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Shift Cable Replacement


The repair described in this page applies to the A1 and A2 (and possibly others) shifter cable. Unlike a Vespa or Lambretta, the A1 and A2 Heinkel Tourists must have their hand shifter tuned to the gearbox shifter arm. This is an easy, but tedious repair.

This article also contains the discussion for adjusting the cables.

Repair Time: 1 hour and ongoing!

Tools Required:


Tough guy picture.

Remove rear body panel. The body panel is secured by two 10mm nuts under the seat and one 19mm bolt under the spare tire. Don't forget to disconnect wiring harness to rear lights and turnsignals.

Disconnect the headlamp. There are four wires that connect to the headlamp assembly. If you have short term memory issues (like me), write down the wire colors next to the corresponding post. Here is how it ought to be: brown is ground, grey is the running light, white and yellow are the two main beam wires.

Remove the front nose. There are six sets of bolts and nuts that hold this in place. Save the top two for last that way the nose won't fall on your head when you are underneath and removing the last bolt.

Remove shift cover bottom. On the underside of the hand shifter is a cover held in place by slot head screw. Remove this screw and the cover. There may be a thin spacer washer between the cover and the shifter gear. Don't lose this washer.

Remove shifter gear. The shifter gear may fall out, or you may have to work it out. If you move the shifter a little, the gear will come free.

Remove cable from shifter gear. Pull the cable from the shifter gear.

Remove cable holder. Under the floorboard is a cable holder composed of a metal strap and a rubber insert. Loosen the nut securing the strap. When loose, you should be able to push the rubber insert forward. Each cable can be removed from the holder by pulling the cable through the corresponding "slice" in the rubber. Look closely, you'll see what I mean.

Disconnect gear cables from shifter arm. Remove cables from shifting arm and completely remove the adjuster barrels from the clutch cover.

Adjust shifter clicker. Now that your old cable is completely removed from the scooter, it is an ideal time to adjust the shifter. Your shifter should make a clicking sound when you twist it. The clicking sound is made by a spring loaded ball bearing underneath the screw. Loosen the 10mm lock nut, and remove the screw. Verify that there is a small spring inside the screw and a ball bearing in the shifter. If you are missing either, replace them. The ball bearing measures 7/32" (yes inch) and the spring should extend no more than 3 mm out of the hollow screw. Install screw. As you tighten the screw, the audible clicks ought to become louder. At some point, you will make the screw too tight, and the shifter won't shift. When you reach this point, loosen the screw until the shifter is free again. Tighten the lock nut.

Tighten shifter. Verify that the shifter is not loose on your handlebars. The chrome handlebar Tourists have two set screws that may require tightening. You should be able to locate them without problem. On the A1 and A2 models, there is a 6mm screw visible at the bottom front of the shifter. There is a also a set screw behind the light/horn switch. Verify that both are tight.

Mark cable ends. The shifter cable has a long end and a short end. I mark the both ends of each segment with an "L" or an "S". This ensures that I won't have to figure this out again once installed.

Lubricate new cable. The stock shifter cables can't be greased because the ends are permanently installed. I use a cable greasing tool with sprayable lithium grease. I use this stuff liberally!

Cable placement in the shifter.

Install cable into shifter gear. The shifter gear teeth point upwards when installed. Install the cable barrel into the hole in the shifter gear. Note that the longer segment of the cable must be in the front, and the shorter segment must be at the rear. See the accompanying illustration.

Install shifter gear into shifter. Twist the shifter so that you are in third gear. The shifter gear should now be installed. Note the line on the gear. Note also the mark on the underside of the shifter. The line on the gear must align with the mark on the shifter while the shifter is in third gear. This is important. Once aligned, install washer (if present) and cover with slotted screw. Return the shifter to the neutral position.

Fit front nose. Carefully feed the headlamp wires through the hole in the nose and then slide the nose into place. I usually use one of the 11mm screws to hold the nose in place. Then I start feeding the plastic beading into place.

Fit headlamp. Easy enough. Do you remember how the wires were connected?

Cable placement in the cable holder.

Install cable into cable holder. The cable placement should match the accompanying illustration. If you add a little grease to the cable housing, it will be easier to install them into the proper slice in the rubber insert. Once the cables are in the insert, push the insert back into the cable holder.

Cable placement in the shifting arm.

Install cable into shifter arm. The cable placement should match the accompanying illustration. To make this easier, you might need to twist the hand shifter to allow each cable segment to extend past the shifter arm.

Make rough adjustments. Raise the rear tire from the ground. I prefer to hang my Tourist from hooks in my garage. You might also use a jack to prop up the rear end. The goal is to run the scooter and test your settings before leaving the garage. I start with the hand shifter and shift arm both in neutral. Verify that the wheel will turn freely. Twist the shifter into first gear. Tighten the shorter gear segment adjuster (lower) until the engine is in first gear. Twist the shifter back into neutral. If the engine isn't quite in neutral, turn the shift arm with your hand until it is in neutral. Now, twist the shifter into second gear, and tighten the longer gear segment adjuster (upper) until the engine is in second gear.

Test your adjustments. Grab a pair of dirty pants - you're going ride on the gas tank! Start the scooter. At this point, I start tightening both adjusters in equal amounts while shifting back and forth between first, neutral and second gear. This process is extremely tedious. Verify that you can get to all gears. Once satisfied, take the scooter for a spin. Bring a pair of wrenches. I tend to ride for a block or two, stop and make adjustments. When I tighten the adjusters, I try not to turn them more than 1/6 of a turn (one flat) before retesting the change.

Overshooting Second? If you find yourself overshooting 2nd gear without trying, then your top adjuster is too tight, and bottom is too loose. Reduce the top adjuster by 1/6 of a turn. Increase the bottom adjuster by 1/6 of a turn. Repeat if necessary.

Need to Overshoot Second? If you find yourself intentionally overshooting 2nd gear and dropping back to find the gear, then your top adjuster is too loose, and bottom is too tight. Increase the top adjuster by 1/6 of a turn. Reduce the bottom adjuster by 1/6 of a turn. Repeat if necessary.

Install rear body. No trick here.

Keep testing. Over the next few days, keep track of the shifting. Are you over shifting second? If so, loosen the upper adjuster and tighten the lower adjuster. Remember, only turn the adjusters 1/6 of a revolution at any time.



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