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Vulcan 800 Engine stops while moving

10040 Views 23 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  ZX-2R
Just returned from a road-trip and the bike left me sitting on the side of the road numerous times. Bike is a 2003 vulcan, 800 classic. Bike would stop running while cruising along about 70, and would not start again for a few minutes. Everytime it did this was about 7-10 miles after filling up with gas, could go another mile or two, and it would stop again, and again for a third time. After quitting for the third time it seemed to snap out of it and run great...until the next fill up. Also...the weather was on the cool side, about 60 degrees, windy and raining. Two days before with nice weather I had no problems.

Anbody see this before? or have any ideas where to start looking? :idea: Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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I have a 2001 and mine did this, well it more or less sputtered in a curve last week. Sadly I had to ditch my new found machine. I think mine is related to a so so petcock. Once I got her home, I tire her down to see why I had to ditch it. My tank was on RES, and when I pulled the tank, I noticed in the RES position, there was no gas coming out. I have a little over a gallon and a half of gas in the tank ( thanks to my professional measuring device- 2 empty milk jugs, hehe)
Let us know what you find.
Is your engine quitting like the gas isn't getting to it, or is the ignition cutting out?

never had that happen with my 02'-but i'd start with the petcock if its fuel related and
not a spark related-also might check the kickstand switch wiring

If it quit running AFTER the fill up I would think that you had some water in your fuel...Consider taking the tank off and then turning the petcock so that fuel runs out in the ON position and then check the RES, there is a screen in the tank for junk...I'd say that if both positions work now to slosh out your tank and then refill it while you are sloshing it take a piece of hose and conect it to the petcock and blow on it to clear the screen of any debris. slosh and dump...then refill...I don't understand why there are no filters in line...definately do not use a plastic fuel filter... Sometimes if your bike does this and switching to RES works then you know that the screen is plugged partially
Thanks for all the help so far guys, but beings the bike still has about two weeks of warranty left I decided to call the local dealer and took it down to them today. They believe that it is a fuel starvation problem that could be resulting from either plugged or pinched fuel line, plugged vent line or possibility of it being the fuel cap. They told me that it is possible the tank was put under a vaccuum and that is why it would have to sit for a few minutes before it would start back up. And with a full tank of gas and the weather being cold, it wouldn't take long for it to be put under enough vacuum to restrict fuel supply. On one of the many times I was sitting on the side of the road :cry: , I tried to start the bike with the petcock in Prime and Res. Niether helped.

The dealer told me they will let me know what they find sometime monday or tuesday. When they do, I'll post another reply to let you know what it was. Thanks again for the advice :D
sturgisfan said:
They believe that it is a fuel starvation problem that could be resulting from either plugged or pinched fuel line, plugged vent line or possibility of it being the fuel cap.
I think they are on the right track. I've heard of the plugged vent before.

You should be back on the road real quick. :)

Have to know if it was a vacuum causing the problem or not...very possible...still waiting for the report...hopefully you are out this weekend riding...let us know and don't kep us in the dark any longer than you have to...sometimes you will hear a whining noise when it is a vacuum problem or you can open the tank and close it again...and ride on...
I just purchased a 2004 Vulcan 800 Classic and I have the problem of the engine stopping / out of gas at about 100 miles. I can start it on the reserve, but when I go to fill up I am only putting in 2 - 2.5 gallons of gas. I have it in for the first service and they cannot find anything mechanically wrong, no pinched or twisted hoses, no other problems seen. I am being told that this may be the way it will be, that I will have to run the last 1.5 - 2 gallons on the reserve. They are going to call Kawasaki to see if there have been other with the same problem. Has anyone else experienced this?
SG800Classic said:
I just purchased a 2004 Vulcan 800 Classic and I have the problem of the engine stopping / out of gas at about 100 miles. I am being told that this may be the way it will be, that I will have to run the last 1.5 - 2 gallons on the reserve. Has anyone else experienced this?
Give your engine more time to break in. When my 2001 VN800 was new it ran out at 96 miles and I had to switch to reserve. At 4000 miles and adding a set of V & H Cruzers, KN filter, and re-jetting, I went 130 before filling and it hadn't cut over to reserve yet.

Never did see how far I could push it, but it looked like I was getting close to 60mpg cruising out in the desert. I filled up in Gila Bend and again near home (about 60 miles) and couldn't get quite a gallon in it. :D
Thanks Dave! I'll try to be patient and let it break in. It just seemed too odd that it cut out and had to switch to reserve after only 2 gallons of gas out of a 4 gallon gas tank. I'll let you know.
SG800Classic said:
It just seemed too odd that it cut out and had to switch to reserve after only 2 gallons of gas out of a 4 gallon gas tank.
Sometimes I think the Japanese do this on purpose. I guess an early warning is better than running out. I got in the habit of filling mine up around 100 miles give or take 10-15 miles. Riding along and having the thing start to sputter is no fun.

