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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have bought a 2001 vulcan 800 with 17k miles on it...it was a foolish purchase. I didnt know the belt kit was bad, I didnt know tires need to be replaced sometimes even when the tread is good (dryrot) I didnt know the petcock was on its last leg. I didnt know the v and h pipes needed baffles to pass inspection....didnt know it takes a mad magician to even get a jap carb to work with v and h. 2 places so far and it still dies unless the choke is all the way out....im over 1,200 on maintenance on a 2k bike now.........and today? I didnt know some engines need ~600.00 valve jobs every 6k miles. I think I need to check clearance, I dont think I can do it. I do my own oil, etc, but valves?? that seems like serious engine work.but. I cannot afford to get it done. is there an indicator to valve work needing to be done?, nose, etc......is it that hard? the guy at the stealership today told me they would have to remove the rocker arms, so its 4+ hours of work for them. Im about to just sell this bike for a loss. any help, advice tips, etc would be appreciated...and I gotta tell you, i am NOT impressed with an engine that demands valve checks at 6k. my old sporty, magna, shadow, and dyna NEVER demanded this kind of hand holding. pardon me for my frustration,but jeeeeesus, we buy japanese bikes for their dependablitly. this one has been an eggshell so far. thanks in advance, and please excuse my whining, im just about out of money, lol
~ nrg.....
 

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Nrg2brn,

I feel your frustration, $1,200 to get a bike on the road and not have it running would do it. For the most part the VN800 is bullet proof but it does need to be maintained. The valve adjustment every 6,000 miles is a big one. However you do not need to be a master mechanic to get it done. I am a mediocre mechanic at best I can do tune ups, oil changes, tire changes, and chase problems to a stopping point. And I did the valve on my 800 without a major malfunction. I think a professional mechanic will charge you for four hours of labor and the parts are minimal four shims should run on the high side around $25. depending on the shop and where you live. In central New Jersey bike shops get $80. an hour. Check out youtube if you are a visual learner and give yourself a full six to eight hours to get it done. FYI the rear valve cover is tricky to get off, you'll have to carefully twist it to the left ( Clutch side ) to get it out.

If you look at the top of the 800 page there is a sticky explaining the valve adjustment you will need about $100 worth of tools Shim kit, feeler gauge, telescoping magnet, and a micrometer you can find all of it on eBay, or if you want to go for less expensive tool Harbor Freight and shims on eBay.

If you haven't already get yourself a Clymer's manual so you can read through is a few times before you start.
Good luck and post back with questions. Good luck.

Ron

PS fill the void inside the head with rags. The last thing you want to do is go fishing for a shim. Ask me how I know.
 

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Feel your pain, bought my 800 for a good price = 2300.00 but have had problems too. Stator went out about 60 miles from my home and had it towed back to shop, so new stator about 250.00 but if I knew how simple it was I would have done it myself. Aftermarket light bar pulled down three batteries and finally just had it removed, ordered new front turn signals and one hour labor to put those on, about 160.00 to have it diagnosed for the problem. Got hit at a stop light 200.00 led tail light destroyed, ordered a used original type one on ebay for 50.00 then new fender I paid for = 180.00. Pet cock went bad replaced it with kit bout 30.00 and still leaked so (100.00 for oem new one one on ebay) got gas in oil (before I installed new one) then replaced the stator cover gasket myself because of leak, used wrong sealant and had to do it over again ordering a gasket and renting a torque wrench. I need a valve adj. about now also, called the dealership and estimated about three hours labor to adjust. This is my only hobby or something I like to do so I just bit the bullet and kept going. I had to call a wrecker just recently because it wouldn' start about 6 miles away from the mechanic. They wanted 75.00 to take it to shop that I use, finally cranked while I was waiting, cancelled wrecker and ended up being the switch. The dealership wanted 150.00 for a new one so I took it apart stretched the spring and sandpapered the points, so far it has worked fine. So there is my bad luck story, good luck with yours.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
yeah.......hate to say it, but your horror story does make me feel better!!! I can only hope your bike is really old, and im not about to plow into all those issues! lol but seriously, I don't mind typical vehicle maintenance, but it cant be my hobby. the bike is my escape. I have my eye on a Honda shadow 750 with 9k miles for 2k. its owner has maintained it obsessively, so I know what im in for and have all records. that is so important, im finding. I appreciate the gift this nightmare has given me - understand what you are buying, and don't trust people. the last one is kinda sad, but I sometimes am too trusting. the guy knew how to duct tape a bunch of issues together, and I was a fool.

might just bite the bullet and take a loss on this one. not worth the headaches. (IMHO) of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
well, I guess if you arent living in our house real time, it would seem a little confusing. It adds up to 3. I "sold" the vulcan and bought another shadow. then, the deal fell through, he claimed financial hardship, whatever, I took the bike back. Now it sits in the back of the garage, where I can determine if Im going to get all zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance on it or just keep around, fix what I can, and sell it for a major loss later. and yes, im very burned on the vulcan. it literally fell apart on me, I have no other experience with them, so perhaps im a little unfairly jaded? possibly. but, perception is reality at this point.
 

