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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at buying a 2001 Vulcan 800 but the clutch plates appear to be seized up. It only has about 900 miles on it so it's had quite some time without any riding, but it was started once a month according to the guy. When I went to look at it, it looked fantastic and fired up, idled and revved fine. But when putting it in gear it lunged forward and stalled out. We adjusted the clutch cable as far as it would allow us to make sure that wasn't the problem. If this is an easy fix I'd like to go back to the guy and make him an offer.

I'd like to know any suggestions on what it might take to fix this or worst case scenario what it might cost me at the dealership. Thanks guys!
 

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I was at D.O.D #1!
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Its a common problem that they "temporarily" seize. By temporarily, I mean that usually they stick, but are not seized. Did it happen 1 time, or did it happen every time?

A couple things to try:
1) change the oil. When I notice that my clutch plates start sticking, its usually the first sign that I need an oil change.
2) After starting the engine, hold the clutch lever in for at least 10 seconds, and crack the throttle once or twice before shifting into gear.
3) Let the bike idle and warm up a bit to heat the oil, and then try #2 again

If they are stuck, this should unstick them. If they are truly seized, then you may have to manually work on them.
 

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Rebel Rider
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+1 what Mcwrath said. Also you say it lunged forward when you put it in gear, do you mean with the clutch still pulled in? If so then you still may not have it adjusted correctly. There are three places to adjust the clutch, did you try all three?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick responses.

The oil in it definitely needs changed, it's going on 3 years old by admission of the current owner. We only tried adjusting the clutch cable at the lever. This happened several times that we tried it, at least 4 times, where the bike lunged forward with the clutch pulled in when put into gear, just as if the clutch wasn't touched. Also when it was in gear, engine off and pulling the clutch lever all the way we couldn't move the bike without dragging the rear tire. My assumption is, from not riding the bike and just running the engine once a month condensation formed in the housing and some corrosion has got the clutch plates bound up.

I'm no mechanic, but I'm not afraid to do some work myself with a manual. I'm really looking for a worst case scenario along with what the problem probably is. I'd love to get this bike as-is for a bargain without much risk of braking the bank getting it to run.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Also, I guess I should ask specifically, if it the clutch plates were truly seized up, is this something the average joe (me) should attempt to open up and work myself and how complicated could it get? I'm also working on a budget, the asking price on the bike right now is $2500 and is right at the limit of my budget, whatever amount I would drop my offer by would have to be enough to cover my expenses of getting it running. Thanks guys!
 

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I was at D.O.D #1!
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I know they sell kits with replacement plates and springs. I do not know how much they go for. You will probably have to find a dealership to get one.

I also have no idea how much work is involved, but I would recommend getting the kawasaki service manual. It has helped a ton with the work that I have done on my bike.
 

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Machinist For Sale/Rent
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99% probability you do not need to replace the clutch. Buy it for cheap with the seized clutch.
Take it home, where the seller can't watch. Start the bike up and let it run just idling long enough for the fan to cycle at least once or so, to make sure it is up to operating temp. Shut the bike off, put it in first or second gear, pull the clutch in and rock it back and forth the limit of however far it will let you without turning the engine over by doing this. If it don't break free then consider doing the clutch replacement
 

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I have an 01 Vulcan 800 classic that does the same thing. I just hold the clutch in and rock the bike back and forth until it rolls freely. Then I start it up and drive away. Like what Mcwrath said, it is a "temporary" thing. Temporary means every morning, after I break it loose it is fine the rest of the day.
 

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Nobody Home
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The plates can stick together when the bike sits. Sometines the steel plates will rust really sticking them together. A couple things can help unstick them.

Put the bike in gear (engine off) and with the clutch pulled in VIGOROUSLY rock the bike forward and back.

Starting it and letting it idle with the clutch pulled in will sometimes allow them the work loose.

If those dont work get a friend to help push. Put the bike in gear, hit the starter and have your buddy push. Ride it with the clutch pulled in and give it a chance to break loose. After you get it broke loose, ride it enough to get the oil up to temp and change it.

You can do the same thing by, engine running, getting the bike rolling (you buddy pushing or a hill is handy) and drop it in gear and ride. No different really than riding your bike home with a broken clutch cable.

I've only seen one bike that one of the above wouldn't get the clutch broke loose and on it the steel plates were massive rust from sitting.
 
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