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3 Most Common Problems with Yamaha Diversion

Introduced in 1992, the Yamaha Diversion has gained a reputation as a cost-effective motorcycle that gives reliable performance.

However, the model has its own flaws, which we will discuss in this article.

Based on reports, here are the most common problems on the Yamaha Diversion models:

1. Condensation May Lead to Contaminated Oil

Almost every motorcycle owner knows having water in your engine oil is bad for the health of their bike.

Water and engine oil don’t mix as that can lead to many problems.

One of these problems is rust: water ‘oxidizes’ engine oil, increasing its acidity and making it corrosive. Any engine part that meets the now-acidic oil will rust.

Your Engine and Water:

There are ways water can get in your oil, one of which is condensation. When a hot engine cools down water vapor condenses inside the engine.

This vapor will burn off if you drive your bike long enough at operating temperature.

However, if you do only short trips, the condensed water will merely turn into water droplets and contaminate the oil.

This is because brief drives don’t allow the engine to get hot enough to burn off the condensed water.

Unsurprisingly, this problem mostly occurs on Diversion models that do not see frequent use. Most times, such bikes never reach operating temperatures, allowing condensation to build up in the engine. As explained earlier, this condensation will eventually liquefy and contaminate the engine oil.

Riding habits aren’t the only cause of this problem, though. Weather can also influence the rate of condensation in the engine.

For example, Diversion bikes are known to suffer from engine oil condensation in winter. Water collects in the engine during cold winter months and condenses, and once the engine starts running, the condensed water will mix with the oil.

Other than rust, water in the engine oil can lead to the following problems:

  1. Etching/pitting/fretting: When water mixes with oil, the result is the generation of hydrogen, which causes etching, pitting, and fretting on internal components.
  2. Reduction in film strength: Water isn’t a viscous (thick) liquid, but engine oil is. This viscosity, known as “film strength” allows oil to lubricate engine parts without the heat burning it off.

When water contaminates engine oil, it reduces the film strength of, thereby reducing its lubricant quality. This will cause the parts to grind against each other, leading to excessive engine heat and other problems.

How do you prevent condensation buildups on your Yamaha Diversion? The best thing you can do is to ensure you ride your bike for at least one hour every few days. This way, the engine will get hot enough to burn off condensed vapor in the engine.

Also, your technician may recommend adding certain chemicals to your engine to help remove the sludge.

2. Widespread Clutch Problems

The clutch is an important part of a bike’s transmission.

Problems with this component can easily affect acceleration and the gear-change process. According to several customer complaints, the clutch on the Diversion models is prone to several problems.

Here are some of the clutch problems on the Yamaha Diversion:

Clutch Drag:

An oft-reported problem among Diversion owners is that the clutch drags. Clutch drag occurs when the clutch plates don’t fully release.

In such instances, switching gears becomes difficult. Worse, the bike may creep when in gear.

Most often, clutch drag is because of an improperly adjusted clutch or a faulty clutch release system.

A worn clutch basket or clutch hub can also cause clutch drag.

Difficulty in Changing Gears:

If you hear clunking noises or feel some jerkiness when switching gears, then the clutch is bad. You should also be on the lookout for hard gearshifts.

Some Diversion bike owners have complained that changing gears on their bikes tend to be difficult or even outright impossible.

This problem is often the result of a stiff/stuck clutch. It could also be that the clutch plates need lubrication, or they are worn.

Grinding Noise:

Riders report hearing metallic or grinding noises when trying to shift on the Diversion models.

This can be particularly frustrating, as these sounds are unpleasant to the ear and can cause anxiety when you’re riding.

Clutch Slipping:

This is perhaps the most common clutch problem faced by owners of the Diversion motorcycles.

A clutch slip happens when the friction plates don’t engage fully. This allows the flywheel to spin at a different rate than the friction plates. What happens afterward is described as the clutch slipping.

Signs of a slipping clutch include:

  1. Delayed engagement: This refers to a situation where the engine’s RPMs go up, but the motorcycle’s speed does not. When you twist the throttle, the motorcycle should accelerate. However, if you have a slipping clutch, this will become near impossible.
  2. Stuck clutch lever: On some affected bikes, the clutch gets stuck either when fully released or when pulled in. While this may signal that your clutch cable is bad, it is also a sign of a bad clutch.
  3. Burning oil: The oil on a bike with slipping clutch issues will give off a burned smell.

Possible Causes for a Clutch Problem:

I. Improperly Adjusted Clutch Controls:

If your clutch controls are not adjusted properly, it can cause it to slip.

