Weird howling/whining noise in 3rd gear - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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Weird howling/whining noise in 3rd gear

Hello everyone! This past week i've been experiencing a noise problem with my 2007 Versys and i'm hoping i can get some help in either resolving the issue or waive it as normal.

The best i can describe this noise is howling/whining like when there's strong winds outside blowing, and you can hear them howling through the cracks. The noise does not happen in 1st and 2nd gear, or at least i cannot hear it, but as soon as shifting into 3rd gear it starts and goes on to the 4th gear and so on. I normally don't ride in the low range but even in third gear if I am below 40km/h for the sake of trying, the noise isn't audible. Almost seems like it would be resonance, but I don't think it is. The noise is better heard while standing straight on the bike and seems to be comming from either front end or directly under the tank (it's not venting).

The bike has 48000 kms on the clock, valve clearences adjusted, fresh oil (motul 7100 10w40), the tires are in good shape, the chain and sprockets are also in good shape, clean and without any play, the chain has the correct slack and is straight. I just changed the front wheel bearings as I thought those might be the culprit, but they were not.

I couldn't reproduce the noise with the back wheel on the stand, which kind of leads me to believe it might be the rear wheel bearings maybe?
The only thing I did on the day this noise started happening was to tidy up some cables on the front of the bike, which also led me to believe there might be extra air going into the air box and resonating, but this is a bit stretched out.

I've tried switching helmets but it's still there. It was easy to notice this noise because it recently started happening, prior to this the bike had no weird noises, no vibration noises, just the clear engine noise.

When cruising and pulling the clutch in, i can still hear the noise but a it's a bit faint.

Other than this, the bike shifts fine, no loss of power or any of the sorts.

I'm trying to get a video on this, but it's hard to get the camera strapped on my leg, even though i did it, it's hard to distinguish it between road noises, chain rollers and engine sound, but I'm still trying.

Any input on this is greatly appreciated. I will try to update this thread as I go on.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 07:55 PM
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Keep posted , will try and figure it out and have you tried riding without a helmet?

Last edited by Fastoman; 04-11-2019 at 07:57 PM. Reason: add info
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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Fastoman i did not try riding it without a helmet, it's a bit risky hehe, only with the back wheel on the stand. I did try 3 different helmets though so it's not wind noise i'm hearing. Tried it last night again, leaning over to the left side and looking at the back wheel/chain and this is where i hear it's at it's loudest, but my chin would actually be perpendicular to the output shaft, which does not make any noise except chain rollers noise, judging by my video capture. Was watching some videos with people test riding these models, and I did manage to hear the noise in one video, maybe it's normal gearbox noise, but it's weird not hearing it for one year. Will see what I can find out.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 05:44 AM
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Sounds almost exactly what I was hearing last weekend. The members on this forum and my local dealership told me it was my chain and that there were tight spots.

Go read One Wizards thread on chain/sprocket replacement and HOW TO ACCOMPLISH THIS THE CORRECT WAY!

(Stay away from my thread about the front sprocket nut if you plan to do this yourself. If you do, I STRONGLY suggest to just take it to a shop and deal with the extra labor costs.)
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Devilsfan, thanks for the tips, although I have all the tools necessary to do that (rattle gun, etc), I might actually take it to a shop, cause sometimes when you buy directly from them, the installation is free. I was thinking of the chain and sprockets, but I just can't understand how it would make that noise, but then again with this model i learned that most of the time it's the stupidest most overlooked thing that's causes the specific problem, which is a good thing but takes a lot of time to find it. Off to find and read Onewizard's guide then.

EDIT: a video of the noise that is very very close to what i hear was posted by a member of this forum, Weljo2001. If you watch the video, wait until he switches to the 3rd gear and the whining type of noise can be heard, in reality I hear it as more of a deeper tone whining
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Last edited by Verspkd; 04-12-2019 at 07:40 AM.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 09:40 AM
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My 2015 makes that noise too.

The only time I hear it is decelerating with the gas all the way off. As soon as I open the throttle and load the chain it goes away.

It gets worse as the chair wears. When I installed new chain and sprockets the sound was reduced but did not go away entirely.

