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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Picked up this 500 just over a week a go:



The PO had owned it for some time but hadn't used it much latterly - replaced it with a Sportser.

It had sat, I think outside, for a couple of winters and he put it through a UK MOT in May this year which it passed.

He then paid to have the carbs cleaned as it wasn't running right apparently - consequently he thought the carbs needed balancing but never got it done.

I rode it home last wednesday (about 80 miles) - the shift linkage was very sloppy, the idle was taking a long time to settle and there was a lot of popping on the over run and at idle. Fuelling was obviously way off.

Spent a day cleaning it up and got to here:



I also had a look at the shift linkage and it hadn't been fitted properly at the peg end, only half onto the shaft. As a result it was pivoting on the shaft and causing all the slop. This did not fill me with confidence about the POs spannering ability and I am no mechanic!

All the tins need painting. He glued the leather on with some kind of epoxy or gorilla glue type thing. Awful.

Over the last week I have noticed when I've been moving it about the garage that the carbs are flooding, strong smell of petrol. Took me a while to figure out they were leaking into the air box which was then draining all over the floor when the bike was up right.

Carbs came off yesterday - rebuild kit here today. Blew through the jets on one side, sludge in the bottom of the float bowls I suspect as a result of the inline fuel filter breaking down.

This is what the air filter looked like - grim!



New one ordered and also ordered a replacement hose - air box to crank case as that had split.

I am thinking once the carbs are rebuilt and balanced I will do the valve clearances before putting it all back together - this makes sense as I can change the coolant, oil and filter. Never done valve clearances before however so we will see.

Despite the current cosmetic and mechanical niggles the bike obviously has huge potential. This later C model with the hidden expansion bottle and tank mounted dash is not common in the UK, they stopped them in 1999 so I was lucky to get one at a good price. Plan is to go solo seat, slightly shorter suspension new bars, new paint and chill out riding it for a bit.

For the best part of the last decade I have owned a TRX850 so this is a bit of a change for me.

Any advice/thoughts welcomed

Apologies for the long post!
 

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From the pics and description, that, to me, looks like an enjoyable scale of project. I hope that turns out to be the case for you. The valve adjustment on the 500 is at least rumored to be quite manageable -- and there's a sticky here in the 500 section that details it quite thoroughly. Just get a quality set of feeler gauges and you should be in business. Excellent rainy afternoon project, and I have heard talk that you have some of those there.

Welcome to the forums!
 

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Sfair is right, you need to check and rebuild or replace the petcock. I didn't see what year your bike is? I'm resurrecting a 500 that sat outside uncovered under a tree, myself. Do you have any manuals? I'd suggest the factory service manual and the Haynes. The valve adjustment is pretty easy, especially if carbs are already out. I can pm you a couple of other guides for that if you'd like, as well as some info on rebuilding the carbs.

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It is at a nice level for a project.

Fuel tap rebuild kit has been ordered. I stripped it today and most of the rubber parts have worn or started to perish.

Rebuilt the carbs today as well, the RHS (as you sit on the bike) I stripped and cleaned the other day. I'm pretty sure now it was running lean due to the main jet being partially blocked on that side. The LHS jets were completely clear although the pilot air screw was in worse condition on that side. Just need to balance them properly.

I have a Haynes manual - it's for the earlier bikes though, need one for the later bikes.

Mine is a 2001.

Valve adjustment guide welcomed!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Fuel tap now rebuilt.

I also took the cover off the front sprocket to see its condition. The chain is well past its best, and the front sprocket is worn as well - you can see how the teeth are curved. I think I will replace the lot and move up to a 17t front at the same time.



Made a bit of an effort at cleaning out the major oily gunk from behind the cover and in that general area.

The state of the battery box has been annoying me so that has come out. This gave me much better access to the top of the swing arm which was also pretty filthy. The battery box, top of the swing arm and a few areas of the frame I am going to paint.



This is after I cleaned it up a bit. I think it will benefit from a coat of paint.



Thick with dirt on the LHS and the paint wasn't great underneath. Again will benefit from a coat of paint.

At this point I am looking forward to putting things back on the bike.



Once the air filter and vacuum pipe is here the air box will be going back in and then it is time to think about draining the coolant and doing the valves.

And change the oil and filter.

Then hopefully ride it for a bit!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yer I bet you are. I am 3 weeks into this so not too bad so far. My plan is to get riding it then have it painted over the winter.

Made enquiries about a chain and sprocket set with a 17t front instead of a 16t. I am confident it will be a worthwhile change.

The nice thing about a bike forcing you to work on it before you use it is that at least you know how it fits together a little bit. I do enjoy it as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The air filter and hose arrived on Wednesday and I fitted them today. I am happy with the condition of the rest of the vacuum system from what I have seen, so I'm hopeful that my diagnoses of under fuelling rather than over airing on the RHS causing the lean running will bear out.

