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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello.

I'm a newbie to this forum because I did not own a Kawasaki until yesterday. :D I traded for a 2001 Vulcan Classic (VN800B). The bike has been neglected for a few years. It sat outside in the elements covered by a tarp. The bike was caked in mold and mildew but after a few hours of cleaning, it is starting to look like something that I could ride.

When I picked up the bike, it would only run if the previous owner held the plug wire. But I was able to see that the issue was with the wire or plug. I have sinse found that the problem was that the boot was unscrewed from the plug wire. Both plug wires were very loose so I'm not sure how it was running at all. Anyway, I have that fixed. While I had the tank pulled, I went ahead and removed the EPA crap. I did not have any marbles, but I found that .45 ACP casings work just as well. ;)

I'm going to change the oil, oil filter, air filter and replace the coolant. My first question is what types of oil do the Kawasaki's like? I have always ran Mobile 1 Gold cap in my Honda's. Is that sufficient or is there a better alternative? Is there a Purolator PureOne oil filter that will replace the stock Kawasaki filter? What about the air filter? Is there an automotive equivilant? and lastly, can I replace the antifreeze with Dexcool?

Now for the technical side... The bike will not not idle without the choke being pulled out partly. When twisting the throttle, the bike wants to backfire. The bike has the stock exhaust but the previous owner has the canisters cut out. It was running well before the previous owner parked it (or so he says). The bike has 15K on it and I have no idea if the valves have been adjusted or not and I do not think that the previous owner rejetted it. I can put the tank back on and post a video if that would be beneficial.

I'm sorry for the rambling and I hope you are able to make some sense out of this. Again, the bike is a 2001 Vulcan Classic (VN800B), bone stock except the cans being cut out of the exhaust.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Tim.
 

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A fresh set of properly gapped sparkplugs would where I'd start, followed by new sparkplug wires. Some of the Kawasaki's have replaceable sparkplug wires, others are molded into the coils.

To see what you've got, remove the gas tank and see if the plug wires are held in with screw on caps. If they are replaceable 7-8MM sparkplug wires from the local hot rod stores should fit.

I'n not sure if your bike has the RFI resistor sparkplug caps(it's designed to reduce the noise on a radio when the plug fires) Some Kawasaki's used metallic plug wires when using the RFI caps.

If you go with the graphite/carbon string aftermarket hot rod store wires, you should not use the RFI caps as this will tend to greatly reduce the spark energy.

I'd suggest taking a good day or two and take apart each of the many and various electrical connectors in the bike looking for corrosion and loose connections. The handlebar switches, and the headlight housing will have where most of them are.

I have used Castrol oil in several motorcycles, but with any oil,try to stay away from any with friction modifiers as they are not compatable with wet plate clutches in most bikes.

Two fuel system cleaners I use are Berryman's B-12 and Seafoam. Seafoam is about $8 at the local Wal-Mart and Berryman's is under $5 I think.

A good shop manual is almost the first thing I recommend for a new bike owner, it covers the wiring diagram and tune ups along with maintenance steps. Two websites for manuals are: Repair Manual Catalog Online - RepairManual.com (they sometimes sell used manuals) and ManualsNMore.com Original Factory Service and Repair Manuals.

If no luck try E-bay and the local book stores as they can probably get you a Clymer or Haynes manual to do the basic work on your bike.
_________________________________________________________________
Motorcycle Electrical Maintenance

1. List of needed tools:

A. Set of pipe cleaners (found in tobacco shops).

B. Small package of cotton swabs

C. Small brass bristle brush (found at hardware stores).

D. Set of welders tip cleaners(found at welding supply stores) or a set of jewelers files.

E. Selection of 400-600 grit sandpaper

F. One can of electrical contact cleaner/preservative (The De-oxit brand at www.de-oxit.com is a good one).

G. Tube of dielectric grease as a water shield for connectors.(Optional, as some people see more problems with the grease acting more like an insulator).

H. An accurate multi-meter either digital or analog for voltage, current, and continuity checks (the digital meters may pick up “noise” from certain alternators and have fluctuating readings).