Don't worry, bee happy. Just ride and enjoy.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkerjet View Post
My 2015 makes that noise too.

The only time I hear it is decelerating with the gas all the way off. As soon as I open the throttle and load the chain it goes away.

It gets worse as the chair wears. When I installed new chain and sprockets the sound was reduced but did not go away entirely.

Don't worry, bee happy. Just ride and enjoy.
Except mine happens during acceleration, as it does in the video. It may be normal, it may be not. My concern is that I'm hearing it just now, and nothing really changed with the bike or my equipment to warrant this, like say a taller windscreen would affect how you hear the engine.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 10:59 AM
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Mine makes the same whine as in the video, accelerating and decelerating. Some days it is loud, other days I can't hear it at all. It sounds to be coming from the gearbox, not either of the wheels, though the source of noises can be deceptive.

I have no idea what it is, but I don't worry about it.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Fly-Sig View Post
Mine makes the same whine as in the video, accelerating and decelerating. Some days it is loud, other days I can't hear it at all. It sounds to be coming from the gearbox, not either of the wheels, though the source of noises can be deceptive.

I have no idea what it is, but I don't worry about it.
Thanks for the re-assuring reply Fly-Sig. I also think it's the gearbox, but still hoping that maybe it's something else. As my bike just developed this noise, you can see why I am a bit worried. And yes, on this particular model noises can be very very deceptive. For example I had a noise that was shaping up to be a cam chain tensioner issue, cause it was sounding exactly like a cam chain not being tensioned under 3-5k RPM range, during both acceleration and deceleration, after quite some time, turns out it was my left passenger foot peg vibrating, AND i was hearing the sound in the front end..that was a good lesson for me
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verspkd View Post
Hey Devilsfan, thanks for the tips, although I have all the tools necessary to do that (rattle gun, etc), I might actually take it to a shop, cause sometimes when you buy directly from them, the installation is free. I was thinking of the chain and sprockets, but I just can't understand how it would make that noise, but then again with this model i learned that most of the time it's the stupidest most overlooked thing that's causes the specific problem, which is a good thing but takes a lot of time to find it. Off to find and read Onewizard's guide then.

EDIT: a video of the noise that is very very close to what i hear was posted by a member of this forum, Weljo2001. If you watch the video, wait until he switches to the 3rd gear and the whining type of noise can be heard, in reality I hear it as more of a deeper tone whining https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eRG...youtu.be&t=59s

It is a good thing to take your motorcycle for a short, and safe, spin every now and then WITHOUT a helmet and ear plugs. As soon as I did this I knew immediately where my noise was coming from! With the helmet and ear plugs on it kept sounding like it was coming from the front end...thus a few days of focusing on the front end to no avail.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 11:11 PM
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I watched the video and heard the sound. Makes me wonder if it is gear noise from the tranny.

My FZ09 used to whine in 5th gear and could be a bit annoying but nuthin to worry about.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 12:00 PM
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When I changed my front sprocket on my 2016 V650 to a 16 tooth without the rubber damper, I definitely noticed more gear whine noise. Seemed to go away after a few hundred miles. Don’t know if that applies to your year bike.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Devilsfan, I have to find a window during the day to try riding without a helmet, i have to be in third gear for a while to find the exact source, and with the fines for riding without a helmet being so high, it's a tricky job.

Hawkerjet, does that noise resemble what you heard on your bike?

Buffalo_Bob, i do have a rubber damped front sprocket though so this might not be the issue, i will dig into it further, worst case scenario: the gearbox comes out easy on this model. I wonder if chipped gears would cause this issue.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 08:13 AM Thread Starter
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As an update, i managed to capture 2 videos where the sound can kind of be heard.

The noise does not happen in 1st and 2nd gear, only in 3rd gear from 40km/h and in 4th gear. I can't hear it further because the wind noise takes over.

Can this mean that my 3rd gear is somehow damaged? or maybe some bearings from the gearbox? although i think it only has 2, output and input shafts.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KAj...ew?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/19SW...ew?usp=sharing
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 09:15 AM
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Exactly the same sound as mine. So at the least your bike isn't uniquely defective.

