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Discussion Starter #1
I am wondering what other people think on the question about maintanance schedules. I bought a used bike (1990) and its got about 16,000 miles on it or so. I am wondering if I should have the dealer change out the coolant, brake fluid, final drive oil etc which seem to be a 2 year thing, should the dealer not know when it was last done. Can one just look at a fluid and say "that looks a year old?"
 

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I guess it all depends on how long you want to keep your bike around. It is very difficult to know how long a fluid has been in use. But you can tell if some fluids need to be changed. But not knowing how well the previous owner took care of it I would recommend to change all fluids. It will only prolong the life of the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, because the bike has a mustang seat, engine guards, and nearly perfect paint job (probably was repainted at one time) I'm guessing that the owner would have put a lot of attention into the bike as well. However, the dealership seems to have missed a lot of basic things that a few checks and an hour or riding would have discovered. With the problems, and the general lack of faith in the dealership, I'm not very trusting of the overall "inside" condition of the bike.

I bet some of you might have run screaming from the bike, but when I bought it, I found these problems:
Oil leak (I'm not sure where, somewhere on the underside.)
Temp Gauge is not working
Speedo cable had been misrouted, crushed, and needed to be replaced.

The dealer agreed to fix these problems, and I decided to take the bike, but expected to put some more money in the bike. Once running, it seems to run really well.

After 200 miles I found:

Oil leak not repaired (dealership's mechanic had to leave for a funeral, and I had them put it back together so I could have it for the weekend. There might have been some confusion as to whether the leak had been repaired or not. The owner of the dealership said the leak had been repaired, but he might have been mistaken.)
Coolant pipe (chromy looking thing on right side of engine) leaks from the seals. O-ring needs to be replaced.
Front brake lever does not activate brake light. Since I like to put both feet on the ground at lights and hold the front brake handle, this might be safety issue for sleepy drivers rolling up to the red behind me.
Charging system doesn't seem to be charging the batt, but I may be mistaken.
Brake Squeal, front brakes.
Hard to start: Bike doesn't want to start when warm. Takes a long time cranking while backfiring occasionally. Found the surest way to start it was to roll it down a hill. Needless to say, the I will be having the dealer look into that. This seems to indicate a common problem with these vulcans, or at least I hear of similar symptons from other owners.
Back Fires when I try to start it when warm. Doesn't backfire much when running. Maybe minor popping once or twice when slowing, but I don't use engine braking much anyway, so its not a problem.
Extra Bolt in “glove box”: It is slightly bigger than the seat retention bolts, and I have no idea what it goes to. It's just sitting there. I'm going to let the dealer keep it if they can't find where it goes to either.
Battery Retention Strap missing: Might just not be needed, so they never put it in if it was lost.
License plate light is inoperative.


Do you guys think these are normal problems for a bike this old? I know the dealers can't afford to tear the bike apart to check and fix every problem it has when they put it on the lot, but some things are really basic. I probably should have paid a lot more attention when I tested it, but I was a bit flustered with the prospect of owning my own motorcycle, and didn't really have any motorycling friends to come down with me. Depending on how we work out the repairs will decide on whether or not I keep going back to them, or find another mechanic.
 

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After 200 miles I found:

snip
Front brake lever does not activate brake light. Since I like to put both feet on the ground at lights and hold the front brake handle, this might be safety issue for sleepy drivers rolling up to the red behind me.
Is it plugged in? There's a plug that goes into the bottom of the switch
Charging system doesn't seem to be charging the batt, but I may be mistaken.
This could be a big problem. Check the voltage across the battery while the engine is turning 2500 or so. Should be about 13.5 volts. If not you need to check out the stator
Brake Squeal, front brakes.
Pretty common
Hard to start: Bike doesn't want to start when warm. Takes a long time cranking while backfiring occasionally. Found the surest way to start it was to roll it down a hill. Needless to say, the I will be having the dealer look into that. This seems to indicate a common problem with these vulcans, or at least I hear of similar symptons from other owners. Usually when hot it'll start with no choke and no throttle for a second or two of cranking. Then a lilttle twist of the throttle should start right up. There's an adjustment to the pickup coils that has helped others with the hard start when warm problem
Back Fires when I try to start it when warm. Don't give it any gas before it starts to crankDoesn't backfire much when running. Maybe minor popping once or twice when slowing, but I don't use engine braking much anyway, so its not a problem.They all backfire when deaccelarting unless you adjust the mixture screws on the carburetor
Extra Bolt in “glove box”: It is slightly bigger than the seat retention bolts, and I have no idea what it goes to. It's just sitting there. I'm going to let the dealer keep it if they can't find where it goes to either. You're lucky, I found my extra bolt sitting between the rear fender and the battery box. Fortunately it hadn't been there long enough to cause any scratching
Battery Retention Strap missing: Might just not be needed, so they never put it in if it was lost.V-Twins vibrate a lot so even though it's not possible for the battery to jump out with the seat on, it could get knocked around alot. That's kind of hard on the battery and could lead to early failure.
License plate light is inoperative.Probably illegal to run around that way
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There's a clicking sound that sounds like a switch being pressed by the front brake, but no light.

