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Discussion Starter #1
What is the highest miles any one has seen or put on a 454 or 500 Vulcan? I have heard in England people are getting 75k out of them before the inside chains are worn out. The bikes are used as dispatch carriers in London so those 75k are hard miles for sure. High quality gas,oil and filter changes make a big difference in the life of an engine.

I had an 800 Drifter before and was told around 55k they need to have the oil pump chain replaced. They will go over 100k. My local dealer said he saw a 1500 come in for service with 140k on it still running good.
 

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I have an acquaintance out in Levelland Texas that has over 100k miles on his 500
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bob, what year is his 500, do you know any of the details about the bike? I wonder what was done to it during those 100k miles. Have him give us the details if he would like the oil used, tire mileage, fork seal life etc. what broke.....? That is the highest mileage i have heard about on a 500.
 

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Pm me your email and I'll send the request to him, or, he can be found posting on this Yahoo group(vulcanridersgroup) starting with post #344. he has had a fuel mileage problem since build and don't know it he got it resolved yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I went over there, but he did not give much detail maybe someone knows Biker Bill and could get him to visit here and give us an update on his 500 with 108k miles i have 99k to go....... :)
 

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I live at 6800 feet, so every one of the 700 miles I've put on it are over a mile and a quarter high. :D
 

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Hello all, 'Biker' Bill here as requested by Bob.

Yes, I have the high mileage 1997 EN500C with 111,000+ miles on it. I bought it 'nearly new' back in '99 with 2,900 miles on it. It is my first motorcycle and I have showered it with lots and lots of love.

Mechanically it has been VERY sound. It has left me stranded only one time, but it was my fault, not the bike's. I change the engine oil every 3,000 miles using, at first Honda motorcycle oils, then with other name brand oils (non energy conserving). The main drive chain is lubed with a ScottOiler, max chain mileage has been about 24,000.

Rear tires vary by manufacturer from 5,000 up to 18,000 miles. Fork seals haven't been too much of a problem but I have found the the OEM seals work best. I replaced the first set at about 50,000.

I did the major rebuild last winter due to several factors. First, I promised myself that IF it ever reached 100,000 miles I would to a complete rebuild/freshening up. Second, the engine as using oil at about a quart in 800 miles. Third, because I wanted to. :)

I haven't gotten the fuel economy issue resolved but I'm guessing it may be due to an extra large windshield, 70+ mph crusing, and west Texas winds. It's settled in to about 35mpg when I'm fighting the wind to 42mpg when it's calm. I'm comfortable with that.

Thank you all for your interest in my durable machine. I'm hoping to go at least another 100,000 miles with it.
 

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Welcome Bill! I had read about your bike before. You've run into the exhaust header problem too, I recall. I had read that you were rebuilding the motor but I didn't know why until you posted here. Thanks for giving us all a goal to shoot for.

(Not to take the thread in another direction, but how hard was it to put on the different seat?)
 

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I bought the seat already modified from a VROC'r. It looks quite simple to do though. They trimmed the 'tongue' in front then fabricated a couple of brackets out back that bolt to the upper shock mounts. I'll see if I can find some of pics of the bottom side of the seat when I get home tonight.

http://bikerbillsvulcan500rebuild.shutterfly.com/154
http://bikerbillsvulcan500rebuild.shutterfly.com/157

Regarding the header pipe problem, I'm on my 4th set. They're lasting about 30k before the rattle gets too irritating. (The previous set lasted only 9k though.)
 

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16,000 miles on my 2006 model, so I have a ways to go to catch up with BikerBill. No issues other than a loose battery cable early on. I may have a front fork seal leak though. Are they expensive to have repaired?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Welcome Bill, now the questions really start...which brand of tire got 18k and which the least miles. You said major rebuild exactly what did you change? What did the chains inside the engine look like, were they double the original length? :) How long did the clutch plates last? How many miles did you get out of a set of plugs? I guess thats enough questions....for now!

I run one more tooth on the front sprocket with a small windshield hard bags and a trunk different pipes and shimmed needles and it averages 54mpg best of 61 mpg running florida gas.
 

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Welcome Bill, now the questions really start...which brand of tire got 18k and which the least miles. You said major rebuild exactly what did you change? What did the chains inside the engine look like, were they double the original length? :) How long did the clutch plates last? How many miles did you get out of a set of plugs? I guess thats enough questions....for now!

I run one more tooth on the front sprocket with a small windshield hard bags and a trunk different pipes and shimmed needles and it averages 54mpg best of 61 mpg running florida gas.

