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Vulcan 88 VN1500A9
This bike was a garage find. It belonged to the brother of a co-worker. It was given to him by the original owner when he bought a new Vulcan 2k and lost interest in the 1500. The second owner had planned to make it a bobber, but didn't. Neither of these guys were mechanics.

When it was offered to me, that was the story, anyway. The fork seals leaked but other than that it would run like a molested simian.


I pretty much bought it sight unseen. It was dirty, and something was hanging from the petcock, but otherwise it looked intact. It reeked of stale gas. The poor thing had only 15K on the odometer.

The thing that was hanging turned out to be the broken end of the 'run' fuel pickup. I figured this out almost immediately. Well, just as soon as I had dumped a quart of gasoline down my left leg anyway. No big deal... Just replace it and move on.

Anyone knew before this that Vulcan 88 parts can be scarce? Silly things like turn signal stalks and petcocks are just frightening.

Okay, no problem, I found the fuel pickup on eBay and ordered it. I had intended to make sure the engine would fire before spending a lot of time and money on this thing. It needed a good cleaning anyway, so I started cleaning. This thing was a regular mud dauber condominium! And during the cleanup I found mud in the strangest places. Come to find out that it had laid on it's side in the mud for some part of its life. Yay! But, it cleaned up pretty well.

I installed the fuel pickup, cranked it, and got no signs of life. I started disassembling the fuel system and the filter was plugged. And the lines. And the petcock. Plugged with mud. I took things apart, and found the tank was filled with mud dauber nests! That's got to be a first! The tank got a thorough cleaning, new fuel lines and filter, a fuel pump, and carburetor cleaning.

I tore those carbs down three times! They are not easy to remove, but I got to be pretty darned good at it. Eventually I got the fuel troubles behind me, and damned if the thing didn't start right up. It's funny, the poor thing wanted to run even when it was half plugged with mud.

Anyway, it's done. This thing is a running son of a gun. I've done a through job of cleaning it, and have used a can of Mother's on the chrome, and for a 20 year old neglected bike, I've got to say it looks pretty darned good. It's got new Michelin Commander IIs on it now, I've got $800 invested in it, including the tires.

There have been countless hours, a lot of learning, and some new and exciting vocabulary, but it's satisfying to me to think I may have saved this one from the scrap heap.

Of course, I had a lot of help from the folks here, too.
1995 Kawasaki Vulcan 88 VN1500A9 (Blue)


Wheel and Tire
Michelin Commander II



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