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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reading Mmart's recent thread on rotors reminds me how unhappy I've been with my rear brakes. Especially since I drove my girlfriend's (new-to-her) '86 Shadow 500. That thing stops beautifully. My rear brakes feel like mush compared to hers.

I've adjusted them according to the manual (I've got both the factory - thanks to Spockster- and Clymer's) - both for pedal height and rod length according to indicator arrow on the hub. But to get the actual free play on the pedal to spec, the brakes would be locked to the drum so tightly that the wheel wouldn't turn. Even now, I've got a ton of free play on the pedal and the brakes still stick for a while every time I use them.

I understand that most of my braking power is supposed to come from the front. But that Shadow just reminded me how good rear brakes CAN be. If my shoes were toast, wouldn't I have trouble getting that pointer within range on the hub? Could there be something else wrong or are rear brakes just really bad on these 750s?
 

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How many miles on your bike!

Have you looked at the brake shoes?

The rear brake is fairly pathetic on the Vulcan. They seem to work better with age. I adjusted mine until the pads started to scrape the drum and then backed the rear adjuster 1/2 turn back.
 

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You have to remove the wheel, sorry. ( Be a good time to check your splines.) Clean the drum out, as sometimes brakes stick just because there’s a lot of dirt in there. Have not seen a set of rear brake shoes from a Vulcan that were worn out, but given the age these bikes are getting, wouldn’t rule it out.
 

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I always have to adjust mine a couple of times through a season, the freeplay gets so wide I'm pointing my toe down.

Something isn't right if they're sticking. Dirt, return spring, mount spring, cam needs cleaned/greased. The indicator on the right side will show if the shoes are getting thin, assuming it's installed correctly.
 

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FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY
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Mine used to stick at the pedal pivot

Sent from my A501DL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So in taking the rear wheel off, do you guys just take the right muffler off or do you take 'em both off? I saw a video of a guy taking them both off so he could get a socket on the crown nut, which seems wise, but also so he could drive the axle out with a punch.

Speaking of mufflers (and videos!) I'm realizing I must not have any baffles in mine. The thing's always been loud and it backfires a lot too, even though I've capped all the egr crap properly. It's got a nice deep rumble tone that I like but I can't say I care much for the backfiring. But after watching the following video and hearing how similar this guy's bike sounds to mine - backfiring and all - I figure I probably can't have one without the other if baffles are what I'm missing.
Can baffles be bought and put back in these mufflers or would I be better off looking for complete mufflers if I want to quiet things down at some point?
 

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So in taking the rear wheel off, do you guys just take the right muffler off or do you take 'em both off? I saw a video of a guy taking them both off so he could get a socket on the crown nut, which seems wise, but also so he could drive the axle out with a punch.

Speaking of mufflers (and videos!) I'm realizing I must not have any baffles in mine. The thing's always been loud and it backfires a lot too, even though I've capped all the egr crap properly. It's got a nice deep rumble tone that I like but I can't say I care much for the backfiring. But after watching the following video and hearing how similar this guy's bike sounds to mine - backfiring and all - I figure I probably can't have one without the other if baffles are what I'm missing.
Can baffles be bought and put back in these mufflers or would I be better off looking for complete mufflers if I want to quiet things down at some point?
Putting baffles back in would be tough, they're pretty much destroyed getting them out, or they're drilled full of holes.

There's a fiberglass packing that can be used, but it eventually blows out.

You can get baffles that fit into the exhaust pipes fairly cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Figured I'd follow up with my findings after having taken things apart - and doing my first spline lube in the process: To my surprise, the shoes were actually in decent shape. They were about half-worn which is what the indicator was reading. However, they were VERY dusty and a bit glazed. The hardware and the hub, especially around the bearing, was a little greasy too, as was the whole drive side of the hub. Grease had flung around everywhere on that side, apparently from the PO having been too liberal last time it was apart.

Interestingly,there was also a small pool of gear oil resting on the bottom inside of the ring gear. I tried not to think too much about the implications of that lest I begin despairing about the possibility of a failing final drive seal. Besides, the oil level inside the drive itself's been fine and that's not what had been creeping out in hot weather and getting on the rim of my wheel. That was grease.

But I can't say for sure what had gotten into the brakes. If some gear oil did seep through the seal on the drive enough to pool in the ring gear, is there any chance of it also wicking through the axle and/or bearings to get into the brakes?

At any rate, I cleaned everything up, scuffed the linings until the glaze was gone and put everything back together. I also lubed the pivot point on the brake lever as it was indeed dry. My rear brakes now work much better. And they're not sticking anymore either. Thanks all for the help.
 
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