Charging system was, with a voltimeter across terminals, under 12 volts at 3,000 or 3500.

I only give it gas after its started to crank when warm, and with the choke off. Usually, I'll try a second or two of it just cranking. Might look into the coil thing.

Dang, that good you found it before it caused any scrathing.

I'll have them add a new battery retention strap. I'm going to probably be buying a sealed battery soon anyway.

Thank you for your reply. Do you think that most of the problems would not be uncommon for a bike of this age, or do you think that the owner found a lot of problems and decided to sell before he had to sink a lot of money into it?
 

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There's a clicking sound that sounds like a switch being pressed by the front brake, but no light.
Try spraying the barke lever with some contact cleaner, If the brake light comes on when you press the brake pedal but not with the lever then the lever contacts are crudded up. This happened to me on my way out to NBorth carolina one time.

Charging system was, with a voltimeter across terminals, under 12 volts at 3,000 or 3500.
NOT good.. You do have a charging system problem. Could be weak battery with a burned out cell or.. a bad ground or.. stator. Have the battery checked first.. Since it has been bouncing around could be a weak cell or bad ground
If those check then the stator is next
Easy enough to check with a meter. I reccommend doing this after a run to give you the "hot engine" reads.
You can determine if your stator is bad without too much trouble, it should take about 5 minutes max.

Unplug and test the three yellow stator wires;
they should be .34 to .52 ohms between any
combination of the yellow wires, with no shorts to
ground.



Thank you for your reply. Do you think that most of the problems would not be uncommon for a bike of this age, or do you think that the owner found a lot of problems and decided to sell before he had to sink a lot of money into it?
If it turns out there is a stator problem, could be why they sold.. dealer costs for stator replacements can be high, but it is possible to do it yourself over a weekend and save a bunch of money. Might find that oil leak in the process!
Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just one last thing. I'm not sure if this means anything or not. When I put the battery one a charger in my house, I took it off the charger when it read about 12.5. I let it sit and came back to it about 30 minutes later and it read about 12 volts. Is that normal?
 

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The battery shouldn't drop to 12 volts after just being charged. Take the battery to a battery shop and ask them to load test it. I wouldn't have my dealer check the battery. They told me the new maintance free battery I bought and installed was defective. It's been starting the bike for almost two years now. Pretty good for a "defective" battery. Checking the battery's ability to hold a charge while under a load is the best way to see if it's good or not. If it fails, get a new battery, fully charge it up and check the system voltage again while the bikes doing about 2500 rpm. If it's not 13.5 volts, the stator and the R/R need to be checked.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok, I'll do that. I already plan on getting a sealed battery, but if the old battery is the cause of my problems, I'd sure be happier than needing to start replace expensive parts.

Thanks for all of your help.
 

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The HOT hard starting most likely is due to the battery low voltage. The VN750 likes a lot of juice at startup. If you have a bad charging system the battery will drain down while ridding. Better check charging sytem and battery as allready suggested.

bumpy
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dealership claims the charging system is good. I'm getting a new battery anyway. One of those Wescoast batterys.

In other news, the dealer has to change the coolant and oil anyway for a repair, so thats two less fluids I'll change right now. :)
 

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Question for you:
How much did the dealer charge you to do the fluid change? (oil, coolant, and final drive)

I did all this myself this past fall w/o any issue (I found it pretty easy to do with a Clymers manual), but am curious what a dealer asks to perform these services.

Thx,
Dom
 

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Discussion Starter #15
They had to pull off the side cover. The manual states that you have to drain the coolant and oil to do this. Thus, I think that the oil and coolant should be good to go. However, I don't see an oil filter listed in the parts, so maybe its not really an oil change. But no, I definately will try to chainge my own oil and stuff, cuz I'm just not that nice a person to pay the dealers lots of money for stuff that I should be able to do. Easily. :)
 
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