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After much pissing and moaning on my part about my ticking engine (the dealership service guys walk the other way when they see me coming), and no one wanting to fix it, I decided to tackle it myself. I’ve never done anything of this depth to a motorcycle before, and it wasn’t as hard or time consuming as I thought it would be. To give you an idea of my skill level, I have done a lot of minor repairs to cars. Water pumps, alternators, starters, power steering units, radiators, and such, but no real internal work (cams, lifters, pistons, etc.). This job took me probably 15 hours over 2 days.

If your bike is just ticking for a few minutes after start-up and then clearing up, I wouldn’t bother with this. Mine was persistent and at times loud enough to be heard over my Hardkrome pipes at moderate speeds.

If you don’t have a shop manual, I suggest getting one. For everything in this job, this manual should work for any year. I’ll post some pics, but I suggest taking pics of your stuff before taking it apart so you can see how it goes back together. I’ll refer to left (driver’s side) and right (passenger side).

The parts I ordered: 8 HLAs, 2 intake rocker shafts, 2 exhaust rocker shafts (unnecessary), rocker cover gaskets, 2 spark plugs.

I drilled 1mm holes in my rocker shaft screens (pic below). If you’re ordering new rocker shafts, know that only the intake shafts have screens, so replacing the exhaust ones is probably pointless.

Before you ask, yes, you do have to lower the engine to take the rocker covers off. I tried briefly to take just the front one off, but there’s one bolt that won’t come out far enough to do it. The way I lowered it, you don’t have to completely remove the down tubes, the radiator or the exhaust, or even the right floorboard.

Apart from the usual wrenches & screwdrivers & stuff you’ll need a motorcycle lift (I have the $70 Harbour Freight one), a front wheel chock, and probably 2 torque wrenches, one for in-lbs. and one for up to 80 ft-lbs.

I also took this opportunity to replace the spark plugs. The engine has to be lowered to do the rear one and I don’t want to have to do this again anytime soon.*EDIT* Disregard this. The engine DOES NOT have to be lowered to change the plugs. It can be done with an extension and a universal joint.

First, stand the bike up in a wheel chock. You’ll want it upright.

As you take things apart, lay them out so you know what goes to what. I even used masking tape and a Sharpie to label some of the bolts. Too many times I’ve had that stray little bolt or whatchmahoozit left over when I was done. Probably don’t want that here.

Remove: Seat, fuel tank (this is the kind of stuff where the manual comes in handy), the top piece of the headlight nacelle (where applicable), side covers, left floorboard (put the bolts back in to hold the shift lever on). My crash bars poke out over the front rocker cover, so they had to come off. Either way, the bolts that hold on the bottom of the crash bars (1 on the right, 2 on the left) will have to be loosened.

Drain the coolant.

This wire retainer is on the left side of the frame by the neck. Take it off.



This little guy is on top of the frame. Disconnect it. The ground wire, too.



What we’re doing is freeing stuff up for when the engine is lowered.
On this guy, take off the 2 longer hoses and disconnect the electrical fitting. The hose to the air box can stay.



Remove the top radiator hose and unbolt the fill assembly.



Remove the overflow tube, the hose on the bottom of this unit, and lay it back behind the tank bumper as shown.



Remove the exhaust bolts that hold the exhaust to the main frame, behind the down tube.



Remove this cover on the left side (all 3 pieces).



Remove the top motor mount. Take the top bolts out of the frame so the throttle cables can move when the engine is lowered. You can leave the mount hanging by the wire that runs through it.



Remove the radiator cover and the top bolt that holds the radiator to the frame.
On the left side of the frame, above the rear cylinder there’s a small hose in a plastic retainer. Remove it from the retainer.

Now it gets interesting. Loosen all down tube bolts.

Put your lift under the middle of the bike, ahead of the down tube joint. Go in from the right side. Make sure the lift is under both down tubes. Jack it up “a bit”

Remove the top down tube bolts. Remove only the front down tube bolts on the bottom. This will be the “hinge” that will help everything line back up.

The frame where the top of the down tubes are has protruberances (shown), so you have to pull out on the down tubes. You may have to loosen the crash bar bolts some more.



