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500 problem, opinions needed. Kinda long.

3627 Views 27 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  PickYourPockets
Back on September 4th i purchased my wife a 2005 Vulcan 500 and myself a 2005 800A. We have had a blast riding and racked up about 1600 in the first 6 weeks we had them. We had previous experience with both dirt bikes and street bikes but had not rode in about 6 years. Needless to say we are having a blast.
The last weekend in October we were out riding on the Natchez Trace and my wifes bike started back firing and cutting out. This was only occuring at speeds of 50 to 60 miles an hour and was intermittent. I checked the bike out and could find no obvious problem. It was only doing it at cruising speeds and not at slow speeds so we headed back for home, we were about 50 miles away at the time. After a half hour nature called so we stopped at a rest area and took a break. My wife told me the problem was about the same and did not seem any worse. I had been riding behind her and could tell when it happened as the bike would slow or backfire. I offered for the 2nd time to switch bikes but she would have no part of it.
So i am following Deb as we pull back on the Trace and see her shift into 2nd gear at about 15 MPH. About that time the bike backfires and dies on her, the back wheel locked up instantly. As she was in the middle of a turn she had very little time to react and down she went. She took a pretty hard hit but luckily she was OK. Nothing was broke on the bike but the tank did have a good size dent in it.
Since we were about 20 miles from home at this point i decided to go and get my truck and trailer it home from there.
When i got the bike home it started very hard and ran about the same, which i expected. Called the dealer and they said to bring it in and they would take care of it.
Yesterday they called and said they had rode it and experienced the same problem. Checked it out and found that the negative battery cable had been over torqued and had busted the terminal and was causing the problem. Said it was definitely a warranty issue and they would take care of it.
So i asked the service manager if there is anything they can do about the tank. He said no that she should have put her feet down or pulled in the clutch. I tried to explain to him again exactly what happened and that this problem caused her to fall. He agreed with me but said i needed to call Kawasak as that was their call and not the dealers. So i called and got the same response from them. In addition i was treated rather rudely by the first person i talked too.
So before i pursue this any further i wanted to get the some opinions from folks here. They admitted that the problem caused her to fall but that they are only responsible for the battery and terminals they replaced.
Your opinions on this would be appreciated.
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No way, Harry. :)

My dad might be 74, but he works as hard as a 25 year old. He's amazing. Still doing hard manual labor every day. The only thing I'd worry about a bit is his reflexes; they probably aren't as good as they used to be, judging by the way he drives his car. :D
Not to worry Harry, if I crash and burn you will not get the blame. I will blame myself, for I'll be doing what I love.
Just joking.
Well my dealer and Kawasaki came through and replaced the tank. It took some time but it was worth it. Have to give most of the credit to me dealer as they were relentless in getting this done.
Kid Bissell
Kid Bissell,

I would like to add a bit to what Sgt Mike said. I have had great luck with written complaint letters to the regional and district managers. A very angry, but polite letter explaining the situation and stating what you expect in return has gotten my problems fixed several times with dealers, even has gotten all of my money reimbursed on parts and labor, etc.....All you need to do is ask them for the name and address of the regional manager...that alone should help... verbal complaints can be explained away or swept under the table, but written ones aren't so easily forgotten.

Good luck and keep us all posted.

They are replacing the tank and everything is fine.
When I took out the battery on my wife's 2005 Vulcan 500 in October, I noticed something odd about it. First of all, the terminals were crooked, both being bent in odd directions. The second thing I noticed was at the bottom center of the battery box, there is a recessed hole. Underneath this recessed hole is a portion of a frame support section with a threaded hole, giving the appearance that a bolt belongs in there to steady the battery box, and thus the battery. I tested the battery box for play (with battery in it) and there is some ~1/4" of upward & sideways play. I figured that going over bumps while riding may have caused the battery to bounce a bit, thus causing the crooked terminals. Is there a bolt in the bottom of your battery box?
My wife's bike just turned over 1100 miles. So maybe she is in line for this problem. I called the dealer to inform him of my concern about this. The dealer said he had no info about this & that there is no such battery box bolt in the parts list. I wonder if someone should notify NHTSA about this before someone dies on these bikes. It's tough enough out there without having the bike contributing to a crash. I am very glad your wife made it out of that crash uninjured.
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Steve, I'm glad you finally got the dealer to cooperate and that your wife is OK. I can't imagine that they had much of a choice in the long run. Too bad they had to be such a biznatch about it. I'd still be wary of doing business with them. If it were my business, I'd have bent over backwards to help you and hope to heck you didn't sue me.
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