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Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Sorcli » Wed May 11, 2016 12:52 pm

Hi all. After having read a post by Bill on the Facebook page I decided to remove the large spring from my Bendix too. I had already done all the other modifications possible. I am using a four bush starter, I have the additional earth cable from the battery to the engine and I even have the small clip that goes on the horseshoe clip (as I found a slight improvement with that too). When removing my spring I took some pics and put together a small pic video to help explain to anyone else who is thinking of doing the same thing. Here is a link to the video if anyone would like to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n4lrDLvF9g
1981/3 XV750 rear to front wheel conversion with GSXR100 front forks, FZR front disc, custom made exhaust and Cone Engineering shorty muffler, custom subframe and seat 140x90x16 and 130x90x16 Metzeler tires, Acewell speedo, custom headlight and grill.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Artie » Wed May 11, 2016 6:52 pm

I'm guessing by the post that removing the spring worked? Completely fixed or just better?
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Hellgate » Wed May 11, 2016 7:06 pm

But does the idle gear retract quickly once the motor has started?

I'll be honest with you Yamaha Bill, or whatever he goes by now, is a snake oil salesman. I bought he stuff, got his CD and trashed it all.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: turnrightonred » Thu May 12, 2016 12:05 am

Sorcli wrote:Hi all. After having read a post by Bill on the Facebook page I decided to remove the large spring from my Bendix too...


Oh brother... here we go again.

Yet another "unnecessary" part supplied by Yamaha just because they feel they are making too much money and want to add expense to their top line so they don't make so much.

Yeah right! Give me a link to the Yamaha tech advisory that acknowledges this is a "design error" and I'll believe it.

This spring disengages the gear after the engine starts and holds it away from the flywheel when the engine is running. There have been others on this list who have tried cutting this spring to lessen the tension with, shall we say, less than satisfactory results. You gain absolutely nothing by increasing this contact area and risk the gear falling into the flywheel after the engine is started.

1/4" of tooth engagement is plenty of area to adequately drive an undamaged flywheel. If the flywheel is badly damaged, one fix works... flywheel and #2 idler replacement. Dressing the gears is very helpful.

With the GEN I starter system, you have two choices. Renew the system with stock parts (using Yamaha's upgraded gear set) except for the 4 brush starter that is verified to be superior to the OEM and undercut the mating gears or... Do a GEN II upgrade using stock parts. Every other "fix" is garbage!

I never had the problem with starter slip ring slippage before I upgraded. Yamaha supplies shims to address this problem. There are other methods that lock the slip ring entirely. I have never heard of any problems doing this but I am uncomfortable since Yamaha engineers thought it was necessary to relieve the strain caused by a backfire a prevent damage to the starter "clutch." Having said that however: the Yamaha shims add so much friction I'm not sure they could slip at all. Some guys use JB weld, but the most professional IMO is set screw installation.

My biggest complaints were two:

1) Failure to engage and there is a spacer supplied by Yamaha (obsolete, but available used) to address this problem... somewhat. In addition Yamaha supplies an upgraded #2 starter wheel and idler gear set. This set has a less aggressive twist that increases the linear motion of the #2 gear so it has less rotational speed when it contacts the flywheel.

2) Kick out before starting or when the engine fires but fails to start. A strong battery and undercut gears are the only remedy here but the symptom manifests from time to time regardless. Removing the compression spring does nothing to address this problem. If the idler gear loses pressure it will kick out. The inertia of a fire but failure to start sends the idler in the opposite direction; spring or no spring.

An engine that is properly tuned and starts with the least amount of effort helps greatly but... there will still be those times when this abominable system will fail.

I would never go back to the GEN I system. With the GEN II I just start the engine. If it's slow to start, I just keep the button depressed a little longer until it does.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Artie » Thu May 12, 2016 12:41 am

I must admit, with both my Gen 1 systems, both got new idler gears and both work perfectly, de-burring the flywheel teeth is important when fitting a new idler, as its only part of the game. Good components are the real fix imo.

A key is a well tuned engine in good condition which starts easily. Mine are both completely stock and Im happy with them.

The gen 2, 'new' stuff, does remove this spring, and Yamaha tech does say that its now not required, in fact the new idler gear doesnt actually allow the spring to be fitted.

So there may well be something in that, except the Gen 2 does have a return spring on the throwout solenoid, so I take on board that there isnt a lot to stop the gear from vibrating out when the engine is running ( post edit; except the friction clip wont allow it to turn normally, so yeah, it therefore cant theoretically).

