Bought first bike in 13 years, help with tune up - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Bought first bike in 13 years, help with tune up

this past weekend I finally bit the bullet and bought a 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Custom. The previous owner had already started to do a little bobber conversation on it (removed front and rear fenders, single leather seat). It needs a little work, but in overall great shape for 17 years old. Other than paint and bolt ons and a standard tune up, I dont think it needs much of anything. It is missing things like turn signals, tail light and i have found a few things wobbly and missing a bolt here and there. But for the most part, its the perfect project for me. as I didnt really want something that would be a full build from the frame up.

I only rode the bike for maybe 10-15 minutes yesterday, but these are the issues I noticed when riding it yesterday.


1. When I took the air filter cover off, it doesn’t seem as though everything lines up. Definitely not a sealed connection. But at first glance, I wasn’t able to make it line up. Will take a little playing around.

2. When I start it up from cold, it seems to take a few tries and I have to give it gas. It will eventually start after 3-4 tries. But after that, it starts up immediately. Not sure this is a big deal or not but would just be nice if it started up immediately even when cold.

3. Once it starts, it just seems to idle kind of high. I don’t have a tach, but it just sounds and feels like it idles high. Even when cruising and you give it no gas at all and let off the clutch, it seems to be going at a pretty good speed. If I truly want to cruise, I have to pull in clutch. I realize with a bike this is normal to an extent, just seems a little bit much.

4. I don’t have a temp gauge, but it seems like the engine may be running a little hot. But may just be normal? The only bike I ever had was brand new and also had fairings on the side covering up everything.

5. When driving, it seems to have a slight hesitation when I give it gas. Again, this just may be the bike and its lack of power? But doesn’t seem like it has any instant power, even when I downshift. It almost kind of feels like as if you are always a gear too high with little power.

6. There seems to be a clicking or clunking sound coming from the rear of the bike. I can hear it when in motion and the bike also seems to feel like it “scoots” a little while driving…. Not sure if this is a chain issue?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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here is a pic btw. overall, pretty nice. especially for the price
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 05:14 PM
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Air filter -- If it's the same size as OEM the air filter should fit into the circle around the hole that leads to the carb through the plastic backplate. It's quite a bit smaller in diameter than the cover.

Pretty much all of the symptoms make it sound like you're running lean. I'd check the condition of the carb, it might just need a good cleaning or the air:fuel mix adjusted. And of course make sure everything is seated well, especially the boot between the carb and the engine.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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i should have taken a picture. the air filter itself fits inside the housing just fine. its the housing that doesnt line up to the airway path to the carb. again, i am sure i can get this issue fixed, just wondering if this being off could have caused some of the issues I described. I also noticed, when i pulled the air filter, my carb was half open even with the bike off. not sure if this is normal or not, but i just kinda assumed it would have been closed
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 09:53 AM
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Did you try and adjust the throttle cable to get the butterfly to close?


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 10:08 AM
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Ah yeah the butterfly should be closed when you're not twisting the throttle, you'll want to adjust the idle. It's the knob at the end of the line that comes from the carb and sticks out on the bottom/right side of the air filter housing.

A picture of the filter/housing would help to see the issue you're describing with fitment. There should be a rubber boot/duct between the filter backplate and the carb, the boot should be firmly pressed into the backplate and then stretched around the carb intake. Part# 14073 in the diagram here: 2000 Kawasaki VULCAN 800 CLASSIC (VN800-B5) Air Cleaner | Babbitts Kawasaki Partshouse

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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i will take a pic tonight. I honestly havent even messed with it yet. I did however order a full carb master rebuild kit and stuff to change the oil and spark plugs, as soon as that all comes in, I am gonna go ahead and do all that. Then I will probably change the chain, sprokets, brake pads and bearings... just try and do all the cheap little things and get it running like new before I start making her look pretty.

anything else I should look at doing after these things I mentioned?
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 10:58 AM
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I would definitely look at checking/adjusting valve clearances. I'm fairly new to VN800 maintenance but that's the one thing that everyone says not to put off. You're supposed to check them every 6000 miles. I didn't do it when I first got my used '01 classic (with ~25k miles) a couple months ago and it dropped a valve after I had put less than 500 miles on it. I don't have a way of knowing if it was a valve clearance issue that actually caused it but I can't help but think it contributed. There's a guide stickied at the top of the Vulcan 800 section on these forums, it's really not that hard to do yourself and definitely worth it if only for the peace of mind.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a quick picture of the air filter area leading to the opened up carb. I played with this for 20 mins. Gonna have to play a little more. I noticed there's only one bolt holding this onto the bike. If I make everything line up. The bolt won't fit to screw and hold it on. If I line up the screw. This is what happens.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 01:07 AM
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The bracket that the airbox bolts on to has a small notch, I believe with a rubber grommet/gasket, that sticks into the carb to keep things lined up. If the bracket is not lined up with the carb properly then the airbox will not mount onto the carb properly. I don't even know if it's possible to misaligned these parts, but that's what pops into mind. Also, I could be wrong, but the bolt you have in there holding on the airbox doesn't appear to be stock. I'm going from memory, but I believe the bolts on mine had a wide flange part and quite a wide shoulder to it.

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