1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling

Our 2008 Mean Streak has the following symptoms: The rear cylinder right-side spark plug is extremely dark (significant buildup) and the remaining 3 spark plugs appear normal (insulator color, tip, etc.). This condition was first noticed at 5,000 miles. I changed all plugs (DPR6EA-9 with .036 gap), torqued the plugs and rechecked at 8,000 miles. Same indication. Cleaned the plug and rechecked at 13,000. Same indication. Here we are at 20,000 miles and this has become "normal" for this plug.

The dealer has checked the bike twice and found nothing out-of-spec. I've always run top-tier premium fuel (per the OEM Manual)......Shell, Mobile, BP, Chevron. The bike is not "lugged" and I ride one-up (180lb rider).

Question: has anyone experienced a two-plug-per-cylinder issue similar to the one I have tried to describe??? Thanks in advance.

Michael
'08 Meanie SE
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 10:37 AM
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Re: 1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling

Try swapping the coils with each other to see if the problem moves.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling

Actually, one coil supplies ignition source to two plugs (one coil for the front cylinder plugs and one coil for the real cylinder plugs). I've replaced the spark plug high tension lead cap and plan to monitor the spark plug. If the new spark plug cap doesn't solve the problem, my next task is to swap the plug wires from right to left on the rear spark plugs. Thanks for the reply.

Michael
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 09:53 PM
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Re: 1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling

Try swapping coils to see if the problem moves to the front cylinder is what I meant.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 09:42 AM
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Re: 1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling

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Originally Posted by Thumper Champ View Post
I've always run top-tier premium fuel (per the OEM Manual)......Shell, Mobile, BP, Chevron.
If your bike doesn't ping with Mid Grade Gas, try running it for a tank or two and then check your plugs. You are more likely to foul plugs with premium gas if the compression ratio of your bike does not require it.

Unfortunately with most Kawi's, it is normally a timing issue that demands premium fuel. The engines are still relatively low compression designs, but Kawi sets the timing based on EPA requirements, hence the need for premium/high octane fuel. The higher the octane, the more combustion inhibitors, and the greater the tendency to foul due to incomplete combustion.

If that doesn't work, you could try swapping the darker plug with a slightly "hotter" version. "Hotter" does not mean a stronger or hotter spark, it simply means the plug retains more heat which encourages more complete combustion and helps to burn off any deposits on the tip. The danger of using a hotter plug is that it can, in some cases, cause predetonation (pinging) with low octane fuels.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2012, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling

yep, that's the task following "swap the rear high tension leads"....sounds like we're on the "same page"....thanks.

Michael
'08 Meanie SE
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2012, 11:37 PM
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Re: 1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling

This is a long shot but you might look at how your spark plugs are indexed. On many motors it's not a big deal but the 1500/1600 Vulcans seem to like the plugs indexed. Side electrode weld to to outside of the cylinder. 12mm indexing washers (which can be hard to find) are available here: YourOilShop - Spark Plugs and Indexing Washers for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 02:28 AM
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Re: 1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling

My old Vulcan did that for a while, especially in the early spring and late fall when the ambient starting temperature was a little colder. I did end up trimming the spark plug leads and replacing the boots and that helped a great deal. i think it must have been arcing inside the boot a bit.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-20-2012, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1600 CC Vulcan (Mean Streak) Rear Cylinder Spark Plug Fouling

PROBLEM SOLVED!!!! After replacing the plug cap, I've logged about 1900 miles including a five-day 1400 mile ride that covered most of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Inspection of the plugs revealed no fouling of the plug. The plug insulators on all four plugs looked the same. I'll put this one in the "done" file. Thanks to all for your comments.

Michael
'08 Meanie SE
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