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Discussion Starter #1
So my 1600 is making some engine noise, not really loud but when I listen for it I can hear it. The bike is new to me and my first Vulcan, so I'm not sure how much noise is normal. At idle the rotation of the engine seems to me like it should be quite, and while riding I feel like I can hear a tapping sound, assuming valves. Bike rides and runs great, but at 23k miles, I'm wondering if there might be some build up going on. Ive seen talk around here of using seafoam, and was wondering what the procedure is for that, and if you guys think it would help. Ive used it on old hotrods in the past, but its always a risk because of the oil pump screen getting clogged. Are there any risks of using this method on a bike?

Thanks for the help.
 

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I don't use any additives in the oil on any bike that has a shared oil supply for wet clutch. It can cause the clutch to slip and cause permanent damage. But, I do use Seafoam in the fuel. It's strong enough to clean fuel system but will not damage anything. One ounce to a gallon of fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ah interesting point, I hadn't considered it effecting the clutch. Appreciate the heads up there.
 

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I've used Seafoam in the gas on several bikes with no problem. Like Les said none in oil.

What you are hearing is probably normal vulcan sounds. Motors tend to make a whirring noise. If you roll heavy on the throttle at low RPM you will hear a sound like valves knocking, it's all normal.
These are pretty noisy bikes.
 

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A little Seafoam in the oil (1 to 1.5 oz) for a 50 - 100 miles before an oil change will not cause the clutch to slip.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So small amount of seafoam right before an oil change wont hurt the clutch, but some of you are saying its a bad idea. I wouldn't mind running a little through to clean things out, but I'm getting some conflicting information here. Can we get some further information, other opinions? I dont want to hurt the bike. Thanks for the replys given so far.
 

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Here's the official Seafoam answer:

244118


But my concern is all bike manufacturers say do not use an oil additives in a wet clutches. Seafoam has solvents and alcohol that could effect wet clutches. This is a question that falls in line to which oil is best, everyone has their opinion. If there is a doubt about whether it's good or bad, I won't use it.

244119
 

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The bike manufacturers say to not put additives because many additives have friction reducers in them. They are not going to try to explain to you how to determine which ones are safe and which are not, so they say don't use any.

Seafoam does not hurt a wet clutch. There is nothing in Seafoam that reduces friction.

I don't put Seafoam in before every oil change, but I do now occasionally a few miles before an oil change. Never had a clutch problem from using it. In fact, before I ever used Seafoam in my oil, the clutch in the Honda Sabre I used to have was starting to slip and I was about to rebuild it, but I added some Seafoam before an oil change and after the change, the clutch actually performed better for a while. I think it may have dissolved some material that was glazed on the friction plates. I was able to go an extra oil change before I had to rebuild the clutch.

However, if you don't feel comfortable using it, then don't.
 

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The bike manufacturers say to not put additives because many additives have friction reducers in them. They are not going to try to explain to you how to determine which ones are safe and which are not, so they say don't use any.

Seafoam does not hurt a wet clutch. There is nothing in Seafoam that reduces friction.

I don't put Seafoam in before every oil change, but I do now occasionally a few miles before an oil change. Never had a clutch problem from using it. In fact, before I ever used Seafoam in my oil, the clutch in the Honda Sabre I used to have was starting to slip and I was about to rebuild it, but I added some Seafoam before an oil change and after the change, the clutch actually performed better for a while. I think it may have dissolved some material that was glazed on the friction plates. I was able to go an extra oil change before I had to rebuild the clutch.

However, if you don't feel comfortable using it, then don't.
Very good advice from real world experience. Guess I should rethink my interpenetration of manufacturers wording.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Awesome write up Sabre, I'm convinced. Its definitely not something I'll do before every oil change, but I'll do it on this one, and maybe the next just to try and clean things up a bit inside there. I'll also add a bit to the fuel on my next few fill ups.

For my next possibly controversial question, how do we feel avout synthetic vs traditional oils? I've heard arguements about clutch issues, I've heard some say it doesn't effect the clutch. In my cars, I always run full synthetic. Its clearly better without a doubt for an engine. I've ripped apart old engines that ran traditional for 150k miles, and everything has a layer of varnish looking yellow stuff coating everything, and generally somw sludge in the pan. Then I tore apart a ford 4.6 with 320k miles on it, mobile1 synthetic its entire life. Zero sludge, and everything way its natural clean silver self inside the engine. That said, it wouldn't do us any good if it messes with the clutch. So, opinions?
 

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I've used both conventional and synthetic oils. I prefer synthetic now, because I can go a bit longer before an oil change. I still change at 4000 miles, but I will stretch it to 4500 miles if I'm on a long trip. My preferred oil is Royal Purple Max Cycle.

Whatever oil you get, make sure it does not have friction modifiers, regardless of whether it is conventional or synthetic. Whether or not it needs to be motorcycle specific is a matter of debate. Many folks use auto oils, especially diesel truck oils (without friction modifiers, of course) and are very pleased.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Im fine running royal purple. I used to run it in my Corvette, but for some reason it liked to burn it. Didn't have that issue with mobile one. But, your Vulcan likes it, I'll run it. What weight do you run?

Edit: Also, preferred filter brand?
 

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Motorcycle Mobile 1 synthetic in all my V-twin bikes for years. Never an issue. Seems to hold up much better that others in the hot Texas summers.
 

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Im fine running royal purple. I used to run it in my Corvette, but for some reason it liked to burn it. Didn't have that issue with mobile one. But, your Vulcan likes it, I'll run it. What weight do you run?

Edit: Also, preferred filter brand?
I run RP 10W-40 in the cooler months and 20W-50 in the summer. If I was only going to use one weight, I would go with 10W-40 as I do ride in temps below 32°.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Appreciate it guys, I'll pick up some motorcycle mobile one 20w-50 and seafoam this week.
 

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So my 1600 is making some engine noise, not really loud but when I listen for it I can hear it. The bike is new to me and my first Vulcan, so I'm not sure how much noise is normal. At idle the rotation of the engine seems to me like it should be quite, and while riding I feel like I can hear a tapping sound, assuming valves. Bike rides and runs great, but at 23k miles, I'm wondering if there might be some build up going on. Ive seen talk around here of using seafoam, and was wondering what the procedure is for that, and if you guys think it would help. Ive used it on old hotrods in the past, but its always a risk because of the oil pump screen getting clogged. Are there any risks of using this method on a bike?

Thanks for the help.
I have a Meanie with less than 7K miles on it and at times it sounds like a Singer sewing machine. I have noticed it is often related to the oil I am running. After three or four minutes of warm up, it quiets right down. I have tried numerous oil brands and types and I am now sticking with Mobile 1 because it keeps it happy and quiet!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, the issue is mine doesn't quiet down after warming up. But am going to try the advice posted here within the next month or so when I do my next oil change, and hopefully I see some positive results. I know its been said that these are loud engines, and I'm new to bikes, but I have a good amount of experience with engines in general and the sounds I'm hearing can't be healthy.
 

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You can search on the forum that the sewing machine sound is exactly how your bike should sound!
It means the valves are adjusted correctly and everything is working fine.
IF you dont hear that sound the valves might be to tight.
 

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Seafoam used in the prescribed amount is harmless and beneficial. As others stated these bikes are a little noisey. Do you have video of the noise? First things that come to mind are valves or cam chain tensioners. I had to replace the automatic tensioners on my VN750 at 23k miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I don't currently have a video, I can try to grab one later. Cam chain tensioners does sound like it could be the issue though just going by the sound its making.
 
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