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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 96 Vulcan 750 that I recently had serviced. Nothing was wrong with it, but I wanted an expert to check her over. They had mentioned that I should be using premium gasoline (I had been using regular) in the tank, and suggested a few things to help keep the carbs from gunking up.

I decided to use a fuel carb cleaner the other day, and put 4 ounces into the tank as perscribed by the instructions. (one ounce per gallon of tank capacity). Then I filled it up with premium gasoline.

When I went riding, the bike felt a little sluggish. Didn't quite know what to make of it, but it seemed to be ok, so I figured it was probably just me.

After about 44 miles, I started to feel the engine being more sluggish. I was concerned so I started looking for a place to stop and check things out. All of a sudden I started to really lose power, and I pulled to the side of the road. The engine cut completely off. I tried to restart a couple of times but nothing. I sat a moment, and checked the fuel valve to make sure it was in the correct position. Yes, it was. I primed the idle control by turning it up just a hair. Tried to start again. Vrooom...started right up, no problem, and ran smoothly thereafter, though I turned around and headed home, as I was a bit concerned.

My thought is that the additive dislodged some gunk that clogged a line temporarily, but got loose. Whether adjusting the idle did anything or not, I don't know.

My question is, what should I do to verify that everything is OK now? I've never done any maintenance on the bike myself, having only owned it for a year, and I don't want to attempt anything too complex, but if there are simple things I can do, I'm inclined to do them. My initial thought is to replace the fuel filter (although I think it was replaced when the bike was serviced) but I'm open to suggestions.
 

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Well, you are probably right about the crud being dislodged and clogging temporarily, but who really knows. You'll find in time, reading here that we recommend you use seafoam as a fuel additive to keep things clean. You can get it at most auto parts stores in fuel additives area. About 3-4 oz per tank full, only about once a month will keep your fuel system in tip top shape. It also is a very good, if not the best, fuel stabilizer for winterizing. Won't cause stored gas to gel and turn into varnish like some other stabilizers will.

Our bikes come stock with only fuel screens in the tank on the petcock. Nothing on the fuel lines at all. So, if your bike has one on the fuel lines, it has been added. Those would need to be replaced periodically. Generally though, seafoam is all you need in conjunction with the screens on the petcock in the tank.

Premium gas is really not recommended on our bikes. It is a waste of money, and your bike might not run quite as well with higher octane gas. It lives for plain old regular unleaded. Run that tank down as low as you can without running out and then fill her up with regular, and it wouldn't hurt to dose it with seafoam a couple times on consecutive fill ups just to get things cleaned out well.

Also, check your air filter elements to make sure they are in good shape. These are often overlooked and can cause the engine to run badly if they are getting crumbly or falling apart. They are located under the chromed "ears" on the upper front sides of the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. My mechanic reacted almost violently when I said I used regular gas in the tank. He kept maintaining that premium gas should go into the bike. Very interesting.

I will invest in some Seafoam and use that from now on, as well as using regular gas from now on.

Will also check out the air filter, though I'm quite sure that's been replaced by the aformentioned mechanic.

I'll run the current supply of gas down to reserve and then refill with regular. Depending on how well it's running, I may or may not dose it with a little seafoam.

Another thing my mechanic recommended was, after a ride, to keep the engine running, but close the fuel valve and allow the engine to peter out. He suggested this as a means of helping keep the carbs clean. Any thoughts?
 

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HAWK
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I would not recomend that, if you empty the carbs it will be harder to start and putting a load on the electrical system.
also fuel will help keep everything cleen, varnish forms in air not under fuel unless left for a long time with no Seafoam in it.
PErsonaly I would find a new mechanic, I have been working on cars and bikes for a while now and am also a Master mechanic for Toyota.
I hope this helps
 

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Drive less, ride more...
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Yo, Tommx....

I drive a 2005 model VN750. Not so recently, I experienced the same problem (stalling, then dying) that you described above.

I fixed my problem by putting my bike on a regular Seafoam diet. Most likely, the bike's previous owner (that's "PO" in forum lingo here) somehow let something build up or get into the fuel system.

You might also help provent this problem by running your bike with the petcock set on "reserve" more often to clean out the bottom portion of the tank. This, combined with regular use of Seafoam, should keep this problem at bay.

For maximum effectiveness with Seafoam, put 4 ounces of Seafoam in a (nearly) empty fuel tank, then top off the tank. Ride the bike for 15-20 minutes, then let it sit for several days.

The rest of the gang above is right. You don't need premium fuel in this bike! Find another mechanic who won't beat you over the head with this advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Yo, Tommx....

