Kawasaki VN750 Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone.

I have been looking around for my first bike and I came across a few Vulcan VN750s in my price range. I have found two that I plan to look at.

I was wondering you had any specific pointers when looking at older Vulcans? I don't want to overlook some common problem areas, nor do I want to pay too much. Any recommendations in these areas would be greatly appreciated.

Here are the two I plan to look at.

1986 VN750 - $1300 - 24k miles - owner has owned it since 9k miles - no other details other than that at this stage. Pictures look promising.

1988 VN750 - $1200 - No miles listed but considered 'running great' with no mechanical issues. Registration is out a month. Pictures look promising as well.

Any help would be great. Thanks all!
 

·
If only it had 6th gear..
Joined
·
1,100 Posts
X2 on the safety. And the useful link.
Off the top o the skull I'd say bring a voltmeter, put the leads on the battery and rev the engine to around 3k and watch the volts. Should climb up to 13.5 or more at that rpm. If it doesn't you might be uncovering a stator or regulator problem. Stator - serious (because of the work involved) and regulator - semi-serious. I'd ask for $300 off if you discover a charge issue??? I don't know if that's fair but others will advise.

Then look at battery terminals, starter terminal and other electrical connectors like the fuse box fuse box under left side cover (regulator and harness is under the battery) for corrosion.

Check cable linkages, (throttle, choke, clutch etc.) for rust or fraying.

Look at front fork seals for seepage/cracks and tires for dry rot.

If you can't test ride it, put it on the center stand while running then put it in 1st gear and listen to the shaft drive while idling, no need to run thru the gears or rev it and see if it's quiet. Many of these bikes were never lubed at the factory and if the drive is loud - could be big problem.

And last, if the owner doesn't want you to pop the seat and look around under there, I'd think twice about buying it from them. Good luck, they're great bikes if cared for properly. Sorry if too much info but not knowing how much you already know, I put it out there. :)
 

·
Linkmeister Supreme
Joined
·
7,960 Posts
Here is a link to the table of contents for the Vulcan Verses:
http://www.vn750.com/forum/verses.php

You may find a few other helpful topics up in the first section too.

Take a 1/4" drive ratchet wrench , a 3" extension, and a 10 mm socket with you along with the volt meter, when you go to look at the bikes. You will need the socket wrench to remove the 2 bolts inside the toolbox that hold the seat on.

Here is a link on how to read the date code on tires, and determine if they are too old to ride on:
http://blog.unsafemotorcycles.com/2010/09/motorcycle-tires-age-matters.html

Read the Grambo trick in the verses. If you hear the noise in either of the cylinders, try turning the screw tighter in the ACCT to see if it quiets down. It is not a deal breaker, just a price bargaining point. :smiley_th

Hope this helps.
 

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
My thanks to all three of you for the helpful information.

I'll definitely do my due diligence in regards to the safety gear on the bike - I planned on checking the brakes but I am not sure I would be as thorough as I will now.

I should be looking at one of them tonight. With the resources and suggestions presented I feel I'm at a much better position to make a proper decision. I also appreciate the thoroughness DavesVulster as this really is my first forte into two wheels and my mechanical experience is mostly related to general cars and trucks.

Cheers everyone. Super helpful site and if I pull the trigger I can see myself coming here regularly.

Cheers!:beerchug:
 

·
If only it had 6th gear..
Joined
·
1,100 Posts
Glad to have you here. Good luck and I'm happy we could help. Let us know how it goes and if you end up with a new family member from the mechanical realm take pics if you can. Take care.
Dave
 

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the warm welcome Dave.

I just got back from checking out the 1986 listed for $1300. Here's the rundown.

-Shape was good for a bike of her age. She is stored outdoors under a cover currently, so it shows she is not a show bike - but - she is clean.

-The owner had changed the stator fairly recently. He seems to have developed a small leak around the wire-grommets where I am personally guessing it was not sealed properly. I have seen a few posts relating to that here so it seems common.

-The owner believes the thermostat is stuck on as the bike does not like choke when starting cold and it stays very cool. I, again, found several topics in relation to this. We're located in southern California, and 'cool' is around 55-65. I'm not sure if the bike has a bad thermostat or just runs cool in our climate.

-This hose (see image) wants to come off occasionally.


Other than that, fair tread on the tires, around 7k left safely. I was unable to check the voltage. It hasn't been laid down, it's in pretty clean/fair condition. The aftermarket pipes are loud, and sound good to me. I heard no backfires but it wasn't ridden much.

