Stealership mechanic FOS? -- Newbie has misgivings! - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2008, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Stealership mechanic FOS? -- Newbie has misgivings!

A few days ago while riding in to work, my VN750 started having trouble maintaining idle. At a red light, I would pull in the clutch while in 1st gear, and the engine, instead of idling at aroaund 1K or so, dropped to zero and stalled out. I had to put the choke on about halfway to maintain a proper idle.

I was thinking of bringing the bike in to a mechanic to do some of the stuff that would take me a while to do right because I don't have the right tools, parts or time -- simple stuff like changing the speedo/tach bulbs, installing a Stebel Magnum horn, and putting on a new set of grips, which is very easy if you have a high powered air compressor but otherwise pretty hard (I think). Also something complicated, the BrakeAway throttle lock/cruise control, which I read the instructions for and was rather daunted by.

I wasn't sure what might be the problem with my bike suddenly not idling, not being at all experienced mechanically, and there's a Kawasaki dealership not too far from my office, so I swung by to leave it with them to take a look.

At the same time, I have an engine knocking that I haven't figured out yet, which I mentioned to them when I dropped it off. I asked them to also install the three accessories I haven't put on yet on my own due to lack of time to learn about electrical wiring or lack of parts or equipment (horns, grips and throttle lock), and asked them to change the bulbs on the tach.

So I get my bike back today. They installed the horns, whoopie, that I think I could have done in a few hours myself. The idling problem they identified as needing a new spark plug. OK, too bad I hadn't gotten my full set of NGK Iridium plugs yet, I was going to do that this weekend... Could have saved myself some money and maybe aggravation.

The grips were not installed. He claimed they were too big for the stock bars on the VN750 and I must have got the wrong model. True? Not true? I got it from Dollar Rider and they definitely list it as being compatible with the VN750: KY-6241. I know these are very popular, can anybody with them installed confirm this is the right set for this bike? I smell bull****.

The throttle lock was not installed. This because installation would require removing the grips, so it should logically wait until I got the "right set" of grips to put on. OK, I'll buy that, except that AFAIK this is the right set of grips...

The bulbs were not changed. They don't have them in stock. I can understand that. They also cannot order them except as a whole assembly (i.e., an entirely new tach/speedo unit) and suggested I try to find them myself. Huh? You're a dealer, but want me, the customer to hunt down a hard to find part for you?

The engine knocking they diagnosed as a loose cam chain tensioner. Sounds familiar from what I read on this board. But, fixing it they described as a tremendous PITA and an expensive job, requiring engine disassembly, so they did nothing. "Just live with it and use 20/50 engine oil instead of 10/40."

Wha-a-a? What would that do to help?

Like I said, I've only had this bike for a month and I am 100% new to owning a motorcycle (I've owned/ridden scooters for a couple of years but those were much more new and maintenance-free compared to this bike).

For installing the horns, telling me my grips are the wrong size, not installing the throttle lock as a result, and diagnosing (but not fixing) my other issues, they billed me for two hours labor. At Manhattan rates, plus tax, that came out to about $200.

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (Despair.com)

Last edited by robardin; 08-28-2008 at 05:55 PM.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2008, 05:26 PM
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Sounds like they don't need your business. Be sure to take it to someone who does.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2008, 05:27 PM
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First off, you link for the grips did not work..so can not tell you if they would fit or not. But..ANY girips made for a 7/8 handlebar CAN BE MADE TO FIT with little effort.

But most importantly, you should run, not walk, away from this dealer as fast as you can and find another.

Did they call you and tell you your bike was ready?

If you gave them a list of stuff and they did not do much of it, is just sounds like they are lazy....or incompentent...or both.

Installing a horn is not too difficult, but I almost fear they screwed this up and you should find someone to make sure it was done right. (If they wired it up using the stock horn wires and did not install a relay , don't use the horn till you get it fixed)


My reason for callin them lazy is you basicly are a cash cow...the amount of money you would likely get charged for a real wrench to do all the stuff you listed would be a really nice bill...most would welcome this kind of customer.
So it sounds like they just did not want to do the work...

I know you say you are not very mechinicaly inclinded, but changing the bulbs, installing the throttle lock, and new grips is something you should be able to do yourself, techno wizard or not.

When I worked in a shop I loved folks that paid me to install accessories...so , find another shop...one with helpfull informative workers..

