Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My Vulcan 900 has one annoying feature: A light tapping from the front cylinder at tickover and light throttle openings, when warm. You tube has a posting where almost every owner says their 900 also taps, and say it is a feature. I suspect the camchain tensioner is stuck. When I did the valves the guy at my local Kawasaki dealer said don't worry it will adjust itself, but what if it is stuck? Has anyone removed theirs and reset it? Is there another reason for the tapping?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
My 900 experienced a cam chain tensioner issue on only one occasion. One day months ago, I started the bike cold, and for a couple of seconds I heard what I thought was a cam chain rattle. But within a couple of seconds that noise went away. It has never come back. I thought then and now, a cam chain tensioner got stuck momentarily then freed it self.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
I could be wrong, but I think most 900s tick to some extent. Mine does, but it's a light tick in the valve area. I was concerned at first, but now I've learned to live with it. I once had a Boss 351 with a solid lifter cam, and it always ticked, even with regular valve adjustments. The Vulcan 900 is basically a solid lifter cammed engine. It's just the nature of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Tapping Vulcans

Thanks jbiggers, I'm glad I'm not the only one. I guess I'm going to have to learn to live with it. I like my bikes to be mechanically quiet but I,ll either have to get used to it or fix it. If it taps then there must be excess clearance somewhere surely?
Mine is also in the valve area so could be rocker shaft, lifters (rockers), chain etc. It only seems to be the front cylinder though.
I sold one bike because I couldn't live with the noise (and vibration) Yamaha Bulldog 1100. (same motor as the Dragstar 1100. Star 1100 in US I think)
Either earplugs or loud pipes I reckon! :smile2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
The one thing you could do, is to check the valve clearances, and adjust with shim changes if needed. There is nothing more to be done beyond this, regarding the ticking. It would be nice if the Vulcan 900 had hydraulic valve adjusters of some kind, but alas it does not. Some bikes do have them, but this one does not.

I could add, this design doesn't take away from the reliability of the engine, it just makes for a bit of a noisy engine that requires periodic valve clearance adjustments, just like my Boss 351 Mustang of many years ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
" My 900 experienced a cam chain tensioner issue on only one occasion. One day months ago, I started the bike cold, and for a couple of seconds I heard what I thought was a cam chain rattle. But within a couple of seconds that noise went away. " Quote Jbiggers.

That's quite usual with a lot of bikes, and usually due to the oil draining away from the cylinder heads on standing and it taking a second or two for the oil pressure to reach the valves, rocker shaft etc.
I had an 1100 Shadow with hydraulic lifters which was mechanically quiet but would occasionally tick at the traffic lights, when hot.
PS: I checked the shims a couple of weeks ago, only needing to replace the shim on one exhaust valve. (The clearance was actually too tight, not loose)
So it's back to the drawing board..:nerd:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
My Vulcan 900 has one annoying feature: A light tapping from the front cylinder at tickover and light throttle openings, when warm. You tube has a posting where almost every owner says their 900 also taps, and say it is a feature. I suspect the camchain tensioner is stuck. When I did the valves the guy at my local Kawasaki dealer said don't worry it will adjust itself, but what if it is stuck? Has anyone removed theirs and reset it? Is there another reason for the tapping?
Aint no big deal to check. Remove the bolt & spring, push the plunger forward lightly (you might hear a ratchet click), then put the spring and bolt back in.

Tensioner.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Camchain tensioner adjustment

Thanks Du_Rron.
I've got the Clymer manual and have looked up the reset, which I'll probably do shortly. It says in the manual to "be careful the tensioner doesn't fall down the camchain tunnel, necessitating an engine strip" or some such. Is this a likelihood? I was thinking of pushing something down the tunnel such as a cloth attached to a piece of string etc. in case it did fall out, or tying something around it. Is this really likely to happen?
Cheers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
Thanks Du_Rron.
I've got the Clymer manual and have looked up the reset, which I'll probably do shortly. It says in the manual to "be careful the tensioner doesn't fall down the camchain tunnel, necessitating an engine strip" or some such. Is this a likelihood? I was thinking of pushing something down the tunnel such as a cloth attached to a piece of string etc. in case it did fall out, or tying something around it. Is this really likely to happen?
Cheers.
With the chain guide in the head, it is highly unlikely to have enough clearance to dump the tensioner into the engine.

Once you remove the tensioner bolt, hold the tensioner body with a smaller bolt pressed against the capbolt threads of the tensioner body as you gently push the plunger towards the piston.

Here is a birdseye view of the tensioner installed.

