Engine knock - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Engine knock

I have a 1999 nomad 1500 and it recently started ticking/knocking , it sounds like it needed a valve adj but there is no adj , is it comon for the lifters to go bad or is there something else that might be wrong with it , it starts and runs good still but ticks louder the faster the rpm's go
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 09:11 PM
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Hard to say with only that information. It has hydraulic lifters and they normally do not malfunction other than if they fail to completely fill themselves with oil they can be noisy. In most cases this problem goes away the more minutes the engine is running on the road. If it has been sitting a long time, that could be the issue.

Most motorcycle engines don't have sticky valves as a problem, nor do most of them have any issue with lifters that requires taking the engine apart. But historical information on how the motor was treated or mistreated could cause me to have a different opinion about a given engine.

If a valve were sticking it would be VERY loud at start up, like someone tapping on a metal table with a small ball peen hammer.

How many miles are on the odometer?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 09:32 PM
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If oil changes have been neglected, you can have a lifter stick in a certain position and quit adjusting. Sometimes you can break that loose by using one of the many engine cleaners right before an oil change. Some are just mixed with the existing oil, some are used to replace the existing oil before the change. Some you put several miles on the engine, some you just run the engine to warm it up in the shop. So long as you follow the instructions, you won't hurt anything by trying. And if you are not comfortable with this stuff, this is certainly a good time to find a trustworthy mechanic!

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 12:44 AM
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main bearings

Another suggestion: main bearings or crankshaft bearings are running bad, I had the dame problem some Time ago. It sounded like a very cold diesel engine.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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I have only had the bike for 2500 miles , I have not done an oil change yet , the previous owner seemed as if he was very precise about his maintenance . I had some people listen and they seem to think its in the top end ( but not 100% positive ) , the bike has 41295 miles on it . I do 99.9% of all my own work , but this is my first v-twin so I'm learning as I go .
Can the lifters be change without pulling the motor out of the bike ?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 11:51 AM
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The first thing you need to do is purchase a service manual, either a Clymers or Kawasaki. This engine does not have (lifters, per se) as the rocker arms ride directly on the overhead cams. They do have automatic hydraulic lash adjusters which are in the tips of the rockers that come in contact with the valve.

That being said, I would first do a mechanical gage oil pressure test to insure there is sufficient oil pressure. These engines are inherently noisy, so unless you are experiencing a sudden change I would not be too concerned about it.

Then there is the issue of the cam chain tensioners. If there is sufficient wear of the guides, or stretching of the chains, there is the possibility of the chains slapping agains the spark plug tubes. (research the forums for detailed information about this). An easy fix of adding extensioners will solve that problem. Just yesterday I tore down a 2002' 1500 drifter engine that I am going to rebuild and found the chains had been lightly slapping the plug tubes.

Also might add that access to the top end is very limited without removing the engine.

Last edited by Bandit101; 01-14-2013 at 11:52 AM. Reason: additional information
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 12:19 PM
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See post #6, third paragraph.
Also, an exhaust leak at the head pipe can sound EXACTLY like a noisy HLA.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 03:03 PM
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+1 on the cam chain tensioners. Then the automatic tensioners go bad or run out of adjustment because the chains have stretched with age and wear, they make a lot of racket. Cant speak to the 1500, but the CCTs in the VN750 were only good for about 16-20000 miles.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2013, 04:04 AM
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All Vulcans before 2000 came out with a Plastic Oil Gear (POG) which is prone to crapping out. Check b4 running as it can be VERY expensive. Can be checked on side stand with out draining engine oil.
Have a look at http://www.vroc.org/faq/jopg/jopg.html
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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So I just installed a manual cam chain tensioner on the front cylinder and my noise is still there . The noise sounds like it is coming from the shifter side of the motor , is there somthing behind the cover that might be bad and knocking ?
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