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oh, he sold the 800 and bought a Honda shadow, well sounds to me like his 800 gave him lots of trouble, but I still cannot understand how a whole cup of gas went thru the gas tank and thru the petcock and onto the garage floor
 

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oh wait, you got the 800 back?
 

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ok wait, what is wrong with that 800 exactly? because you said you will sell it for a major loss, why not fix what's wrong with the 800 and make a profit?
 

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can u fix the petcock and do the valve maintenance on the 800 yourself?
 

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well tires, you said they have dry rot, well tires are wear items, its not related to Vulcans only
 

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yeah.......hate to say it, but your horror story does make me feel better!!! I can only hope your bike is really old, and im not about to plow into all those issues! lol but seriously, I don't mind typical vehicle maintenance, but it cant be my hobby. the bike is my escape. I have my eye on a Honda shadow 750 with 9k miles for 2k. its owner has maintained it obsessively, so I know what im in for and have all records. that is so important, im finding. I appreciate the gift this nightmare has given me - understand what you are buying, and don't trust people. the last one is kinda sad, but I sometimes am too trusting. the guy knew how to duct tape a bunch of issues together, and I was a fool.

might just bite the bullet and take a loss on this one. not worth the headaches. (IMHO) of course.
Had a 06 shadow,was a good bike,Ran well,it too is carbed,Tough buyn used stuff,feel ur pain,last three bikes I've owned have been awesome,I prefer FI,The 900 was great,would buy another,nothn wrong w the 750 shadow,I would bite the bullet too on the 800,sorry bout ur nitemare,let us know how it works out:serious:
 

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I think you will find the Shadow 750's require a valve adjustment every 8000 miles so not much gained there compared to the Vulcan 800 at 6000 miles.The Shadow 750's are very good bikes though,pretty much bulletproof.Sad to see you on the Honda site running down the Vulcan line.I have owned many Kawasaki's over the last 35 years and all the Vulcan's in the mix were good bikes.Not sure if I would ever purchase another one of the Vulcan 750's though.You may have just purchased a Vulcan that was poorly maintained and neglected over the years.As a rule the Vulcan line are dependable bikes and have proven that many times over.Enjoy the Honda and ride safe.
 

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I think you will find the Shadow 750's require a valve adjustment every 8000 miles so not much gained there compared to the Vulcan 800 at 6000 miles.The Shadow 750's are very good bikes though,pretty much bulletproof.Sad to see you on the Honda site running down the Vulcan line.I have owned many Kawasaki's over the last 35 years and all the Vulcan's in the mix were good bikes.Not sure if I would ever purchase another one of the Vulcan 750's though.You may have just purchased a Vulcan that was poorly maintained and neglected over the years.As a rule the Vulcan line are dependable bikes and have proven that many times over.Enjoy the Honda and ride safe.
LOVE MY KAWIS,:grin2::grin2::grin2::grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
last night I disassembled the petcock, inspected, stretched the screen just a bit, cleaned and replaced. gas now flows at a pretty good clip out of the petcock in the ON position, just a little slower than in the prime position. lol. I decided to skip the kit and ordered a new oem. I then take it to kawasaki, and let them take a swing at adjusting the carb to the vance and hines. 2 other shops have tried so far. 3 sizes up on the jet, leaned it out, now it only runs with choke wide open. no, i dont have the tools, space, time or back, not to mention skill to do the valves, Ive always had my valves done by a pro, I accept that, the every 6k kinda got me. why no profit? thats is becasue I bought it for 2k, and after this service, (I put new tires on it, sprockets, chain, carb clean and 2 adjustments, some other stuff I forgot) Ill have 3,500 in it. I have it on c.list raleigh - take a look, for 2k right now. its a beautiful bike, they just dont have any value, this age, these miles. kinda sad. hell, im getting 07 shadows with 6k miles for 2,500. sell a 01 vulcan with 17k for more than 1,800? me thinks not. well, maybe ill just keep it - to be completely honest? it rides a HELL of a lot better, meaner, leaner, faster, and more exciting than the shadow, even WITH the choke wide open and spitting fire out of the pipes!! im glad my wife is so understanding. :)
 

