Is it worth the trouble/money? - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-19-2007, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Is it worth the trouble/money?

Was given an '86 750 and am getting it together for my son to ride. Previous owner (my brother) had a mechanic check it out before his last long ride. Report was that the engine was noisy and worn out - sell it before it breaks. Instead, he gave it to me - thanks bro.

Symptoms:
1) Cam chain is noisy - I have seen several threads about replacing the tensioner springs (ACCT - I don't know what the acronym is for). That doesn't seem too bad to do.
2) Clutch is weak - Clymers has a pretty good write up on replacing the clutch disks. Doesn't seen too bad.
3) Left Rear Head Gasket Leak - It appears there is a coolant leak at the base of the rear, left side, head. The sparkplug in this cylinder is fouled, the other 3 look decent. Haven't checked compression yet. This would be the bottom head gasket. From leafing thru this forum, and the Clymers, it does not appear to be trivial to change this out.

I have a couple of options and I am asking for your input/advise as to which option to choose:
1) Button it all back together with the expectation that my son will not be putting on too many miles. If it dies, part it out on EBay.
2) Sell it to an unsuspecting soul looking for a cheap ride.
3) Sell it to a talented, knowledgeable owner of Vulcan 750s.
4) Pull the engine, give the repair a shot, knowing that if I screw it up, I can still part it out on EBay.

Is changing out the head gaskets as bad as it looks? Help!

Jeff

Last edited by [email protected]; 03-24-2007 at 04:12 PM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-19-2007, 08:06 PM
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Having torn my engine down to "parade rest" (all the way) rest assured it is not as hard as the manual tries to make it. There are a lot of steps, but the hardest part is pulling and reinstalling the engine. The rest is fairly easy as long as you have to proper tools. Most can be "redneck engineered" or obtained cheaper than the Kaw manual would have you believe but the satisfaction of having torn down an engine and putting it back together again is priceless. Get your son to help out and he'll probably treat it with a lot more respect as well since he has a part of himself emotionally invested in the ride.
ACCT=Automatic Cam Chain Tensioner.
Welcome to the group. There is a vast wealth of experience here and everyone is willing to share it. All you need to do is ask and even respond to anothers question once you gain some experience. Several on this group were mech newbies not too long ago and now are real "experts".

Jim W
93 VN 750 "Ursula"
Moved R/R 08Sep06
R/R rewire 17Feb07
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New Stator installed 10 Jun08
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-20-2007, 08:16 AM
 
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cam chain tensioners may take care of most of the noise, I know it did on my 86. I would look at the o-rings and line going to the front top of the rear head before i went to the trouble of tearing the engine out and down. The gaskets are pretty tough, most of the coolant leaks we've discussed on here weren't gasket related.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-20-2007, 09:04 AM
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Sky Rider's suggestions above are excellent feedback! If your son has "sweat equity" built into the bike, he of course will take more pride in his ride and treat it much better.

This obviously will make him a more careful rider than he might otherwise be, and this would be more peace of mind for you.

Sky Rider's also correct that the satisfaction you'll get from bringing this bike back from the edge of the grave is priceless.

Between your Clymer manual, and the advice you get from this forum you can't miss!!!

Also: has your son had an MSF riding class yet (http://www.msf-usa.org/)? Those are also a great idea--what he learns there may one day save his life.....
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-20-2007, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Msf

My son will NOT be riding until he completes the MSF course. We will then be practicing in a parking lot. He has ridden a scooter/moped, but nothing with a manual transmission - or with any power.

I took the course before starting to ride and have since taken the advanced rider course. You are correct with it being invaluable.
post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-20-2007, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwmkwood View Post
cam chain tensioners may take care of most of the noise, I know it did on my 86. I would look at the o-rings and line going to the front top of the rear head before i went to the trouble of tearing the engine out and down. The gaskets are pretty tough, most of the coolant leaks we've discussed on here weren't gasket related.
Thanks for the advise. I am cleaning up engine and will then take it out for a ride (just got my title and plate today). That should help show where the leak is. I will also test the compression and let you all know.

Thanks for all the help.

Jeff
post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-24-2007, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Well, the verdict is in. Definitely a gasket leak. I cleaned the engine up, put some baby powder around the bottom of the heads, started it up and ran it around the block. Upon checking the base of the rear head, I could see the coolant running thru the powder. No wet marks above the gasket line and no drips off the carbs (not that the carbs would drip antifreeze, but they are above the leak location). Good compression though.

What a pain.

Any advise on good places to purchase parts online? I will be checking with my local Kawa dealer, but want to check some online prices to keep him honest. If the local dealer is even close I will buy from them.

I also ran into an interesting little difficulty. After warming up my bike, I smelled something like burnt popcorn. It turns out a chipmunk or something has filled one of the pipes with deer corn over the winter. Most of it shot out the back when I reved the engine, but the balance must have burned.

Don't think the little rodent was in there though - that would have really stunk.

Time to get the main bike out and ride. Will work on this bike when the sun isn't shining.

Jeff

Last edited by [email protected]; 03-24-2007 at 04:24 PM.
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-24-2007, 05:02 PM
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-24-2007, 11:17 PM
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i now swear by ron ayers. Down side is the wait.. normally about 2 weeks

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Have ordered my gasket set from Ron Ayers, my clutch kit from the stealer, and ACCT springs from TOC. In a month I will either have a great bike, or there will be many nice parts on EBay.

I expect to make a go of it. It doesn't look too hard. Wish me luck.

Jeff
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