There are 2 large bolts by the rear pulley (where the drive belt is), one below it and 1 above it & to the left. They have to come out and they’re kind of a bitch. The nut for the lower one is below the oil reservoir. It’s blurry in this pic (sorry).



Now you’re ready to lower the engine. Just lower it a bit and look around to make sure nothing’s hanging up (wires, cables, hoses, etc). If it gets to where it won’t lower enough, check the drive belt. If it’s tight on the top and loose on the bottom, slowly pull the clutch lever. You want to lower the rear cylinder about 1 inch. The front will go down farther because of the “hinge”. If nothing got hung up, there shouldn’t be any wires or hoses stretched tight.

Remove the rocker covers. I made a 1-10 chart for bolt location on each cylinder and labeled each bolt, since there are 2 different lengths and I didn’t want any mix ups.

Here’s what it looks like with the rocker covers off . Sorry, I didn’t get a pic of it lowered with the covers still on.



Now, I did 1 rocker arm at a time to avoid mixing anything up. But I’d take all 6 of the top bolts out. That way, when you pull the little plug thing out the shafts will come out a little with it (the little curved wire thing at bottom center here).



Pull the shaft out, wiggle the rocker arm out and do what you’re gonna with the HLAs. I figured if I’m going to this much trouble, I’m just replacing them all. Here’s a shot with the rocker arm and some of the HLAs, old and new. The HLAs can just be pulled out with your fingers, or some pliers. The new ones just push in.



Here are the old & new intake rocker shafts. Note the 1mm hole in the screen on the new one. The size of the hole doesn’t have to be exact, but I wouldn’t go any bigger than that.



Get the new (or confirmed good) HLAs put in, the rocker shafts and rocker arms put in and the bolts torqued (again, the manual is handy for this), and you’re ready for re-assembly.

Put the rocker covers on. I replaced the gaskets, but the old ones still looked good. Torque the bolts down.

Raise the lift enough to get 1 of the bolt holes by the drive pulley lined up and put that bolt in. A little gentle persuasion may be necessary, but be careful.

Next, I raised the lift enough to install the front down tube bolts. Next, the rear down tube bolts. Don’t forget to tighten the ones that were loosened but left in.

Now the other hole by the drive pulley should be lined up. You can push a screwdriver covered with an oil rag in & nudge it a bit if needed. Put that bolt in.

Congratulations, the hard part’s over. Go through, put all the hoses & electrical fittings back. Check & recheck that everything’s connected and that the hose clamps are tight. Fill the coolant. I changed the oil at this time, but it’s not necessary.

When you start the bike, it’s gonna clatter & tick until the HLAs fill with oil. I let mine sit at idle for about 10 minutes and then took it for a short ride. By the time I got home, the ticking was gone! That was last night and I hope it stays that way. I’ll keep posting updates.

If anything here is unclear, incomplete, or just wrong, let me know and I’ll update this post.

Thanks to V2Kman for input, as well as others who have joined in the many discussions about this.
Your very welcome. It turns out after 68K on my 06 I am starting to get some chatter from the front jug. One of the HLAs is going bad. I will work it this winter when I start getting some cabin fever for something to do. Should not be a big deal. I do believe you can remove the front cover without dropping the engine down. V2Kman
 

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I have the same thicking issue (V2K '04). Sometimes I hear it a little just after cranking up then the noice goes away during a ride.
HOWEVER, doing a longer trips and using highways, riding over 75mph for a couple of hours a day results in a very noisy thicking. Seems like the oil does not go to top ends enough at higher speed???

I will be checking compression release solenoid stuff and if necessary - doing 1mm hole in the rocker shaft filters.

Thanks for all advices in this thread.
 

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I put mine back together and finally getting back to write about it. I had one pesty HLA that was tapping on me. It was intermittent but finally got bad enough for me to do something about it. Now these little HLAs are expensive little buggers so I did not want to change out a bunch of them for only one that was acting up. I thought after remove each that I could tell which one was having issues. Trying to compress each one did not show the problem. What I did find is when you release the check valve on the back of the HLA so some of the oil could escape my problem child reviled itself. One of the exhaust HLAs had just a wisp of oil before showing a big air pocket. I could not believe I was not able to compress the HLA with the air in it. Once you release some of the oil the HLAs will compress very easily. I put everything back together and she runs quiet and smooth or as quiet as it gets with Freedom pipes installed. V2Kman

BTW you can not remove the front jug rocker cover without dropping the motor down a bit off of the mounts.
 

