Vulcan weak spots - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Vulcan weak spots

My 92 bike has 21,000 and no major work. Cam chains sound good (but i think i will get a set of MCCT just in case) and no electrical problems yet. I hear so many Stators going bad, is this a case of "not if but when"? or can many of go a long time? Same for the dampners?

Reason i ask is my bike sounds great and works great so far but I worry a bit about what will happen eventally. I prefer preventive to after the fact fixing.

Should i just do the nomral wait and listen till i hear problems? it sound slike the dampners will make a click (by left foot) when they are starting to fail, or rubber parts in oil (mine has neither).

Stator is i guess a wait and see or is there any way to "know" its on its last legs?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 06:47 PM
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first, the dampers... how often do you ride? how often was the bike ridden before you got it... the dampers go out from long periods of storage. the stator is a wait and see thing... same with the ACCT's... some people have never touched thier stator. I myself have a 92 and have gone through 3 in the bikes life time (that I know of)... so all in all, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 08:43 PM
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I agree with Slim. And, if ya add a volt meter to monitor the stator, that wont stop it from going bad, but at least you'll know it.
Some have gone 10's of thousands of miles and more with no stator problems. Mine went around 34k.
Any vehicle will eventually have problems, even our illustrious Vulcan.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Well it sounds like i should be good then (dampner wise). Person I bought bike from had put about 15,000 on it in the last couple years, before that it had been road pretty light it sounded like. I would guess if they had deteriorated he should have found out. He told me his last trip (last fall before storage, was about 2200 miles).
I know in forums you hear more about the BAD then GOOD. I guess everytime i get something New I worry about all the things that can go wrong, i hit a forum and hear all the horror stories and worry

Stator, I got my volt gauge (yet to install). Right now its hard to work on when I can be riding it And I do agree, ANYTHING mechanical can have problems eventally. Even great mechanical cars can have problems.

I knowwhen i get a few thousand on it without problems I will settle down and not worry, but till then every creak and groan has me worried
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 12:37 PM
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The best way that I know of to help prolong stator life to to keep up on your oil changes regularly. Stators fail due to the copper wires failing from over heating and the best way to help prevent that is to make sure youre always full on oil and you keep fresh oil in the engine. I've heard (have no way to confirm it though) that one individual got over 60K on his 750 without having to change the stator. So if what they said is true then that should be the ticket.

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Last edited by wkrizan; 05-21-2010 at 12:39 PM.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 06:04 PM
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There are some things you can do to postpone or intercept a stator failure with less pain....as mentioned above, be religious with oil changes. A clean(er) stator is a happier stator.

Periodically, it's also a great idea to inspect the bike's electrical connections, then clean them as appropriate. Use a good electrical spray cleaner to clean electrical component contact surfaces--but be sure to use a spray cleaner that's designed not to attack plastics. You can also try using vinegar to clean these contacts, as well. Then repack (or coat) each connection before reassembly with dielectric grease. This grease will not affect the electrical conductivity at the contacts, and of course will protect the contacts from moisture and later corroding.

Basically, a cleaner electrical system without rust/corrosion at the various connections runs with less resistance and thus generates less heat for the stator. Be especially sure your battery terminals and all frame ground connections are clean (great metal-to-metal contact) and really tight, and greased as described. This is an often overlooked part of motorcycle maintenance. But it will head off many electrical gremlins b4 they have a chance to haunt you.

You should really install a voltmeter near your other bike's instruments to monitor the health of the bike's charging system. When/if a stator fails, this voltmeter will give you some advanced warning (rather than NONE without it). There are of course many other threads on the forum here that talk about this in much detail. Should your stator fail when you are in the middle of nowhere, however, being able to turn off the headlight (during daylight only, of course) will greatly increase the time the bike can run off of the battery only. A separate kill switch for the headlamp could be the hero of the day, if your luck really turns on you. Just something to think about.....

The "phantom gas syndrome" is also something to watch for. But you can pretty much be ready to handle it (if/when it happens to you) by reviewing the following terrific thread on this subject:

https://www.vn750.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14507

As you may have already read elsewhere, many Vulcan 750s apparently left the factory without the necessary lube at the driveshaft splines. See Fergy's signature link for how to correct this error. If you have yet to inspect your driveshaft's splines for the proper lube, do so--and the sooner, the better. Also--be sure to relube these splines with the right "moly" lube whenever you change the back tire on your bike. I have seen on the internet where this problem has been the early death of otherwise great touring trips on the VN750. Don't let it happen to you!

This bike has a really strong tendency to rust readily, if it is not properly waxed/polished and/or stored in a garage that keeps it separated from the elements--especially in humid environments. If you can't garage your bike, then a good quality cover (like from Dowco, or equivalent) and regular wax/polishing is a "must do" to keep it looking sharp for a long time. See other threads here for more info on this, too.

