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Discussion Starter #1
Two questions here. Recently purchased a 99' Vulcan and am conteplating replacing the battery. Not because it doesn't turn over the engine or sounds weak, but more because it is now 5 years old. I plan on taking some long road trips this summer and would not want to be left stranded. On average, how many years should I expect to get from a bike battery?

Also, given the age (but only 3k on odometer) I decided to change the spark plugs. The manual calls for NGK DPR5EA-9 but all that any place carries is the DPR6EA-9. My Kawasaki dealer says that he is unable to order the DPR5EA-9 and that I should use the colder plug. I imagine that its NGK that no longer makes the plug. What are the consequences of using the colder plug. I put them in and the bike seems to run fine but I wonder if all the gas is being burned as it should and also if my performance could be affected. Any comments are welcome. Thks.
 

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Absolutley change the battery. I change mine every two years, but that's Phoenix. I wouldn't go over 4 no matter where you live. A new one is cheap compared to the expense and hassle of getting stranded.

I can't say about the plugs. If you put them in and it runs fine, you maybe be ok. You may want to check them at 3-400 miles to see the color. In the meantime check around a bit more. I'm sure someone has an answer.

Try looking on VROC in the tech archives.
 

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Personally I never change a battery until it fails. But I don't mind getting stuck every once in a while as my payment to get a little more life out of a nearly dead battery. I can push start my 304 pound bike if I need to. But that Vulcan weighs more than twice what my bike does, and you might not want the hassle of push starting, so go ahead and get a new battery. Five years is getting on up there, and like ipscshooter said, they're cheap.

I'd stick with the stock plug unless you have a reason to switch. You can order it directly from www.NGK.com if you can't find it anywhere else. I'll bet lots of online places have it, like www.bikebandit.com and www.denniskirk.com. And of course, you should definitely try Beartooth Kawasaki.

The DPR6EA-9 plug is a lot more common than the 5, but I'd still stick with the manufacturer's specification unless YOU want to switch. The dealer shouldn't make that choice for you.
Curt
 

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Curt said:
But that Vulcan weighs more than twice what my bike does, and you might not want the hassle of push starting, so go ahead and get a new battery.

The DPR6EA-9 plug is a lot more common than the 5, but I'd still stick with the manufacturer's specification unless YOU want to switch. The dealer shouldn't make that choice for you.
Curt
You may want to check your manual about push starting your Vulcan. I think either the owners or service manual says something about not push starting my bike. Could be that it's FI. I will check and get back.

Curt gives good advice on the plugs. If they are available on line I would get them.

Most of the guys I have run into at the dealership are not that sharp. I knew more about my new bike than the sales guy. The mechanic who was supposed to prep the bike didn't tighten the throttle cable.

On an oil change, on the old bike, the mechanic left out the drain plug gasket. The next time I took it in for an oil change a different mechanic says "did you know your gasket is missing?" "Odd, you guys changed the oil". The next time I changed my own oil and the bonehead had put some rubber gasket on the plug, instead of the right one. I could go on.

Not that there aren't some good ones out there. :lol: :lol: :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think I put too much faith in the Kawasaki dealer. When I asked for the recommended plug type since he did not have them in stock he did a quick search on his computer and then "straight faced" told me that he cannot get them, so I took the other plugs which he had in stock and put them in. Now when I go online myself I can find any number of places to purchase them, which I will.

I sold a Honda ACE bike which I had for 3 years right before buying the Vulcan. Since I liked the Honda dealer (not that I had to have any work done on the Honda) I decided to take my Vulcan there last week for a radiator flush, plus had the clutch and brake fluid changed. When I picked the bike up later that day, I could not believe that they had charged me $180 for labor. Yes, 3 hrs to do the above work at standard $60/hr. I could understand possibly 1.5 hrs for the work but 3hrs? Basically, I informed them that they had just lost a customer and that I would do my best to discourage and friends and acquaintences from having their bike repaired there. Since I enjoy doing basic maintenance such as changing the oil or plugs myself, I will just have to learn to do a few more things on my own.
 

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dickwol said:
$180 for labor. Yes, 3 hrs to do the above work at standard $60/hr. I could understand possibly 1.5 hrs for the work but 3hrs?
The sad part is, depending on where you live, the poor guy doing the work is lucky to $15 an hour.

I'm not sure how long it would take me to change the clutch, break fluids and do the radiator, but I'm guessing that 3 hours wouldn't be far out of line. Of course, my working conditions are different.

This raises an interesting question that maybe someone can answer. Do motorcycle shops use rate books like auto shops?

I took my old bike in for 600 mile service and they wrote up the bill for $230. Paid for under service plan that previous owner bought. I don't think they looked at it for more than an hour. I know this because I went by there late in the day to see if it was done (no call) and they hadn't started. That was 3:30. I went and did a few errands. They close at 5:00 and it was done by the time I got back at 4:45.

Some 600 mile service. I did my 600 on my new bike and it took about 3 hours with oil change, final drive lube change, check this and that, and go around and check bolt tightness.

They won't see my bike unless I can't fixed it.
 

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ipscshooter said:
They won't see my bike unless I can't fixed it.
That's always been my policy, too.

About 20 years ago Reader's Digest had an article where the reporter pulled one of his mint condition car's spark plug wires loose (not off, just loose), then took it to a mechanic and told the mechanic that it was running rough and wanted it fixed. He paid whatever the mechanic told him, and he made a record of all the work the mechanic did. He then repeated this, until he had been to 600 garages all over the country (I assume that Reader's Digest paid the bills).

Are you ready to hear the results? I hope you're sitting down. About half of the garages did not fix the problem. They changed the battery, or alternator, or vacuum hoses, distributor rotor, fuel pump, or a ton of other things. The other half changed the plugs or wires (which would fix the problem, but is an unnecessary expense), or they fixed the problem plus changed other things, like the belts or fluids or a ton of other things. And out of 600 garages, how many do you think pushed the wire back on and did nothing else? Four! And two of those charged the guy shop labor to do it.

Since then the times I have been to a garage were for:
1. new tires
2. collision repair (one time when I was on vacation)
3. clutch on a front wheel drive car (once when I had no time to do it myself and had no spare transportation)
4. transmission replacement (one time when I was on vacation)

Everything else I've done myself, including engine and transmission changes. Those grease monkeys aren't getting their grubby hands on my stuff, especially when you consider that half of them don't even know what they're doing, and the other half want to rip you off.

Now I'm going to say something that is controversial. I am the best mechanic in the country. Isn't that a fantastic claim? But it is true. I don't have the best training or experience, but I work on my own vehicle, and that makes me better than a professional because I care about my ride. I am willing to learn and take some extra time to do the job right.

Now motorcycles are so easy to work on, and they're almost always a second vehicle, so it's okay if it takes a few days to get a job done. It's worth the trouble to take pride in my work and know I did the job right.
Curt
 

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i had to have dairyland help me fix a crash on my bike they treated me very good by the way and motorcycle repair cost alows $60 per hour where auto repairs are based at $40
 
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