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Discussion Starter #1
This week I finally bought my first bike. I decided on a Vulcan 500 and picked up a 2006 with about 5k miles on it. After a basic tuneup I took my first ride, which was amazing! She handled well and everything went smoothly (~15 miles). The next day I decided to go for another ride, which started out fine. I went about 20 miles, stopped for 30 minutes or so, then started back up. Within a few minutes the engine started sputtering every so often and stalled out a few times. The quickest way back was on the highway and for some reason at those speeds (65 - 70 mph) I had no issues. The second I got off the highway and slowed down the sputtering started again and the engine cut out. I eventually made it home and started trying to figure out what could be wrong.

The first thing I checked were the fuel lines. None of them appeared to be pinched. The next thing I tried was emptying the gas tank and putting fresh fuel in. I also added a little Seafoam to clean the carb a bit.

I took the bike out to run the fresh tank through and stumbled on what was causing my trouble: every time I shifted my weight forward the engine would begin to sputter and eventually stall if my weight stayed forward. By moving my weight forward I mean sitting slightly forward from my normal position or standing (or even just pressing my foot) on the footpegs. Hitting bumps / potholes (which are hard to avoid when you live in New England) also cause the engine to start sputtering. So does using the front brake if I do it hard enough for the front suspension to dip down even slightly. The jolt from shifting up gears while accelerating will also set this off sometimes if I'm accelerating fast enough.

Basically, anything that causes the front of the bike to dip down slightly seems to trigger this issue. If I lean back right away that usually stops it, although sometimes its too jumpy from the sputtering and still stalls.

Has anyone ever heard of an issue like this? Any idea what might be causing it? I've asked a bunch of friends and did a lot of searching trying to find similar stories from other people. So far I've found nothing! My plan is to try a few more things on the bike myself, then I have an appointment to bring it into the shop early next week if I haven't been able to correct this by then

If anyone has ideas of what might be going on, or suggestions to correct it, I'd really appreciate hearing them. I was all excited to ride the new bike this weekend and would hate to have to keep her locked up in the garage!
 

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Wondering if one of the safety switches is to blame. Not sure if the 500 has a tip over switch, but definitley a kick stand interrupt. Or it could be the seat is pinching on something that it's sitting on. Have you removed the seat to take a look?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good idea! I'll take a look at the kickstand switch first thing tomorrow...

The seat pinching a line was my first thought when this started happening. The vent line runs past the right front edge of the seat so getting accidentally crimped shut must be fairly common. However, I've taken the seat off a couple of times to check the line and it looks okay. Also, the issue occurs when I stand up on the footpegs and have no weight on the seat (or if the bike is stopped and I'm standing up and lean forward pressing on the handle bars).
 

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Crazed Zed-head
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It could be that one of the battery cables is a little loose, and any time your weight shifts forward, it breaks contact.

Where is your battery located? Under the seat? If so, and the bottom of your seatpan is metal, there could be some exposed wiring which isn't a problem normally, but that weight shift moves the seatpan just enough to cause a momentary short.

I've experienced both of these problems.
 

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Need Time To Ride
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The battery would be high on the suspect list. The dissimilar metals (expansion/contraction rate) at the terminals cause the screws to come loose after a while. The kick stand switch problems usually only present themselves when hitting bumps. Sounds like the seat pan is causing interference with a connection.
 

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Needs More Cowbell
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I agree it's most likely something electrical, but may be caused by incorrect float level.
 

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Biker Girl
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I own a 2005 Vulcan 500, the battery is under the seat. I'm no expert, but what these guys say makes sense, if it was my baby, I'd check the battery.

Mine doesn't have a tip over switch (at least the engine hasn't quit when I tipped it over (embarassed cough)). But it will quit if I put the kick stand down in anything but neutral.

Hope you can get it fixed soon Dduncan! the 500 is an awesome motorcycle! Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey guys, I have an update on my bike... She's now running perfectly! Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions.

I'm 99% sure the problem was in fact due to a loose battery connection. When I took all the connections off I noticed the screw used on the negative terminal was slightly longer than the one on the positive. There was enough difference to cause a slight gap on the negative connection. It wasn't much of a gap, but enough so the wire could move around slightly. I cleaned all the connections and replaced the long screw with the correct sized one.

At the same time, I also drained the carb to make sure there was nothing bad in there. I also took the kickstand switch off, cleaned it out, and used a little WD-40 since it was sticking a bit. Like I said, I'm almost positive the loose battery connection was the cause but I wanted to include everything I did in case its useful to others down the line.

Once again thanks! Now its time for a ride!!
 

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Guilty By Association
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the 500 dont have a tip over switch?? i can...um..guarantee the 900 does !!
 

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Needs More Cowbell
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Good deal dduncan =)
Glad that's all it was; it's always a good idea check the simple stuff first.
 

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Great being back
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The battery has a brass insert, make sure that it is tight to the lead battery terminal. That was on of the problems when I first got my 2006 500. I also had a pinched return hose caused by the seat
 

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Good deal dduncan =)
Glad that's all it was; it's always a good idea check the simple stuff first.
This concept has never appealed to me, it is never the simple **** it always could be but never is. I just assume the worst now, I still do the simple things, but I refer to them as a waste of time

Fraking snowmobiles.!:mrgreen:
 
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