Few things are more frustrating than trying to drive your side-by-side and discovering that it is stuck in gear. Luckily, if you find yourself in this situation, most fixes are relatively simple and achievable without a mechanic’s help.
If your Yamaha YXZ1000R keeps getting stuck in gear, it’s probably because the shift selector cable is failing, the shifter rod is bent, or you lost a nut on the shift linkage. You can fix all of these problems by fixing the failed part.
In the rest of this article, I’ll take you through the most likely causes of a side-by-side getting stuck in gear and how to fix the issue so you can get back on the road in no time. Let’s get to it!
1. The Shift Selector Cable Is Failing
The shift selector cable is the part of your side-by-side that connects the gear shifter to the transmission and changes the gears, so if your gear is stuck, this might indicate something is wrong with this cable. The cable might be broken or too stretched to work properly. Either way, you’ll need to replace the cable.
Other ways to determine if your shift selector cable is no longer working as it should is if your gear slips often or if your UTV starts in a gear other than neutral (source).
There are many reasons why a shift selector cable might fail. The cables simply wear over time, making them less effective. They can also get caught around the shaft rod and shred.
You’ll need to remove the old, damaged cable and install the new one, ensuring that each cable part is securely and properly connected. Before you remove the old cable, I recommend taking a picture of the setup so you can place the new cable exactly where it needs to be.
I recommend using an original equipment manufacturer cable, if possible. An aftermarket belt may be more affordable, but the deviation from what the original equipment manufacturer planned for can cause many problems.
You’ll need to use a crescent wrench to remove the old cable. If you don’t already have a wrench, I recommend investing in this WORKPRO Adjustable Wrench Set (link to Amazon). I like that these wrenches are made with high-quality carbon steel that will last a long time. This set comes with 6-inch (15.24-cm), 8-inch (20.32-cm), 10-inch (25.4-cm), and 12-inch (30.48-cm) wrenches, so you’ll have the perfect size for whatever task you need to complete.
Be sure not to lose the nuts that secure the cable in place. If you misplace them, you’ll need to get replacements. A lost nut can cause a stuck gear yet again.
2. Your Shifter Rod Is Bent
Another potential cause for your Yamaha vehicle being stuck in gear is that the shifter rod, or shifter shaft, is bent. If this is the case, you’ll probably need to replace the shaft entirely. You might be able to fix the bend using heat, but this can be a tricky and risky process. You can also try to simply bend the rod back into shape, but you risk damaging it even further.
The shift shaft moves the fork to disengage the first gear into the second gear, so if your Yamaha XYZ1000R is stuck in the first gear, the shift rod is likely the culprit.
Take a picture of the setup before you start disassembling so you can replace the broken part and replicate the alignment with your replacement shifter rod.
3. You Lost a Nut on the Shift Linkage
Shift linkage refers to the system that connects the gearshift to the transmission, allowing you to communicate with the machine when you want to change gears. If the shift linkage is working correctly, you won’t have a problem when you try to change gear. Therefore, if your gear is stuck, there might be something wrong with the linkage.
The most common problem is losing a nut on the shift linkage. The nuts are small parts that can get knocked loose after a rough ride, so it isn’t unusual to lose one. You’ll need to replace the nut with a new one.
I recommend using a nut from the ITP Lug Nut Set (link to Amazon) for a replacement nut . These lug nuts are compatible with Yamaha YXZ1000R models and are made with a high-quality steel alloy that will last a long time. I also like that they have an aesthetically pleasing chrome finish.
I also suggest using a threadlocker. Threadlocker is an adhesive that locks certain mechanical fasteners into place and prevents them from getting knocked loose due to too much stress or motion, such as an active UTV ride (source). Threadlockers work on bolts, screws, and nuts.
Manufacturers made threadlockers with curing chemicals that fill in the gap between the nut and the shift linkage, so you’re far less likely to knock a nut loose with this product than without.
The best threadlocker products are vibration-resistant and have a quick cure speed, so you don’t have to wait too long for them to start to work their magic. They should also have good consistency so you can apply the product evenly.
My favorite threadlocker is the Henkel Loctite Threadlocker (link to Amazon). This threadlocker effectively prevents nut loosening due to too much motion and vibration and prevents rust. It also doesn’t corrode or damage the nuts at all. Finally, I like that it works on nearly all materials, including stainless steel.
By replacing a lug nut in your shift linkage with a new nut treated with a threadlocker, you reduce the risk of having to deal with getting stuck in gear again.
You may also face problems with your Yamaha YXR1000R brake. Read my comprehensive guide to learn more about the problems and solutions to fix them.
A stuck gear is never convenient, but it usually doesn’t indicate an irreparable problem. In most cases, the problem lies with the shift selector cable, the shifter rod, or a missing nut on the shift linkage. If you ‘re dealing with one of these issues, you can replace the failed part and get back on the road again in no time.