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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1995 Vulcan 500 w/ approx. 17,000 miles on it, the machine runs fine under throttle but I have a problem while idling. One cylinder (the right side) refuses to idle under no choke, idles okay under full and half choke, but will stall out unless you give it some throttle w/ no choke. So my situation is that the bike normally idles only on one cylinder. The sparkplug is fine good color good spark. I immediatley suspected a carburetor problem on that side, so I put some seafoam in the gastank and ran through the whole tank before continuing, with no change. Since I got the bike I've replaced all the hoses going to the carbs.
I'm not a mechanic or anything, but I've learned enough about carburetors since I got the bike to know that pilot jet should be suspect. I took the carbs off this past weekend and removed the pilot jets (both sides to compare) and I don't see a difference. I sprayed the thing down with carb cleaner removed and checked the pilot jets and main jets, sprayed those down. Re-installed the carbs with cautious optimism, but still no change.

I'm going to take the carburetor off again and switch the pilot jets from one side to the other and see if that makes a change, any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
(I accidentally posted this problem to cruisers earlier this week, sorry)
 

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AZ's Official Mechanic
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plug pilot jet or plug pilot jet circuit....you need to get a welding tip cleaner (or very small piece of wire to make sure the pilots are clear- LOOK THRU THEM) and compressed air to blow the carb out (pilot circuit) also make sure the pilot screw isnt closed on that side for some reason....
switching from one side to the other is a good idea......
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies!

QKENUF4U: I actually had an offer to borrow a welding tip cleaner for the problem, the through hole looks identical on either side but can't be much more than a hair.. few thousandths maybe. I was hesitant to give it a try because I've been told to never put a metal tool through the brass jet, but I will give it a try now with twice the suggestion.

Baitis: I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what you mean by pilot orifices... I'm guessing the holes through the carb body itself? What do you suggest for that? Soak, compressed air?
 

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Whoa ! .......................Do not use welding tip cleaners on jets. You will ruin them. This is a big Bozo No No.

You problem may very well be the pilot jet in the suspect carb, but...............................you may be falling victum to what happens to me at times. I sometimes predetermine the cause of a problem, then set out to prove myself right. I find myself falling into that trap all the time.
It sounds like your problem is fuel or air related in that one carb. You might also look for a vacuum leak.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, thanks- I'll nix the welding tip cleaner. New jets are only like $10 so if I find that to be the problem and I can't get it clean I'll just buy a new one. I've read that spraying the carb boots with carb cleaner will drop the idle or stall it out if you have a crack, maybe I'll try this with just that side running under half choke- although I also thought you weren't supposed to get carb cleaner on rubber parts! (I'd like to put this to a vote too). I've considered that there might be something wrong with the choke plunger on that side too, but I'm not too sure about that.
Hey- there's nothing wrong with running down a theory, but you're right you have to be careful not to get trapped into assumptions. Actually, the scientific approach is to come up with a theory and then set out to prove yourself WRONG. If you can't prove yourself wrong, then your theory is probably correct.
 

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I use brake cleaner and compressed air. I haven't had trouble with rubber, but I would not spray it on the slide diaphram. You should be able to see if the jets are clogged. I have never had a clogged anything on a carb. Fuel enricher seems to work, if it idles when on in that carb. I would go for the vacuum leak or somewhere in the idle circuit.
In all my years in working on things mechanical, it is a fight every time not to assume. Just remember, the bike is the one that knows whats wrong, so let it tell you. Dont try to tell the bike, lol.
 

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For rubber parts, I use starter fluid because brake cleaner is harsh and may actually CAUSE a leak rather than show you where an existing one is.
 

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never had a problem using my welding tip cleaner in all my years as a bike tech .. youll only hurt the jet if you try to jam one thru it thats to big... i use the smallest cleaner on the welding tip cleaner and make sure its clear by looking thru it... if it runs on choke and not off choke then its in the pilot circuit without a doubt IMHO....

never had a problem using carb cleaner to find air leaks either.....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Running smooth...

Okay! I think I've got it nailed. I took the carb apart again and swapped the jets to the other side, but before I did I decided I wasn't going to mess around and I'd give them a good cleaning first. I soaked them in gasoline then I made the decision to put metal through it and get this over with. I pulled a wire off a wire brush on a bench grinder this was a good size for running lightly through the other jets, but not the pilot through hole (also it was crimped, not perfect but I straightened it out a little). For the pilot through hole I used a piece of wire off a brass wire brush for cleaning a gun bore 12 ga. size (an idea I'm a little proud of) and this worked perfectly, it was just long enough and a small crimp gave me enough friction pulling back to clean. Then I sprayed them all down with carb cleaner and blew them out with a blow gun. Put it back together and started it up, sounded great. I had to bring back the idle adjustment a little bit because it was a little high. I took it for a decent ride and everything seems copacetic. I'm going to take the plugs out today and check the color to make sure I didn't do anything to change the mixture.
 

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500 Problems

Hi, sorry don't have an answer and am asking a related question, any feedback hlpful. I'm not mechanical, and looking at a 2006 Vulcan 500.
It had a 15 k tune up that cost the owner 750, and a history of slippage in clutch, and a still unfixed loose baffle in exhaust.
When he rode it, sounded a little odd and maybe the guy wasn't a good shifter, it seemed really rough and grabby. I didn't get to ride but was one up with him.
Do you think buying this rig for 3300 would be buying into some problems?
My gut said yes, but the bike is a perfect 1st bike for my size and nobody makes 500s any more! thanks
 

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yep sounds like ya got it boot.. easy way to check is to spray each exhasut at head and make sure water burns off evenly/the same on both pipes at head....

PSUSSLIN- buying someone elses nightmare is not the way to go... sounds like hes unloading it cause of all the problems....
 

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Hey thanks, he is the 2nd owner already, had it less than a year, and I'm the 4th person to see it in the month he's tried to sell... that's where the gut part comes in. Too bad, cause for my little (98 lb) self, it seemed like a nice alt. to a 250cc bike for my first. fit nice, not too heavy. oh well, again thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have to agree with QKENUF4U, it sounds like a really bad idea. You should look into either spending a little more and get a brand spanking new one, they go for relativley cheap.. or look for an older model with less mechanical problems. I bought my 1995 with 16k miles on it for less than $1500- sounds like the guy beat the hell out of this bike and doesn't know how to care for a motorcycle (otherwise he'd have the thing repaired).
 

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Just take it to the "man". You said you're no mechanic. Not one myself either, but you don't need to be pulling carbs and such or that Kaw will be another "parts" bike sitting behind someone's barn.
 

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Just take it to the "man". You said you're no mechanic. Not one myself either, but you don't need to be pulling carbs and such or that Kaw will be another "parts" bike sitting behind someone's barn.
So many things to say to this:
You won't learn if you don't try.
It's just a carb in the end.
If you don't have positive input, no output is required.
Two fun parts to owning a bike - Riding and wrenching.
If all else fails, he can get the instructions out of the trash.
Not ur bike, let him do it himself if he wants

And we'll end with an observation: Two posts onto this forum and both made just to bring this rider down about wanting to fix his own bike. Both on an ancient thread. That makes me think.... Really? What's the point of that.

TO OP (although it's an old topic) glad you got it fixed.
 
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