If you all give the seal of approval to continue looking at it, I will go back and have a friend who has far more riding experience give it a test ride personally.

Your help has been greatly appreciated thus far, and I hope I'm not asking too much of the forum. Thanks again!

Additional pictures below.


 

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Back again.

I had just made a post, but it seems to have disappeared - so I'm going to re-post without images in case the spam filter thought I was a baddie.

I just got back from checking out the 86 750 w/ 24k miles - asking price of $1300.

The bike looks in good shape for the age. No scrapes on the engine or anything that would signify a drop of any sort. Some tank wear - typical dings from rocks and such. The tires have about 6-8k left in them - the owner states 10k but I wouldn't risk it.

-The owner replaced the stator somewhat recently. It has developed a small leak - seemingly from the wire-grommets are. I would assume these weren't sealed correctly from the few posts I've seen here on the subject.

-The owner believes the thermostat is stuck open, thus making the bike run cool. I'm in Southern California, so it never really gets that cold here to begin with. I have seen a decent bit of posts asking why their bike never gets warm, even after replacing the thermostat. Thoughts on this? He also states that the bike never likes choke to be used at all.

-The owner has had the larger hose that comes off the carburetor (i think) - near the idle adjustment - pop off during rides occasionally. He recently re-tightened it well and hasn't had it come off yet.

If my other post appears, it has more descriptive pictures as well.

If it looks like its worth perusing, I will re-visit with my friend who has a lot of riding experience to give it a test ride. I appreciate all of your input and really appreciate the warm welcome Dave. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,026 Posts
The Vulcan 750's 2 biggest problems, (IMO) are the automatic cam chain tensioners, and the rear drive splines. The cam chain tensioners will destroy the engine if they fail, fortunately they usually make a lot of noise some time before a lot of damage is done. If I bought a used Vulcan, I would replace those things with manual tensioners to start with, and avoid the problems. Mine failed at about 15,000 miles. A new set failed 10,000 miles later. Went to manual, and 45,000 miles later everything is ok.

The splines on the rear drive were apparently not lubed right at the factory, causing many to suffer significant damage even before the manual called for servicing them. Also, many people who just assumed a shaft drive was maintenance free never messed with them at.

These are the two most expensive possible issues with the Vulcan 750, unfortunately there is no way to check the final drive splines without tearing the rear end apart. Listen for a loud or unusual rattling noise from the engine, if you here something like that, it is probably the cam chain, But it takes a little experience to tell for sure. The Vulcan 750 engine has an unusual amount of mechanical noise compared to most motorcycle engines, probably because there are about twice as many moving parts in it. VERY complex engine, but a lot of power for a 750 v-twin cruiser as well. My '02 has lasted 70,000 miles so far, but was bought new, has been well maintained and not abused.

These engines seem to have more problems due to neglect than anything else.
 

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
The Vulcan 750's 2 biggest problems, (IMO) are the automatic cam chain tensioners, and the rear drive splines. The cam chain tensioners will destroy the engine if they fail, fortunately they usually make a lot of noise some time before a lot of damage is done. If I bought a used Vulcan, I would replace those things with manual tensioners to start with, and avoid the problems. Mine failed at about 15,000 miles. A new set failed 10,000 miles later. Went to manual, and 45,000 miles later everything is ok.

The splines on the rear drive were apparently not lubed right at the factory, causing many to suffer significant damage even before the manual called for servicing them. Also, many people who just assumed a shaft drive was maintenance free never messed with them at.

These are the two most expensive possible issues with the Vulcan 750, unfortunately there is no way to check the final drive splines without tearing the rear end apart. Listen for a loud or unusual rattling noise from the engine, if you here something like that, it is probably the cam chain, But it takes a little experience to tell for sure. The Vulcan 750 engine has an unusual amount of mechanical noise compared to most motorcycle engines, probably because there are about twice as many moving parts in it. VERY complex engine, but a lot of power for a 750 v-twin cruiser as well. My '02 has lasted 70,000 miles so far, but was bought new, has been well maintained and not abused.

These engines seem to have more problems due to neglect than anything else.
Thanks for the reply Jerry. I had the owner throw it up on the center stand and put it in first and listened for noise at the splines - I didn't hear anything really negative sounding - and according to one of the posts that's archived here - it should be somewhat noticeable if it is an issue.

