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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a 1985 Vulcan. Fell in love with the bike but the longer I own it the more I find is wrong. First off i bought a new battery because the old one wouldnt hold a charge. Now the new one is dead. Bike also leaks oil and has a missing problem. Also needs a new seat. All this wouldnt be so bad but went to dmv to register and found out the previous owner hadnt registered since 2009. I got slapped with $700 in back fees:( I could problably get my money back if i make a bid deal of it but like is said i love the bike. I could never find a better deal or afford anything more. I only paid $800...well plus the $700 at the dmv. FML... Anyone have any suggestions on what i should do??....been up and down this forum but this is my first bike besides dirtbikes and I dont really understand the ins and outs. Links to videos for repair would be very helpful. Would really like to just pay someone to fix the problems.
 

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Start with the simple solutions and build up to the more complex jobs. Change out the spark plugs (iridium), put in an MF battery (if yours is new the place you bought it from might charge/replace it for free), change the oil, make sure your antifreeze is full/clear. Buy a bottle of Seafoam from your local auto parts store and run a few ounces with each tank fill to help blow out your carburetors. These bikes are a lot simpler than you might imagine and this is a good start.
 

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Big Dumb Viking
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I don't understand how if the previous owner didn't register it that it is *your* problem?

How bizarre...
 

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Patriot Guard Rider
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When I purchased my '86 the PO hadn't registered the bike since '97 and I had to pay back registration of $500. Not bad when I paid $500 for the bike.
 

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Concert connoisseur
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register it in another state that doesnt charge back fees!
 

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Stereopath...I have an 1985 VN700 too...and when i got mine it was a mess. I didn't even want to risk trying to start it. I love this bike too. Heck..I don't even have my license yet nor have I taken the MC course yet. This one kinda just fell in my lap. I bought the manuals for it and started a plan to go all the way through the bike, including the engine and restore it so I'd know for sure what I have.

Now that I've torn it all down, including the engine...I find that the only thing really wrong was that the balance dampers shattered and tore up my oil filter screen. I will also replace a known factory defective shift rod, stator, clutch plates. None of these items are out of line, for this bike at the age and mileage(24k). And except for cussing alot over a few badly stuck parts along the way, it has been WAY easier to do than I thought. Plus you can't trade what I'm learning for any amount of money!

I think you should do what Vulcanpower suggested above and just take it slow, and work through each issue as it comes. There are too many folks on this forum with the knowledge and experience to help ya out, if you run into problems. These bikes are special and regardless of money, there's nothing left on the market like them.

Good luck and don't give up yet!!
 

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Drive less, ride more...
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You don't say what city and state you are in.

Depending on where you are located, one (or more?) of the more experienced forum members here may in fact be close enough to help you with your bike.

Unless your "new" bike is a rust bucket, these bikes are great machines. This bike is the last of its kind, and was built for about 20 years with very few real changes. So your potential spare parts inventory is huge!

Great forum, & great people on the forum. Be patient, and stick with it (even when it doesn't seem worth it). In the end, you'll be glad you did (the bike's a fun ride)!....:beerchug:

Also: you mentioned dirt bikes. How long have you been riding them, and what off-road bikes have you owned?
 

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Member? ... check.
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... previous owner hadnt registered since 2009. I got slapped with $700 in back fees:(
This sounds like state run EXTORTION !!!

Why would the registration matter if the bike was not on the road ?
 

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Some states are just like that...they want someone to pay regardless!! I did check on my tags, since I had to tag it when I swapped titles and at least in Tennessee they don't care. I can have my bike down for a year or two and not owe any back taxes..they just re-tag it when I'm ready to ride. Doesn't even require an mileage affidavit to verify it hasn't been ridden.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm in California...of course. Thanks for all the encouraging words guys. I won't give up! Just going to take it slow. I am wanting to ride so bad tho. Makes it difficult. Don't have a ton of money either so my wife is not really excited about this purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Start with the simple solutions and build up to the more complex jobs. Change out the spark plugs (iridium), put in an MF battery (if yours is new the place you bought it from might charge/replace it for free), change the oil, make sure your antifreeze is full/clear. Buy a bottle of Seafoam from your local auto parts store and run a few ounces with each tank fill to help blow out your carburetors. These bikes are a lot simpler than you might imagine and this is a good start.
What's an MF battery? I do what u said. Thanks for the advise.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
In California it is...

I don't understand how if the previous owner didn't register it that it is *your* problem?

How bizarre...
Ya in California it is! This state blows when it comes to laws.
 

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Discussion Starter #14

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Git-R-Done!
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Well stereopath, first let me say that I can understand why you are bummed, and I do sympathize. I love my bike too, and recently it was down for 3 weeks with carb issues. It sucked! Fortunately, I could afford to take it in to a local shop after giving it a go myself and not being able to fix it. Hopefully, you will be able to do the same in time.