I found the concept interesting, purely because, its the act of engaging the teeth which is the issue, not the depth of engagement, yes I think the narrow tooth engagement (with the spring) is adequate to crank the engine, but..... its as the spring compresses as the two sets of teeth approach each other that, I beleive, is the issue. It makes sense to me that without the spring, the two sets of teeth can hit each other much faster and reduce the bouncing off each other issue..... hence I was intrigued by this topic.

I was considering doing this simple mod on one of mine to check it out...but if it isnt broke.....

Carry on....... :bg:
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Sorcli » Thu May 12, 2016 2:08 am

If the starter motor is not turning the idle gear #2 can not even be pulled out physically (try it if you doubt it) so I fail to see how it could come out while the engine is running. The superseded idle gear (without the large spring) is only available for later models. The horseshoe clip around the gear prevents the gear from turning until it engages with the flywheel and reaches the stop, at which point it's 5lb (if I recall correctly) of pressure is not enough to stop it turning and therefore it starts to turn along with the flywheel. In a relatively short time this horseshoe clip begins to wear and give and is unable to maintain the correct 5lbs of pressure and the gear starts spinning before it is engaged, hence the small modification clip. My tests, without it and with made a difference. I can not say that it resolved the problem but I definitely found that it made a difference. Having said this, I have the four bush starter and the additional earth cable and my bike turned over without grinding. But occasionally it did occasionally grind so I thought I would try the removal of the spring too.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: faffi » Thu May 12, 2016 2:39 am

Seems like a sensible idea, removing the spring. One must wonder, though, why Yamaha went with a wide gear and only decided to use half its width...

So far, my starter works fine and without too much noise as long as the battery is strong. I may dive into this next winter just to see how the gears look and to remove the spring in question as well as fit a new brake spring, just as a preventive measure. Thanks for the tip and explaining video!
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Sorcli » Thu May 12, 2016 3:45 am

I think generally Yamaha didn't get this design right. They added a magnet under the gear because they obviously found that it was grinding. They then made a very small modification from 81 to 82, shorter horseshoe on the starter motor gear. Then totally changed it after 83. So they also realized that it was a poor design. Is it a coincidence that on the later models the superseded bendix doesn't have the large return spring, I think not. Perhaps they too realised that it was not necessary. Anyway, I would quite understand anyone who has a bike that does not grind at all not wanting to change anything, if it's not broke, don't fix it. But if you do, any modification, that works, I'm sure is well received. So far, from everyone who has removed it says it resolved the issue. After a few weeks running without it I too will be able to give my definite opinion, in these couple of days I can say it seems to be a good move.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: turnrightonred » Thu May 12, 2016 2:13 pm

Sorcli wrote: I ...Is it a coincidence that on the later models the superseded bendix doesn't have the large return spring, I think not. Perhaps they too realised that it was not necessary.

Anyway, I would quite understand anyone who has a bike that does not grind at all not wanting to change anything, if it's not broke, don't fix it...


The GEN I relies on a spiral gear and inertia to move the idler gear into the flywheel. The GEN II uses a positive engagement fork to magnetically move the gears together. It's a completely different design. After the engine starts, the electromagnet is deenergized and a heavy spring moves the gears apart and holds them there. Its impossible for them to attempt to mesh absent the magnetic engager.

My point exactly. Removal of this spring has only a negative effect. It is necessary with the GEN I system. Yamaha did not remove requirement for this spring from the GEN I starter. Its removal does nothing to resolve lack of engagement or kick out after firing without starting or due to a weak battery.

To a previous poster who stated that it was impossible to move the gears apart with the engine off... that's because the engine is off... duh! When the starter is not turning, only the spring acts to keep the gears separated when the bike is leaned over in a turn.
Last edited by turnrightonred on Thu May 12, 2016 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: turnrightonred » Thu May 12, 2016 2:22 pm

faffi wrote:Seems like a sensible idea, removing the spring.

And you base this statement on your thorough understanding of why Yamaha used the spring in the first place. See my other posts as to its function and necessity.

There are readers of this site who assume (wrongly) that all opinions are written by engineers who have done definitive testing and whose opinions have been verified. Most are not and their opinions are just that... opinions.

Show me your data. I don't have to show you mine since I rely on that of the Yamaha engineers who designed the engine. Their testing has resulted in several improvements to the original (bad) design but removal of this necessary spring is not one of them!
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: turnrightonred » Thu May 12, 2016 2:44 pm

Artie wrote:I must admit, with both my Gen 1 systems, both got new idler gears and both work perfectly, de-burring the flywheel teeth is important when fitting a new idler, as its only part of the game. Good components are the real fix imo.

