. Put some oil on the surface of them and check for grooves in the outer clutch basket.

When you pull the plates you can spin the inner shaft. Have someone shift the lever while you do this. If it shifts fine up and down and into reverse then you know the shifting parts are working fine.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'll do, the outer clutch assembly whats its function?
When shifting the plates separate allowing the inner shaft to spin free of the outer clutch drum which is linked to the front clutch by way of the gears on each of them. It holds all the clutch parts together basically.


Do you have a manual or diagrams? You can print free diagrams from or

I don't have an electronic copy of that manual or I'd upload it for you.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for your help, I'll let you know tomorrow how it comes out.Customer
Sounds good.