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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there everybody. I am originally from the United States but have been living in Nicaragua for the last five years.

I just bought a 2002 Vulcan 800 (not the classic). The odometer says it has almost 83,000 miles on it but the instrument cluster isn't functional anymore so God only knows how many miles it really has.

Other than a 250cc dirt bike, this is the only motorcycle I have ever owned. My goal is to make this bike dependable to ride all over Central America. I know a good bike mechanic here who can do the work.

What should I do as far as repairs/maintenance goes in order to make that happen. I am getting ready to make a trip to the States where I can obtain parts so I want to try to put a good list together of what I need.

Also, can anyone suggest a good place online to buy parts?

Thanks
 

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I have to ask why you chose a bike with 83,000+ miles to ride around Central America reliably? That would scare me a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Our options for used bikes are limited down here and the prices are much higher than in the States. I agree that something a little less used would have been ideal but I paid $2500 for the Vulcan and my other options were in the $5000 plus range which just wasn't realistic for me. I have had the bike for about a week and have completed several two hour trips without incident so I believe that the bike is fundamentally sound. I'm just trying to get an idea of what kinds of issues I might want to get ahead of now before they find me while out on the road somewhere.
 

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I would get an owners manual and complete all recommended maintenance.
How does it run/drive....excellent with absolutely no driveability issues, OK with a noise here and there, etc.

Please be specific.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, let me think...

It passes a visual inspection in that the tires still have tread on them, there aren't any broken or cracked hoses that I can see, no electrical wires hanging down, there aren't any fluids puddling underneath and I don't see any signs of fluids leaking anywhere. The headlight and the brake light come on when I start the bike and the brake light illuminates even brighter when I use the rear brake but not when I use the front brake. The turn signals both work on the front of the bike but the rear left hand turn signal doesn't work. The horn works and the high beams are good. The front forks travel about three inches when I hold in the front brake and push on the handlebars and I don't see any indication of the fork seals leaking. The rear mono shock feels like it is working just fine but I can't really see it. What I can see of the chain looks good, maybe a little dry but no rust.

The engine is a little sluggish to start when cold but using the choke seems to take care of that. Once warm, the engine starts up just fine. I haven't seen any smoke come out of the pipes at all when starting nor when running down the road. Someone took the baffles out of the pipes so the bike is pretty loud. The transmission goes into gear with a nice little click, neutral is very easy to find and I haven't had any trouble shifting up and down through all the gears while riding on the Pan American Highway. The clutch is smooth and easy to use.

The front brake works great but the rear brake doesn't seem to work at all. When I push on the rear brake pedal it just keeps going and going and doesn't provide any stopping power. When I release the rear brake pedal, the pedal returns to its' original position but the arm on the rear brake drum doesn't spring backwards to its' original position. I have to reach back with my hand and push it to the rear of the bike to make sure it is not still engaging the brake pads to the rear drum.

The bike accelerates very well and feels very powerful, no hesitations or jerking. It backfires a good bit when in second gear and I'm not applying the throttle.

That's about all I can think of off the top of my head. The bike starts just fine, doesn't smoke, runs well and doesn't stall. I have completed two, two hour trips so far without incident and a couple of one hour trips as well. I think the bike is in pretty good shape for its' age and mileage, I just want to try to do everything I can to get it into the best condition possible. I will be taking a six hour trip to Honduras at the end of the month with a club I am prospecting with. My mechanic is also going on that ride so if something goes wrong I won't be by myself on the side of the road.

Thanks for suggesting the owner's manual, I just found one online.
 

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Your rear turn signal may just be a bulb, check that 1st. If bad, a 1156 automotive bulb is the replacement for it. The rear brake sounds like it just needs adjusted. This is done be tightening the nut by the lever you say is sticking. The front brake switch/connections may be dirty or bad. Would change all fluids, coolant and front brake, along with the oil. The sluggishness when cold is normal with these 800s, they are a little cold blooded, just use the choke at 1st start and should start right up. Will have to look for it, but I did replace my cams about 3-4 years ago, should give you an idea of what a partial rebuild consist of. This was at 97K miles and the pistons and cylinder were still well within spec, shop owner said if clean enough they could pass for new parts.
 

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My mistake, it had 99K miles on it when I did this. Here is the thread I started when I did it. May give you an idea of what you would get into rebuilding one of these 800s. Since I did this, I moved up to a Voyager, but still ride the 800 solo from time to time, doesnt happen very much, but now has over 110K miles and still going strong.
http://www.vulcanforums.com/forums/18-engine-work/32923-800-cylinder-liners.html
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok, will post spark plug pics ASAP. We are having a busy weekend here in Nica land so it won't be until the beginning of the week. Thanks for the help!
 
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