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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to the forums and noticed a wealth of knowledge here about other issues so thought that this was the best place to ask.

I purchased a 2009 Vulcan 500 LTD in late 2008 and it's been running great up until now. I ran it all throughout the winter of 08-09 as I live in Louisiana and we have mild winters here. However, this year I didn't run it but maybe once in the month of February due to working out of town for awhile, etc. I fired it up once about 2 to 3 weeks ago just to make sure the battery was still good and didn't think twice about it since then. A few days ago I attempted to take it out and it started with no issues and idled for about 3-5 minutes while I put my gear on, then abruptly died before I even sat back down on it. I tried to start it again and got a rapid clicking noise. I tried to get it going but the engine would just turn without firing and after a few seconds I would get a clicking noise again.

(At this point I should state that I know next to nothing about troubleshooting ANY type of mechanical issue, whether it be on a 4 wheeled machine or 2 wheeled one. I'm trying to provide any and all information that I can, and also trying to learn how to be a little more automotive savvy.)

I tried to start it again and the engine turned but it was turning slower and slower. I took the battery out and had it tested and charged and put it back in the next day. I tried starting it and the engine turned perfectly as it had done in the past and I experienced no clicking sounds, but it still wouldn't fire.

I read articles here and there online that said I should try draining the carburetor. I loosened the screw on the right side of the carb and let some fuel flow out. The fuel looked fine. When setting the fuel switch to PRI the fuel would trickle out until I turned it off. I'm assuming my carburetor is functioning properly at this point.

This is the embarrassing part. I wanted to check my spark plugs to make sure that wasn't an issue. I removed the seat as I had done previously and managed to unbolt the tank from the frame and slid it back to access the spark plugs. However, being the noob that I am I cannot for the life of me find a spark plug. Do they look different on a motorcycle? Am I not looking hard enough? Or should I not consider the spark plugs to be a problem at all and look somewhere else?

Thanks in advance. I'm ready to get back on my bike.
 

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To locate the spark plugs go to Kawasaki.com and follow the Owner Info to the parts diagrams and take a look at the heads. You cannot miss the spark plugs.

I would presume the carburetor is clogged from old fuel sludge. With the oxygenated fuels we have to meet the 2007 fuel standards the fuel fails in just a few weeks. So, unless you were using a first quality fuel stabilizer, I would bet the pilot circuit in the carburetor is clogged. The only solution is to completely remove and disassemble the carburetor and clean the internal body passages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, so the spark plugs are just at the two locations at the very top from what I can tell. I'll take a look at that tomorrow if the rain dies. If that's not the case I'll have to take it to the shop more than likely. I'm not at all comfortable with removing and disassembling the carburetor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
RCW, thanks for the response. You were right, I shouldn't have missed the plugs. They were right where the diagram said they'd be. After messing around with the bike some more I noticed my battery wasn't holding a charge, even though I'd charged it completely very recently. I purchased a new battery and plugs, and the bike fired right up without hesitation.

However, I still believe that there could be a carburetor issue like you previously stated. The bike will run when I have it set on choke or half choke, but once I turn the choke off it dies if I let it idle. It will stay running only if I am giving it gas.

(This was my first time to change the spark plugs in anything, by the way. I'm proud.)
 
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