I drive a 2005 model VN750. Not so recently, I experienced the same problem (stalling, then dying) that you described above.

I fixed my problem by putting my bike on a regular Seafoam diet. Most likely, the bike's previous owner (that's "PO" in forum lingo here) somehow let something build up or get into the fuel system.

You might also help provent this problem by running your bike with the petcock set on "reserve" more often to clean out the bottom portion of the tank. This, combined with regular use of Seafoam, should keep this problem at bay.

For maximum effectiveness with Seafoam, put 4 ounces of Seafoam in a (nearly) empty fuel tank, then top off the tank. Ride the bike for 15-20 minutes, then let it sit for several days.

The rest of the gang above is right. You don't need premium fuel in this bike! Find another mechanic who won't beat you over the head with this advice.

Here's a very stupid question: The bike has a fuel guage. My understanding of the purpose of the reserve tank is to give you a heads up when the tank is getting close to being empty. Is there some other purpose served by the reserve tank? It seems to me that on a bike with a fuel guage, it's kind of unnecessary.

Also, is there anything preventing me from switching to reserve before I reach the point that I need it? Is it a kosher thing to do?

As for the mechanic, I'll do some looking around. These guys actually were highly recommended to me by a friend, but all of the advice they gave me on keeping the bike healthy seems to have been wrong so far. Interesting. I guess it just goes to show you should always get consensus from a large group of people.
 

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Calif Rider
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Almost all the information on this web page are well proven, and tested by all. As for switching to the reserve tank off and on once in awhile is a good idea. Keeps it cleaned out and then you also know that it is working properly.
As for the fuel guage it could come in handy on a long trip and where gas stations or few and far between. Plus it can give you a heads up if your bike starts using to much gas. Several guys on this sight have at times had fuel leaks and did not know it. The guage would show this.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Almost all the information on this web page are well proven, and tested by all. As for switching to the reserve tank off and on once in awhile is a good idea. Keeps it cleaned out and then you also know that it is working properly.
As for the fuel guage it could come in handy on a long trip and where gas stations or few and far between. Plus it can give you a heads up if your bike starts using to much gas. Several guys on this sight have at times had fuel leaks and did not know it. The guage would show this.
I guess the point I was making was that I already have a fuel guage. Seems to make the reserve tank more of a nuiscance than an asset.

And yes, I'm inclined to trust a forum of people who ride the exact same bike I do. (more or less) Just now am fretting over who my mechanic should be now. Anyone know a good mechanic in Montgomery County Maryland? The ones I used last were Myer's Cycles and they were the ones who gave me the recommendations of using expensive gas et al.
 

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By the nature of the design of our gas tanks, with the hump in the middle for the frame to pass through, the fuel gauge is somewhat unreliable. It takes it quite a while to go from full to half, but then it drops like a lead duck. The lower sides of the tank don't hold much gas so it drops rapidly after it gets that low and the gauge isn't calibrated for such a design. It's just a float so since the largest part of the tank is near the top, the gauge is not able to average it all out. Most find that there is around 1 gal of gas in the tank when the gauge says it's empty. I've not had to switch to reserve because I was running out of gas on the ON petcock position, but I routinely switch to reserve during the tank full that I have put seafoam in the bike to help clean it out.

It's hard to find knowledgeable mechanics at a shop, especially when it comes to knowledge about our bikes. Most good mechanics welcome information that is gathered from our forum, so don't be shy about printing out something and taking it to the mechanic when you need service. If they bash your information, then it's time to shop around. Good luck with all that! I know how it feels, first hand!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the info re: gas guages. I have a pretty good idea of how far I can ride before it will need to flip to reserve. Last time I got to reserve, it was about 140 miles since I last filled up. (with premium as I was at that time taking my mechanic's advice)

We'll see how things go this week. I'll keep you guys posted.
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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The way I see it with them recommending the premium gas.... Sure, if it were a modern bike. But our Vulcans are a 20 year old design. Even the Kawasaki service manual says to use the low octane.

And for the stalling out, it could also be the vent line outta the rear of the tank or the gas cap vent itself is plugged.
Sitting for a short time may have released the built up negative pressure in the tank, which then let the engine vacuum be able to pull it into the carbs.

Hope ya get it figured out. I didn't let it stop me from riding when my bike did the same thing. Because, just like yours, the engine always fired up after taking a short rest.
 

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Scratches in the dirt ...
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Hey Tommx, which mech are you going to?
I avoid like the plague Cycle USA on Georgia Ave.
I tend to go the extra miles to Criswell Power Sports up in G'burg/Germantown, where I got my ride and they've always treated me well.
 
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