Front End Wobble Rears its ugly head - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2018, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Front End Wobble Rears its ugly head

We're the proud owners of a new-to-us 2013 Voyager as of last month, and have managed to put about 800 miles on it so far. Today, I was leading a ride across a bridge in New Smyrna Beach and decelerating on the downhill side. I took my left hand off the handlebar to signal an upcoming turn and nearly scared myself to death with the wobble that started up. I still had a hand on the throttle and was applying a bit of brake (front and rear) when this happened. No previous indications of a wobble until now, but what an adrenaline-rush that was, and not in a good way. I've read through some of the threads here about this, but wasn't sure if anyone had experienced the wobble coming on this suddenly. I had no problem with this yesterday or last week when crossing bridges and decelerating, so it almost seems like something just decided to let loose suddenly. Anyone have any ideas about this seemingly sudden onset of symptoms? I'm really hoping it was a one-off because of the road surface, but something tells me that I need to do some troubleshooting to figure out where I'm going to be spending time and money to make this go away. The Queen has already let me know she's not getting back on the pillion until this gets sorted out.

Some details that may help with diagnosis:

The front tire is a Commander II running 28psi, the rear tire is also a Commander II running 40psi. I checked the tires for cupping, and the front is smooth with plenty of tread. The rear may or may not have some cupping- I'm not familiar with the normal wear pattern for the Commander II- but it has plenty of tread left.

The air shocks had an imbalance in the mechanical preset, which I didn't find until after today's ride. They have no air pressure in them- apparently someone blew the seals or otherwise let them deteriorate, so we're running a very soft ride. I'm looking at getting them replaced shortly.

There was somewhat of a breeze coming down the back side of the bridge, and I've got the stock 18" windshield on this thing, which may or may not have given us some buffeting to get things started with the wobble.

I was decelerating from approx. 45mph when this started. It didn't recur during the rest of the ride whenever I gave a hand signal, but most of those were given at lower speeds than 45mph.

Any thoughts or suggestions for where I go next?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2018, 05:35 PM
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man that sounds like some serious pucker inducement! i wish i knew something helpful to suggest
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2018, 06:10 PM
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Front pressure is much lower than what I run on my Nomad. Other than neck torque, no clue. Try 38 front.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2018, 06:11 PM
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Can't say I know how to fix it, but 28psi in the front is too low. I run 38 front, 40 rear, currently a Commander II front and Metzler 888 rear. One thing that others have said fixes the problem is using All Balls tapered stem bearings.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2018, 08:24 PM
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On my vn2000 i run 36 front 34 rear CT , at one time I had front wheel wobble it turned out to be the rear tire that's when I switched to CT, just my experience

Good luck


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2018, 10:04 PM
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I know the manual says 28 psi for the front running Bridgestones, but that is way too low even for Bridgestones. Tires on the bike when I bought it were Bridgestones. At 28 psi the front tire got exceedingly hot. I have Commander IIs and run 32 - 33 psi front and 36 - 38 psi on the rear.

I never had the wobble, but it wasn't as stable as I would like either with the Bridgestone or the Michelin on the front. A installed Gary's fork brace, put in 15W Motul fork oil (regular, not the racing) and up the pressure to 32 on the front and it was like a different bike. Currently have about 17,000 miles on the MC2s. Front and rear wear is very even and I'm guessing I have about 2000 miles before I hit the wear bars.

Installed:
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2018, 11:54 PM
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Hey, Hoover13
It is 100% the tire. The MCII does not work on the Voyager for some reason. If you contact Michelin they will tell you they do not make a tire for the Voyager even though they make the front tire in the same size as stock but the closest rear tire is a little bigger.

I personally have put on a set of MCII's on my 2016 Voyager at first no problem after a few hundred miles not exactly sure how many I was ridding one day took my hands off the handle bars for a second around 60 mph cruise control on straight smooth road and within a period of 2 seconds my bars started shaking so bad I almost lost control. I then was ready for it and tried it again at various speeds with the same shaking result. Also tried various tire pressures from 28 to 36 psi. Discussed it on the form and found others that have had the same problem with MCII's.

Anyway I replaced the front tire with a new Bridgestone same as from factory and have not had a problem since. I still have the Michelin on the rear and after about 5k miles no problems. I also use Counteract balancing beads 2oz. front and rear inside my tires they work really well for me.

Good luck, but my personal opinion take the MCII off the front


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2018, 02:57 AM
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I've run MCII's on both my Voyager and the Nomad that went before it, without issue.

The OEM steering bearings are ball bearing type, and prone to shake. When it starts happening, that shaking invariably occurs during deceleration. To fix that same issue, I've replaced the steering bearings on my last three bikes with All Balls tapered roller bearings, and had no more trouble at all - no matter what tires I run.

Our roads in NZ are sub-standard, and harder on tires, head-bearings, and suspension than your USA roads are. But changing out the bearings and installing after-market suspension are two modifications that have transformed the handling of my Voyager.

Paul (Peg) Elliott
New Plymouth, NZ. '10 Voyager 1700
'02 Nomad 1500(sold) '97 VN800B (sold)
2 Honda's, 2 Suzuki's, 1 Yamaha (all dead)

Last edited by Peg; 09-24-2018 at 03:13 AM.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2018, 10:26 AM
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decelerating, 2 up, down a hill, while braking, with one hand. The question is where did the wobble come from?

Last edited by leftaround; 09-24-2018 at 02:54 PM.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2018, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peg View Post
I've run MCII's on both my Voyager and the Nomad that went before it, without issue.

The OEM steering bearings are ball bearing type, and prone to shake. When it starts happening, that shaking invariably occurs during deceleration. To fix that same issue, I've replaced the steering bearings on my last three bikes with All Balls tapered roller bearings, and had no more trouble at all - no matter what tires I run.

Our roads in NZ are sub-standard, and harder on tires, head-bearings, and suspension than your USA roads are. But changing out the bearings and installing after-market suspension are two modifications that have transformed the handling of my Voyager.
Oh yeah, I replaced the stock steering stem bearing with All Balls, too. The cheap factory bearings are crap. The entire front suspension is under engineered for these big bikes. Too much flex in the forks (Gary's fork brace corrects that), too low viscosity fork oil (common problem with Japanese bikes), and those crappy steering stem bearings. It's no wonder so many folks do have issues with wobble and poor wear on front tires.

Installed:
RAM mount for TomTom Rider 400 (with anti theft module)
6000k LED Headlight & Spots; Kisan Headlight Modulator (works with LEDs),
__Brake Light Modulator, LED License Plate Holder
Longer Kickstand
Dobeck EJK 3.0
Lucky Mirror Extenders
Misc. RAM Mounts for Cup Holder, SPOT, Phone, etc.
Chuckster BAK, Trailer Hitch and Cooler Rack
Wiring for Trailer
Ray's Throttle Mod
Things to do:
Drilling Baffle Plates (Maybe)
Paint HF Tag Along Trailer to Match Bike

LET'S RIDE
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