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Discussion Starter #1
Had a new expensive sounding noise show up yesterday, thankfully when I was close to home. Noticed it first when slowing to stop, sounded like a clacking sound, at first I thought it was something on the radio, turned that off and it happened again at the next stop. When I got home it would do it when rolling the bike backwards about 5-6 feet, it was a clacking sound and sounded like it was coming from just under me, I checked the belt the best I could as well as both pulleys thinking maybe I picked up a rock, saw nothing. Today I had a friend stop by with his jack, rolled the bike backwards and nothing, quiet (this I was not expecting). Raised the bike, tire turns free, can't feel any binds, all looks ok. Take the bike down the street, what I finding is that occassionally I'll get a faint clacking noise when starting out, however now when coasting I get a clicking and when I pull in the clutch it sounds almost like what a card sounds like in a bicycle wheel (only louder). Had my friend stand on both sides trying to find out what side it's coming from but it seems to be just as loud on both sides. Anyone have any ideas? I'm fearing the problem with the front pulley and/or output shaft (not under warranty).
 

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I'm not a mechanic but I know those with more mechanical experience with me will ask, which bike do you have?
 

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It may be the brakes hanging up. How many miles on the bike. Does the noise change when you touch the brake pedal. Does the noise change depending on which gear you are in.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm not a mechanic but I know those with more mechanical experience with me will ask, which bike do you have?
Bike is a 2011 Voyager with ABS.

It may be the brakes hanging up. How many miles on the bike. Does the noise change when you touch the brake pedal. Does the noise change depending on which gear you are in.
It has 18500 miles on it. The noise varies with the speed of the bike, not the engine. Can't say that it changes based on the gear it's in, it is very noticeable when coasting, tho never thought about trying that in neutral. Also never thought about the brakes, tho I did hear it until the bike stopped, or at least almost stopped.
 

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This sounds very much like my bike when the tab washer failed, causing the pulley to come loose on the shaft and ruining the splines.
Remove the front pulley cover and look at the nut and washer.
 

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This sounds very much like my bike when the tab washer failed, causing the pulley to come loose on the shaft and ruining the splines.
Remove the front pulley cover and look at the nut and washer.
This is what failed? Did you replace the pulley and washer yourself or was it original from the factory. Yes, it's pretty simple to just pop the cover and slave cylinder of to give it a quick check. You don't even have to disconnect the hydraulic hose to do it. It also is a good time to clean all the crud out from the cylinder area
 

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Yes. That's the tab washer. In my case it split and opened outward, the tab was still folded over the nut and most of the spline was engaged so the nut had not turned. The washer was compressed to the point of there being no more preload on the pulley so it began wobbling and tore up the shaft spline. Thankfully I still had warranty but the bike was still down a month. It's a $4000 job, have to remove the engine and split the cases to replace that shaft.
 

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Yes. That's the tab washer. In my case it split and opened outward, the tab was still folded over the nut and most of the spline was engaged so the nut had not turned. The washer was compressed to the point of there being no more preload on the pulley so it began wobbling and tore up the shaft spline. Thankfully I still had warranty but the bike was still down a month. It's a $4000 job, have to remove the engine and split the cases to replace that shaft.
Ok, glad they covered it. I've got a new front pulley, belt and washer for when I decide to do mine
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I plan to take the covers off tomorrow and have a look. If the washer has failed, will it be obvious? I really don't want to find this as (like most) I don't have 4k (or more) to fix it, maybe Kawa will do something since I did complain more than once under warranty about the belt being too tight, but I'm not holding out any hope of them doing anything (and I think that's more the dealer than Kawa). I will admit tho, that I think this is what I'll find. Then the next question would be, IF I get it fixed, when will it do it again? Another question is how many has this happened to?
 

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I plan to take the covers off tomorrow and have a look. If the washer has failed, will it be obvious? I really don't want to find this as (like most) I don't have 4k (or more) to fix it, maybe Kawa will do something since I did complain more than once under warranty about the belt being too tight, but I'm not holding out any hope of them doing anything (and I think that's more the dealer than Kawa). I will admit tho, that I think this is what I'll find. Then the next question would be, IF I get it fixed, when will it do it again? Another question is how many has this happened to?
Do as search for it on this forum. I did and I think I found 1 person who had the output shaft fail.......that kind of thing isn't real common
 

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If the washer split it will be obvious, but more likely just compressed so the pulley has no preload. Try rocking the pulley, may need to back off the belt tension. With the bike on a lift, rotate the rear wheel and listen if the noise is coming from the pulley.
I know of several of these failures, on 900, 1700 and 2000 Vulcans, they all use the same design. There was even a recall on 2000s to replace the washer and retorque the nut.
After mine failed, I've been disassembling, cleaning and replacing the nut and washer every year. Likely overkill but it has survived a further 350,000 kms without any spline wear.
2 things to remember, do not ever reuse that washer, and don't use loctite on the threads. Kawasaki says use molybdenum disulphide grease on the threads and the seating surface of the nut.
Another possibility is a failed transmission output bearing, also a known issue.
 