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Great write-up Bill! Thanks for taking the time to include the detail and pictures. My 08' LT Classic ticks every once and again but it never lasts longer than a few start up / shut down cycles. I've added a dose of Sea Foam to the crankcase which seems to help, or at least my imagination thinks so.

I'm mechanically inclined; however, this is what I'd call major surgery and would only attempt it as a desperate measure of last resort. The ticking would have to sound like a locomotive before I'd even consider such a move. Which begs the question... what are the consequences of the ticking? I mean, what mechanical failure can happen if it's just left alone to come and go as it pleases? It seems that if it were potentially disastrous, the fine folks a Kawasaki would be more proactive about resolving the problem for their customers and thereby avoid the negative brand imaging that would come with it. Is the VN2000 ownership community just too small a market to mess with?
When this issue was first noted. The spark plugs were removed and the starter solinoid was shorted so the engine would crank while the covers were removed. There was practically no oil flowing from the oil ports. This is how it was discovered that the screens at the shafts were getting plugged. While a little oil was getting thru the valve train their certainly was not much.

Now you don't need alot of oil top side on this motor that is why only a very small hole is needed thru the screens. Remember this oil is coming directly off of the oil pressure off of the mains on the crank. That is where it is really needed. I do feel that eventually this starving of oil top side will have some long term effects on the HLAs and the valve train. Besides once you hear the motor running with properly operating HLAs you will wonder why you did not do this sooner. V2Kman
 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
Bill - have you put 2K-3K miles more on your bike already?
If so - do you have any new comments/suggestions?

Thx,
GTR
No, my bike sh!t the bed. There's another thread about this http://www.vulcanforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116609&highlight=bad . I ran over a "clean out" cover and it popped up and cracked my crankcase. That ride home with oil blowing out in front of my rear tire was a sphincter tightener. It was just fine up till then. Probably 1000 miles. I found another purple '04, though. I'm hoping to not have to do this again, but time will tell...

I never had second thoughts about doing it, though. Some days I didn't even want to ride it, knowing the clatter it was going to make.

According to several trusted sources, the ticking won't cause any damage, but I gotta think that long term it can't be good. For me it was just the aggravation of the noise. There were several times at get togethers I would shut the engine off when I pulled in the parking lot and coast on in.
 

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I have the same thicking issue (V2K '04). Sometimes I hear it a little just after cranking up then the noice goes away during a ride.
HOWEVER, doing a longer trips and using highways, riding over 75mph for a couple of hours a day results in a very noisy thicking. Seems like the oil does not go to top ends enough at higher speed???

I will be checking compression release solenoid stuff and if necessary - doing 1mm hole in the rocker shaft filters.


Thanks for all advices in this thread.
This has been my experience too. It's like that screen on the rocker just gets super plugged from the long, higher RPM trips, especially over multiple days
 

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Bill, thanks for the write up only wish I seen this earlier. I have an 08 v2k and have the same ticking noise. I have one question though. At reassembly of the rocker shaft the only thing the manual said was that the slotted groove is vertical however I noticed on the rocker shaft has two holes on one side and one on the opposite side. Does it matter which way the shaft is install. My thought is the two holes should face toward the HLA's. Your thoughts on this.

Sorry to bring an old post back to life but need some help with this!!!
 

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Bill, thanks for the write up only wish I seen this earlier. I have an 08 v2k and have the same ticking noise. I have one question though. At reassembly of the rocker shaft the only thing the manual said was that the slotted groove is vertical however I noticed on the rocker shaft has two holes on one side and one on the opposite side. Does it matter which way the shaft is install. My thought is the two holes should face toward the HLA's. Your thoughts on this.