A key is a well tuned engine in good condition which starts easily. Mine are both completely stock and Im happy with them.

The gen 2, 'new' stuff, does remove this spring, and Yamaha tech does say that its now not required, in fact the new idler gear doesnt actually allow the spring to be fitted.

So there may well be something in that, except the Gen 2 does have a return spring on the throwout solenoid, so I take on board that there isnt a lot to stop the [GEN II] gear from vibrating out when the engine is running ( post edit; except the friction clip wont allow it to turn normally, so yeah, it therefore cant theoretically).

I found the concept interesting, purely because, its the act of engaging the teeth which is the issue, not the depth of engagement, yes I think the narrow tooth engagement (with the spring) is adequate to crank the engine, but..... its as the spring compresses as the two sets of teeth approach each other that, I beleive, is the issue. It makes sense to me that without the spring, the two sets of teeth can hit each other much faster and reduce the bouncing off each other issue [emphasis mine]..... hence I was intrigued by this topic.

I was considering doing this simple mod on one of mine to check it out...but if it isnt broke.....

Carry on....... :bg:

:yup:

The improved gear set seeks to address the moment the gears meet by increasing the speed at which it is thrown into the flywheel. The spiral is much less steep and the idler is given less time to accelerate rotationally and more likely to engage.

Good point about the friction clip. I think you are correct and the true purpose of the spring is only to disengage the gears. I contend it's still necessary and its removal does nothing to improve starter clutch function.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Sorcli » Fri May 13, 2016 4:54 am

[/quote]The improved gear set seeks to address the moment the gears meet by increasing the speed at which it is thrown into the flywheel. The spiral is much less steep and the idler is given less time to accelerate rotationally and more likely to engage.

Good point about the friction clip. I think you are correct and the true purpose of the spring is only to disengage the gears. I contend it's still necessary and its removal does nothing to improve starter clutch function.[/quote]

I must admit that I have never believed in removing the spring, no logical explanation was ever given to why it would help and I too thought that it must be necessary to help disengage the gear. Having said this, several people who have had Gen1 Viragos for years are swearing that it totally resolves the problem without any negative consequences. So I thought I would give it a try too. My final and definite conclusions will only be reached after a period of using the bike without it.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: ClasCramer » Sun May 22, 2016 2:03 am

Sorcli wrote:Hi all. After having read a post by Bill on the Facebook page I decided to remove the large spring from my Bendix too. I had already done all the other modifications possible. I am using a four bush starter, I have the additional earth cable from the battery to the engine and I even have the small clip that goes on the horseshoe clip (as I found a slight improvement with that too). When removing my spring I took some pics and put together a small pic video to help explain to anyone else who is thinking of doing the same thing. Here is a link to the video if anyone would like to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n4lrDLvF9g


Hi, and thank´s on Your tip about removing the spring!
Saw Your video of Your beautiful café racer. I just started a similar build and would like some advice, mainly regarding swap to USD-fork. Is it possible for me to contact You in any way, or for You to contact me?

Not so familiar with forums and so on... Is it ok to put an e-mailadress in a thread?

/ Clas. (Swedish name).

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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Naspc » Sun May 22, 2016 8:51 am

Sorcli wrote:The improved gear set seeks to address the moment the gears meet by increasing the speed at which it is thrown into the flywheel. The spiral is much less steep and the idler is given less time to accelerate rotationally and more likely to engage.

Good point about the friction clip. I think you are correct and the true purpose of the spring is only to disengage the gears. I contend it's still necessary and its removal does nothing to improve starter clutch function.

I must admit that I have never believed in removing the spring, no logical explanation was ever given to why it would help and I too thought that it must be necessary to help disengage the gear. Having said this, several people who have had Gen1 Viragos for years are swearing that it totally resolves the problem without any negative consequences. So I thought I would give it a try too. My final and definite conclusions will only be reached after a period of using the bike without it.



I hate to admit this (you win Harry).......but there is no sure way to fix the box of rocks. Ways to "alleviate" is a 4 brush starter, good battery, and new grounds. I really dont think removing the spring would work. Did anyone bother to ask beside removing the spring what else was done? it was possible a new battery, a new 4 brush starter plus new ground were done. In this case what came first the chicken or the egg?
I wonder when will people start to realize this? Removing something "mechanical" is buying yourself more than a box of rock starter issues.
Last edited by Naspc on Sun May 22, 2016 1:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Octania » Sun May 22, 2016 11:18 am

The sound of the starter is a feature, not a bug.
I am kind of over it, as long as the engine starts.

TROR, I find most of what you post very spot on correct and insightful and helpful.

