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Tinker Tinker Tinker
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I'm a new rider who purchased a VN 800 a month ago. I have been using this site to read through posts concerning bike issues and at home fixes, so I decided to join since I have picked up a few tricks here. I wanted to introduce myself, and more importantly, my bike.

Like I said, I'm a new rider. This is my first bike which I picked up second hand. The previous owner liked to tinker with it, but I can't say he was much of a mechanic. I have found and fixed some issues already, but there is plenty more for me to do, as well as some upgrades I would like to make.

I have a pretty bad issue with backfire. I tried jetting the carb to alleviate the backfire which did nothing, and only afterward did I replace the exhaust (back to stock). I don't know what the exhaust was, I think it was fabricated (no brand visible, welding lines very visible, only secured by the header bolts) as it was causing a good loss of power and (due to missing exhaust gaskets :shock: ) was leaking from the side of the header. Still backfires, though not as badly. I noticed fuel in the air filter now though, and have no idea how to explain that (hopefully a result of backfire?)

Anyhow, right now I'm looking into how to relieve the backfire, and some suggestions. I am waiting on the gaskets to arrive, hoping that will have a MAJOR impact, but won't hold my breath for miracles. I can't afford to get new pipes just yet (but I'm saving, so any suggestions are welcome) so I read up on The Wolf's website how to remove the baffles from the stock pipe so I don't sound like a riding lawnmower in the meantime :oops: .

Questions: performed stage one jetting already - any negative effect with stock pipes? Also, any ideas about why I would have fuel in my air filter? One more, would a new or modified intake help with backfire? And one last one, anyone know where I can pick up decent pipes for less than $300?

Thank you all for reading my novel of a post. Thank you all in advance for any advice as well.
 

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Rebel Rider
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3,647 Posts
IF you have stock pipes with stock intake, then definately go back to stock jets. If you do not have the exhaust gaskets installed, then I would say that is the cause of the popping and backfiring. Does it still have the EPA stuff? If it continues to pop after the gaskets are installed, then marble it or remove the EPA stuff.
 

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Registered
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19 Posts
Stock pipes are a no-no with a stage one kit as they will flood your engine something wicked. If your going to keep the pipes, reduce the main jet to at least a 130 which, by the way, may be part of your problem as it is. What jets are you running?

Another problem with the backfire and the fuel in the air cleaner may be a bad float adjustment, flooding the carburetor. Remove the carburetor and the float bowl from the bottom. Hold the carb/float chamber almost vertically so the float just contacts the spring loaded rod in the valve needle, but doesn't push it down.

Measure the distance between the top of the float to the surface of the float chamber; it should be between 5/8" to 11/16".

If the adjustment is off, remove the float pin and the float and bend the float tang very slightly until the float is with in spec.

Bluestringers suggestion is also a good call, but in case it doesn'r fully alleviate your problems, hope this helps, post back with results...
 

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Tinker Tinker Tinker
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I hope to receive the gaskets within a few days, will see how much effect this has. I will also be removing the baffles from the stock exhaust.

Will removing the baffles effect the stock exhaust / jetting issue?

No EPA equipment.
 

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Registered
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25 Posts
I recently removed my baffles from the stock exhaust and did not have to rejet. It has not affected the performance, but I have noticed a bit more popping on decel. I will be removing the EPA junk this winter to see if that helps. As long as you have the stock air cleaner with out any mods such as Grampsize or Scooterize you should not have to rejet. The gaskets will help you on the backfire, if not fix it completely. I once had bad gaskets on a Katana and once I replaced them the backfire was gone.

Good luck, I hope you get things worked out!
 

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Tinker Tinker Tinker
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quick update: Recieved and installed gaskets. Still have not debaffled the exhaust, hope to do so next week on my day off. I have to tell you, it did not decrease the backfire and popping, it ELIMINATED it! Such a small and basic thing and it made all the difference. With the exhaust going where it should, the bike already sounds MUCH better too. Can't wait to hear it with the baffles removed. I haven't noticed any more fuel in the air filter either...yet. Going on a ride today and will take a look afterwards.