Sorry to bring an old post back to life but need some help with this!!!
DI, if you were to take a step back and look at the overall picture, you'll see they can only go in one way. The shafts have a notch on one end with two grooves on the sides, and the other end has just a hole through it. Of the ends with just a hole through it, one has the problem screen, and one does not, the shaft with the screen is the oil in, and the shaft with out a screen is the oil out, the other ends get the little joiner tube.


Let me know if this helps

Sent from my Z30 using Tapatalk
 

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rocnrol, thanks for the reply. That part I got but maybe I wasn't specific enough. The rocker shaft has oil holes around it. I'm not referring to the ends of the shaft. The manual says the slotted groove at the end of each shaft faces out but vertical but the shaft has oil holes around it I recall two or three on one side and I think one on the other. So I guess what your saying is it doesn't matter how the shaft is installed as long as the slotted groove is vertical. Not sure if you can tell in the link the layout of the holes.

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/QNQAAOSwFnFWDxHV/$_35.JPG?set_id=880000500F
 

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rocnrol, thanks for the reply. That part I got but maybe I wasn't specific enough. The rocker shaft has oil holes around it. I'm not referring to the ends of the shaft. The manual says the slotted groove at the end of each shaft faces out but vertical but the shaft has oil holes around it I recall two or three on one side and I think one on the other. So I guess what your saying is it doesn't matter how the shaft is installed as long as the slotted groove is vertical. Not sure if you can tell in the link the layout of the holes.

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/QNQAAOSwFnFWDxHV/$_35.JPG?set_id=880000500F
This is correct.

Sent from my Z30 using Tapatalk
 

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I just remembered something from years ago. Was on vacation with my family late at night and had stopped for gas. When I started it knocked real bad and I cut off the engine. A couple of mechanic's happened to be there and they all told me to put transmission fluid into the engine because it was a real high detergent oil and would clean the sludge built up in the hydraulic lifters. Put about a half quart into engine oil and drove about 100 year and the engine quit knocking. Wonder if this would work for our bikes, because sludge is building up on the tube screen filters??
 

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This is the trouble screen. Once she's plugged.... Nothing is going to clean it


Sent from my BBD100-2 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #56
I just remembered something from years ago. Was on vacation with my family late at night and had stopped for gas. When I started it knocked real bad and I cut off the engine. A couple of mechanic's happened to be there and they all told me to put transmission fluid into the engine because it was a real high detergent oil and would clean the sludge built up in the hydraulic lifters. Put about a half quart into engine oil and drove about 100 year and the engine quit knocking. Wonder if this would work for our bikes, because sludge is building up on the tube screen filters??
I think roncrol is right, and further, I believe that these sintered filters are inconsistent, which is why some bikes develop the problem while others do not. Think about it, they but some bits of brass in a tube and moosh em together. How could that produce consistent results?
 
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I think roncrol is right, and further, I believe that these sintered filters are inconsistent, which is why some bikes develop the problem while others do not. Think about it, they but some bits of brass in a tube and moosh em together. How could that produce consistent results?
Hhhmm... I never thought about that

Sintered bronze is a very old method of filtering...... Albeit very crude method. As a Millwright, I come across them all the time, primarily in non-critical applications.

What I find with the issue, and how some seem to get it, and some don't, fall into two, but possibly connected, categories.

One, if oil changes aren't kept up on. On my first V2K, because I was riding so much, I would get behind on them.

Two, putting in long sustained, high speed (70-80 mph) trips. Especially over multiple days. On my first V2K, over a weekend I would easily do 1600km just going out for rides, then there were the trips I would take it on. I also road that bike really hard, to the point it developed the bad shift fork for second gear.

I'm much more diligent on the oil changes on my second V2K, and while I still like putting the miles on it, I don't ride it as hard anymore.

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Is there an orifice in the discharge side shaft to keep pressure in both shafts so it doesn't just spill back down into the crankcase?
No, just where the oil comes in, so the presumption is that it's also supposed to keep the pressure up on the bottom end. After I had drilled the small hole in mine to fix the issue, I installed an oil pressure gauge to make sure it was good

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This is the best instructional article on this repair. Thank you. Mine isn't ticking much at all, but if I run into the problem I like the 1mm hole procedure to resolve the issue.
 
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