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2008, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knifemaker View Post
First off, you link for the grips did not work..so can not tell you if they would fit or not.
Hmm, that's the first time I've seen a link not pass through TinyURL correctly. Here's a proper link: Kuryakyn Universal ISO Grips, 7/8 inch Bars.

Quote:
you should run, not walk, away from this dealer as fast as you can and find another.

Did they call you and tell you your bike was ready?

If you gave them a list of stuff and they did not do much of it, is just sounds like they are lazy....or incompentent...or both.
Yes, that was my immediate conclusion; and yes, they called me about 24 hours later to say "my bike was ready" with no elaboration on what was, wasn't or couldn't be done.

Quote:
My reason for callin them lazy is you basicly are a cash cow...the amount of money you would likely get charged for a real wrench to do all the stuff you listed would be a really nice bill...most would welcome this kind of customer.
...
I know you say you are not very mechinicaly inclinded, but changing the bulbs, installing the throttle lock, and new grips is something you should be able to do yourself, techno wizard or not.
I understand, and I sort of agree. I am not untechnical, or afraid of messing with parts; I've built more PCs out of parts than I can count, and am no stranger to figuring out how parts hook together, playing with them until it works, and testing changes out.

But that's all in a more virtual context. If I accidentally reverse the ribbon cable on a CD/DVD drive, for example, or mis-set the master/slave jumpers, all that will happen is a horrible ticking noise and an inability to boot up from the drive. But if I do something stupid with the throttle lock and end up so that it gets stuck open while I'm riding some time... I could be dead.

I'm willing to spend time figuring things out; I have installed most of the cosmetic doohickeys I've added, up to drilling out the seat pan of my Mustang saddle to get it to fit properly with the OEM luggage rack I got. However I draw a line between playing with cosmetic add-ons like racks, mirrors and chrome thingies, and things where (a) I have nothing to guide me other than some printouts from the Verses or a Clymer book, and (b) the downside to getting it wrong is that I have to get a dead bike that I can't ride to a mechanic to fix it properly.

So I was always planning on bringing my bike to a mechanic for the the throttle lock installation. Since part of the installation involves removing the grips I figured it'd be a throw-in for them to put those on that the same time, and the bulbs I neither have nor feel comfortable in disassembling the speedo to put in if I did -- messing with my bike's electrical system being a fear of mine as well, though I feel much better about fooling around with it than the throttle, tranny or engine.

Ah well. Enough excuses. I'll examine the horn installation and try to do the electrical stuff myself at any rate in the future. I do plan on doing the K&N air filters, spark plugs and oil changes myself (:golf clap.

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (Despair.com)
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2008, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Oh yes -- any comment on his comment on the cam chain tensioner rattling?

This is the "Grambo Trick" ACCT thing I should try as my first pass, right? This isn't some kind of engine disassembly I'm looking at?

What the heck does he mean by saying using 20/50 oil instead of 10/40 being at all related to this? He said it in the context of "this bike has over 20,000 miles on it, you should use 20W50 instead of the usual 10W40". I've never heard this advice anywhere else. I'm dubious, especially given my skepticism on the rest of what I got.

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (Despair.com)
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2008, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post
The bulbs were not changed. They don't have them in stock. I can understand that. They also cannot order them except as a whole assembly (i.e., an entirely new tach/speedo unit) and suggested I try to find them myself. Huh? You're a dealer, but want me, the customer to hunt down a hard to find part for you?
Not really that hard to find, if you have and are familiar with the service manual, which I don't except as a very large PDF file and have not yet familiarized myself with...

On a separate thread on this very board, I had asked about my dim speedo, and got this reply:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC
92069-1020 for the meter bulbs
92069-1007 for the indicator panel bulbs
So I Googled for "Kawasaki parts" and found http://www.kawasakipartshouse.com, through which I could enter this exact part number and get the required bulbs.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2008, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post
Oh yes -- any comment on his comment on the cam chain tensioner rattling?

This is the "Grambo Trick" ACCT thing I should try as my first pass, right? This isn't some kind of engine disassembly I'm looking at?

