Electrical problems with my Vulcan 500 - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Electrical problems with my Vulcan 500

Hey all,

Been lurking in the forum for awhile, decided to make an account to post a couple questions I have about my 2009 Vulcan 500.

A little backstory:
I purchased this used as my first bike about a year and a half ago. Up until 3 months ago it was running great. Then my battery started dying. Being the inexperienced rider that I was, I jumped it off of a running car the a few times (found out later the car is supposed to be off) before replacing the battery. Fast forward a couple months, and I started having some problems. It would shut off randomly, it would lurch, and sputter, and after a few days of riding like that I finally had a couple days off to look at it. Tested the Regulator/Rectifier, tested the stator, checked all the fuses in the main fuse box, and then FINALLY found the main fuse in the side compartment and thought I solved the issue. I am guessing after jumping the bike on running cars, that I blew the main fuse.

Now I get to my first question. after searching through as much of the electrical as I could, I discovered that the bikes radiator fan doesn't appear to be connected (see attached pictures.) I found the same color wires coming from the fan, as I found loose plugs in both the headlight wiring, as well as the wiring under the seat. This would explain why my temp light comes on after 5 minutes of idling at a stop light in 80 degrees. Any idea why this wouldn't be connected? After riding it again, I looked under the bike and confirmed the fan is not spinning.

Next up, yesterday as I was riding, it started doing the same thing as it was when the fuse was blown. Lurching, sputtering, backfiring, losing all power, and usually I would only get a click when I would try to start the ignition. Every time I pulled off the seat and tried again, it would fire right up. Could it be a short in a wire? a bad connection to the battery? I noticed the positive terminal connection was a little loose, so I tried to tighten it. I will have to ride to work in the morning, so hopefully that is the problem, but is there anything else you all can think of?

Thanks everyone for your help, this forum has been extremely valuable thus far, and I am sure it will continue to be in the future.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2019, 04:18 AM
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Welcome to the forum!

Loose connection on the battery terminal is the most common and overlooked issue on this bike, it will definitely cause trouble you just described. Also what can happen is that some wires gets inbetween seat and battery, or frame and that pinches it. Check wires around that area, see if some is damaged, but most likely culprit is the battery terminal connection.

Those plugs inside headlight and under the seat are your accessory wires. You can attach whatever you want on them (hand warmers, phone charger, etc as long as it doesn't draw too big of a current)

Now, fan; It really shouldn't be disconnected, that's a big no no. Check wires for that fan, maybe they shorted somewhere and blowing fuse so P.O detached it. Or maybe fan switch is faulty, or he just forgot to connect it for some reason. Anyhow you can check fan by attaching it directly to the battery and see if it actually works. Also one tip that many people did on Vulcan 500. Attach fan directly to battery, add switch to handlebar and put inline fuse. This way you can manually turn on the fan on stops so bike won't overheat. Btw when red light for coolant turns on, that is really, really bad for this bike. Continue to do that and head gasket will blow, so be careful!
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Last edited by MARKOEN500; 09-11-2019 at 04:25 AM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2019, 08:28 AM
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Adding to the battery connection problem - there are two screw connections right at the battery.

See the "sticky" at the top of the forum that says "check those battery connections".

I'm not sure what you're getting at when you say you have same wire colors in headlight and under seat.
Most likely these are for adding accessories.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2019, 08:55 AM
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Oh, he probably thinks that fan is disconnected just because he found out accessory wires to be the same color as fan wires. On the picture he provided, fan seems well connected to me, but if light comes on without fan spining, we are looking here for different problems, like fan switch, blown fuse, wire damage, failed fan (unlikely) and etc. I thought he was asking about fan and accessory wires separately...English is not my native language so I got bit confused there lol

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2019, 09:58 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Please fill in your profile to include your bike/location info and that
is easier using a PC vs the app. This will help others answer questions you may ask knowing what year and model bike you have.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2019, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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So I tightened/realigned the wires at the battery terminals. So far that seems to have fixed the issue of the bike dying. So thank you for that. Also, thank you vulcandoc for the advice about the sticky section.

You are correct about the accessory wire/fan wire confusion. I assumed that because the fan has the same color wires as the 2 disconnected plugs, that those were all one system. I checked all of the fuses a couple weeks ago, and all seemed fine. So I know it isn't a fuse. How do I check a fan switch? I am new to all this stuff, so I am just trying to learn as problems arise.

Thanks everyone again. I appreciate the advice.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 05:24 AM
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Radiator fan switch is located at the bottom of the radiator. Drain coolant first! Then disconnect its leads and unscrew it from radiator, then follow this info from the manual.
Basically you need boiling water, thermometer and multimeter set to Ohms

Damn, forum shrinks picture...
If you have manual go to section 15-63
If not, search for it online, it's very easy to find.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 10:48 PM
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Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasjshults View Post
You are correct about the accessory wire/fan wire confusion. I assumed that because the fan has the same color wires as the 2 disconnected plugs, that those were all one system. I checked all of the fuses a couple weeks ago, and all seemed fine. So I know it isn't a fuse. How do I check a fan switch?

Regarding the wiring being the same color for the Fan and ACC wires, look closely. The ACC wires are 'White with a Blue tracer' (WHT/BLU) and the Fan is 'Blue with a White tracer' (BLU/WHT). The 'Black with a Yellow tracer' (BLK/YEL) is the negative/ground wire for both circuits.

MarkoEn500 gave some good advice on testing the switch. I would also suggest to disconnect the switch and short between the terminals with the key ON. The fan should run. (watch those fingers for fan blades)

Hope this helps.

--
'Biker' Bill
'97 EN500LTD 'Hidalgo' 208,000+ miles so far
'98 EN500LTD 'Sioux' 19,000 miles so far
VROC #3833 IronButt #6024
Levelland, TX


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Bikerbill. I checked another thread on the forum and found out about testing the fan itself, so I did that. For now, I have a toggle switch and am going to wire it into the accessory cable and connect it to the fan. The bike is my only means of transportation, so I don't want to take the chance of blowing the head gasket like Markoen500 mentioned. That will buy me some time to get back and forth to work until I can check the switch and get a replacement.
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