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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys (and gals), my name is Levi and I'm currently a student in Northwestern Kansas. I recently picked up my first bike in the form of a 2003 Vulcan. I've had about a month of riding experience and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Since this is my first experience with motorcycles, I'm not familiar with typical repairs and/or maintenance, but that's why I'm here!

I've recently discovered a fork seal leak and have been looking all over the forum for information on fixing it and it seems that a 38x52x11mm seal will work, however whenever I go to eBay or other related sites, they say that this size will only fit 1986-2002 Vulcans whereas a set of 43x55x11mm seals will fit my '03. Any help and clarification would be greatly appreciated!

P.S. Thankfully I've got some buddies who also have Vulcans who do their own repairs to help me, however, theirs are models from the 80's and 90's so I'm still not sure about the seals.
 

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Hello and welcome,

The bikes are basically identical throughout the 21 yr run except for some minor options. The forks I don’t believe are one that is changed. I suggest going to a site like partzilla.com or kawasakipartshouse.com and looking up the part by your bike’s year and then use that part number to shop around.
 

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Welcome to the machine!

I replaced the seals on my 03 and didn't have any trouble with part numbers. As mm said, they're all the same for most parts.

eBay has your seals cheapest.

You'll want to drain the oil and heat the socket head screws in the lower fork legs because thread locker was used. Those screw heads are metric, so don't use SAE Allen wrenches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Awesome info. Checking prices I'm realizing just how much genuine Kawasaki parts are and it hurts to look at as a poor college kid! Thanks for the website recommendations mm, and the tips, Spockster. I'm assuming that I can just use one of the cheaper seals on eBay as long as it fits other Vulcan models then?
 

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Awesome info. Checking prices I'm realizing just how much genuine Kawasaki parts are and it hurts to look at as a poor college kid! Thanks for the website recommendations mm, and the tips, Spockster. I'm assuming that I can just use one of the cheaper seals on eBay as long as it fits other Vulcan models then?
Yes they should be fine, there was still reliable brands there last time I looked. 95% of my bike (and tractor) parts come from eBay and I always get free shipping.
 

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Welcome! I've had my Vulcan 22yrs, 57k miles, done all the maintenance and mods myself, and now it's my son's.

Always start simple if you're on a budget.

Try cleaning the fork seals first, change the fork oil and use high milage ATF as fork oil to condition the seals (This suggestion might cause a
s😫😣t storm here but several of my Clymer repair manuals suggest ATF and I use it in most of my bikes. My goldwing is 39 years old with OEM seals!). If they still leak, then dive in and tackle the job. It's not terribly hard, but you gotta remove most of the front end so you really need access to a garage or shop. While it's apart, might as well remove the fork tree and grease the head bearings. Use waterproof marine grade grease if you're gonna ride in the rain.

Buy one or DIY from thin plastic
Good luck!

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I used ATF in my forks. Couldn't find fork oil in the right weight. Everything on the shelf was for motocross.

The old whale oil that's in your forks now is going to be the most putrid smelling crap you've ever seen, and it's probably absorbed a lot of moisture.

I don't have a seal driver, just use one of the old seals and a piece of pipe to drive it in. No pipe, no problem, just bump the new seal in evenly, with the old seal laying flat on top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all for the tips! I managed to find a seal kit with K&S Tech oils seals and Kawasaki dust seals so now I'm just looking forward to working on my bike. I appreciate all the help. What a welcome!
 

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Thanks all for the tips! I managed to find a seal kit with K&S Tech oils seals and Kawasaki dust seals so now I'm just looking forward to working on my bike. I appreciate all the help. What a welcome!
You're welcome.

If you do YouTube, look for Andrew Roth, he's got a 28 chapter series covering the VN750. In that series, he rebuilds the forks, good info in there.
 

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Awesome info. Checking prices I'm realizing just how much genuine Kawasaki parts are and it hurts to look at as a poor college kid! Thanks for the website recommendations mm, and the tips, Spockster. I'm assuming that I can just use one of the cheaper seals on eBay as long as it fits other Vulcan models then?
Just be thankful you didn't have to replace the original gas cap. Some people will use different models or aftermarket, but it's just not the same. To replace the original was over $200. Because the tumblers and keys are a completely different sale.

It was the priciest item I've replaced thus far.

You said you had friends with Vulcans? Share this site with them, it never hurts to have more members. Tell them to mention you when they join!
 

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Just be thankful you didn't have to replace the original gas cap. Some people will use different models or aftermarket, but it's just not the same. To replace the original was over $200. Because the tumblers and keys are a completely different sale.

It was the priciest item I've replaced thus far.

You said you had friends with Vulcans? Share this site with them, it never hurts to have more members. Tell them to mention you when they join!
OEM replacement stator was $443, it stung like hell but I get 14.5V at 900rpm. Hopefully a one time repair.
 

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OEM replacement stator was $443, it stung like hell but I get 14.5V at 900rpm. Hopefully a one time repair.
Oh lord. I'm hoping to not have that problem, like, ever...

I've done the math, and I have about $1800 in the bike. Not too bad. If I had to, I'd just rewind the stator, assuming it's been done and I can find the info I'd need. How much is an aftermarket one?
 

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$102 USD. They claim all are made in house.
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I bookmarked these guys when you posted the plug n play RR a couple weeks back. Trust me if I ever have to change a stator again I’m going a different route. When the first one died I had close to 0 motorcycle knowledge so OEM route seemed like the right route. My thinking was if the stator was original than it was 14yrs old and the idea of possibly another 14 yr out of a $440 part didn’t seem like a terrible bargain. Luckily I happened to have funding available, if that happened today with the current economic state, the bike may be sitting a bit.
 

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Time flies eh? My ElectrixWorld stator (generator as they say in the UK) has been working great for two years. I really appreciate the extra long yellow wires so they can be hardwired in bypassing the plug.
 

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I bookmarked these guys when you posted the plug n play RR a couple weeks back. Trust me if I ever have to change a stator again I’m going a different route. When the first one died I had close to 0 motorcycle knowledge so OEM route seemed like the right route. My thinking was if the stator was original than it was 14yrs old and the idea of possibly another 14 yr out of a $440 part didn’t seem like a terrible bargain. Luckily I happened to have funding available, if that happened today with the current economic state, the bike may be sitting a bit.
Here's two dumb questions:

Does the bike absolutely require the stator to run? Could the bike run on battery alone?
 

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Maybe 20 minutes, 10 minutes with all the lights on. Forget restarting it.
Yeah, I suppose the spark would drain the battery more than anything else, right? Geez, I hope I don't end up with this stator issue.

We all love this bike, but man, it sure seems like it's nothing but problems. I wonder if there's other bikes out there with the same troubled history. Gotta be?
 

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Here's two dumb questions:

Q: Does the bike absolutely require the stator to run?
A: no. A bike will run fine without a working stator. The stator charges the battery.

Q: Could the bike run on battery alone?
A: yes. I had a trip planned around the Olympic Peninsula (450+ miles) years ago. The stator died before leaving on the trip. I replaced all the lamps with LED, packed a battery charger and did the ride. Camping overnight, the camp host let me plug in and charge the battery.
The only real drain on the battery is starting. Made the trip just fine. Great memories.

Many bikes have stator issues especially when the system is overloaded or connections not maintained. The VN is a troublesome headache because of the engine pull.
Early goldwing owners came up with the poor boy solution by putting a car alternator on the bike. GW's require a engine pull too. At twice the weight😞
 
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