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Discussion Starter #1
2011 Vulcan 900 custom 6,000 miles. The clunk when shifting into first gear is getting louder and also has a healthy thump when shifting from neutral into first gear.

I have been using conventional 10W40 MC oil. Plan on changing to synthetic at the next oil change. I know some clunk is normal but this seems to be getting louder and more noticeable i.e. you can feel it more. The clutch seems to be fully disengaged and nothing unusual with other gears. The shifter is NOT sticking but does have a very pronounced clunk, thud when putting into first gear. I have tried the simple stuff slowly putting pressure on the shifter, moving the bike back and forth but no difference.

I am hoping that going to synthetic will help. If the synthetic oil does not help what other things can I try? Some forums have indicated good results with BG MGC additive. Says it is suitable for motorcycle applications see page 8. Not sure if this includes wet clutch applications.

http://www.bgmiddleeast.com/index.php/download/category/76-bg-presentation?download=924:BG Presentation &Profile=

Has anyone used this product? What is your opinion? I have read on some other MC forums that additives are OK as long as they do not contain solid partials such as Teflon etc.

Thanks for your input.
 

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Gear Clunk

My bike has clunked since 2007 and no further problems. I would be concerned with any additive because the clutches run in the same oil. It must be compatible or you could ruin the clutches. I use 10 - 40 synthetic in my 9 and feel 20-50 is to much for a liquid cooled bike, Oh No! didn't mean to go there again. You may have a problem or it could be normal, sounds like a look see by a Tech is in order.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sage 1965

The clunk is more pronounced than I would like it may still be in the normal range but just.

Some forums suggest using 20w50 while others say it will make the clunk worse (more static pressure with thicker oil). My riding does not get the engine hot enough for a 20w50 oil, mostly secondary roads at 50 to 60 mph. The cooling fan seldom comes on except in the middle of summer when stuck in traffic. Oil brand and viscosity seems to be one of those touchy subjects where folks have very definite views one way or the other!!

Let's just say I use quality name brand MC oil with the recommended viscosity for my climate and driving style.

I wait until I switch to synthetic and perhaps use some suggestion I get form this forum before taking to the shop.

Thanks for the input
 

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Clunks only on first shift to first gear when cold or all of the time?
Is clutch adjusted to Kawasaki specifications exactly?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sfair,

The clunk is all the time. I will get the service manual out and check the clutch cable setting, perhaps some cable stretch since last adjusted.

What is your opinion of Amsoil synthetic MC oil? I was planning on using Mobile1 but I am thinking Amsoil may be a better choice with less transmission and other internal wear see page 14 on the report in the link below.

http://www.oil-tech.com/amsoil-pdf-files/motorcycle-oil-comparison.pdf

Thanks for the follow up, I will let you know what I find on the clutch cable adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sfair,

I adjusted and lubricated the cable was perhaps 1 mm too much free play. Still clunks a fair bit when cold but is better once warmed up.

I guess that small amount of extra free play was enough to cause excessive clunking. perhaps still a little more that I would like, interested to see what happens once I switch to synthetic oil.

Let me know your thoughts on Amsoil as noted in my previous post.

Thanks for the input. The free play looked OK but when I measured it I could see it was about 1mm more than recommended max.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sfair,

I spent time researching additives in detail today and agree they should be avoided.

The oil report was interesting and think Mobile1 MC oil or Amsoil would be a good choice based on that report.
 

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I have been down all these "oil roads" as you have also. Every bike I own now runs on T6 and I will not experiment any further, cars too. My 800 did what you are describing. It was the clutchpack return spring. Transmission function is now perfectly normal.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Cuyahoga,

Isn't T6 a shell oil for Diesel engines?

I assume you checked it out to make sure there are no ingredients harmful to a wet clutch.

From what I have read on different forum it is Ok for MC use provided it is changed within 4500 miles. I did not see MC use recommended on the Shell site.

Think I will pay a little more and stick with an MC synthetic rated oil and will change every 4,000 miles.

I read one Amsoil review stating only needed to change at double the mfg rated change interval. Can't imagine going 15,000 miles between oil changes.

Oil changes are the lowest cost investment in getting the most out of any vehical IMHO.
 

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Not to add fuel to the fire but if you switch to synthetic from dino oil, is there a process of doing that? I have heard to mix 50/50 as the seals and things are used to dino oil and the "swelling" will change when going to synthetic. I have not done this, I run dino oil but have had a lot of discussions with other riders on synthetic.
 

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My 900 does the same thing but not as bad as my Harley Fat Boy . I have had many different bikes that clunk in first gear and never had a trans failure .
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Interesting research day yesterday. I prefer to get info from mfg and Independant labratories. I have worked with major mfgs for most of my career and know they are the best technical source, if you bypass the sales and marketing stuff.

1) The big CLUNk was a result of 1mm too much slack in the clutch cable. Looked OK but when I measured it, it was about 1mm too much. There was no other noticeable issues other then the hard first gear clunk. Simple rule, always check the simple stuff first. Thanks Sfair!

2) Additives may or may not do harm. Some additives will cause oil to foam under use and reduce lubrication. Some additives will just mask real problems. I found some Independant lab information that was negative. Most positive information I found was anecdotal.

3) MC oil is formulated differently from auto oil. Designed for engine and transmissions along with a wet clutch. Interesting Amsoil sponsored 3rd party lab report earlier in this thread. Some MC folks use Shell T6 designed for large truck Diesel engines, Shell does not mention this oil as suitable for MC use, however many claim to have used it with no issues. Cost around $20 gallon.

4) Changing from Dino to synthetic. May cause leaks in older engines, synthetic oil has smaller molecules and will leak through small crackers that Dino oil will not flow through. I could not find anything to support the need of a transition oil change 50% Dino/50% synthetic.

5) Heavier is Not nesessarily better. Some folks swear by 20w50. I could not find anything to support this unless your riding is in very hot climates or under lots of stop and go conditions resulting in high engine heat. Thicker oil is slower to flow and more wear can occur at cold start up. If using 20w50 best to go with synthetic as it will not thicken like conventional oil in colder temperatures.

Not looking to start any controversy, your bike is yours to do with as you wish. I just like to find the facts to support recomendations, sometimes they are hard to find.

Enjoy the ride.
 
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