Also, I still have the OEM air filter on the bike. I hear how great the K&N filters are. Is this just hype or would it really be worth buying?
 

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Tinker Tinker Tinker
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Does it still have the EPA stuff? If it continues to pop after the gaskets are installed, then marble it or remove the EPA stuff.

Took a closer look and found that it did indeed have the EPA switch valve and exhaust re-circulation lines. Like I said, still learning... I have removed that as well, which may also be a contributing factor to the improved status of the sound (lack of popping/backfire) Thanks for the advice!
 

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Love my 1500!
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2,457 Posts
Hey Awalls, I used to have an 800 but upgraded to a 1500. I was just doing some clean up around the desk and found a Kawasaki Service & Repair Manual CD for Vulcan 800 1995-2004. If that is something you could use, PM me your address and I'll send it to you.
 

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I was at D.O.D #1!
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784 Posts
The OEM pipes are double-baffled. You can probably get better sound by removing the rear baffle, but you will not be increasing the airflow becuase of the baffle further up. If you stay with those pipes, you will probably find that the stage 1 jets will be running very rich. If you have the stock intake and stock pipes (even debaffled) you should probably go back to the stock jets.

Oh, and take vulcancowboy up on his offer. That manual is a must have if you are going to do your own bike repair.

And congrats on the new bike!
 

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Needs More Cowbell
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11,774 Posts
Sorry I missed this... Sounds like you have most of it resolved however.
Fuel in the airbox would normally be caused by a sticking/mis-adjusted float or a faulty float valve.
K&N filters are great because they will last longer than the bike will, they will not make it run any better however. When it's time to replace the OEM filter, buy the K&N as it's only $15 or so more and you'll never have to buy another air filter.
I assume you have the aftermarket needle still in the carb? With stock intake, de-baffled OEM exhaust and a Dynojet or equivalent needle, the main jet should be 134-135. E-clip should be on the second notch from the top with both shims on top of the clip. The idle A/F mixture screw should be 2 1/2 turns out to start with, but you'll still need to fine-tune it since they're all a bit different.
 

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Tinker Tinker Tinker
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
WOW!!! I just removed one set of baffles from my stock exhaust. I expected the sound to improve, but I did not expect it to improve as much as it did! It wasn't a very hard project, only took me a couple of hours and hot dog was it worth it! The best I can describe the new sound it a big dog bark! Deep, rumbling sound that isn't too sharp or too loud, but far from timid. I am impressed.

You may now all make fun of me and my childlike wonder.
 

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Tinker Tinker Tinker
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good news...I have another project to work on. I noticed that the push cable in my throttle was detached (noticed when it wedged itself in the throttle body, causing it to stick while accelerating, which was a blast!) and now that I have it attached my throttle is really stiff. The throttle used to snap back if I let go of it, now I have to push it back to decelerate. The previous owner (starting to love the guy) must have detached it when he didn't want to fix it. Questions I have would be: What exactly does the push cable do? What are some home fixes I can try before replacing the cable, and is it necessary? The cable was detached for over 6 weeks and I didn'teven notice until it wedged itself in the throttle body.

Suggestions?
 

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Needs More Cowbell
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11,774 Posts
That would be you throttle return cable.
They are lined AFAIK, so don't use anything harsh to try and lube the cable. Chain lube is recommended in the service manual if I remember correctly. You probably need to lube all three cables anyway... well four if you count the short one for the rear brake.

You COULD just remove the cable, but if it were me, I'd just replace both throttle cables.
I had an extra set earlier this spring, but gave them to another member already. You might post a WTB in the accessory swap meet thread, maybe someone else has a set of cables lying around.
 

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Tinker Tinker Tinker
Joined
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks rustygunner. I'll give lubing the cable a shot to see if that works. I was on my way home from work when I had the issue, and haven't had much a chance to play with it yet. I did play with the position of the cables and the cable adjusters, but to no desired effect. I have tomorrow off, so I will go deeper into it then. Hopefully I won't have to replace the cables, but if so I'll look in the swap meet. I am now armed with the service and repair CD from VulcanCowboy, so I will nave no problems getting this done right! By the way, thanks again very much Jim.
 
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