Trouble with my recently purchased 2003 bike. - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Trouble with my recently purchased 2003 bike.

I recently bought a 2003 Vulcan off craigslist.
It's been about two weeks and I'm starting to realize that the previous owner(s) did not take very good care of the bike. I changed the oil and it looked like it hadn't been changed in a very very long time, and there was only about 1/4 quart.
Anyway, I've fixed a bunch of the small things on it.
The other day I rode up the mountains for a few hours, afterwards I was riding on a highway back to my house and after being in 5th gear for about 30 seconds, I was about 70mph and the engine started chugging as if it was running out of gas. I checked and it was almost full. The engine shut down on me. Luckily I was able to pull off safely but when I tried starting it back up the starter button wasn't doing anything. I thought the battery could be dead but the lights were still on. I let it sit for a few minutes and tried again and it worked.
After asking a bunch of people for advice they told me its either a clogged fuel filter, the engine was vapor locked, or the battery is going out.
I'm sure the battery is going out also because usually when I try to start the bike it takes a good 30 seconds to start it.
If I could get some advice on what further steps I should take, that would be great. Again, I just bought the bike a few weeks ago and I'm not too savvy with technical stuff, yet.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 01:15 PM
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The whole "starter button wouldn't work" worries me. Check grounds first - it's good peace of mind to know everything is tight.

There are three grounds. Right side, under side cover, bolted to the battery box. It should run to a bolt in the back of the engine.

Battery to frame, and wiring harness to frame. Both bolt into the same spot.

Fuel filters might do it. Battery is easy to test.

Taking that long to turn over is worrying too... Mine cranks after two turns.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 02:15 PM
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How about a post in the newbie section.as to your location (might be someone nearby who can help),wrenching experience (so we know what level to explain a fix or if it is over your head)etc.etc.I'm a little worried about the low oil level

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Last edited by OleDirtyDoc; 07-29-2015 at 02:17 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OleDirtyDoc View Post
How about a post in the newbie section.as to your location (might be someone nearby who can help),wrenching experience (so we know what level to explain a fix or if it is over your head)etc.etc.I'm a little worried about the low oil level
Do they need to write you guys a book? He pretty much answered all the 'intro' questions aside from location, which not everyone is comfortable sharing.

The fact it had a 1/4qt of oil in it.. is utterly frightening.

First steps you should take, imo, would be replace the battery with a AGM type, go through and check all connectors and grounds. After that, see where you're at.

It doesn't sound like vapor lock since the starter would not engage.

1986 Kawasaki Vulcan 750
NGK Iridium Plugs #7803/DPR7EIX-9
Duralast Gold ETX15 AGM Battery
Coastered & Shaved
TOC MCCTs
Metzeler ME880 [110/90-19, 170/80-15]
Balance Dampers Replaced
Tuxedo Mod
Rebuilt Forks w/ Progressive Springs
V&H Cruzers
VN750.com Grill Cover
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1990 Kawasaki Vulcan 750

1998 Honda VFR800 FI

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trumanner0114 View Post
... Luckily I was able to pull off safely but when I tried starting it back up the starter button wasn't doing anything....
Just for clarification - does this mean it wouldn't even crank?



Old Bike: 2006 VN750 - Sold

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 07:36 PM
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Sounds like to me that maybe one of the few safety switches may have given you a problem. Lots of times the side stand switch can cause the bike to stall. If one forgets about the kill switch on off position. And maybe even the starter switch can go bad.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thtanner View Post
Do they need to write you guys a book? He pretty much answered all the 'intro' questions aside from location, which not everyone is comfortable sharing.

The fact it had a 1/4qt of oil in it.. is utterly frightening.

First steps you should take, imo, would be replace the battery with a AGM type, go through and check all connectors and grounds. After that, see where you're at.

It doesn't sound like vapor lock since the starter would not engage.
No they do not need to write a book and that is why I book was not requested by OleDirtyDoc. All the regular questions were not answered as they usually are: Location; Wrenching Experience; Riding Experience. If you were able to know the answer to all three of those questions from what was written in the first post my hat goes off to you. I still fail to understand why there are regulars here that get upset when those three questions are asked or if the Newbie Check-In heading is brought up. Knowing a bit about the person asking a question is a big help when supplying an answer.

I do fully agree that the 1/4 qt. of oil is a major concern and vapor lock should be able to be ruled out. I would intially go with the electrical diagnosis. Check all grounds and check the battery condition.

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
4507 miles
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-30-2015, 03:02 PM
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IGNITION SWITCH. CLEAN THE IGNITION SWITCH. It's the black puck under the key. Causes all kinds of funk. It will turn off your bike whenever it feels like it. Will stop it from starting, will let you start it. Then it will laugh at you. There are some small springs in there and a ball bearing so careful you don't lose them. Clean the contacts. It's tight with the cables attached so just be careful you don't pull any of the soldered connection loose.

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Last edited by Goofyfoot2001; 07-30-2015 at 03:04 PM.
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