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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #4
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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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Discussion Starter #9
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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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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I think he means the slide is stuck open, not the throttle, and from the picture, it does not look correct.
I thought he was talking about how the plastic airbox wouldn't line up with the bolt holes and the carb at the same time, and the picture definitely looks like it doesn't line up. I wonder if perhaps the metal mounting bracket was installed backwards... That would move the bolt holes up and back slightly, and would make the airbox not line up with the carb properly.

anything else I should look at doing after these things I mentioned?
It's a good idea to check your valve clearances. The manual says every 6000 miles (approx. 10k KM). I don't think mine were ever checked and the bike had 23k KM on it. Everything needed to be adjusted, but the front exhaust valves were waaaaay off. This happens to be something where if it's not done can lead to damage to the engine, so it's worth the couple hours to do the check.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I actually meant both... the carb looked open and the bolts were off pattern. I will check tonight to see if the bracket was put on backwards or upside down or anything weird. thank you!


I have a buddy coming over next weekend and here is what we are going to try and get done in a day. Not sure how long the valves take, but everything else doesnt seem like it would tkae that long.

1. check/adjust valves
2. change oil
3. change spark plugs
4. rebuild/clean carb
5. change chain and sprokets
6. wheel bearings
7. brake pads and shoes
 

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post #1, #2 the high idle, there should be a knob hanging down under the air intake to adjust the idle rpm's
post #9, the pic of the air intake backing plate not lining up, is the backing plate support bracket behind the plate upside-down?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So I started tearing down the bike tonight. Plan is to get it tore down. Then clean everything up really well. Then paint odds and end pieces. Touch up some minor scratches on the frame etc. then I'll put it all back together with the new parts (brakes, chain, sprockets, spark plugs, fluids, etc.)

So quick question. When trying to remove the right side clutch cover it seems as there is one last screw in the bottom right side that I can't get out. The frame gets in the way to get an Allen head in there. I also noticed on all the videos and instructions for the valve check that the entire engine was removed.

So do I need to actually remove the engine to do the valve check and adjustment or can I do it in the bike? I got the top covers off and most the bike apart with the exception of that last screw on the right side.
 

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No! You don't have to remove an engine! That last screw from a clutch side cover can be removed after removing a pipe-com (downtube) with a part number 31064-1176.
The valve check procedure is more than simple when You just simply follow a service manual.

And be very careful! Don't mix up the screws of that cover! They are in different lengths! Don't over tighten them also! Be sure to have a spare clutch cover gasket when opening the cover, because You will damage it by default. The factory ones usually can not be saved and removed clearly.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you, at first glance i didnt even realize that part of the frame disconnects.

as for the side cover screws, oops. i did mix them up. is there a chart or diagram anywhere that shows which ones go where?
 

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Use the same site and and screw part numbers. Or simply put the cover on a flat table surface. Insert screws one by one in holes and find a match when all screw heads are in same length from screw hole tops ;)
 

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Real bad problem, needs fixing.

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.

The gasket that goes around the carb is WAY off. It should be more to the right and wrap around the entire opening of the carb. You should not be able to see the carb itself when that gasket is wrapped around the carb opening(i can see the left side of the carb through the seal, not good, thats a big vacumme/intake problem. There should also be TWO screws that attach the filter housing(or back plate) to the bracket behind the housing(the bracket is attacher sort of between the two jugs. The two screws that attach to back plate have a section towards the rear that have NO threads on them and they are mounted through the two holes with rubber grommets that are around the mounting holes, i see one of them in the picture that has no screw in it, there should be another to the right od it about 3 inches from the left one. you will need the rubber grommet for the second screw and you will need the right mounting bolts. Like i said, the mounting bolts have a smooth section on them that is wider than the threaded part and a head that has a flange around it, they go in only so far into the attachment bracket, the rubber grommets need to be on there ot you will squish up the seal around the carb. They mounting screws only tighten so far and that is far enough to squish the rubber grommets a bit(the grommets are there for vibration purposes and so the screws do not come loose. As for the slide not being all the way down, if that is one of your questions, mine is not down al the way when i take the air cleaner cover off and look, it has to be open so gas from the throttle can be squirted in there from that tiny little tube at the bottom right of the carb if needed. There is also a slide/needle ,mod here that will eliminate and hesitation you might have, it involves drilling out the (air hole on the bottom of the slide so more air passes through the needle slide and eliminated any throttle hesitation. Theres youtube videos on it, under top side carb mods for vulcan 800 i think.

The really needs to be fixed and quite a few of your problems will be fixed. Here is an OEM site with the exploded view of the unit and i will list the part numbers you need.

http://www.bikebandit.com/oem-parts/2002-kawasaki-vulcan-800-classic-vn800b/o/m149360#sch284620

Part numbers are: 92002(two of the screws), 92160 (two dampers, the rubber grommets i mentioned.) 92160B should be attached to the mounting plate and that piece(its rubber) should fit into a notch just under the carb (to keep it lined up with the mounting bracket and the gasket(or boot) that wraps around the carb forming the air tight seal with the backing plate of the air cleaner housing. That might say its a 800 classic, but from 1996 until 2006, everything it the same on both models Classic/Custom.

Heres a link you your bike, same stuff as i said:

http://www.bikebandit.com/oem-parts/2000-kawasaki-vulcan-800-vn800a/o/m149518#sch63971
 
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