However... gotta question this bit:

"When the starter is not turning, only the spring acts to keep the gears separated when the bike is leaned over in a turn."

This seems wrong to me.
In a turn, what with centrifugal forces and all, the net force the bike sees is straight up, relative to the bike... not relative to the road or terrain. That is, the net gravitational / cornering force is along a line from tire contact thru the bike and rider's center of mass. Otherwise, equilibrium is not present, and it will tip one way or the other.

Disregarding things like the rider shifting his or her mass and the resulting opposite tilt of the machine, then, it follows by physics that the starter gear sees

-no- left-right force during ordinary cornering.

Maybe whilst leaned on the side stand. But the gear's horseshoe tension clip prevents the movable gear from moving towards the flywheel because it can't just turn. And in order to move out, it must turn, because of the spiral splines. Only when the starter motor overcomes the clip tension is the movable gear forced up the spiral splines into contact with the flywheel.

I would agree the subsequent design is better. However to convert an '81 requires replacement of the entire LH cover if I am not mistaken. We are talking the LH crankcase half, correct? I am so not doing that just to fix a feature that does not prevent the machine from operating.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: turnrightonred » Sun May 22, 2016 12:08 pm

Octania wrote:...However... gotta question this bit:

"When the starter is not turning, only the spring acts to keep the gears separated when the bike is leaned over in a turn."

This seems wrong to me.
In a turn, what with centrifugal forces and all, the net force the bike sees is straight up, relative to the bike... not relative to the road or terrain. That is, the net gravitational / cornering force is along a line from tire contact thru the bike and rider's center of mass. Otherwise, equilibrium is not present, and it will tip one way or the other.

Disregarding things like the rider shifting his or her mass and the resulting opposite tilt of the machine, then, it follows by physics that the starter gear sees

-no- left-right force during ordinary cornering....

I would agree the subsequent design is better. However to convert an '81 requires replacement of the entire LH cover if I am not mistaken. We are talking the LH crankcase half, correct? I am so not doing that just to fix a feature that does not prevent the machine from operating.


Yes! You have analyzed the physics correctly and I see my error. It's a complex set of forces acting on the gear but the accuracy of your relativistic view is undeniable.

I acknowledged the action of the friction clip as being sufficient to prevent movement earlier. It is plain to me at this point that the spring is only to disengage the gears after the engine starts.

Conversion requires the replacement of a whole lot more than just the side cover. It also requires a great deal of work to accomplish. But.. even knowing what I know now... I would do it again in a heartbeat; If only for the reason that I no longer have to worry about ruining an irreplaceable part (the flywheel) that will render the entire machine worthless.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Octania » Sun May 22, 2016 9:07 pm

Worthless?

pish posh, TROR

For many months back in '87 or so, I could not find an affordable battery [no internet back then] and so I push started the beast. In a town with no hill at all. My only gravitational advantage was the 5-6" curb. Push on sidewalk, jump on, go down the gently curved curb [California], hit the seat hard just when popping into 2nd, and pray it took the first time.

Of course I was somewhat younger then.

But, lack of an electric starter in no way stops the machine from being used.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: turnrightonred » Sun May 22, 2016 11:35 pm

Octania wrote:Worthless?

pish posh, TROR

For many months back in '87 or so, I could not find an affordable battery [no internet back then] and so I push started the beast. In a town with no hill at all. My only gravitational advantage was the 5-6" curb. Push on sidewalk, jump on, go down the gently curved curb [California], hit the seat hard just when popping into 2nd, and pray it took the first time.

Of course I was somewhat younger then.

But, lack of an electric starter in no way stops the machine from being used.


Did you post to the correct thread? Your post doesn't make any sense. I did post to another thread that push starting a motorcycle is a dangerous endeavor. Your post here only confirms that contention.

Yeah, it does stop the machine from being used. When you drop it and crack the crankcase.

You point here is... What? "Pish posh?" What's that about.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Sorcli » Mon May 23, 2016 12:39 am

To pull out the #2 gear to engage into the flywheel the starter motor must turn, as it's all connected. So if the starter is not turning the #2 gear stays back in it's base position. If anyone doubts this, open up the cover and try physically pulling it out by hand, it won't budge unless the starter motor turns. So although I also think that it is very strange that Yamaha got this wrong, if removing the spring ALONG WITH a good battery, extra earth cable and a four bush starter stops the grinding I'll remove it.
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Re: Box of rocks fix

PostAuthor: Peternieber » Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:54 pm

I can NOT believe that all the obviously talented motorcycle mechanics on this VTF,have still not invented a CURE for the gen 1 starter box of rocks. Thanks Pete

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