What the heck does he mean by saying using 20/50 oil instead of 10/40 being at all related to this? He said it in the context of "this bike has over 20,000 miles on it, you should use 20W50 instead of the usual 10W40". I've never heard this advice anywhere else. I'm dubious, especially given my skepticism on the rest of what I got.
More proof that they were/are lazy/incompetent. Not knowing exactly what the noise is, they assume the old oil trick will work, using a heavier oil will quiet things right up. I once used 90w gear oil in an engine to cover up the rod knock to sell a car (not one of my finer moments) Yes, try the Grambo trick before considering further engine work to solve the noise.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2008, 07:55 PM
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There are several sites you can order OEM parts from. Ron Ayers and Bike Bandit are a couple as well.
The Grambo trick may or may not work depending on how weak the ACCT spring is.
Don't be afraid of using the diagrams in the manuals. I'd never torn an engine down on a motorcycle in my life but I was forced to when mine developed the ticking and was misdiagnosed as a burnt main bearing. There was also a metal ball rattling around inside that I never found out where it came from. I've had the engine out of the bike twice now (stator replacement) and the carbs off 3 times. You don't need any type of compressor if you are willing to buy or manufacture some of the special tools. The rotor removal tool is simply a bolt screwed in to force the rotor off the crank. I made a clutch removal tool from a cheap vise grip welding clamp for about $4. It can be done. If you've built PC's, you can do this. Even if you mess it up, you will know before you ever climb on the bike to ride. Besides, even the pros mess up and you wouldn't know it until something went wrong anyway. At least you will know what has and hasn't been done to your bike when you work on it. My .02.

Jim W
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Moved R/R 08Sep06
R/R rewire 17Feb07
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New Stator installed 10 Jun08
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2008, 08:47 PM
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First off the fact that you had to have the choke on to get it to run tells me that its probably a carb issue more than the plugs. Did you buy fuel recently?

Check the inside diameter of the grips to make sure they are only 7/8" grips. It wouldn't be the first time a person got shipped the wrong parts in the right box.

The engine knock could be any number of things. best way to tell where it comes from is with a long screwdriver. put the pointy end against the engine, ( while running) and hold the plastic end up to your ear. You'll be able to trace the noise to where its loudest/clearest, and tell where its coming from.

If the knock is in the cam chains, ( which usually sounds like a rattle more than a knock) then new accts, or manual tensoners will fix it, if the grambo trick doesn't work. If the knock is lower in the engine it could be a balancer, or connecting rod.

I would reccommend running high quality 20W50 oil in any bike or vehicle with higher mileage, especially in hotter climates. It will help it run cooler, increase compression, increase oil pressure and lubrication, and it will really help camshaft, connecting rod, and main bearings.
And find another mechanic. Maybe there is someone here that lives close enough to you to help you out a bit.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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First off the fact that you had to have the choke on to get it to run tells me that its probably a carb issue more than the plugs. Did you buy fuel recently?
Yes actually... The day before, I had filled up and got a surprising amount of fuel in there. I wasn't empty enough to go to reserve, yet 2.95 gallons pumped in. It didn't spill out though (I had it on the centerstand, which someone here has suggested as a way to get maximum fuel into the tank... Hopefully not as a joke 'cause this newbie took it as a good idea).

And now that you mention it, yes, the mechanic did say he adjusted the carbs, after I specifically asked him about them. But he spent most of his time talking about the spark plug being the issue.

It was a little tough talking to him because he didn't speak much English, and my Spanish is not good. There was a guy translating but who wasn't a mechanic himself. While I often enjoy language translation challenges (not sarcastic), that is not true in the context of figuring out what the heck they did on my bike that's worth $200.

Quote:
The engine knock could be any number of things. ... If the knock is in the cam chains, ( which usually sounds like a rattle more than a knock) then new accts, or manual tensoners will fix it, if the grambo trick doesn't work. If the knock is lower in the engine it could be a balancer, or connecting rod.
You know what, the knocking is gone. I'm gonna call them today and ask if they actually changed my oil to 20W50, or were merely suggesting I do so. The mechanic repeated it several times in the future tense ("you should change your oil to 20/50"), but it's possible he meant it in a "general policy" way and was implicitly saying that they'd already done it for me the first time.

That, or something between the carbs and the spark plug was causing the knocking in the first place?

Quote:
I would reccommend running high quality 20W50 oil in any bike or vehicle with higher mileage, especially in hotter climates. It will help it run cooler, increase compression, increase oil pressure and lubrication, and it will really help camshaft, connecting rod, and main bearings.
So what (if any) is the downside? Why is 10W40 the stock oil then?

Thanks for all the info!

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (Despair.com)
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