In regards to the cam chain tensioners, I didn't hear anything crazy from the engine but then again I wouldn't know what to listen for in this regard.
 

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Back again.
I just got back from checking out the 86 750 w/ 24k miles - asking price of $1300.

The bike looks in good shape for the age. No scrapes on the engine or anything that would signify a drop of any sort. Some tank wear - typical dings from rocks and such. The tires have about 6-8k left in them - the owner states 10k but I wouldn't risk it.

-The owner replaced the stator somewhat recently. It has developed a small leak - seemingly from the wire-grommets are. I would assume these weren't sealed correctly from the few posts I've seen here on the subject.

-The owner believes the thermostat is stuck open, thus making the bike run cool. I'm in Southern California, so it never really gets that cold here to begin with. I have seen a decent bit of posts asking why their bike never gets warm, even after replacing the thermostat. Thoughts on this? He also states that the bike never likes choke to be used at all.

-The owner has had the larger hose that comes off the carburetor (i think) - near the idle adjustment - pop off during rides occasionally. He recently re-tightened it well and hasn't had it come off yet.
If anyone has any suggestions on the things noted wrong with the bike I looked at or if anything sounds horrific, let me know. I plan to visit again Saturday and make the purchase all pending - hoping to talk him down to 1000-1100 or so due to the work I'll eventually have to put into it. Sound reasonable?

I just don't want to go in without doing my due diligence. I'm going to check voltage and re-check for spline noise prior to purchase, after my buddy gives it a good long cruise.

Sorry for the shameless self-reply. Thanks all!
 

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Just a quick update. I think I'll be going back out there in about an hour or so for final test ride and inspection. If all goes well I'll let you all know. Thanks for all the help thus-far.
 

·
If only it had 6th gear..
Joined
·
1,100 Posts
So how did it go? Can we celebrate a new Vn in the group? :)
 

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
So how did it go? Can we celebrate a new Vn in the group? :)
Hi again Dave,

The seller and I could not co-ordinate today but we have settled on tomorrow morning before the rain hits. I'm good to go pending anything major!

If I pull the trigger I'll post pics ASAP. :smiley_th
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,236 Posts
Just to start trouble ,I suggest you look at something else. ;) Let the flogging begin.

Really though while the 750 is a great bike ,the newest one you find will be at least 6 years old and there are other more dependable rides out there,a lot of members on here have different bikes,but look back fondly on owning one,but wouldn't trade back.
 

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Just to start trouble ,I suggest you look at something else. ;) Let the flogging begin.

Really though while the 750 is a great bike ,the newest one you find will be at least 6 years old and there are other more dependable rides out there,a lot of members on here have different bikes,but look back fondly on owning one,but wouldn't trade back.
Thanks for the thought provoking response. This is my train of thought looking at this bike.

1. A 'starter' bike in my price range (1200ish). I'm a bigger guy (6'2 - 280) so I don't think the 750 is overboard since I plan to ride very conservatively. I look to put 1-2 seasons on the bike myself and resell for a similar return to invest in a new bike off the lot.

2. A bike that has abundant used parts, and is easy to work on. I do IT by trade but have had some experience working on my cars and don't mind the challenge.

3. Reliable enough to be a weekend rider

4. Cruiser, 80s styling is something I like (some people call them ugly?)

So that's where I am at. I've been watching the local market heavily for about a month and feel what I plan to pay is right and the bike (may) be right. Detailed info on the bike I looked at above.

I would love any further feedback - I am open minded! Your input is much appreciated.
 

·
1986 VN750
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Well, I did it - I pulled the trigger.

I am now the proud owner of a 1986 Vulcan 750 w/ roughly 24k miles on her. I paid $1100 and she rode home with no issues! I'll need to get her on manual cam chain tensioners and replace the spark plugs, go through the hoses, etc. Overall I am very happy with the purchase and feel this forum made me do my do diligence prior to purchase.

A link to a picture album is here: http://imgur.com/a/aEYuL

I am sure I will be enjoying the wealth of information this site has to offer!

Thanks again guys - you all rock.
 

·
Acolytes of Perdition
Joined
·
93 Posts
Freakish. I'm taking delivery on a 1986 with 20K on the clock tomorrow as well... for nearly the same price.

She looks like a beaut! Looks pretty clean.
 

·
If only it had 6th gear..
Joined
·
1,100 Posts
Nice! Looks great! Wish ya the best for sure.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top