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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Fuel problem?

Hello all. I bought my 1998 800vn in June I would say, it had sat at my friends dealership for about 8 months before he got tired of looking at it and we agreed on a price. I had to install a new battery, but it started right up and I drove it probably 2000 miles before I parked it a couple months ago to go out of town. I came back, it was dead. I recharged the battery this morning and was on my merry way. I'd say I rode a good 30 miles or so, came back home patted myself on the back and did a few Tim Taylor grunts. My GF came home, we decided to go out again. Everything went well, for about 15 miles. All the sudden, I noticed at a red light the bike was dying. I applied the gas a little more firmly, turned around to go home. Next red, same thing. As I was approaching the following Red, it was sputtering and felt like its moments were numbered, so I pulled into a gas station, got almost to a good parking spot, and POOF, gone. Frustrated, I was. I had put gas in it earlier when i reconnected the battery about a mile out, but didn't fill it to the top as I know this is a problem sometimes. I checked the gas at the station I was now stranded and looking foolish at, plenty of gas. Tried to start it, and all it did was click quite a few times and wound to a gasping death. Still had lights, but no turn over. I looked around and realized I wasn't looking very cool at this point, so in my shame I pushed the bike to the side of the gas station for less people to mock. Still dead, I called a friend up who was polite enough to bring me a jump box. While sitting there I noticed to the (if sitting on the bike) left side there was a small pool of fuel about a half dollar sized. My friend came, The motor roared back into life and off I was to drop it off to my friends garage for tomorrow. I'd say his garage is about a mile from where I spent quality time with the strangers at the station, it rode fine even stopped at the red, and continued on. I pulled up to the shop, eyed a decent parking spot and pointed the front wheel in that general direction. I almost made it too. I got about 10 feet from it before the bike died once again. Now, I have 2 other bikes, so I know a thing or two, but not everything. Also those bikes are fuel injected, I'm not much of a carb guy. I did read a few forums sitting out there in the moonlight via my smart phone, talking about pops and swooshes when opening the fuel tank, of which I got neither.I realize my battery is probably toast but I can't imagine it would cause such a slow death and fuel to leak out. If you have any advice, it would be very appreciated. I really enjoy this bike, and look forward to many many more miles on it.
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by knightrider View Post
Hello all. I bought my 1998 800vn in June I would say, it had sat at my friends dealership for about 8 months before he got tired of looking at it and we agreed on a price. I had to install a new battery, but it started right up and I drove it probably 2000 miles before I parked it a couple months ago to go out of town. I came back, it was dead. I recharged the battery this morning and was on my merry way. I'd say I rode a good 30 miles or so, came back home patted myself on the back and did a few Tim Taylor grunts. My GF came home, we decided to go out again. Everything went well, for about 15 miles. All the sudden, I noticed at a red light the bike was dying. I applied the gas a little more firmly, turned around to go home. Next red, same thing. As I was approaching the following Red, it was sputtering and felt like its moments were numbered, so I pulled into a gas station, got almost to a good parking spot, and POOF, gone. Frustrated, I was. I had put gas in it earlier when i reconnected the battery about a mile out, but didn't fill it to the top as I know this is a problem sometimes. I checked the gas at the station I was now stranded and looking foolish at, plenty of gas. Tried to start it, and all it did was click quite a few times and wound to a gasping death. Still had lights, but no turn over. I looked around and realized I wasn't looking very cool at this point, so in my shame I pushed the bike to the side of the gas station for less people to mock. Still dead, I called a friend up who was polite enough to bring me a jump box. While sitting there I noticed to the (if sitting on the bike) left side there was a small pool of fuel about a half dollar sized. My friend came, The motor roared back into life and off I was to drop it off to my friends garage for tomorrow. I'd say his garage is about a mile from where I spent quality time with the strangers at the station, it rode fine even stopped at the red, and continued on. I pulled up to the shop, eyed a decent parking spot and pointed the front wheel in that general direction. I almost made it too. I got about 10 feet from it before the bike died once again. Now, I have 2 other bikes, so I know a thing or two, but not everything. Also those bikes are fuel injected, I'm not much of a carb guy. I did read a few forums sitting out there in the moonlight via my smart phone, talking about pops and swooshes when opening the fuel tank, of which I got neither.I realize my battery is probably toast but I can't imagine it would cause such a slow death and fuel to leak out. If you have any advice, it would be very appreciated. I really enjoy this bike, and look forward to many many more miles on it.
Don't know about other Vulcan models but the fuel pooling issue happens with the VN800 as I've read from all of my research. Along with other things that is. My first question would be is it a California model and if so are there any mods to the EPA system hoses or the tank?

Have you checked the tank or fuel cap vents to ensure they are not clogged? Have you checked to see if the float and carb fuel level or diaphragm are working correctly? Did you check to see if your carb manifold is seated or sealed properly, cracked or loose? Did you clean out the old fuel when you got your bike by using the drain on the bottom of the carb because sometimes water and debris accumulate in there so make sure the carb is well cleaned and working well before proceeding.

I can't find the thread right now about the fuel pooling issue(s) you are experiencing but one of the senior members should be stopping by anytime soon to point you to the right thread for that one.

