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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1600 Midnight Star, and I took it for a moderate little ride today, a couple hundred miles round trip. I was almost home, winding my way through miles and miles of windy foothill roads, and the rear wheel locked up on me. I had to use a cherry picker to lift the rear end and get it on the trailer to get it home. So when I got home I did a little research, and it looks like the cush needle bearing is the most likely culprit. The bike has about 47,000 miles on it, so my question is this, should I change all the bearings right now, which I can't really afford, or would it be safe to just change the bearing that froze up and leave the others in place until I can better afford it(there are 4 other bearing in the rear wheel alone). The others are sealed ball bearings I believe, and don't seem to go out as often as the needle bearings. Any thoughts? I'll be tearing it down in the morning, provided nothing else pops up.
 

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I can’t be much help but when it comes to removing real wheels etc. I would wait and replace all bearings to be on the “safe” side. Having said that I know something will go wrong on my bike now as I just had my rear tire off to replace the rubber. But how long will you have to be off it to save? That is another factor. Seven days without a ride makes one weak!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I have to get all the bearings it'll be out for the season, money is pretty tight right now. I've been relying pretty heavily on it to save gas.
 

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Pull the remaining bearings, clean and inspect. If they are bad you will feel roughness when you spin them, possible blue in color due to running hot or pitted. If they look good I would reuse with confidence. Keep us up to date on results.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, I'll go ahead and do that. I'm worried that the axle bolt might have to be cut out. I'll see what kind of damage there is, it may be down for the season anyways, between seals and collars, bearings and that bolt. Thanks again for replying you two.
 

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isnt the 1600 a belt drive?

Im having a hard time seeing how there could be more than two bearings on a belt or chain drive rear wheel.

with a shaft drive I understand there are bearings on each side of the wheel and bearings in the final drive assemble.

Been out riding all day and too tired to look it all up now, but you got me curious.
 

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isnt the 1600 a belt drive?

Im having a hard time seeing how there could be more than two bearings on a belt or chain drive rear wheel.

with a shaft drive I understand there are bearings on each side of the wheel and bearings in the final drive assemble.

Been out riding all day and too tired to look it all up now, but you got me curious.
4 bearings on the belt bikes. The rear wheel pulley has 2 sealed needle bearings which are known to fail due to over tight belts. Then the heat takes out the 2 main wheel bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update: I finally got around to pulling that wheel off, and it wasn't as bad as I expected, I managed to save the axle bolt. It was too hot to do much outside today, but I'll get back to it in the morning hopefully, and should have a partslist soon. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to just order the needle bearing and have this thing back on the road sometime next month. Downside, no matter what I'm gonna be on foot on my birthday, and I was really hoping to get out on the road. I'll keep you all posted.
 

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... so my question is this, should I change all the bearings right now, which I can't really afford, or would it be safe to just change the bearing that froze up and leave the others in place until I can better afford it(there are 4 other bearing in the rear wheel alone)...
Why not remove the bearings, pull the seals, clean and repack them? Sealed bearings aren't necessarily disposable items and can last indefinitely if they are regularly maintained.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, bad news, its not the bearings. I got the bearing puller and snap ring pliers I was going to need and was about to pull the bearings. I decided to check first to make sure I know which were bad, and they are all spinning free. I turned the ignition on to make sure it was in neutral and tried to turn the belt by hand, the tranny is stuck. I'm not even remotely qualified to rebuild the tranny on this thing, I'm gonna have to find a new bike. Damn it! On the other hand, it was a $500 bike that got me around for about 5 months of great riding.
 

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I have never heard of that happening on a motorcycle!

Is it stuck solid (wont budge in either direction) or is there some slop / freeplay, then it jams?

Does the engine spin with the clutch pulled in? Just trying to understand exactly what might have happened inside the engine case.

with 47k miles on the odo that bike died way too young - it should have been good for 100k miles +

a lot of people on this forum would love to tear that engine apart to see what failed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
It turns a couple degrees either way and stops, just a little slop. With the clutch in, and the bike in gear, the engine runs fine, but it bogs down and wont turn when you let the clutch out. Runs fine in neutral, but wheel won't turn. As for anyone wanting to tear it apart, I'll donate it, if they pick it up. I hate to get rid of a good engine like that, but its no good without the tranny and I don't need more brokedown crap to haul around with me when I move. anyone who wants it, let me know.

I was hearing a grinding sound in the case when I banked left, I assume its related. I was coming around a curve when it froze up.
 

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I am thinking of getting a Roadstar or Roadliner for my next bike, both use a version of the 1600 engine in your bike.

The early Roadstars had an know issue with a bolt or nut coming loose, off the top of my head on, on the drive pully. There was a fix put in around 2005 or 06, but it could still be a problem if you were heavy into compression braking - esp in the lower gears.

I dont know if that might be related to yours locking up like that.

If you dont get any useful information on it in this thread, you might google it to see if it somehow ties into the know issues with the 1600 engine. If its just something with the drive pulley, maybe the case does not have to be split to fix it.

Dont want to give you false hope, Im only speaking from what I know looking at Roadstars as my next potential bike - I might be completely wrong about this.
 

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Well you don't say where the bike is. Might make a difference if you're getting someone to take it off your hands. :)

You could take your question over to the Clinic (https://www.roadstarclinic.com/) and they could probably give you a better idea of your options. There was talk that the early Road Stars had a transmission recall for a "C" clip that could come off. If I recall correctly it's internal and requires the engine to be torn down. But if yours locked up it's hard to say what it might look like inside.

That stinks that it happened to you. They are some pretty good rides.
 

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.. the early Road Stars had a transmission recall for a "C" clip that could come off. If I recall correctly it's internal and requires the engine to be torn down. But if yours locked up it's hard to say what it might look like inside....
that sounds familiar too. I think if the recall was done they put a dot or * punched at the end of the serial number stamped on the engine case (if your bike was made before they fixed the design issue).

Definitely look into this.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I just called the dealership, and the recall had already been corrected, so either they did it wrong or it was something else. Bike is currently located in Sonora, Ca.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Final update, I sold the bike last week, so it is no longer available for teardown. Paid $500 for her, rode her 5 months, and got $350 for her when she was done, not a bad deal. She nearly killed me, but we don't talk about that. I guess I won't be posting in these forums for a while, not until I get my next bike. Looking to get an 1100 V Star, I think it would be a good fit. I had a 750 Virago for about 13 years, and rode the **** out of that, I think the V-star would be a great followup to that and this Midnight Star. Anyways, thanks everyone for the help, and enjoy the rest of the riding season. I'll see you out there next year.

-d
 

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my favorite vehicles have always been the ones I got a great deal on.

Keep your eyes out for another good deal - I think it cost you pennies per mile to ride it.
 
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