Doing research on '03 1600 Classic before purchase - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Year/Make/Model: 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic
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Doing research on '03 1600 Classic before purchase

Hi all,
Currently, I have a 1988 Vulcan 1500A that I'd like to trade in on something a little more new and reliable. I love by BUBF, but, it's time to ride again, not spend it spinning wrenches.
I've been looking at a 2003 1600 Classic and I'm wondering if those bikes are notorious for having some of the same issues; i.e. the cam chain tensioner issue i'm currently having... is that still a problem with these motors? Is there anything I should be wary of?
Enclosed is a pic of the bike I'm looking at. She's got 30K on the clock and the video the guy posted looks as if it runs really smooth. Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-25-2015, 05:41 PM
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I have an 03 1600 classic and it just turned over to 59K. Never had any issues with the bike and it still runs circles around my friends Harley Soft tail 103.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-26-2015, 02:43 PM
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I've put 35K trouble free mies on my 2007 1600, its been a very reliable bike. I put cam chain tensioner extenders in at 32K, it still had a couple clicks of adjustment left, so I don't know how far it was good for, but I would guess a lot. The bike you're looking at looks good, nicely equipped, buy it!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 12:32 AM
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Bought my 03 1600 on a whim 2 yrs ago this Nov. & have never regretted it. I looked today and I have just over 29K on the clock and no major issues since I've owned it. I must say i bought a set of cam chain tension extenders but have yet to install, unless some gremlin visits I'll wait until this winter. As Much as I have grown to love this machine let me warn you of one issue most riders say & I agree with, this machine is a beast at slow speeds and takes some getting used to. Once this is conquered you're good to go. On the opposite end of the spectrum this is the most comfortable open highway bike and cruises @ 80-90 2-up (and neither myself or my wife are little people) with the greatest of ease. The last and final item is for sure this winter I will also change the neck bearing, seems like I feel a small catch when turning, just been putting it off, but this winter for sure. Good luck with the search.

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03 1600 Classic
Highway Bar / with foot pegs
Cobra Speedster Slash/down Motorcycle Exhaust
Mustang 2up seat w/ driver & passenger Backrest
Windshield
New Viking Hard Leather Saddle Bags
Cobra Fi2000R Digital Fuel Processor
K&N Air Cleaner
Driver & Passenger floorboards
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-29-2015, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you to all for the reply... I'm doing some pre-purchase research before going shopping this spring. I currently have an '88 1500A with issues with the cam chain tensioner. Only has 22K on the OD, but have been wanting to get something newer for quite some time. I really like the Vulcans, but now feel a little hesitant on purchasing another one for fear of major breakdowns. I really can't complain on my '88, it has never left me stranded and this is the first major down time I have had in 5 years. I hope this makes at least a little sense. I'm partial to the 1500 Classic, but know not to buy a pre-2000 because of the plastic oil gear. I also like the 1600 Classic and Nomads, but have heard the same issues with the cam chain tensioners. So I guess the question here I'm after is did Kawasaki ever identify and correct this problem between the Classics and Nomads?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 08:01 AM
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So I guess the question here I'm after is did Kawasaki ever identify and correct this problem between the Classics and Nomads?

Short answer: Nope
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 11:59 AM
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Well I had a 93 BUBF (1500) and then a 2001 1500 classic, then a 2003 1600 classic and now a 07 1600 Nomad and I can tell you that I loved the BUBF but it is nothing like the newer 1500's or 1600's. The issues with the cam chain tensioners are not issues at all they are part of the maintenance of the bike. If left undone then they become a issue just like any other maintenance that is left undone. On my 93 BUBF I had 95K on it when sold, it had the issue of the dog-bone and would not go into 2nd gear. My 2001 1500 classic had over 40K when sold the 2003 1600 had 88K when sold, both never had any issues and I checked and replaced the cam chain tensioners on both. My now 07 Nomad only has about 20K and I plan on checking the cam chain tensioners over the winter. So I would say get what you want and do not let the cam chain tensioners be any more then part of the bike maintenance.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 12:15 PM
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Got any pointers on how I should go about checking my tensioners?
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 12:23 PM
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found this, pretty good details...

(VDR) Cam Chain Tensioner Extenders
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eg78 View Post
Got any pointers on how I should go about checking my tensioners?
this site has it all.........

Vulcan Gadgets Fixit Page For Kawasaki Nomad & Classic Modification Maintenance & Repair
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07, Nomad, Fairing, 4 speakers, AM/FM USB/GPS, Cell holder/charger, Throttle lock, 13" Handlebars/Grips, Head Light Modulator, 1 off seat w/backrest, V and H pipes, Intake K and N 9" filters, Cobra FI Processor, Side rails on bags, leather covers w/pockets on rear bag guards. Sometimes have Rear trunk on 1 off rack or bag in place of rear seat, Foot pegs, hard 1 off lowers on engine guard, Wolo horn, fork lowers. Black with some chrome.
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