Re: just bought a 96 vulcan...have some ?s
Well, general concensus here on the board is that the following things should be done for maximum reliability:
1. Switch to a sealed battery. I haven't done this yet, so I can't vouch for it's effectiveness.
2. Relocate your Voltage R/R. It gets way too hot under there with that premuffler right below it. It's a minimal process to move it. If you'd like, I can post pics of mine as it is now... totally fried.
3. Check your rear drive splines for proper lube. Some need it, some don't. It's better to check it and not need it then to strip those out.
As far as the stator, that's something that you won't need to do unless it goes out. If you replace the battery and relocate the Voltage R/R (and ideally replace it with an Electrex) you'll minimize the chances of that stator going out. Replacing the stator involves pulling the engine, or at least getting damn close to it.
I'm sure that some of the other guys can give you more info on how to keep your bike running nicely. Once you smooth out some of the more common problems these bikes kick ass, it's just a matter of nipping them in the bud before your bike ends up sitting in the garage while you wait for repairs. :P
Good luck, and good riding.