Rod knock most likely, won't shift out of first... - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Rod knock most likely, won't shift out of first...

I posted this in the introduction forum to well... introduce myself. After some helpful pointing it seems as though it fits here better. Howdy!

Like the post states, I haven't really dug into the bike too much yet. I will get into it this week sometime.




A buddy of mine just picked up a 96 1500 and dropped it off in my shop. I came here looking for advice and some learnin'. He brought the bike over because it has a very loud knock and won't shift out of first. Haven't started to really tear into it yet but I am guessing that there is a rod knock and a bent shifting fork to start.

I hope to find a FSM somewhere on this forum and start plucking away at it. So far I have read that these make a bit of noise but I still believe it's a rod knock based on the rhythm and intensity of the knock. I have also tried to isolate the knock using a long screwdriver to the ear trick. Sounds like it is coming from the crank case.

Because I know most post are useless without pics...


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 06:11 PM
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This is the kind of project that requires some thought, before diving in, on several fronts.

1. How many miles on the bike?
2. Ask the owner if it had a grind going into second?
3. Has it ever been run with the oil light on?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sfair View Post
This is the kind of project that requires some thought, before diving in, on several fronts.

1. How many miles on the bike?
2. Ask the owner if it had a grind going into second?
3. Has it ever been run with the oil light on?


Well most of this info I cannot get. There is 50k on the bike, has been torn into before and has an oil leak. I am guessing the PO knew it wasn't worth putting money into and dumped it on my friend. Luckily my friend didn't pay much.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 10:04 PM
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Well, I am going to assume it was grinding going into second gear. It was a common problem. The first thing to do is see if the second gear drive and driven gears are still available. Looking on the internet is not good enough. You will need a confirmation that they are available to order or else you have hit the first road block. And the grinding could relate to the transmission problem you have now.
Second, if it does have a rod knock, that can be a difficult problem to resolve as Kawasaki promotes parts replacement instead of over/under size options. This can get expensive in a hurry.

The only reason I point these items out is sometimes it is easy to start a job only to find out that replacement parts are obsolete or very expensive and one has already sunk some money into a project that is not going to turn out to be cost effective.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sfair View Post
Well, I am going to assume it was grinding going into second gear. It was a common problem. The first thing to do is see if the second gear drive and driven gears are still available. Looking on the internet is not good enough. You will need a confirmation that they are available to order or else you have hit the first road block. And the grinding could relate to the transmission problem you have now.
Second, if it does have a rod knock, that can be a difficult problem to resolve as Kawasaki promotes parts replacement instead of over/under size options. This can get expensive in a hurry.

The only reason I point these items out is sometimes it is easy to start a job only to find out that replacement parts are obsolete or very expensive and one has already sunk some money into a project that is not going to turn out to be cost effective.
I like your way of thinking. I too have seen this happen, it might come down to finding a used motor somewhere and tossing it in.... we shall see.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 11:06 AM
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I like your way of thinking. I too have seen this happen, it might come down to finding a used motor somewhere and tossing it in.... we shall see.
That was an idea that I was kind of hinting at. The bottom line is not to spend money until all avenues have been explored and costed out.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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That was an idea that I was kind of hinting at. The bottom line is not to spend money until all avenues have been explored and costed out.
Good advice!

So I started taking the engine apart. I have run into my first issue. Taking the heads off. The timing chain is wrapped around the spark plug grommet. Do I take the spark plug grommet out? Or is there a simpler, less crazy tool needed, way to remove the head?




Thanks.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 08:36 AM
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Yes, you must remove this spark plug tube to remove the head.
What I did: Get a 3/4" x 1/2" pipe bushing, 3" pipe nippel. Screw pipe
into bushing very tightly. You now have removal tool. Pipe bushing
will fit right into plug tube and you can use the nipple to unscrew the
bushing. After removing the tube inspect the sides of it for any signs
of the cam chains rubbing it. This would indicate the cam chain has
worn past the limits of the chain tensioners.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Well, it is a rod knock. I will take a short video tomorrow for science!

I haven't split the case yet so I don't know if there is anything wrong in the gearbox, but I do expect to find a bent fork in there.

My next question is,where to go for parts? I looked around a little on the web and found some possible but the prices seemed very high. $200 for one connecting rod? That's race car prices right there! A nice aftermarket forged rod for a 35 year old race car is about the same price......

Anyone got a good engine for sale?

What are my options?l
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 08:30 AM
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meatness, I do have an engine for sale, but I'm not quite sure it will fit your bike. It is a 2001, 1500/5spd, carbed. I'm sure it would fit the bike, but it's the rest of the hookups I'm not sure about, exhaust, igniter, charging system, etc. Check it out and get back to me if interested.
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