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If the washer split it will be obvious, but more likely just compressed so the pulley has no preload. Try rocking the pulley, may need to back off the belt tension. With the bike on a lift, rotate the rear wheel and listen if the noise is coming from the pulley.
I know of several of these failures, on 900, 1700 and 2000 Vulcans, they all use the same design. There was even a recall on 2000s to replace the washer and retorque the nut.
After mine failed, I've been disassembling, cleaning and replacing the nut and washer every year. Likely overkill but it has survived a further 350,000 kms without any spline wear.
2 things to remember, do not ever reuse that washer, and don't use loctite on the threads. Kawasaki says use molybdenum disulphide grease on the threads and the seating surface of the nut.
Another possibility is a failed transmission output bearing, also a known issue.
Ahh, so you're the one with all the miles on your bike :) I've got a front pulley with a pretty good groove worn in it. I've got 60.000 km's on the bike and I have a new pulley . I am getting sick of the noise coming from the pulley too because of the wear.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here's what I've found so far. With the rear tire off the ground there is no noticeable looseness of the pulley and no noise there. I did notice that with the bike in gear the tire will rotate and inch or 2 before stopping, not sure if that's normal or not. With the bike running and using a screwdriver to listen to things, I can hear what sounds to be a faint knock in the transmission area. With the bike running and in neutral I thought I heard a clanging sound once, but can't say for sure. With the bike in gear and running you can hear it, more so when either giving or releasing the throttle. The noise if fairly close loudness wise on both sides of the bike, but I think it's slightly louder on the right side, a friend thinks it's louder on the right side. While doing this I can hear the noise when using the screwdriver method, but can't say for sure which side is louder (getting older is fun!!!). Also when running there seems to be an intermittent bind in things in gear (only tried first and second), you can hear the engine bog for a second and the bike rocks. With the pulley exposed, and the bike running there is no noticeable wobbling or other strange movement of the pulley. Figured there wasn't a point in going any further since I'd be getting into an area where I wouldn't be able to do anything anyway. At this point I'm thinking something internal to the transmission (and with only 18.5k on it, I'd like to think Kawa would make good on it, but I have my doubts there) or something with the clutch, tho I still can't completely rule out the pulley. The options I see right now are paying someone to look into it further, but also knowing if its a tranmission issue I really can't afford to fix it now and to add insult to it, it still needs a new abs pump ($1200 part), hoping Kawa will do something for me (I won't hold my breath), trying to find someone that wants to buy it as is (and I need to get out of it what I still owe on it), getting another engine/transmission (opens an unknown world that might be worse than where I am now), or leaving it sit in the garage and cussing at it every time I go out there. The last few statements are me venting as this bike has been one problem after another since day one...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here's where I am with this. Took it to an independent shop. Guy rode and listened and at first didn't hear anything, but after a bit he heard the clunking and thought it was coming from the front pulley area as well. He tore into it and the pulley looks ok, the splines are ok, no rust etc. He also thought the belt was too tight. When he put it back together he greased the splines (thinking that's goodness) but didn't replace the washer under the nut that holds the pulley on, the service manual says to replace it, will this be a problem down the road? He also rotated etc the output shaft and doesn't think there's a problem there. He was going to look into the clutch, but with the rear tire in the air he could get it to make the noise intermittently, and yes it sounded like it was coming from the front pulley, however it appears it's coming from the rear pulley and that the dampers are shot. So dampers are on order, and we'll go from there. Also found that somewhere in all this, the right shocked has leaked, so also going to put on some Progressive 430's, anyone have any experience with them? And while he said the pulleys and belt are ok, how long are they lasting for people? Thinking back the one noise may have been the belt skipping (only heard that on the one day when I rode it around the block a few times when trying to find the problem, and then only when coasting).
 

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I have 430's to lower my bike 1". Personally, I wouldn't spend another dime on the bike on anything else until I resolve the mechanical issues.

The manual says 3.0-4.5mm belt deflection but everyone agrees it is too tight. A few people have had pulley issues I have read perhaps related to this. Consensus seems to be 10mm is good and Harley uses that spec too. Any belt lasts long time and wouldn't be too concerned about if still okay. There is a thread on aftermarket belt if you must buy much cheaper than OEM.


Here's where I am with this. Took it to an independent shop. Guy rode and listened and at first didn't hear anything, but after a bit he heard the clunking and thought it was coming from the front pulley area as well. He tore into it and the pulley looks ok, the splines are ok, no rust etc. He also thought the belt was too tight. When he put it back together he greased the splines (thinking that's goodness) but didn't replace the washer under the nut that holds the pulley on, the service manual says to replace it, will this be a problem down the road? He also rotated etc the output shaft and doesn't think there's a problem there. He was going to look into the clutch, but with the rear tire in the air he could get it to make the noise intermittently, and yes it sounded like it was coming from the front pulley, however it appears it's coming from the rear pulley and that the dampers are shot. So dampers are on order, and we'll go from there. Also found that somewhere in all this, the right shocked has leaked, so also going to put on some Progressive 430's, anyone have any experience with them? And while he said the pulleys and belt are ok, how long are they lasting for people? Thinking back the one noise may have been the belt skipping (only heard that on the one day when I rode it around the block a few times when trying to find the problem, and then only when coasting).
 

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1. Front pulley must fit snug on output shaft...no play or wobble allowed, none.
2. Locking washer must be in place.
3. Shaft/pulley splines to be lubed with high moly content grease, such as:

AS/65 Assembly Compound « Molyslip Canada Inc. :: Molybdenum Lubricants, Performance Lubricants, Copaslip Anti-Seize, EP2 Grease, Wear Reducing Lubricants, Oil Additive

or

SKF anti-fretting agent LGAF 3E

4. The nut does not tighten the pulley on the output shaft, so making the nut gut-busting tight does no good.
5. If one finds the nut comes loose on its own, it is due to pulley wear.
 
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