I. Self powered continuity light for basic continuity checks

J. Battery charger rated for not more than 1 to 2 amp to charge the motorcycle battery( the battery tender brand is a good one at 1.25)

K. The motorcycle factory shop manual (FSM) with the wiring diagram.

L. Set of screwdrivers and wrenches for the various fasteners.

2. Corrosion on any electrical connection is resistance and lowers the current flow. The green crud is a form of corrosion on brass/copper terminals.

3. All electrical connections must be clean and tight or intermittent operations will result sometimes stranding the rider and can damage/destroy electrical components such as Alternator Stators, Batteries, Ignitors, Light bulbs, Switches and or related wiring.

4. Battery cables can fail internally due to corrosion and appear serviceable.

5. The male bullet connector can be scrubbed with the brass brush while the female connector with the jewelers files or tip cleaner. Both should be spritzed/wiped with a pipe cleaner moistened with contact cleaner.

6. Square and rectangular connectors must be disconnected from each other to be able to clean the contact surfaces. Again the use of files and or brass brush with a application of contact cleaner makes it operate as it should.
Re-connect the male and female parts and do another.

7. The battery cables condition are an area few people think about but are very important. The positive(+) RED terminal and the negative(-) BLACK terminal must be clean and tight to both the battery and to their respective connections on the motorcycle. On most Kawasaki Motorcycles the negative battery cable goes either to the frame or engine while the positive battery cable connects to the electric starter solenoid. The other terminal on the solenoid connects to the starter motor.

8. If the battery cables must be replaced, use the appropriate gauge of wire for the current draw. Use flexible cable as solid wire will not bend into tight areas. Both 6 and 8 gauge can be purchased through electrical supply houses on the internet such as Welcome to Waytek Wire, Terminal Town's Electrical Connector Home Page, and Del City - Wiring Products and Professional Electrical Supplies and have the correct wire or cable terminations. Welding cable is very flexible and makes excellent battery cables, it’s sold by the foot and can be purchased at welding supply stores.

9. OEM style electrical connectors can be purchased at: www.easternbeaver, OEM-Type Bullet & Spade Electrical Connectors for 1960's to 1980's Japanese Vehicles... Bridgestone, Datsun, Hodaka, Honda, Kawasaki, Landcruiser, Suzuki, Tohatsu, VW, & Yamaha, Vehicle Wiring Products Ltd. Suppliers of auto electrical parts., EC - Good stuff for your Moto-scooter, Z1 Enterprises, Inc. - Specializing in Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Parts,

10. The starter solenoid function as a heavy duty relay having large contacts to close when the start signal is given from the handle bar “ start switch” and the motor turn the engine over to run.

11. When the internal return spring on the starter fails/breaks due to metal fatigue or vibration, the engine will turn over(or crank) when the key has been removed and will continue until the positive battery terminal is dis-connected from the solenoid. Just like if the large terminals were bridged with a screwdriver.
 

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Aside from the great advice you've received, whenever I get anything
used, in-spite its condition, I go with a Stage 1 Operational Approach:
yours has moisture buildup internally, forget external cosmetics!

I throw 1 litre of heavy-duty Injector Cleaner into the gas tank, ride it
for a bunch of kilometers/miles to get a sense of mechanical overall
performance plus blow out whatever the prior character did or did not
do with proper maintenance. CHOKE-out condition you reference is
symptomatic of this kind of engine/tranny state.

Then go do the basic all-fluid change, new plugs, u-name-it and check
fork oil status, etc.

As for you query about oil: no set answer since engine sizes vary etc.
so you need to check a shop manual, or call your local Kawi dealer:
that is free 2 second advice over the phone.

However, most Kawi's appear to be 10W-40 based from the factory...
so make sure it's motorcycle oil, and not car oil which now-a-days
cheapens the engine wear additive package (which is why you never
want it unless you don't really care about engine longevity; and be
prepared for disagreements on this point due to dispersed intelligence
out there on this topic!)

Mobil makes an EXTENDED filter which I use since in my opinion ALL
motorcycle filters are completely UNDERsized! Or else flip it Between
oil change intervals! **** good engineering in Kawi stuff so you
can't go wrong! (Having owned Suzuki, Honda, Harley!)

