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Motorcycle Repair/1996 Kawasaki Vulacn classic


so i have a 1996 V classic and the transmission went south on me.
well just 2nd gear. come to find out that the 4 speed trans was a piece of crap. so my ? is can i instal a 5 speed trans or a motor from a newer bike. and if so what should i be looking for.
Kent Wa


Hi Fritz,

There is little advantage to the 5 speed other than
it might work if you got a good one.

The problem with the 4 speed is the gear dogs do not engage
far enough and when the shift fork and drum guide pin
or drum slot get some wear then it jumps out of gear.
Once it starts jumping out it wears the gears down as well.

The five speed does not fit in the four speed cases as far as I know
but the 1998 engine with the 5 speed will fit your 96 frame.

I think other changes made in 99 or 2000 prevent an easy engine swap.
These might include electronics or fuel injection changes.

Changing engines can result in a bunch of other problems
unless you are sure the new engine is totally good in all respects.

You could  repair or replace your existing bike.
The transmission can be fixed with attention paid to all possible
areas of wear and gears can be ground and shimmed to engage better.

The other alternative is buy another bike with the 5 speed, drive it or swap the engine
if it is a 98 model.

There is no easy fix for transmission problems. Rebuilding takes time and
a good engine with a 5 speed might be hard to find.

If it were mine I would probably rebuild it over the winter and fix the gear engagement problems.

Luck in whatever you choose to do.


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Wayne S.


Licensed Motorcycle Mechanic, Knowledge of motorcycles from 1960 up, Japanese, British and most other brand motorcycle repairs.


Worked for Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki British: Triumph, Norton, BSA Other: Most Scooters and Mo-Peds

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