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33 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey there. So I just bought a '98 Kawasaki Vulcan VN1500E a few weeks back.
Somehow when I tested and bought it, I did not notice the noise coming from the engine.

Here we go.

When the bike is cold, you hear a faint tapping noise, seeming to come from where front cyliner meets case (on the "right" side, if you are sitting on bike. The front end seems to shake, a lot more than the rear head.
When it warms up and the oil thins, it becomes a lot louder. I feel like it has gotten louder since I got it.
There was a ticking noise, almost sounded like a cam chain. Bike has 46k miles, and I've read about the tentioner extenders.
I've also read about the lifters. I ran some seafoam through the oil for about 20 miles, then did a change.
Didn't notice anything.
Hopped on the bike the other day, and the noise went away, but has now more of a tapping sound, you can hear when you're accelerating.
And I've got V&H pipes, they're loud.

I have read all over that these are noisy engines, and it's just a common thing with them. But noise worries me constantly, I never want to take my bike even 15 miles out.

The bike runs amazing, I mean it's got balls for days and idles and accelerates fine, just noisy.

Should I be worried? I feel like there's more going on than the cam chain, especially the lower tap.
I don't wanna put it into a shop or rebuild it with expensive OEM parts, I'd rather buy a used engine and swap or use for parts.
My main question, are any of the years interchangeable? Could I put an older engine on or newer? Or the top end off an older/newer engine?
I just want this bike for at least this riding season. I really like it.

Any insight would be awesome! I'm frustrated as heck 😑

Thank you!

535 Posts
I'd start with the simplest s**t first and work my way to an engine replacement last. Start by checking the spark plug tubes for wear. If you find any wear on the outside of the tube, time to do the tentioner extenders. This will explain the process of pulling the tubes.

Vulcan 1500/1600 Sparkplug Tube Tool 27mm Hex

If you can get a video of said noise, it might help. And yes, many of the parts are interchangeable between the years and even between the 1500/1600s. It's a crap shoot as to what is and what isn't so you'll have to tackle that on an individual basis.
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