And have a great Valentine's Day doing all that!!!
 

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You also should check the condition of the inside of the tank. Often times when bikes are neglected like that, moisture builds up and causes rust and corrosion. Also if gas sits for a long time it will cause corrosion as well. This corrosion is also likely what is causing the bike to idle/run poorly. Run seafoam or B12 per MFolks suggestion, and if that doesn't clear things up after a nice long ride, then you will probably need to take the carbs off and clean them really well. If you are doing a lot of other work to the bike, it might just be worth it to take them off and clean them anyways.

Oh, and don't forget to post some pics when you get her to presentable condition! :)
 

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Bugsplats

:wink:
You also should check the condition of the inside of the tank. Often times when bikes are neglected like that, moisture builds up and causes rust and corrosion. Also if gas sits for a long time it will cause corrosion as well. This corrosion is also likely what is causing the bike to idle/run poorly. Run seafoam or B12 per MFolks suggestion, and if that doesn't clear things up after a nice long ride, then you will probably need to take the carbs off and clean them really well. If you are doing a lot of other work to the bike, it might just be worth it to take them off and clean them anyways.

Oh, and don't forget to post some pics when you get her to presentable condition! :)
Great comments! PS: I see you have a cute "bugs" commentary on
your signature line! In case anybody out there is interested in new
ideas for Rides, a local group thought up a "Bug Splat" contest:
after a Ride, the rider with a bug/s closest to the center of the given
bike's windscreen, wins the Ride Prize!!! :tongue: :wink: :shock:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok guys. Here's what has been done this far.

New plugs have been installed.

Tank has been emptied, no rust.

Added Seafoam to a new full tank of fuel.

used carb cleaner on the carb, but have not disassembled it.

Oil and filter has been changed.

Coolant has been drained and replaced with Prestone 50/50.

The bike starts and runs well with the choke open but has no throttle response (wants to die). The bike will idle after warmup with the choke in but wants to backfire. Again, no throttle response. (wants to die).

I have posted a video here.

2001 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic on Vimeo

Here are a few pics of the bike before I cleaned it up.

2001 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 - Before pictures by valkyrie_1520 - Photobucket

Any input would be great. I traded for this bike and I'm starting to feel that I got burned. I have about $900 in it now including the fluid change and plugs.

Thanks,

Tim.
 

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Put a clean air filter back in and don't try running it again w/o the filter. That causes it to run lean and can cause most if not all of the problems your having.

P.S. From the looks and sound of the bike, I'd say you got a good deal if that's all you have invested so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
WOW!!!:biggrin:

Putting the old air-filter back on looks like it did the trick. The old lady next door almost fainted when the 800 roared to life. :D I did not change the air filter because the local dealer was out. I suppose now I'm going to order the K&N filter.:bd:

When the snow clears, I will put a few miles under the belt to see how it does.

Thanks guys! You made my day!

Tim.
 

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My always popular Carb cleaning guide:

Carb Cleaning 101

By M. Shively

The elements of internal combustion engines are: correct fuel/air ratio, spark at right time, and adequate cylinder compression.

There are many passageways and openings to check and clean. All are important in function and when obstructed or not working properly, have subtle to radical effects on engine performance. Vacuum leaks and carburetor synchronization also effect performance and should be inspected and adjusted following the below procedures.


Warning: Remove all rubber parts before you begin. These parts usually include vacuum diaphragms, needle valves, o'rings, hoses, and other parts. Spray cleaners will damage these parts. Do not disassemble individual carbs from the carb bracket.

Air & Fuel Passageways: Trace and learn individual fuel and air circuits from beginning to end. Machines can only drill straight through the cast passageways. To change direction, another angled passageway must be drilled. The union is plugged with a brass or bronze bead. Inspect and clean each passageway with spray cleaner, brushes/pipe cleaners/etc, and compressed air. Remove any discoloration and debris. Look for spray cleaner to exit from one or more passageways.

