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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to you all. I am Wouter. I used to visit this forum frequently until about 2014. Then I distanced myself. I'll explain why in a moment.
I am of dutch origin but have been living in Brazil (João Pessoa - the northeast) for the last 30 years. See that point on the map where Brazil is closest to Africa? I live at 1km from that exact point. Yes, it is a beautiful tropical beach. Professionally I'm within what is called development cooperation. I am an evaluator for a broad range of projects, including sustainable agriculture, women's empowerment and expanding options for young people. But that is not what I want to write about on this forum.
I was a biker for a couple of years when still living in Holland. I had a Honda CB550F that gave me great pleasure and a sense of freedom. One of my all-time favorite memories is of a 6 week trip through the south of France and the Pyrenees. That must have been 1986 - yes I'm an old hippie. I believe I sold it in 1988. People do stupid things right?
Fast forward comes my masters as an anthropologist, my move to Brazil in 1993, the birth of my kids in 95 and 98 and the daily struggles to make it all happen and pay for it.
In 2008 my then boss had to go back to Germany and put his 1995 VN750 up for sale. I couldn't resist and bought it for € 1500. He told me it was in good shape but it turned out it had issues. It didn't start up well, threw out white smoke, popped a lot - but when it ran it was joyous. That V-twin has power all the way. I didn't quite like the aesthetics of the bike, but riding it was pure joy - when it held up.
I tried some things to make it run better. I now understand that the high ethanol percentage in gas here must have had an impact and, at a later stage, one of the floats turned out to be defective. But, long story short, in 2010 I decided for a maior overhaul, as I figured that seals must have been mal functioning, timing might have been off and carburetors might have been clogged up. However, I must confess that at that time I understood little of motorcycle mechanics and the noble art of wrenching. I was recommended a mechanic who, supposedly, had experience with Vulcans (that is an issue here - good trained techs are scarce). Fast forward 4 years to 2014 and the bike is still dismantled. So I take it out of his hands and take it to another tech. He first lets it standing for two years (mind you the thing is partially dismantled with the engine out and I don't know where to go with it) but then proceeds with it and makes progress. Most important is the diagnostics: the engine is really good, low mileage and if treated well should serve for many years to come. However, some parts have to be bought, taxes paid and I'm low on money. We're in 2017. Until 2019 I go there every once in a while but the situation isn't very motivating so I stop going there.
Until last week. I need closure on my bike dreams so I go to the tech's workshop. Obviously he feels awkward about the situation as well as he receives me really well and assists me in developing some decision-making scenarios. The bike is all there. Dismantled, dusty, some surface corrosion. Nothing that good service wouldn't take care of. And I now understand a lot more about the religious practice of wrenching so I look at it and get the itch. And I see myself on the bike.
Which brings me to my return to this forum. I need some motivational input. I have two scenarios here. The first one, and considering my limited financial flex and the overall adverse context, would be to part out the bike. Kill it and sell the organs. Give up on it and focus on the money. The second scenario is the complicated one. It implies rebuilding the bike. That would be a long term project, might take anything from a couple of months to a couple of years, because if I do this, I'll do it thoroughly in a way that the bike will serve another 30 years. And I see it as a learning opportunity. Nothing as dangerous as a bike that isn't well looked after right?
So, what am I looking at? Low budget, limited wrenching space at home (I live in an apartment), not giving up on a dream. Or, part out, say goodbye, some money returns, on to another project.
What's your take on this? Any experience with home-based, low resource Vulcan recovery?
Thanks for having the patience to read this. Be well all of you and ride safely.
 

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Sounds like you have a good understanding of what would be involved for either of the options you are considering. Parting it out would be easier since it is already partially disassembled. Fixing it is possible with the knowledgeable folks here, some tools and an area to work on it. Since you are a novice mechanic, it will take a lot longer than you probably think it will to get everything fixed. Don't know if you have a SO, but engine work could be done on the kitchen table if it wouldn't cause WWIII.
 

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It's easy to say it because it's not my situation, but... Rebuild it. You mentioned the itch and at least it's a carbureted machine with a dedicated DIY community. If you fail you can still part it out.

Do you have a multimeter? Torque wrench? Socket set? And I agree that no work space sounds like an issue too, that may be the first thing you have to think about to decide if the project is feasible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So I'm getting close to an agreement with the local tech and his workplace. We'll do the rebuild - mechanical, not the looks - together in his shop, bring it to a safe driving condition. A learning experience for me. Process starts next monday with a general assessment. Investment I estimate to be around $800 all in. That will give me a reliable machine and a lot of knowledge.

Next question is: which mods would you think should be included in this early phase?
I'll definitely do the earshave and adjustments to the carbs. This is well documented here I believe.

Thanks again.
 
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