BTW, my Marauder 1600 low fuel light came on at 96 miles. I guess my fueling habits aren't going to change much. :lol:

that's what i did on my 800 at first - never ran more than 100 miles before re-fueling
it got better later - now i can run about 130 before reserve-depends how hard i run it too :wink:
I finally heard back from the dealer today!!! :D They said they were unable to find anything wrong with the bike. They told me that they believe that I was filling the tank a little too full(allowing the gas level to rise into the filler neck). He said that doing this causes venting problems with the tank and since the weather was cold and sun wasn't out, the tank was very easily put under a vacuum. And that was also why it would run fine after about 15 miles. I know that I didn't fill the tank any higher than I nomally did, but I normally don't ride in the conditions I was in either.

I usually have to put in about 2.9 gallons right after switching to reserve, it has been that way since the day I bought the bike. I believe that I got the best gas mileage the first week I had it because the break-in period forced me to behave :twisted: . I got 62mpg the first trip I took with it. Now I am only getting about 40,(115 miles before switching to reserve) and that is running it at 65-70mph the majority of the time and sometimes pushing a headwind.

Thaks again for all your help and suggestions.
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Hmmmm......I had read in the Kawa manual that the reason not to fill into the neck was that at high temperatures the fuel will expand and cause hard starting and hesitation in California models. It will dump gas into the evap cannister.

When I traded in my 800, my owners manual went with it, but I'm pretty sure that's what it said. Mainly because I somehow ened up with a Cal model. I never had a problem and I filled it to the bottom of the neck and even sometimes a bit higher.

I checked my 800 service manual, which I still have, and no mention of fuel level.

However, the owners manual on my new bike says almost excatly what I wrote above. But it starts out by saying "California models only: Never fill the tank so the fuel level rises into the filler neck....etc.".

I think you have a pinched vent hose or a plugged gas cap vent, but that's just my opinion.

You might try a search on the VROC tech archives about this problem, if it continues.

When you open the cap do you hear a whoosh sound???? If you do, something is plugged.
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YOu are correct...especially on the CA models...just don't fill it to the top...
VN800 Quits after fillup

I too Have A 2004 VN800 Classic which Quits after a fill up cruising around 70 mph. This has become a Very Dangerous situation. The Dealer has no Clue and I think Kawasaki is Sno Balling Us, Saying not to fill the tank.I,am thinking of calling the Vermont Attorney Generals Office and seeing if a class action suit is in order or The Hyway Safety Board.
If I wanted to Buy a non working Bike I would have done so in the used Market.
lets all VN800 owners stick together on this one and not let Kawasaki Take our Hard earned Money And Turn Their Backs And RUN

Mary Moo
How full are you filling your tank? Are you letting the gas level rise into the filler neck at all? That was what the mechanic told me that my problem was. I have not had any problems with the bike since then. The dealer did not charge me anything for looking at the bike either. How many miles after filling up does it take to stall?

Nothing was "sno-balled" with my situation.
I was having the same problem. As fuel is being pulled from the tank, a vacuum is created due to the fuel vent not letting in enough air, so eventually the vacuum becomes enough to where it overcomes the vacuum in the petcock. A good way to test this is to put an extra key in the gas tank lock, and if your bike starts to quit, pop the gas tank open. If the engine comes back to life, you know you have a vacuum problem in the gas tank. Here is how I got rid of the problem:

1. Ensure that your air plenum (the plastic behind the air filter) is on tight. The bolts on mine had vibrated loose, which allowed the plenum to move, which in turn causes problems in the main vacuum hose coming off of the plenum.

2. Remove the gas tank cap by removing two screws behind the hinge.

3. Disassemble and clean the parts of the gas tank cap as sometimes dust can partially plug the labyrinthe (passageways). Be careful, it's not hard to disassemble, but some of the parts are small and can roll away from you.

4. While the cap is disassembled, take a look at the bottom of the cap. You will see a small hole. This is the fuel tank vent. If you take a closer look, you can see how the spring from the locks protruding out the sides partially blocks the hole. My theory is that the spring blocks the hole enough that air can't flow through fast enough to prevent a vacuum. Take a drill bit and open up the hole. I also drilled two extra holes (one on each side of the center hole) to help with ventilation.

5. Put the gas cap back together and re-install on the tank.

6. While you are at it, take a look at the vent hole coming up through the gas tank. You can identify it by matching it up to a teat on the gas cap at approximately the 5:00 position when looking down on the tank. Take a air hose and air gun, and blow low pressure air through the hole in the tank. You should hear a hissing noise, which is telling you the vent line is open. If you don't look for a bend or kink in the rubber vent line running underneath the bottom of the tank on the RH side.

I did this repair and haven't had any problems since then. :D
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Vulvan 800 stalling @ 70 mph and repeating after waiting

I have a 2002 500 ltd (same gas tank & petcock) I have encountered this situation on my bike (mostly on reserve) after 2 years an 50,000 miles I am convinced a vapor lock of some type is being formed. It has never occured with a full tank, even completely filled !!. However it only seems to occure on regular gas! I went 40,000 and 2 years between occurances, only difference was the regular gas (87) back on super (92) no reoccurances. By the way to remedy the situation as soon as it happens(after bike is stopped and turned off) put the petcock on prime (middle position) then back to reg or res if necessary and it will restart right away, however trying this on the fly while bike is stalling will not work!
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