HELP! New Vulcan Owner: Clicking, Front Cylinder Not Firing - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-05-2011, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy HELP! New Vulcan Owner: Clicking, Front Cylinder Not Firing

I recently purchased a 2001 Vulcan 750 (~17000 miles) as my first motorcycle from a private owner this past october. I have ridden it as often as possible since then, including for my daily commute to work, weather allowing. I wintered the bike in a heated garage until a month ago. The previous owner had left it mostly stock, but had replaced the pipes with aftermarket jardines.

I stopped at a local bike shop with the bike a few weeks ago, that specializes in metric bikes... an employee who I have done a lot of business with ran the bike and mentioned that it is probably running lean... I left it with the mechanic for diagnosis, and he verified that it was running very lean (which probably explains cold weather starting problems I had had with it that winter), and further mentioned that there was an odd clicking noise coming from the front cylinder head, which he said sounded like a collapsed HLA or a loose cam chain adjuster. Over the past two weeks, they removed and cleaned the carbs, readjusted the fuel mixture screws, shimmed the needle, and replaced the mains to 138s from 132s. He gave it a test run and it was running much more smoothly. The clicking noise remained, but he said there was little he could do without further breaking the bike apart, and that it was probably harmless for now and that I should ride it a bit to see if the valve unclogs.

It started immediately at the place, and I rode it home... the throttle did indeed run more smoothly. However, when I got to my neighborhood and slowed down, the idle speed suddenly dropped to 500 rpm from 1100, and the engine nearly stalled. I stopped it at my house and restarted it. The idle was low, and when I revved it up, it felt underpowered until it hit around 3k... when I let go of the throttle, it dropped, floated around 2k a while, and then returned down to 500-1000. I also smelled raw gas in the air.

I called the shop, the guy came over with a trailer, and when I ran it for him he said that the front cylinder was not firing, that it sounded possibly mechanical, and that I should be prepared for news that the bike is totaled. Any ideas???
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 12:52 AM
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From what you have said I would suspect a carb problem. First look would be a damaged, poorly adjusted, or a stuck float. I would also check the gas tank vent hose to see if it's venting properly. imo your cylinder is being flooded out. You didn't say anything about hearing metal to metal noises such as a broken valve, broken valve spring, or broken cam chain.


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2001 Vulcan 750
TOC upgrade on ACCT
Air/fuel mixture set to 2 1/2 out
rectifier relocated
splines lubed
decals removed
upgraded mirrors
Pic up coil mod done
All LED lighting
Upgraded Mosfet rectifier
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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There is definitely some metal to metal noise, but it is faint and has apparently been there since I bought the bike (when I first bought it, I assumed it was a natural engine noise until a professional told me otherwise). It is a clattering, clicking noise coming from the front cylinder head that is most evident when the bike is idling. The mechanic told me that it was likely a clogged HLA, but that the bike seemed to be running smoothly and it would hopefully unclog itself with use and maybe a little seafoam in the oil system. The clattering remained at the end when they cylinder wasn't firing, but seemed more random and erratic, and is what seemed to alarm the guy that came to pick the bike up (it wasnt the same mechanic that worked on it).

I guess my main curiosity is that it picked this moment to fail, since I have been on the bike for 6 months now and put well over 200 miles on it in stop and go city traffic, with no running problems other than some rough idling. The shop has been good to me, but I am clearly a bike novice and don't want to be taken advantage of... I really love this bike.
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