My bike's automatic cam chain tensioners went out at just over 9,000 miles. The MCCTs from TOC I think are really the best way to solve this problem permanently. It's well documented elsewhere here how to recognize this problem, and what to do if/when it happens.

Some trim pieces on this bike have a tendency to work loose, and then fall off. The swingarm covers are especially prone to this, & the door on the back toolbox is also a contender here. The lock on the back toolbox can work loose, as well. See other threads here for more info on this problem.

This bike can also have a hard-start problem, especially when the bike is hot. The tried-and-true fix here is to install a maintenance-free (sealed) battery (which is a really good idea, anyway), and iridium-tipped spark plugs (usually the NGK brand). These changes have other nice benefits, too (like no more adding water to battery cells).

My biggest problem with this bike is the issue of seat comfort, for the factory seat. Some people of course don't have problems with this; others go thru several solutions b4 finding a cure. The button tuck upholstery pattern on the seat is stupid, and of course with the bike parked, traps water during/after a rain. Hey, Kawasaki...what were you thinking here?...

The VN750 is really a solid bike, but like most everything else, it requires some true "TLC" in the right places/times to remain a fun and reliable riding option.

Given all the above, take good care of your "baby", and it will take good care of you. This is especially relevant, since this bike is really the last of its kind......

'05 VN750



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Last edited by theauhawk; 05-22-2010 at 04:57 AM.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2010, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Actually right now the seat is my biggest gripe, but I'm working on that.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2010, 12:37 PM
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The only solution to the seat problem that's worked for me is a Mustang seat with a sheepskin covered gelpad. A Protac backrest tops off the setup.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2010, 01:21 PM
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I vote to include the starter motor on the watch list. Can you think of a worse place to put a starter?

DT

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2010, 03:24 PM
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I struggled with the seating comfort for the three years I had the 750. At 260, with short legs, a few things really helped. A mustang seat, building the Knifemaker floorboards and adding the protac drivers backrest. There are a lot of things you can do with seating, but in my opinion, the floorboards and backrest were the biggest difference makers.

I must agree with what everyone else has already said about preventive maintenance on the electrical system to try to avoid the stator problems. I seldom ever went a full 3000 miles on an oil change but kept clean oil in the bike as much as possible. I relocated my r/r to give it a better chance of cooling, although no data exists that would prove that moving the r/r will help it or the stator last longer, just makes common sense to me.

I never had any electrical problems with the bike in my 3 years, but as you can see by the spline lube procedure in my sig, I was one of many who had the lack of lube from the factory. Your 92 version is not as prone to dry splines from the factory, but being a 92, if they've never been lubed, you might be on borrowed time.

Back to electrical: Early on, I pulled all my grounds and cleaned them with a dremmel and a wire brush wheel, dielectric greased them and tightened them all up good, along with other connectors that I found that were getting corrosion built up. Several folks here were dealing with the hard hot starting issues and backfiring on trying to start the bike after stopping for a short time. My bike was doing the same thing. For grins, I did a modification we used to do on the old KZ's where you replace your coil power wires with heavier gauge wire and ran them direct from the battery using a relay. At the same time, I relocated my r/r since I was working around the battery box. I already had an MF battery in the bike so I knew that wasn't the issue. After doing these two mods, I never had the hot start problem again. When doing the coil mod, I noticed that the positive battery wire connection to the starter solenoid was corroded so I cleaned it up and dielectric greased it as well. I went on to change out my plugs with iridiums a few weeks later just because I wanted to. I owned the bike for 2.5 more years and never had any problems with it putting about 17000 miles on it after these mods.

My son bought the bike from me about a year ago and he leaves it parked on his driveway, no cover, in the elements all the time. I urged him to clean out a small space in his garage to park it, but he never has. He told me the other day that it is getting hard to start cold. I believe that his problems stem from parking the bike in the weather. I would imagine that he probably hasn't been keeping seafoam in the gas either like I taught him, but who knows. If you keep the bike covered and keep electrical stuff clean, greased and tight, keep clean oil in it and keep a few oz of seafoam in your tank at least once a month, it will go and go without any major problems.

One of our old timers put 115K on his before he gave it to his family member, and as far as we know, its still going. Billy did have to put a stator in it at around 75K but that should give you an idea of the longevity of these bikes. Billy did ride, a lot, and as we've learned, sitting these bikes does more damage than anything! Good luck to you!

Fergy
Kyle, TX VN750.com member #707 VROC#19556
2002 VN1500 Classic
Spline Lube Procedure, with photos, R/R Relocation and Coil Mod
Rusty Tank Cleaning!
Electrical Fault Finding Flowchart
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