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Author Topic: Won't stay in 4th gear. Ideas?  (Read 823 times)


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Won't stay in 4th gear. Ideas?
« on: July 16, 2013, 10:01:30 pm »
Having just bought a 68 Bullet with 80 (yes 80!) miles on it, this bike has been in storage, but although it runs like a dream, it will not stay in fourth gear while cruising or under acceleration.  Just serviced, but no matter how I hold my tongue or think happy thoughts, it won't stay in 4th gear more than a 1/4 mile.  Any ideas or remedies are certainly welcomed!  Thanks much!


  • Grand Gearhead
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Re: Won't stay in 4th gear. Ideas?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 11:30:09 pm »
I suspect it is one of four things, the detent plunger is rounded off or detent plunger does not have enough pre-load on it, or the ratchet shift mechanism needs to be adjusted one mm in a  counterclockwise rotation, or the GOSA (gear operator selector assembly is missing the notch for 4th gear).
Do you have a pete snidal repair manual? He has a description of these adjustments in the gear box section.

Or you can log onto the Hitchcock tech section and there is a 5 part description for the albion gearbox rebuild. I believe part 4 or 5 has the description of the adjustment procedure for the detent plunger and ratchet mechanism. (http://www.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/technical-notes)

It is also helpful if you have a fellow bulleteer nearby that has already done the adjustment procedure to give you a hand.  Where are you located?
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 11:05:35 pm by mrunderhill1975a »


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Re: Won't stay in 4th gear. Ideas?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 03:15:55 pm »
Holy moley that is some great info!!  Thanks so much!  I do not have the manual you mention, I am in the Denver area though.


  • Grand Gearhead
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Re: Won't stay in 4th gear. Ideas?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 05:21:54 pm »
As you know, you've got some old time technology there and it will occasionally need a bit of tuning and repair.

I suggest you buy the Pete Snidal manual.  There is a wealth of information in it.

2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary


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Re: Won't stay in 4th gear. Ideas?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 10:42:01 pm »
Thank you to everyone who has offered information to assist me in solving my shifting issue!  This bike is so much fun, so unique, but utterly lovable, I am going to learn how to make it be the best it can.  Thanks again!


  • Grand Gearhead
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Re: Won't stay in 4th gear. Ideas?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 05:53:27 pm »
Here is some adjustment information from Terry and Shawn

Terry's description works well. I had a similar problem to you after converting from LH to RH shift. Here are some tips that helped me...

Ride the bike and determine whether the gearbox shifts too much or too little. For example when shifting from 2nd to 3rd the gears pop out
to a neutral between 3rd and 4th, it shifts too far (this was my
      trouble). Or for example when shifting from 2nd to 3rd the gears pop
                out to a neutral between 2nd and 3rd then it shifts too short. If you
                have to drive holding it in 4th gear with your foot it !probably!
                shifts too short. If it seems to jump out of gear to neutrals both
                above and below your selected gear check the GOSA (see below).

                Put the bike on the center stand so that the rear wheel is clear of
                the cement and can be turned by hand. Remove the outer gearbox cover.

                Check the spring loaded gear selector detent pin that is at the upper
                front under the outer gearbox cover. Jan's old posts call it a GOSA
                and you should be able to find it in the archives. The GOSA is what
                holds the gears in gear. There are 5 detents that the GOSA slips into
                in the inner "gear operator" (1st, neutral, 2nd,3rd,4th). If the GOSA
                is too loose, misaligned (slot and taper not horizontal), or the
                taper is rounded off it will allow the "gear operator" to move and
                gear to slip out. When the GOSA is over tightened the tapered face
                quickly becomes a rounded rubbing block rather than a tapered detent
                pin. Set the GOSA up correctly before adjusting the ratchet (below)
                and use Jan's posts and common sense to set it snug but not too tight.
                (The taper should not bottom the spring between the detents. the
                repair book had a terribly vague description of how to do it)

                After the GOSA's in good working order... With the bike on the center
                stand and the outer cover off the gearbox re-install the foot shifter
                (this is easy with RH shift and may not be practical with LH shift)
                You may have to reinstall the kickstart lever too. You should be able
                to turn the rear wheel with your left hand and shift up and down
                through the gears with your right (or you may need an assistant with
                LH shift). As you shift you will be able to watch the ratchet that
                Terry's post talks about. You can loosen the nuts that hold the
                adjuster and move it on its slot to see how the adjustment changes how
                far it shifts.

                If your bike was shifting too far the ratchet will allow the "gear
                operator" to move past the GOSA's detent. For RH shift this means the
                shift lever is rotating clockwise and the solution !if I remember
                correctly! is to rotate the ratchet adjuster plate counter clockwise
                (sort this out for yourself by going through the gears a lot). In my
                case I could not rotate the adjuster plate enough and I had to file
                the slots in the adjuster plate longer. I didn't do any filing until
                I'd adjusted it several times with plenty of riding on each change.
                (It's not a 1 day process unless you're REALLY in to it.) When the
                adjustment is close the bike was very ridable and only popped out of
                gear occasionally.

                If your bike was shifting short the RH shift lever will need to move
                further. If I remember correctly (!) this means you need to move the
                ratchet adjuster plate clockwise.

                Some other things could cause jumping out of gears... Worn gears,
                bent main or layshaft, or the detents worn out of the gear operator.

                Good luck and patience,


And below is some info from Terry:
Adjusting the shifter movement is not the easiest thing to explain
and it's
even more frustrating to do. If you have  a parts book please refer
to it
while I try to explain the adjustment.

First thing to do is remove the gear box cover. The neutral finder
come off with your fingers as it should not be completely tightened
The spring holds it from loosening off. Remove the kick starter. Now
are five screws to remove around the perimeter of the cover. The
small screw
that holds the inspection cover in the top left corner is one of the
Now the cover can be slid off the kick start shaft and rotated around
that you can pull the clutch cable from the lever inside the cover.

In the left hand top corner of the inner cover you will see the
mechanism. As you shift gears the foot control ratchet (outer) will
and engage a tooth of the inner ratchet. What happens if this
mechanism is
not adjusted correctly is that the outer ratchet will just miss a
tooth on
the inner ratchet and by the time it reaches the next tooth you have
run out
of movement on your foot shift; therefore the gear will not engage.

The very back plate is called the foot control adjuster plate and is
to allow you to move it side to side in order to get the outer and
ratchets to engage properly. What you are trying to achieve is that
outer ratchet catches the closest tooth of the inner ratchet as it
through the gears in both directions. Since you have a left side
shift lever
you may need another person to help you.

The foot control stop plate which holds this ratchet mechanism
together has
two holes in it which will allow you to see the inner ratchet. While
rotating the rear wheel have someone shift for you while you watch
the outer
ratchet engage the inner ratchet. You should be able to see if the
ratchet is slipping past a tooth on the inner ratchet. If so, the
plate will have to be moved until the outer ratchet connects with the
closest tooth on the inner ratchet each time you shift gears. To
adjust the
plate you will have to remove the stop plate. There are only two
small nuts
holding it in place. The foot control adjuster plate pins can now be
loosened off so that the adjuster plate can be moved side to side.
just have to play with it until it does what you want it to do. You
may have
to assemble everything and ride the bike and come back and make
adjustments to get it working right.

I hope all this makes sense to you. Let me know how you make out.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 05:58:16 pm by mrunderhill1975a »