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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I need some suggestions, I recently bought a '96 Vulcan 500 and am running into trouble getting the old girl started. I bought her used last week and was told the bike sat for some time, maybe as long as a year. I was able to get her started at full choke but would stall when I closed it, but no longer will kick over.

Here are some things I have done so far:

1. Adjusted the idle knob
2. Poured a generous amount of Seafoam (thinking the gas was stale or the carbs were dirty - sat for 24 hrs)
3. Replaced the battery (previous won't hold a charge)
4. Disconnected the carb (partially - left the throttle cables on) - seemed to be relatively clean.
5. I added fresh gas, without emptying the old.

After doing these above items I am not able to get her to turn over.

This is my first bike so my knowledge is minimal. What should I try next? Should I attempt taking the carb apart? Or is there another trick I can try?

Thanks in advance,
A frustrated new bike owner

126 Posts
Well, it's a process, any engine needs compression, fuel, and spark. Compression can be verified by removing the plugs, holding your thumb over the hole and cranking the starter, it'll push air past your thumb on the compression stroke. That will verify that there are pistons and that the valves are at least moderately in time.
For spark, put a loose spark plug in the wire, ground it to the engine, and crank it over, see if it's sparking. Blue is good, yellow might not be good enough.
Fuel's a little harder to make sure it's right, but at least you should smell fuel after cranking. You can take the tube off the carb and make sure it flows. I don't know if a bike that old has a vacuum operated shutoff, but if it does you can set it to 'prime' to bypass it.

You might consider draining and discarding the fuel that's in it and using a gallon of fresh, and use new plugs to eliminate that as a possible cause.

Once it starts, you can use more sophisticated methods to determine how well things are set up, but these should get you to the point where it's good enough to run.
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