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ok wait, I see a few things in your post I'd like to comment on, first is the new tires and sprockets, chain and carb clean, those are wear items and maintenance items, you can't expect to get your money back on those, so I wouldn't include wear items and maintenance costs, and as revrider posted, you're not saving much with the shadow cause those also need valve maintenance, the petcock on you 800 is another wear item because of the rubber and spring inside it, those get used and are considered wear items, does a shadow have a petcock? I don't know but it seems odd to me that your petcock had problems. and with your shadow you said you always had your valves done by a pro so you're going to end up taking the shadow to the pro anyways so it's not just the Vulcan that's the problem. and for a 2001 800 on craigslist I don't know the value were you are but I don't look at my bike as an investment that can return my money I put into it, bikes to me are not an investment but a liability and they depreciate in value, that's the price you pay for owning one, I bet when you go sell a shadow you will not get your money back on that either, they depreciate with age, buy a new car from a dealer and drive it off the lot and around the block and return it you will see how much it depreciates in just 1 hour of ownership, and you say that your carb needs jets for your vance and hines pipes? I don't understand that one because when you are just adding aftermarket pipes to an 800 you don't need to reject, just turn the idle mixture screw out another full turn to richen the pilot circuit, you don't need to do any carb work, sounds like someone gave you bad advice on that one, and you said you ride with the choke wide open and it's spitting fire out the pipes? did you test drive your 800 before you bought it? was it doing that? maybe we can help you figure out what's going on there. give us some more details on what the bike is doing so we can help you fix the carb issue if you're going to keep the 800
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Goddamit. yeah, Id love to argue you guys, but I cant, the issues are a little more complex, but in the interest of brevity, Ill just say your right, im wrong, and you were experiencing the emotional outburst that comes with purchasing something, having expectations, and having those expectations shot down in the harsh light of reality/sitting at the side of the road/renting a trailer/draining my savings. In my defense, I DID preface my ill placed rant with "I was foolish" and Ill stand by that. The bike had a belt. belts are bad, belt broke. so I had to replace. my fault for not knowing that belts are a terrible idea on a bike born w/out. valves at 6k is not that different than hondas 8k rule. the petcock is just bad luck. whatever, shit happens, and with todays crap gas, they dont last as long. Tires had invisible dry rot. well, what you do is anytime you buy a used bike, get new tires. budget for it. simple as that. the seat not hooking onto the holder bar right? maybe not a kawi factory problem, maybe the previous rider was exceptionally overweight. Yes, you have to rejet if you put v and h straightshots on. fuel injection will adjust, carbs cannot. If I think IM smart and buy cheap older bikes - there is a reason they are cheap. a lot of people dont WANT to be mechanics, and ditch them about now. Im one of those people. carb guesswork is not in my wheelhouse, but im willing to listen, and try to learn. ill try to find the fuel screw here in a minute. kawi guys said it needs to be removed, rejetted and there is no way around it and they HATE it when people put aftermarkets on. I get it, hey lets second guess the designers of the bike! you want loud? get a harley. you want something that will go 100k w/out excessive service? drive a car.
so, long story longer, I made an uninformed purchase, it was totally my fault, I perceived the vulcan as the source of all of the problems as I had no other frame of reference, you guys called me on it, and I appreciate it. Im definately prone to emotional reactions, and am always glad to admit when Im wrong. ok, thats enough. :-/ ego beat up enough for one day.
~nrg
 

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You said you are listing the bike in the Raliegh area, this is in NC, right? If you are not in a big hurry, I might be making a trip to Burlington in a month or so, if you want, I might be able to detour to you and give you a hand getting it right. I bought my 1st bike new, an 05 800 classic and now have over 110k miles on it. I have done all my own maintenance on it and its been a very dependable bike for me.
 

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nrg, rick is coming, put some beer in the fridge
 

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Goddamit. yeah, Id love to argue you guys, but I cant, the issues are a little more complex, but in the interest of brevity, Ill just say your right, im wrong, and you were experiencing the emotional outburst that comes with purchasing something, having expectations, and having those expectations shot down in the harsh light of reality/sitting at the side of the road/renting a trailer/draining my savings. In my defense, I DID preface my ill placed rant with "I was foolish" and Ill stand by that. The bike had a belt. belts are bad, belt broke. so I had to replace. my fault for not knowing that belts are a terrible idea on a bike born w/out. valves at 6k is not that different than hondas 8k rule. the petcock is just bad luck. whatever, shit happens, and with todays crap gas, they dont last as long. Tires had invisible dry rot. well, what you do is anytime you buy a used bike, get new tires. budget for it. simple as that. the seat not hooking onto the holder bar right? maybe not a kawi factory problem, maybe the previous rider was exceptionally overweight. Yes, you have to rejet if you put v and h straightshots on. fuel injection will adjust, carbs cannot. If I think IM smart and buy cheap older bikes - there is a reason they are cheap. a lot of people dont WANT to be mechanics, and ditch them about now. Im one of those people. carb guesswork is not in my wheelhouse, but im willing to listen, and try to learn. ill try to find the fuel screw here in a minute. kawi guys said it needs to be removed, rejetted and there is no way around it and they HATE it when people put aftermarkets on. I get it, hey lets second guess the designers of the bike! you want loud? get a harley. you want something that will go 100k w/out excessive service? drive a car.
so, long story longer, I made an uninformed purchase, it was totally my fault, I perceived the vulcan as the source of all of the problems as I had no other frame of reference, you guys called me on it, and I appreciate it. Im definately prone to emotional reactions, and am always glad to admit when Im wrong. ok, thats enough. :-/ ego beat up enough for one day.
~nrg
Enough said.It takes a big person to make that post.I hope people on the forum can help you get your bike going.Enjoy your bikes,it will work out for you.
 
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