Jet Cleaning: Inspect jets by holding to light and look through them. You should see an unobstructed round hole. Clean the jets with one or more of the following: jet cleaning wires, soak solutions, carb spray cleaners and compressed air. Re-inspect jets after cleaning and install when clear of obstructions. Some main jets have paper-like gaskets. Most have metal spacers between the jet and the emulsion tube. Some screw directly into a brass emulsion tube which is machined for a 7mm wrench at its float chamber exposed base.

Inlet Fuel Valve: Inspect the needle valve & spring. Press down the tiny metal rod that protrudes from the butt or float end of the needle valve. The spring should move freely and return the rod to its location. Check the needle valve's seat area for a groove or other wear. It should appear highly polished. Some needle valve seats are rubber and wear may not be visible. Inspect the needle valve jet seat. You can clean the jet seat with Q-tips and semi-chrome polish if necessary.

Carb Body Castings: Blow air through the atmospheric vent holes located on the dome of each float bowl chamber. Air should exit via hoses or brass nipples. Inspect the emulsion tubes and passageways (cast towers that jets thread into) for discoloration and debris. Clean interior emulsion towers with a soft bristle gun cleaning brush. Clean each Venturi (main carb bore).


Needle Jets & Jet Needles: Clean the needle jets, jet needles, and passageway or tower that needle jet screws into. Clean the emulsion tube (pipe between needle jet and main jet) (Main Jet may screw into emulsion tube). Jet needles are part of the throttle slides. See below…

Throttle Slides: There are several types of throttle slides: Mechanical linkage, vacuum, diaphragm, and cable. Disassembling the jet needle from the slide is not always required for cleaning. If you have vacuum piston type throttle slides (large diameter solid metal slide), avoid cleaning the lubrication from sides and caps. If piston type check cap vents and passageways with air. Clean if necessary and re-lube. If you have rubber vacuum throttle diaphragms, inspect for dry-rot, defects, and tears by gently stretching rubber away from center. Do this until all areas around diaphragm have been inspected. Replace any defective part as described above. Clean carb body areas around diaphragm including air passageways and air jets. Diaphragms have a locator loop or tab fabricated into their sealing edge. Observe this locator upon reassembly. Avoid pinching the diaphragm when reinstalling caps.

Fuel Screws: Fuel screws have sharp tapered ends. Carefully turn one fuel screw in while counting the turns until it seats lightly. Warning: These screws are very easily damaged if over tightened into their seats. Record amount of "turns-in" and remove the fuel screw, spring, washer, and o'ring. The fuel screw is part of the enrichment (choke) circuit...clean passageways as described above. When carbs are assembled, spray low PSI compressed air into diaphragm air vents located at intake side of carbs. Throttle slides should rise, then fall when air is removed. Lightly lube external moving linkages. Reinstall carbs and follow through with carburetor synchronization.

Throttle Cables: Lubricate cables periodically. If cables are disconnected from carbs or removed for replacement, etc . . . remember cable routing and ensure proper reinstallation routing. Avoid bread-tying, sharp bends, and pinching cables. Adjust cables so throttle grip has about 5mm of play or throttle slides or butterfly valves may not open completely (full throttle)(wide full open).

Float Bowls: Inspect float bowls for sediment, gum or varnish, crystallization, and defects. Clean all pipes, tubes, passageways, and embedded jets with cleaners and compressed air. Remove and clean the drain screw and area. Inspect bowl gasket and replace if necessary. Clean and inspect overflow pipes and tubes, look for vertical cracks.

Floats: There are several types of float materials: plastic, brass, black composite, tin, and others. Handle floats carefully. Avoid bending, twisting, denting, or other means of mishandling. Most floats are adjustable by bending a small metal tab near the float axle end. Do not change the float adjuster tab unless tuning fuel service levels. Clean metal floats by soaking or by spraying cleaner and wiping clean. Other material type floats may require replacement if cleaning is necessary. Inspect the needle valve (float valve) and seat. Check needle valve's spring loaded pin. It should depress and return smoothly and without resistance. Check the needle valve's tip for a worn groove. Replace needle valve and seat if either symptom exists. These parts wear together and must be replaced as a set.