I don't think it is damaged gears, though it could be caused by how the gears are meshing. I would guess it has to do with where the gears sit on shafts, the dimensions of different parts of the gears, and how the vibrations transmit.

Personally, I am not worried about it, though it would be interesting to know what is going on. I bet there are Kawi engineers who know exactly what this is.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 09:17 AM
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I think my 6th gear does something like this, has a slightly different sound than the other gears, with a subtle howl. It's been doing it forever and it hasn't gotten worse (through 50 000 kms), so I figured it's just its character. Doesn't bother me anymore, I actually use it as an indicator I'm done shifting up.

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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Verspkd View Post
Except mine happens during acceleration, as it does in the video. It may be normal, it may be not. My concern is that I'm hearing it just now, and nothing really changed with the bike or my equipment to warrant this, like say a taller windscreen would affect how you hear the engine.
You are correct. I recently noticed mine whines during acceleration too.

The whine is most noticeable in 3rd gear. Probably because as wind noise increases with speed, it drowns out the whine sound.

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 12:58 PM
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I just looked at a schematic of our tranny gears, and they are spur gears as opposed to helical.

Here's a description of what 'spur gears' ARE:

Spur gears are the most common type of gear, and are also the most simple. They have straight teeth that are produced parallel to the axis of the gear. Since they have the simplest design, they are the easiest to design and manufacture, and are therefore the most economical type of gear. Spur gears are not known to be the smoothest or quietest gears, but they are highly efficient and produce a lot of power. They run well at slow to moderate speeds, but they tend to vibrate and become noisy at higher speeds.

Here's a description of what 'helical gears' ARE:

Helical Gears have teeth that are set on an angle to the gear axis. Since the teeth engage more gradually, they have a smoother and quieter operation than spur gears. Helical gears also have greater tooth strength and a higher load carrying capacity. Further, helical gears can transmit power between either parallel or non-parallel shafts, while spur gears can only transfer power between parallel shafts. A downside to helical gears is they produce an axial thrust that needs to be accounted for; something not needed with spur gears.
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
I just looked at a schematic of our tranny gears, and they are spur gears as opposed to helical.

Here's a description of what 'spur gears' ARE:

Spur gears are the most common type of gear, and are also the most simple. They have straight teeth that are produced parallel to the axis of the gear. Since they have the simplest design, they are the easiest to design and manufacture, and are therefore the most economical type of gear. Spur gears are not known to be the smoothest or quietest gears, but they are highly efficient and produce a lot of power. They run well at slow to moderate speeds, but they tend to vibrate and become noisy at higher speeds.

Here's a description of what 'helical gears' ARE:

Helical Gears have teeth that are set on an angle to the gear axis. Since the teeth engage more gradually, they have a smoother and quieter operation than spur gears. Helical gears also have greater tooth strength and a higher load carrying capacity. Further, helical gears can transmit power between either parallel or non-parallel shafts, while spur gears can only transfer power between parallel shafts. A downside to helical gears is they produce an axial thrust that needs to be accounted for; something not needed with spur gears.
Hi fasteddiecopeman, i know we have straight cut gears (spurs), and i'm familliar with the noises they make. What worries me is that i just started hearing this noise which sounds a bit different than the whining noises from the gears in 1st and 2nd, i'm very sensitive to engine noises so i'm starting to wonder if it was actually always there and i did not hear it. I never heard it during the course of one year. I see other have it aswell or at least a similar noise. Maybe I got some bad batch of oil this time around or something. I'll do some more digging these days maybe with chain adjustment and hopefully come to a conclusion.

Edit: fasteddiecopeman, do you still have your old versys ? does it have a similar noise to what i posted or do you recall it doing something similar if you don't have it anymore? Thanks

Last edited by Verspkd; 04-18-2019 at 01:55 PM.
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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After a while of trying to figure this out, I'm gonna pass it on as being normal. Found some more videos and it seems that they all do that. I guess I was being paranoid for no reason and probably tidying up some cables up front made room for more echoing and wind noise and that's pretty much it.

Thank you all for the input in this thread.

Ride safe!
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