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Tinkerer
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572 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Back in Black

I bought my Vulcan on 17th March 2016 (I found out later, after some research my bike was imported to the UK from USA in 2010, it was a 1992 California model) ; with just over 12k on the clock from new, the previous owner had a go at customising her, adding 5” rise T Bars, dominator style twin head lights, Lucas style tail light, mini clocks/gauges, bullet indicators/blinkers, he’d also hacked off the rear frame and added a homemade solo seat pad and a subtle flame airbrush to the tank and mudguard/fenders. To be honest apart from the airbrushing, it was a poor build with a lot of flaws, but underneath all the crap I knew the bikes potential.

My plan was always to return the bike back to a standard look, I fell in love with VN’s and LTD’s back in 1989, I was 16 and working in a motorcycle dealership, part of my job was to un-crate the new bikes that came in and get them ready for the showroom floor. The VN’s just did it for me and I always said I’d have one; it only took me 27 years to buy one!

I did briefly consider carrying on customising in the solo seat theme the previous owner had started, and build it into a nice bobber, but I’ll save that plan for another project ;)

Anyway, back to the build:

I could have paid a welder to re-fabricate the rear end however I spotted, on eBay, an 86’ frame in great condition from Germany (all relevant paperwork included), I put in a cheeky offer and it was accepted, including shipping it was less than £100! ...

I really love the lines of a stock Vulcan, so that’s how I rebuilt her, just gave her a bit of a makeover to my taste ;)

Here’s a list of what I’ve done:

I stripped down the bike and had the following sand blasted and powder coated black:
Frame, wheels, handlebars, grips, brake & clutch levers, fork legs, foot rests hangers front and rear, front foot boards and pegs, rear pegs, top and bottom yokes (triple trees), handlebar clamp, headlight brackets, rear brake arm & steady, rear drum, hose clips, rear brake pedal, gear selector, brake calipers, swing-arm, shaft drive coupler, side stand, centre stand, sissy bar and brackets, battery tray, rear rack, engine bars & petrol cap

A few of the original parts came along with the sale, thankfully the previous owner hadn’t dumped everything, however I sourced the following from eBay: stock gauges to replace the mini ones (wiring was a nightmare), stock rear mudguard/fender, passenger foot pegs and hangers, licence plate light and holder, horns with bracket and embellisher and an extended sissy bar

The stock seat came along with the bike, so I bought a hide of leather and the seat is now being shaved and reupholstered for a lower seat height and comfort, this is being done by a good friend who is a top craftsman, I’ll add pictures when the seat is done. I also had to make a plate and pad for the extended sissy bar, I bought a new tool box front as the door of the original one was held on with cable ties!, after reading recommendations I bought a protac drivers backrest for added comfort on long runs, again the sissy bar pad and back rest are being made to match the seat.

I also bought a broken and cheap Maier fairing from eBay, which I'm repairing and got a NOS mounting kit again via eBay, seen a few Vulcan’s with them fitted and really liked the look, again I'll add more pics if and when I fit it lol.

I cleaned the inside of petrol/gas tank by electrolysis (used the method that was recommended here on the forum) was easy to do and got rid of any rust and crud, I also replaced the petcock seals as mine was leaking..... after I had the tank blasted (and painted :( ) I found a pin hole in the tank and had to repair it with chemical metal repair, fingers crossed its holding ok.

The wiring loom had been cut, several stock connectors snipped off and lots of broken wires and damaged connectors, so I bought a replacement from eBay, I stripped back all the tape to make sure all the wires and connections were perfect and re-wrapped it all.

When everything came back from the powder coaters, I replaced the headstock, wheel and swing arm bearings and all the rubber engine mounts in the frame.

So in no particular order I also did the following:

Fitted stock headlight with bulb upgrade and painted the chrome housing/bucket
Fitted stock tail light with led bulbs, also painted the chrome housing
I got fabricator friend to make me a set of 10”rise bars with a very slight pull back to suit my preferred riding position, which I powder coated and fitted customised Sundance grips, with Oberon end bar indicators and Kawasaki KZ700 mirrors
New rear mini LED indicators fitted to the tail light unit and LED relay installed
Fitted stainless braided brake hoses, did away with the splitter
All frame bolts replaced with stainless steel ones
Stock Gauge cluster fitted and painted
I stripped the badly painted engine back to the metal and painted it with VHT matt black, cured each coat with a heat gun and used 4 aerosol cans to achieve the finish I was happy with, I replaced all the bolts with stainless steel ones, new rocker cover bolts & washers, oil line polished , copper washers and banjo bolts replaced.