Synchronization: This is a fine adjustment performed usually and preferably with the carbs installed and the engine running. The unusual part is performed with gauged wire with the carbs on the work bench. Carburetor synchronizing balances Venturi vacuum at the exhaust side of each carburetor, resulting with smooth idling and optimized performance at all throttle openings. Synchronization is checked using a set of gauges which are either air vacuum type or liquid mercury type. The gauges are connected to vacuum ports on the intake manifolds via nipple tubes or if sealed with screws, sync gauge adapters will be needed. With the engine running at temperature, and with a fan or means of forced convection aimed onto the engine, the carbs fuel screws and idle are adjusted, then the synchronization is adjusted via adjustment screws on the carbs. A reserve fuel tank is recommended for convenience of accessing carbs during this procedure. See gauge instructions and repair manuals for detailed use of synchronization gauges.

Notes: While carbs are apart, record the jet sizes. Look for a very small number imprinted on the body of the jets. Verify that numbers are the same for all jets on models with in-line cylinders. A few transverse-4 models and V-engines, the inner and outer carbs use some different size jets and it's important to not mix them up. If you have dial or veneer calipers, measure and record float heights. Perform measurements with floats just touching needle valves, though not depressing the needle valve rods. Replace fuel and vacuum hoses. Be sure to use fuel rated hose for fuel. Install or replace in-line fuel filters. It's a good time to remove and clean interior petcock fuel filters. Inspect carb manifolds for dry-rotting, inspect all clamps and air ducts. Inspect, clean, lube, and/or replace air filter(s).
 

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I started flying planes back in 76 when I joined the military. I've even tinkered with boats, cars, glider/sailplane, 1 motorcycle, and 1 helo since then but always had at least one plane to fly. The helo was long ago, enough so that the gyro wasn't even a twinkle in the inventors eye yet. Never really managed to "fly" it although I did get in several very short hovers and some spectacular crashes. :biggrin: About 5 years ago, all my planes, helo, and gear were in storage from a move and it was all stolen. Last year I started thinking about getting in to helo's again but knew I'd have to start the learning curve all over again so I started tinkering with one of the small indoor coaxials but I'm about ready to try one of those small helo's now "I think" :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Because I posted some "before" photos of the bike when I traded for it on Friday, I thought I would share some of the "after" photos as well. The bike was really bad when I picked it up and after a weekend of garage work here is the final result.

2001 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 - After pictures by valkyrie_1520 - Photobucket

Keep in mind that the temps were in the 20's this weekend with about 5" of snow falling throughout the weekend.

Now for some good weather to road test it.

One last question. The fork seal boots are gone. The seals look ok. Is there a good aftermarket fork seal boot that does not require removal of the forks to replace? I know they have these for dirt bikes but do they exist for street bikes?

Thanks.

Tim.
 

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I'm not sure what yours is supposed to look like but looking at the parts breakdown it shows some sort of "fork cover" that doesn't appear to be on your bike. I think any dust cover you find will require you to remove the forks to install them since they are normally a one piece unit with a hole in the middle that slides down over the inner fork tubes.
 

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Filter Washing

WOW!!!:biggrin:

Putting the old air-filter back on looks like it did the trick. The old lady next door almost fainted when the 800 roared to life. :D I did not change the air filter because the local dealer was out. I suppose now I'm going to order the K&N filter.:bd:
Thanks guys! You made my day! -Tim.
_____________________________
8) Hey, Tim, nice to read you've solved things this fast!:lol:

As for Air Filters, just for your confidence, I've been WASHING
my car paper filters for eons now: they'll cycle maybe 2 to 3 times
before I decide on a new one. Same applies to bikes, vacuum cleaners,
anything using the paper medium! So all I'm writing is that it works!

My system: own TWO. As one is drying, the other is in the application!
It's a common sense point.

If you get K&N, you're going to have to wash it too! Differently yes,
but nevertheless it will need the same level of care and attention.
(So, I own two K&N for the bike. I stick with paper for the car.)

Many don't know it but you can use any transmission oil to re-soak
a K&N after it is cleaned and thereafter replaced on the vehicle!
Useful to know if you're not fussy to use the over-priced K&N product
or just don't have the cleaning kit the first time you clean it! (And,
can clean it with WD40 or whatever: "roughly" cleans it up to be
cleaner than when removed!) - virgil:cool:
 
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