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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!

I found a local project bike for cheap. It's a 2003 Vulcan 500. It sat for many years so I'm not totally sure what all to expect but it will be just that... a project. It's in pieces right now and I have tons of questions but I thought I'd first introduce myself.

Looking forward to learning about this bike!
I'll post a pic when I get on the laptop. Not cooperating via phone.
 

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Welcome to the forum from North Carolina. Happy you are here. Bike looks in pretty good shape considering it was sitting. Keep us posted on your progress. We all like when a bike comes back from the dead. Don’t know if you have a manual so here is a link to the factory repair manual. Thanks again for being a member. Be well.

 

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2020 Kawasaki Vulcan S, 2020 Kawasaki Z900
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Welcome from Pennsylvania, congratulations on your new journey! You came to the best place for advice on your build!
 

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1996 Kawasaki Vulcan VN 1500-C
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Welcome! Looks like I’m not the only one with my hands full lol. Good luck, it will definitely be worth it. Don’t have the same bike but I’ll help with whatever I can!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all! I will certainly put that pdf manual to use. I'm sure I'll run into more questions along the way. I've worked on cars a lot but not motorcycles. Many parts (removing wheels, aligning chain, fork seals, etc) will be uncharted territory for sure.
 

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Am sure you will do great. Post us pics of your progress. Would recommend taking pictures before disassembly and using zip lock bags for hardware and label them accordingly. I use a combination of cardboard boxes and zip lock bags when restoring classic cars. Always kept the hardware in the appropriate box with the larger components of the section. Would also take the opportunity to replace most of the hardware with stainless steel. Knew the hardware section so well at the local store, was able to help customers that came into the isle. Enjoy your project.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So with the help of @ducatiman , I got some (missing) parts for the carbs.

Just to see if it even wanted to start up, I set the carbs in place (I've ordered the rubber boots/ducts that connect the carbs to airbox). Again, this bike is a project; I've never seen it run. The PO bought it as a project and he's never seen it run. The person before him (original owner, I believe) said he let it sit for a year bc it had a "bad stator... or ignition issue." Not sure how those parts could result in synonymous issues, but anyways...

I tried to start it up and it backfired thru the carbs (it wasn't clamped to the "head to carb" boot/duct) and the right carb popped up of the boot.

I know it won't run properly without being properly connected to the airbox, but would that cause a backfire thru the carbs? I have a video I can post on youtube if it'll help (hard to hear bc the starter sounds like a pig being stabbed) but basically I heard a pop (not very loud, much quieter than an exhaust backfire). Gray smoke then came thru the carb.

So I'm leaning towards ignition issue. (Going back to original owner's theory.) Just wanted to double check that carb wouldn't cause that issue. Keep in mind it never even fired up... just sounded like it tried to once or twice in the 10 seconds of turning it over.

Just curious and would like your thoughts, I havent tried tuning the carbs, I just put the air/fuel needle two turns out of bottom as a starting point, like I read in manual and online.

Also of note... the timing chain tensioner has two bolts. When I got it, the bottom bolt was missing and the bracket it sits in, was no where near flush with the block, it was at a 30 degree angle or so. Im guessing that was either the problem with the timing or the failed attempt of fixing the timing issue. Trying to decide if I should just pull the valve cover and right side crankcase (will have to replace starter eventually anyways) and see if the timing is off. Is there any other (easier) way of checking the timing on this motor?

Thanks for reading and any help!
 

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2020 Kawasaki Vulcan S, 2020 Kawasaki Z900
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Timing, both ignition and valve, will certainly cause a backfire through the intake. I am now very curious to hear this starter and confirm it sounds like a pig being stabbed!! As for easier access, I could not say for sure, I am far more versed in car repair than bike repair, but if its anything like what I work on all day then covers will need to be removed. I am sure someone more knowledgeable will chime in about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the suggestions, I'll try getting everything carb-related buttoned up before proceeding with the timing. The air ducts/connectors should be in early next week. Fingers crossed.
 

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It seems to be laboring to crank over. Did you get a good AGM battery or are you using the old one?
 
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