Secondly, I definitely WOULD make a big deal of the $700 issue - but only if the previous owner tried to hide that fact from you, or otherwise deceived you about it. If not, I am afraid that this falls into the "buyer beware" category and may be something you just have to eat. That being said, I would take what you can from this as a learning experience and make sure to check on any such things in future dealings. Here in AZ, it is the same way, and that is a question we always ask when purchasing a vehicle. In fact, it is so well known that many sellers even put 'current tags' as a selling point.

If you don't need to ride the bike - if it isn't your primary mode of transpo, just take your time and learn what you can working on it. The expererience will be invaluable. Good luck man!

AZ Kev
 

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I would get my money back from the original owner. You got taken bro.
You have no license, never rode before and the original owner sold you a basket case bike that had back charges due on it. Sounds like a real crummy way to get introduced into cycling.
With the problems you mentioned the bike has sounds like you are in for quite a ride unless you have mechanical knowledge, tools and the time and place to work on it. If you just want to ride, I would bail out.
 

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What's an MF battery? I do what u said. Thanks for the advise.
Maintenance Free-Absorbed Glass Mat (MF-AGM) aka Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA).

With the MF battery you do not have to do the regular maintenance of checking the electrolyte level and topping the 6 individual cells with distilled water that must be done with a conventional battery.

This is a good one:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Deka-ETX15L-Powersports-AGM-Battery-100-NEW-/270282472155?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Other_Vehicle_Parts&hash=item3eee173adb

Here is some instruction on motorcycle mechanics that may be helpful.
http://www.dansmc.com/MC_repaircourse.htm

Read over the trouble shooting sections and what to do first.
Definately get it running well before spending money on anything else.
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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I bought a 1985 Vulcan. Fell in love with the bike but the longer I own it the more I find is wrong. First off i bought a new battery because the old one wouldnt hold a charge. Now the new one is dead. Bike also leaks oil and has a missing problem. Also needs a new seat. All this wouldnt be so bad but went to dmv to register and found out the previous owner hadnt registered since 2009. I got slapped with $700 in back fees:( I could problably get my money back if i make a bid deal of it but like is said i love the bike. I could never find a better deal or afford anything more. I only paid $800...well plus the $700 at the dmv. FML... Anyone have any suggestions on what i should do??....been up and down this forum but this is my first bike besides dirtbikes and I dont really understand the ins and outs. Links to videos for repair would be very helpful. Would really like to just pay someone to fix the problems.
Going back to the opening post to ask a few questions.

Does your new battery look like the one in the link in my previous post above, or does it have 6 filler caps?

Where is the oil leaking from?
How much is it leaking?
Leaking continuously?

What`s the matter with the seat?
Just need a new cover? or the padding is shot too?
You might pick up a stock seat from someone here for cheap.

You may want an aftermarket seat after riding for a while on the OEM *Kouchasaki* seat, so don`t spend too much on repairing/replacing it right now.

Need more info on the engine misfiring problem.

If you decide to keep it and not try to get your money back, I`m sure we can help you get it on the road again. The oil leak is potentially the most troublesome and expensive to fix, depending on the source of the leak. On the other hand it could be just a loose bolt or O-ring seal.

Get back with some specifics and lets see what we can help you with.:smiley_th
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Going back to the opening post to ask a few questions.

Does your new battery look like the one in the link in my previous post above, or does it have 6 filler caps?

Where is the oil leaking from?
How much is it leaking?
Leaking continuously?

What`s the matter with the seat?
Just need a new cover? or the padding is shot too?
You might pick up a stock seat from someone here for cheap.

You may want an aftermarket seat after riding for a while on the OEM *Kouchasaki* seat, so don`t spend too much on repairing/replacing it right now.

Need more info on the engine misfiring problem.

If you decide to keep it and not try to get your money back, I`m sure we can help you get it on the road again. The oil leak is potentially the most troublesome and expensive to fix, depending on the source of the leak. On the other hand it could be just a loose bolt or O-ring seal.

Get back with some specifics and lets see what we can help you with.:smiley_th
My battery has cells. It's an energizer battery. I'm going today to get a voltage meter to test it. Ill get the proper battery as well. The engine only leaks after I drive it. Loses about 1-2 teaspoons each time with some scattered drips.

The engine stutters intermittently probably 20 times a minute while going at a steady speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
The seat foam is fine but the vinyl is ripped off. I would like a different seat for sure. Not too fond of the oem. The oil leaks from underneath, but cause some smoke from dripping on the engine somewhere. It's more embarrassing than anything:)
 
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