II. Using the Incorrect Oil Type:

Using the following types of oil will affect clutch performance:

  1. Oil not recommended by the manufacturer (Yamaha)
  2. Non-motorcycle specific oil, e.g., automotive oils

In particular, using car oils will affect your clutch’s behavior.

Manufacturers put additives in automotive lubricants to increase friction-reduction capabilities.

The problem is that these additives often affect a motorcycle’s clutch plates and cause the clutch to slip.

III. Lack of lubrication:

The Diversion model uses a wet clutch, meaning it needs continuous lubrication.

If lubrication is inadequate, the clutch plates may become stiff.

Should this happen, you may experience hard gearshifts or noises when trying to switch gears.

IV. Worn clutch plates:

As with every other motorcycle, the clutch plates on the Yamaha Diversion cannot last infinitely.

At some point, they will wear out and you will need to buy new ones.

The typical lifespan of a set of clutch plates is 30,000 to 50,000 miles. Beyond that, the clutch plates may wear thin and cannot provide the friction needed to connect with the flywheel.   

Here are some ways to fix clutch problems on Diversion bikes:

  • Use only manufacturer-recommended oil.
  • Lubricate clutch plates.
  • Use power tools, like a lathe, to smoothen the surface of clutch plates.
  • Replace worn clutch (or any worn clutch component).

3. Engine Makes Strange Noises

This is a common problem on Diversion models, especially the early models.

On the affected models, the engine emits a ticking or rattling noise at idle or under acceleration.

We would advise you to keep your ears peeled for weird sounds while test riding; many owners can live with the noise, you may not.

Possible causes of the engine noise on Diversion models include:

  • 1. Unbalanced carbs/incorrect valve clearances
  • 2. Faulty thrust bearings
  • 3. Loose oil pump drive pin

The engine noise problem on the Diversion model isn’t major, and you can repair it by watching some DIY videos online.

You could even use the noise as a bargaining chip while negotiating with a seller.

General Pros and Cons of the Yamaha Diversion

Here are some of the positive and negative qualities of the Yamaha Diversion:

Pros of Yamaha Diversion

Here are some of the qualities of the Yamaha Diversion motorcycle:

1. Affordable Price Tag:

If you are looking for a budget-price bike, the Yamaha Diversion is your best bet.

The Diversion prioritizes quality/dependability over things like performance and looks.

While this makes it a little less attractive compared to its other Yamaha siblings, it allows the company to sell it for cheap.

2. Impressive Reliability:

Besides being affordable, the Diversion is also reliable.

It does not come with the flashy components like premium models, meaning there are fewer chances of something breaking down.

Overall, the Diversion is a dependable bike, and it is not uncommon to see high-mileage examples.

3. Easy to Work On:

Early Diversion models, particularly those released in the 1990s and 2000s, are quite easy to service.

While newer models are water-cooled, the early models used air-cooled engines.

This means you do not have to deal with water pumps, thermostats, or fans. Even the more extensive servicing, like checking the engine’s bucket and shim valves, do not require any special tools.

4. Comfortable Riding Position:

Upright handlebars and well-padded seats make the Diversion models very comfortable to ride.

It even features adjustable bars that can be pulled in by the rider to facilitate easy gripping. The optional fairing also keeps the wind out of the rider’s face.

Overall, the Diversion guarantees you a relaxing ride.

Cons of Yamaha Diversion

Here are some shortcomings of the Yamaha Diversion:

  1. Condensation May Lead to Contaminated Oil
  2. Widespread Clutch Problems
  3. Multiple Age-related Issues

What Do the Reviews Say?

“Bikes don’t get more honest and straightforward than Yamaha’s Diversion. It’s an affordable, useful and unintimidating four-cylinder middleweight that while certainly no glamour machine, is handsome enough and does exactly what it says on the tin – so there’s lots to like. So, whether you’re after a first big bike on a budget or want a no frills workhorse that can eat up year-round miles economically, the Yamaha XJ6 Diversion still has plenty to offer and is worth a second look”

[Source: Motorcyclenews.com]

“Everything from the clutch response to the gearbox feels smooth-as-butter to use. Nothing about the Yamaha XJ6 is intimidating in the slightest sense, apart from the aggressive looking headlight. This is essential for someone just getting into bikes or for the more subtle personalities out there.”

[Source: Ultimatemotorcyclingnews.com]

What’s The Resale Value On the Yamaha Diversion?

Year Mileage Price ($)
2001 17,500 1,567
2011 9,243 4,765
2010 5,739 3,950
2013 4,604 4,388
2015 18,482 3,635
2012 38,000 3,756


2009 Yamaha XJ6 & XJ6 Diversion | Euro Review


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