Last edited by Comanche; 11-09-2012 at 12:18 AM. Reason: Edited due to typos.
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 12:26 AM
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You have two problems, bad battery, bad petcock (most likely)

Bad petcocks are very common on the 800, I'm assuming the fuel is running out the carb, this is generally the case on a bad petcock. From what most have experienced on here it is not worth the effort to get the rebuild kit, some have managed to get lucky and it worked, but many others still had problems only to buy a brand new one and have the problem solved. So the consensus is to buy a new one outright and be done with it. If that doesn't solve it then you will probably end up needing a new needle valve in the carb. Try moving the petcock to different positions to see if the fuel stops leaking, on run or res there should be no fuel leak, if it is on pri and there is a leak this would point towards the needle but you should not be running in the pri position normally anyway.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm. Yes I see how the petcock would be a problem. A quick glance at JC whitney and I notice They have a K&L petcock valve for 32.30, a Bikers choice petcock for 13.05, and of course a Pingel petcock for 100.53. Any one have any experience with any of these? is higher cost always better?
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by knightrider View Post
Hmm. Yes I see how the petcock would be a problem. A quick glance at JC whitney and I notice They have a K&L petcock valve for 32.30, a Bikers choice petcock for 13.05, and of course a Pingel petcock for 100.53. Any one have any experience with any of these? is higher cost always better?

Now, I have 2 other bikes, so I know a thing or two, but not everything. Also those bikes are fuel injected, I'm not much of a carb guy. I did read a few forums sitting out there in the moonlight via my smart phone, talking about pops and swooshes when opening the fuel tank, of which I got neither.I realize my battery is probably toast but I can't imagine it would cause such a slow death and fuel to leak out.
I didn't mention the tap because you said you have 2 other bikes and know a thing or two. There are at least several reasons why this type of bike can leak and sputter so I just mentioned a few non-obvious ones to try and help you. Wish you success but post back when you get it repaired so that others can learn off your experiences. Only reason I say this is because many never post back once it is repaired.

Last edited by Comanche; 11-09-2012 at 11:38 AM.
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Well it turns out the battery was dead, I returned it for warranty and got a new one. Bike runs great again, at least on that part. I haven't Looked very hard, but I see the gas is leaking on the right hand side, and making its way around to drip on the left (when sitting on the bike) I opened up the air cleaner to try to see anything obvious, and the filter is drenched on the bottom side. I could also see that gas was on the right side forward cylinder body, but not on the chrome. I looked at the pri/res/on switch on the LH side and noticed it was remarkably new looking, and no gas is around it anywhere. I intend to bring it home later today to further investigate, etc. Again I'm not much of a carb guy, the only one I've ever had any success working on was a gas powered RC car, the other bikes are FI. On a different note, My back brake is locking up. I looked all around for the problem, and noticed that when I depress the brake foot pad, on the back the metal arm attached to the hub and bar does not go back to its original place once released. I can manually pull it back with a little effort, but really thats about it. I saw the brake pad indicator which was mid way within range, and doused the outside as best I could with brake cleaner, then again with a spray lubricant (not wd40, think it was a graphite spray lube). No luck really. it still sticks.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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It isn't a cali model, It has always been in KS. I will pull it all apart when I get it home later, Just asking all advice on what to look for. I did clean out the old fuel when I bought the bike, I changed out all the fluids just to be on the safe side. I will check all the things you mentioned before, comanche. The shop was too full today to do much there. Bamadrive, I have noticed when I put it in the PRI position before, it did indeed leak. I never run it on that of course. If we determine the petcock and needle are bad, where is the best place to get such things? I should also mention I did a visual inspection of all the hoses that weren't hidden, and didn't see any signs of wetness or damage to any, but I haven't pulled that side apart much so that still could be the case.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 02:51 PM
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You can test the petcock by removing the fuel hose and see if it will drain. Obviously catch it in a safe container and don't light any birthday candles for extra light.

On the run and reserve positions it should not have any gas flow. On prime it should flow freely. You can test the small vacuum line also, fuel will flow in the run or reserve postions when a vacuum is applied to the small hose, it doesn't take much you can do it with your mouth if you don't have a pump.

These will indicate if the petcock is definitely bad. Several have replaced theirs with aftermarket valves with no issues.

If the valve is good then you will probably need a new needle and they are not cheap. You could probably find a whole used carb for about the same price as a needle. But no sense going there until you know if your valve is good or not.

I'm sure there are others checking this thread, feel free to chime in if I'm steering him wrong or if you have another idea. I still have the oem valve on my 99 but I've read about the issue enough times here to know my days are numbered also.

About the back brake, it is cable operated, check by the pedal you'll see where the cable enters a housing and goes underneath. More than likely I'm guessing the cable is frayed just inside the housing and is now bound up. If you can't see any obvious damage to the cable try to see if you can get some kind of lube down into it, it may just be rusty and you may be able to work it loose. Where the cable exits the housing it is attached to a long rod to work the brake. I'm guessing that is the rod you mentioned. I recently had to replace mine it was 39.00 shipped. I forget where I got bought it on the internet but that was the best price I found.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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bamadrive, I will test the petcock when I bring it home later to see if that is the problem. This needle valve you are talking about, I'm looking at the kawasaki parts page trying to determine which part it is. Obviously I know that isn't my carb in the image, half the part numbers arent even on it. I see here a "needle-jet" part number 16009-1861 but it's only $20. I realize this may not be the issue, but should it be, is this the correct part? Again, I'm more of an FI guy, just trying to have a clearer picture for myself and anyone else with this problem in the future. Here is a link

http://www.kawasakipartshouse.com/oe...73c/carburetor
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 04:46 PM
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That image is a triple carb set up. Try looking on bikebandit.com or procaliber.com. both are good places for oem parts, but procaliber is def cheaper.

The new oem petcock is not that expensive, but obviously test yours first. If it leaks fuel when not running then you most likely have a bad petcock, or you left it on prime. If its leaking while running (which mine did when I first got it) I would recommend tearing it down and giving it a good cleaning. Also check the float and the float height.

These bikes are getting old and are often neglected, but its not too difficult to them running well again.

Oh and post some pics in pics thread.

Sent from my Desire HD using Motorcycle.com Free App

2000 VN800B
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