VN900_Tensionerinhead.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Tense moment

Thanks Du_Ron.
I also thought it would be unlikely to fall down the tunnel. I think this is more advice on stripping the heads. Once the head is off and the camchain and guide are loose, the tensioner body would have enough room to fall into the crankcase, according to the Clymer manual. I think while the head is on and the camchain and chain guide are in place it would be extremely unlikely that it could happen. I'll see when I strip it.
Cheers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
My Vulcan 900 has one annoying feature: A light tapping from the front cylinder at tickover and light throttle openings, when warm. You tube has a posting where almost every owner says their 900 also taps, and say it is a feature. I suspect the camchain tensioner is stuck. When I did the valves the guy at my local Kawasaki dealer said don't worry it will adjust itself, but what if it is stuck? Has anyone removed theirs and reset it? Is there another reason for the tapping?
I ride a vaquero 1700 vn it to also when cold or hasnt been riden in awhile has to same ticking noise.Turns out its a hydraulic lifter and some models are notorius for it..mine did it from new .had rear and front replaced under warranty it stopped for 4 years but doing it again..i switched to a heavier oil seems to stop it over the summer only does it now and spring startup
.hope this helps

Sent from my LG-H831 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Ticking time bomb?

Thanks Kawi guy.
To me it sounds like the camchain. It runs smooth enough at speed and the sound only occurs at tickover and under light load, Unlike most camchain noises which usually occur before the engine is warmed up, this only happens when it is hot.
I might whip the covers off and have another look when the weather permits. I've got 5 litres of 20w50 "classic" oil in my loft which I will definitely be using on my next oil change and see what that does. Cheers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
Hmmm, 20w50 oil is not really recommended for the VN900, as it's a bit too heavy. That oil is designed for air cooled V-Twins, not liquid cooled V-Twins. Kawi does not recommend that oil in the owner's manual either. I think if you used that oil, it would just add to the valve train noises you are already hearing.

I could add this, one of the things I had to get used to with the VN900, is how "exposed" the engine is. By "exposed" I mean how close you are to all the engine mechanicals and how easy it is to hear everything those mechanical bits are doing. The result is a pretty noisy sounding engine. What I had to get used to, was trusting that if the engine oil was the correct type, was at the correct level, if the valve gear was adjusted properly, and even though I could hear everything that was going on inside the engine, it would still be a smooth running trouble free engine. My engine is a smooth running trouble free engine, in spite of the noises it makes. I've had a long standing reputation for being able to hear the slightest noises in other people's auto engines, that are often an early sign of trouble, and it was hard for me to get used to this "noisy" Kawi engine, that can go 100,000 plus miles if well taken care of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Noisey Vulcan

Thanks jbiggers.
I'll probably make a 50:50 mix of the 10w40 and the 20w50 at the next oil change and see if it does any good.
I agree, the engine might be water cooled but the valve bits are only under light aluminium (and plastic) covers so I suppose some noise is inevitable.
Hearing and commenting on other peoples engine noises can make you unpopular, as a lot of riders have no interest in the mechanicals and think their engines are perfect despite some making horrific noises! A lovely BSA 650 Rocket Goldstar arrived at our local bike meet a few weeks ago, and as a previous BSA RGS owner I got talking and asked him if he was going to fix the (actually very loud) cam follower noises from it.
By the look on his face he and his partner had no idea there was a problem, despite a horrific rattle from the engine. So sometimes it may be better to keep quiet!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
I use Castrol Power 1 4T, 10w50 because of the high heat in the summer in Texas. It's one of the few very good 10w50 oils available that meets the MA2 specs. I found the 10w40 oil would really start to rattle up top in the engine riding in the high heat, and is not recommended above 104F. I have riden in temps that high and higher. 10w50 is acceptable in the owner's manual and is good to 120F, whereas 20w50 is not, as it's too thick when cold.

Most folks around these here parts, are grateful when you mention engine noises and what can be done about them. 😀
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Hi, i think i have the the same rattle symptom coming from the left side, underneath the tank on my '12 900 custom with 3,500 on the clock.
I have a question, last night i opened the 17mm bolt off the front cylinder and i saw the copper washer and spring coming out with oil of course, but the aluminum rod/sleeve (which i believe it's the tensioner) had no way to adjust, spin, nor move it. What am i missing?
Excuse my ignorance but would a small washer between the spring and the cap, increase the tension on the chain?

Hope to hear from you guys soon, it's my daily commute to work and this noise is making me worry.

Thanks in advance
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top