Yamaha FJR1300 Transmission Problems (and The 2020 Recall)

The Yamaha FJR1300 sport touring motorcycle has developed a concerning reputation for transmission problems over certain model years.

Owners frequently report issues like false neutrals, slipping gears, difficult shifting, and sudden loss of drive.

These transmission defects significantly impair the riding experience and can even create unsafe situations.

Abrupt slipping into neutral, resulting in unexpected deceleration is a common complaint from the riders.

Clunky shifting between gears is also reported, along with whining noises that tend to worsen over time.

Some riders state the transmission seems to resist shifting and false neutrals become more frequent as mileage increases.

Root causes

After a significant investigation, Yamaha identified insufficient lubrication as the root cause.

Key components within the transmission were not getting adequate oil flow.

This resulted in premature wear and deterioration in the performance of gears, shafts, and clutch components.

Poor lubrication along with clutch design flaws are likely the core reasons shifts become rough and sloppy over time.

Symptoms

Owners experiencing FJR1300 transmission problems report the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty shifting, the notchy feeling when shifting
  • False neutrals, especially between 3rd and 4th gears
  • Gears slipping under acceleration
  • Whining or grinding noises
  • Sudden loss of drive requiring a restart
  • Increased issues as mileage accumulates

Safety concerns

The unexpected loss of drive and false neutrals are especially concerning.

Either issue could easily lead to accidents or leave riders stranded if they occur at higher speeds or during cornering.

Degraded transmission performance only gets worse, so proactive repair is advised.

FJR1300 Transmission Recall

Yamaha issued a recall for FJR1300 models built between December 9, 2015, and February 2, 2020. Approximately 30,000 motorcycles were affected worldwide, with around 8,700 in the United States.

The issue stems from a defect in the transmission where false neutrals may occur, leading to sudden loss of drive.

In these affected motorcycles, the second gear may crack due to stress, potentially causing the transmission and rear wheel to lock and increasing crash risk.

To address this, Yamaha had initiated a Factory Modification Campaign to replace affected parts and reprogram the ECU to prevent excessive RPM and further gear damage.

All registered owners of impacted bikes were notified by mail and should bring their bike to an authorized dealer for part replacement.

Dealers were sent a list of affected inventory to ensure all units are modified before customer delivery, as unsafe bikes should not be operated.

The modification does not affect emissions compliance.

Dealers should also check if bikes need additional work under the separate brake switch bulletin and perform both remedies together if applicable for efficiency.

Reimbursement details are provided. Impacted models must be repaired before sale; dealers should validate fixes on any pre-owned units. Follow Yamaha policy to ensure customer safety.

fjr1300 transmission problems

Dealer Response

Dealers have often been slow to acknowledge or resolve transmission complaints according to owners.

Some report being told issues were normal or could not be addressed unless complete failure occurred.

Improved help has been reported following Yamaha’s recognition of design-level problems.

Owner frustration

Understandably, many owners are very dissatisfied with chronic transmission problems on expensive touring motorcycles.

Loss of faith in reliability and brand reputation is common.

Some have traded their FJR1300 at a loss to switch brands after lackluster dealer support.

Yamaha FJR 1300 Clutch Problems

We suggest you replace the clutch fluid once every year or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. Inspect the clutch cable for any nicks or cuts.

Inspect the clutch basket for any sign of wearing. Premature wear is one of the most common FJR1300 clutch problems.

Clutch lever hard to pull?

If the clutch lever is hard to pull there could be an obstruction in the line. Flush the clutch fluid and see if there’s any improvement.

Incorrect Clutch Engagement

Does the bike start moving immediately as soon as the lever comes off the grip?

Check the pivot bushing and brass push rod bushing in the clutch lever for excessive wear.

Worn bushings can reduce clutch lever travel before engagement.

There is a brass bushing in the clutch lever that pushes the clutch rod into the master cylinder.

This bushing can wear out over time. Replacement bushings are inexpensive and available separately.

Preventive Maintenance

More frequent oil changes using Yamaha’s recommended semi-synthetic transmission oil can help reduce issues.

Prompt repair of any shifting problems is advised before they worsen. Also, avoid excessive engine revving which adds stress to internal components.

Replace the clutch fluid once every year or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. Inspect the clutch cable and clutch basket occasionally for any kind of damage.

Long term reliability

Repairs incorporating Yamaha’s improved clutch and lubrication upgrades have generally resolved problems according to owner reports.

Long-term reliability is expected to return to normal levels following proper servicing of defects.

Alternatives

Other sport touring models like the Kawasaki Concours 14 and BMW K1600GT have not suffered comparable transmission defect rates.

Their reliability could make them a lower-risk option for potential buyers concerned about FJR1300 problems.

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