Won't start, PLEASE help... - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-09-2014, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Won't start, PLEASE help...

I just bought a vulcan, 1990, my first bike ever so I'm neither experienced or educated. Before i bought it there was a problem with the battery (turned out to be dead), but he replaced it and it started/ran with no problem. Since then I've had it sitting in my driveway for about 5 days (while i went through the insurance/registration process) and i finally got my plate yesterday and put it on a few hours ago. Tried starting it and it cranked a bit, immediately heard a gunshot, now wenever i hit the starter i hear some sort of whirring come from the engine/transmission area....any help greatly appreciated
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-09-2014, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by lethargy1993 View Post
I just bought a vulcan, 1990, my first bike ever so I'm neither experienced or educated. Before i bought it there was a problem with the battery (turned out to be dead), but he replaced it and it started/ran with no problem. Since then I've had it sitting in my driveway for about 5 days (while i went through the insurance/registration process) and i finally got my plate yesterday and put it on a few hours ago. Tried starting it and it cranked a bit, immediately heard a gunshot, now wenever i hit the starter i hear some sort of whirring come from the engine/transmission area....any help greatly appreciated
The gunshot was a backfire....possible weak battery or other carb problem.
Sounds like your Starter is whirling but not engaging the engine. Need to drain the oil prior to removing starter....starter rebuild kits are available on FleaBay.


'86 VN750 13,700 mi -Stock
-Purchased 2008 w/8800mi
Replaced ALL Cables . Kuryakyn LED Voltmeter
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Splines Lubed - 11/4/2012 - MF AGM Battery
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Dampers went out @ 13+K !
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...have a vulcan good day!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-09-2014, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamTech View Post
The gunshot was a backfire....possible weak battery or other carb problem.
Sounds like your Starter is whirling but not engaging the engine. Need to drain the oil prior to removing starter....starter rebuild kits are available on FleaBay.

Agreed. This particular bike needs a good quality battery to crank it over any time. Check the starter as mentioned and the rebuild is pretty simple. Make sure your battery is fully charged and if you need to get a new one be sure to buy a gel cell. Since it ran recently it should fire back up once the starter is back in order. Good luck and be sure to update us on your progress.

and always remember, "Ride until you rot!"
**Really not sure if the Big "C" is back right now
but having to face the fact that this is a lifetime routine
going forward. Five operations done and it still continues.

Tom
Vulcan 2000
New ride: 2009 Victory Vision Arlen Ness Signature Series
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-09-2014, 07:07 PM
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Whiring but not turning engine over sounds like the starter is functioning properly but not grabbing the reduction gear I would pull the right side engine cover and look it over if someone has been in there before and didnt reinstall the reduction gear right or forgot the spacer then the starter will not jive with the gear and you will get the noise you are reporting

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 02:20 AM
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Maybe it's just me but ....

It just sounds like a dead battery to me. Maybe the sound he is hearing is the starter trying to turn it over but it doesn't have enough juice. If he set the bike still with no tender, and a short run before then, that battery hasn't had a chance to charge. I would suggest he just get his battery load tested and charged before he does anything. As most of you know, a new battery will work wonders an a bike.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 02:43 AM
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The Vulcan 750 has always been hard to start, even when new. My '02 has done what you are describing (other than a whirring noise) once in a while since new. I have used huge booster batteries with tons of amps, and the starter still turned over slowly (at least a lot more slowly than I am used to on any other bike other than a Harley) I believe the ignition system is weak, and that cranking that slow does not produce a good spark.

Also, these bikes do not like to sit very long. I always keep a battery tender on mine, and still have trouble starting it after it has sat for a few days. Sometimes it will backfire, then start up on one cylinder, then the other cylinder kicks in a few seconds later. I am pretty sure this is a carb issue. I recently rebuilt my carbs, and the problem was still there. These are weird carbs, they are actually a one piece unit bolted together. The jets are way down on the bottom, not in the float chamber where they usually are.

If it did run fine, then hopefully your carbs don't need cleaning. It's almost as easy to pull the engine in this bike than remove the carbs.

I would drain the carbs, then fill them up with Seafoam through the fuel lines. Let soak a couple of days. Check the battery, if it is good, make sure it is fully charged. And check the plugs. Bad plugs combined with a weak ignition system can cause your problem.

I tried the iridium plugs, they didn't do anything for me, other than cost a lot of money. Others claim they help. Worth a shot if the problem still exists after trying everything else.

I am a motorcyclist, NOT a biker.


1997 Vulcan 750, purchased about a week ago
2006 Sportster 1200 Low
2013 Royal Enfield Bullet 500, converted to carb
2001 Yamaha XT225, heavily modified
2004 Honda Rebel 250
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 07:18 AM
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Get an AGM battery. These are the best things you can get for our bikes. These bikes have some funny ignition issues.

When I first got this bike, I had issues as well. After replacing the battery with a decent AGM battery, and doing the pick-up coil mod, the bike starts up every time, no problem. No need to hook it to a charger during the winter. Starts up just fine. It's a 1994.

I also highly suggest relocating the regulator/rectifier to somewhere cooler, letting it breathe, to prevent your stator going out. If that happens, I've heard it's a real pain in the ass to replace. I just zip-tied mine to the rear fork. It looks tacky, but it's barely noticeable.

A good carb clean is a good idea, it's a pain to remove them, though.


To summarize. Get an AGM battery. Also do the pick-up coil mod (do a search), you need a dremmel, and some basic tools. (You might need an impact screwdriver, I did, those screws on the plate are on there good).
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 09:28 PM
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Keep in mind folks that his new battery probably came fully charged. If his stator is bad and the battery grew weak during the test ride from a burned stator the symptoms would match up.

Lehargy, I'd suggest testing your stator. There are are several threads here on how to test your stator which are a weak point on these bikes.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 01:46 AM
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Welcome to the Vulcan madness lethargy1993.
Do the quick easy cheap tests first!!
The wet cell battery that came with my scoot, (a '91 model with the same original paint colors as your '90 did btw), would often backfire when trying to start. A new MF-AGM, (Maintenance Free-Absorbed Glass Mat) battery solved the problem. Most battery specialty shops should be able to load test a motorcycle battery.

Try hooking up booster cables to the bike's battery from your car. Many here say to shut the car engine off, so as not to charge the smaller battery too fast. Maybe true, but I am not convinced it is necessary.

If you do not have a digital multimeter, (reads volts, amps, ohms) get one. It does not have to be expensive. 10 to 20 bucks will get one that will satisfy what you need it for. Check the voltage with the engine off. A fully charged new battery should read close to the nominal 13.2 volts.

At idle speed of 1100 rpm the voltage may be slightly lower because the stator/alternator is not producing as much power as the ignition system needs to fire the plugs. Gradually rev it up to 2k, 3k, 4k and 5k rpms. The stator should start producing more power as revs increase. Many report voltage up to mid 14 volts range. Mine is lucky to ever show over 13 volts dc, but fires up almost every time on the first or second touch of the starter, and very seldom needs any other charge or boost.

Gordon

1991 VN 750 -"Cosmic Lady" or "Bad Girl"?
Purchased May 16, 2008
Approx.19,300km (12,000 miles)

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July 13, 2016, Riding on the DARKSIDE now, Classic Radial 165/80-15


TOP TEN THINGS A NEW RIDER/OWNER SHOULD DO. Click on link.
https://www.vn750.com/forum/11-vn750-general-discussion/9127-top-ten-items-you-would-suggest-new-owner-do-his-new-ride.html
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