Many thanks to Neill (NI BIKER) who loaned me his homemade engine frame cradle for painting and for also getting my exhaust manifolds shot blasted!
Replaced the stock exhaust system with new Vance & Hines Cruzers... they sound great
Renewed the crush and manifold gaskets
Ear Shave done with K&N pod filters, coasters, ergo crank/carb breathers and replaced all the fuel lines.
Carburettors stripped and cleaned, new float needles and O rings fitted, re-jetted and needles shimmed to suit the ear-shave/pipes and had to replace the air cut off valves and removed the lead capped off adjuster screw holes. I also painted the tops and replaced all the screws... the previous owner had made a right mess of the screw heads and it was a nightmare getting them off!

Installed MCCT’s

Fitted AGM battery

Replaced and relocated stock R/R for a Mosfet

LED voltage meter bought, still to be fitted to monitor the output

Iridium Spark Plugs and new HT wires and plug caps fitted

Spline lube done, I used Honda Molykote M-77 (they were bone dry, again PO assured me they’d been done) and new O ring installed, new final drive oil

Front foot Plates made to Knifemakers specification (3/8” alloy) and covered with aircraft steps non slip matting

Replaced standard shocks with heavy duty Progressive 412’s eleven inch ones, which lowers the back end for a stance I preferred.

Fitted Hagon progressive fork springs, new seals and clips also fitted fork boots/gaiters

Replaced every cable with new ones

While the engine was out, I replaced the stator, mine was shot so had it stripped, mapped, re insulated & rewound, even though the previous owner told me he had it checked and it was 100%; I renewed the balance dampers while I was in there.

I also did the pickup coil clearances

I flushed out the radiator while it was off the bike, gave it a spray of fresh paint including the grill and replaced the thermostat o ring and sensor, needless to say fresh engine oil and oil filter fitted, thermostat housing cleaned and radiator cap.

Another friend is a spray painter and he did the tank and pans etc gloss black, finding original/stock decals was a major pain, but with eBay, very helpful forum members and a graphic designer I got a set made, however, once my buddy had finished the paintwork, I just loved it as it is and decided to keep her all black without the decals... maybe I’ll add them at a later date

Replaced the rear tyre/tire with a 170/80-15 and front with a 110/90-19 both matching Avon Cobra’s.

Around April/May of last year (2016) I started buying everything I needed to do the entire strip down and rebuild. Although I had stripped the bike down by last summer, things really didn’t start until December when I had everything blasted and powder coated. I began the rebuild on 20th February and 4 weeks later she’s done!

I would never have achieved this rebuild without my friend Lee, he has a huge heated workshop which he allowed me to use (my 20 x 10 freezing cold timber shed doesn’t cut it in comparison lol), he's one of those guys that can turn his hands to anything and is a fantastic mechanic, nothing was ever too much trouble and I wish I had a quarter of his skill set!


It’s just unfortunate that due to my health issues, finances, waiting on parts and family commitments it’s taken a year to achieve! That’s why I’ve waited until now to put up my build thread lol.

She’s finished now and I’m as happy as a pig in sh1t,

I just have to wait on the paperwork being changed over with the new frame details and getting my seat back :)

I’m looking forward to racking up many miles on my “Back in Black”

Cheers to everyone on this forum, the sheer amount of information/advice given and topics/repairs/modifications etc is second to none, this place really is the Holy Grail of all things VN750 ;)

I've added a few pictures below of the bike when I bought it, stripped down and during the rebuild... really should of taken a few more lol

Ride Safe, Gaz
 

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129 Posts
Nice write up Gaz, you've done some work, but well worth it in the end, health to enjoy and hope you have many miles with her, Back in Black! Love it! I seen your wee video clip earlier, looking forward to getting a run out with you! 😎👍
 

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Tinkerer
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572 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Not been on in a while... too busy riding my bike :) Just thought I'd add this picture of my bike now completely finished with the reupholstered seat, sissy bar pad and riders back rest....
 

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Hey Gaz, I'm not usually a fan of blackouts, but I think yours looks good.

The glossy black looks nice n wet too.
 

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FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY
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16,242 Posts
looking sweet, man

Sent from my LGL34C using Tapatalk
 
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