Okay, here goes. :)

Tires: Best tire overall is Dunlop 491 Elite II in the stock size. (I can't find it anymore so I'm trying out alternatives.)
Worst: Anything Cheng Chen. OEM Bridgestones not much better on the rear.

Rebuild changes: Standard wear items in the engine. Pistons and rings mainly. The bearings were still in great condition however the small end of the rods were scored. There was also one burned exhaust valve. The transmission had a LOT of wear on 6th gear. Almost every tooth had fatigue cracks in them.

Chains: I had replaced the timing chain at 102,000 (by pressing out a pin) but the original had stretched 8mm (a link if you will) so it was kind of noisy. By calculations it had changed the camshaft timing about 10+ deg. retarded. The primary drive chain was okay. No apparent wear on it.

Clutch plates: I'm still running the original clutch plates. Surprise!! But there's a story to go along with it. Back at 33k the clutch was being slow to engage, especially at 1-2. I changed the plates with a Barnett kit for the EX500 and ran them for about 65k miles. The problem ended up being the clutch cable dragging. Since the original plates were still within spec I saved them and ended up reusing them when the Barnett went bad.

Spark plugs: I haven't kept up with them but I'll guess 15-20k. I even tried a set of Split Fires but didn't see any difference so I went back stock DR8EA.

Next set of questions please. :)
 

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16,000 miles on my 2006 model, so I have a ways to go to catch up with BikerBill. No issues other than a loose battery cable early on. I may have a front fork seal leak though. Are they expensive to have repaired?

Thanks.

I don't know, I've done all the work myself. :)

I'd think that 2 hours labor plus parts ought to cover it. Seals are $40 thru Ronayers.com. Oil will probably be around $15'ish.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
BikerBill, Thanks.. ok here comes some more, how long between valve adjustments did the valves loosen or tighten and what change did you notice as the miles built up more or less adjusting? Im surprised about the primary chain not so much the cam. How about the chain guides? Did you replace 6th gear or all of them?

My old Z-1 had 55k and its cam chain was totally shot i was short of money at the time so i just notched the timing plate to cure the retarding problem.. :)

I think you can get advancers for this engine, not sure where or how much they advance. How much did you bore the jugs? What brand of pistons and rings. Was the head worn much where the cams spin?

How about the front tire, brands and mileage? I guess this is enough for round 2....
 

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BikerBill, Thanks.. ok here comes some more, how long between valve adjustments did the valves loosen or tighten and what change did you notice as the miles built up more or less adjusting? Im surprised about the primary chain not so much the cam. How about the chain guides? Did you replace 6th gear or all of them?

My old Z-1 had 55k and its cam chain was totally shot i was short of money at the time so i just notched the timing plate to cure the retarding problem.. :)

I think you can get advancers for this engine, not sure where or how much they advance. How much did you bore the jugs? What brand of pistons and rings. Was the head worn much where the cams spin?

How about the front tire, brands and mileage? I guess this is enough for round 2....
Valve adjustments: Did the checks/adjustments per the manual for the first couple of years (40k'ish) then began to slack off. They got a little tight on the first few checks due to to the valves seating into their seats. The longest I remember going between checks was about 24,000. Even then they were still okay.

The chain guides were in great shape on the chain side but the boss where the tensioner plunger pushed against it had splayed out.

Transmission: As luck has it I located a parts bike with an almost entirely intact engine/transmission with about 10,000 miles on it. I used its transmission instead of replacing individual gears.

Pistons & Jugs: See above regarding the transmission. I used its cylinders, pistons, & head with new OEM rings. The cam bearings were in great condition. It was the valves, guides, and a stripped bolt hole on a bearing cap that made me choose the newer head.

I did use a lot of the 'donor' engine on the rebuild. Wear items and better looking parts mainly. I did reuse the original crankshaft. It only has about 1/2 billion revolutions on it. :)

Some items that surprised me when I tore it down were the burned exhaust valve and scored connecting rod small ends. Other surprises, on the better end of the scale, were that the cylinder wear was within the wear limit, as was piston wear and ring end gap and the crankshaft and balance shaft bearings looked almost new after 100,000+ miles.

Front tires have been pretty even across the board. Low of 14,000 to a high of 18,000. I currently run Dunlop F404 110/90-19
 

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Bill,
A couple of questions for you if you don't mind. You've posted some fantastic info so far! I'm about to replace the rear tire on my '99 500 LTD. Looking at a Pirelli MT66 ($75-80) right now. The issue I'm having is finding the correct tube. So far, I've only found a $25 Metzeler, which seems pretty steep. What would be your current recommendation for a tube and tire combo? Thanks!
Caleb
 
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