All I have left to refit on the back end now is the rear mud guard. The under side needs a thorough clean and I will also repaint the subframe prior to refitting.

Today the correct adapters for my Abba stand turned up which will make changing the chain and sprockets much easier. They're an excellent bit of kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Today I ordered a chain and sprocket set with the 17t front as planned. Meant to make a real difference.

Yesterday I took my rear fender subframe to be shot blasted. It was very dirty and patched with surface rust. I'll collect it next week some time and paint it. I thought about having it powder coated but I will probably be cutting it down so seemed like a bit of a waste at this point.

I may have a go at getting the old chain and sprockets off tomorrow if I have time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ended up taking the subframe to a different place this morning as the other guys thought they would probably damage it with their kit which is really for heavy gauge steel.

Worked out in my favour as the new place did it while I waited for next to nothing. I wish I had known about them before I painted the battery tray.

Got two coats of primer and a coat of a 'hammered finish' top coat on today, looks so much better.



The rust had really got going in some areas



Fancy spray booth not available but it was still and warm today so a tree was good enough



First coat on - this stuff is thick and takes ages to dry. I only had time for one coat today.



Got the front sprocket and chain off ready for the new items. The crack when the sprocket nut let go was pretty impressive. Glad I bought a breaker bar.

I also bought a new set of feeler gauges for the valve adjustment job I keep saying I will do . . .

Thinking about an internal throttle at the moment.

Getting there.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have run into a problem doing the valves. Someone has been at them before and completely screwed up the screw heads for the coolant tubes.

I'm not exactly sure what the best course of action is to be honest.

Can I get the valve cover off without removing those screws? It looks like it might be possible? If I could get it off it would make the job of getting the screws out much easier - even if it meant taking it to a shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Crisis averted!

A cursory google for ex500 valve cover coolant screws and someone suggests to use an impact driver.

Bit of a lightbulb moment as I own an impact driver, got one for christmas years a go but I have never actually used it. It's always in a different toolbox to my 'go to' one.

Anyway, I thought what the hell and went to town on both screws and they came out pretty easily! I am now kicking my self for having this tool which I'm sure could have saved me a few times already on this project!

It's only one like this -



I'll continue this tomorrow as the light is rubbish now and I am hungry!

My chain and sprockets are due to arrive tomorrow (a week isn't great IMO) and I have also ordered a softail fender and a fender edge light. The softail fender is a duck bill like the Vulcan but will be mounted to shorten the tail. I don't intend to have a pillion seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Plain sailing this morning I figured. 6 bolts and 2 tubes.

Except the tubes do not want to come out one little bit. I have accepted I will have to buy a new RHS one as it is badly rusted anyway but although there is lots of lateral movement I have not moved it vertically at all. What a pain.
 

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I am following this thread with rapt attention...I admire and envy your skills...
this is going to be a fabulous bike when you are all finished...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm not sure about skills. I do at least have a reasonable amount of tools and I think that makes a big difference.

I fought those tubes and eventually I managed to get the LHS one out and the RHS one in enough of a mess that I could squeeze the valve cover past it.

Once the cover was off I had a lot more space to play with and it came out fairly easily. I don't think I will be reusing them however . . .



I have just put in an order for replacement hoses, tubes, orings and the gasket. I used a bit of heat and toasted it.

Once the valve cover is off (ha) the actual adjustment is straight forward. All mine were out of spec, so worth it.

As I am going to have to wait on parts anyway I might spray the valve cover; it's a mess.

Chain and sprockets are here.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Another update from yesterday.

Chain and sprockets time.

This job will allow me to cross off a few things I have been wanting to do:

- check the general condition of the rear wheel (bearings, brake surfaces etc)
- clean the inside of the front sprocket area while the sprocket is off
- paint the rear face of the swing arm
- clean the rear wheel
- try out my ABBA stand on this bike

I got some of that done yesterday evening.

I don't know if these are available in the US but ABBA stands are a pretty simple stand that fixes into the swing arm pivot. It's a souped up centre stand really. Really good bit of kit - secure, easy 1 person operation and doesn't require much room.

The EN feels very stable indeed on it as the weight is held low.

You can see in this picture the rear face of the swing arm.



Which was rubbed down and painted - really pleased with how it looks. It does show up the battery tray however - I had painted that, then found the spray version of the same paint. It's a direct to metal paint, very thick and sets hard. Handy for jobs like this. SO much better in spray form.



The rear wheel bearing seems to be in very good shape indeed. The wheel is filthy though.



But cleaned up well enough - and the new sprocket looks the part. Light was fading sadly.





Hope to get a bit more done today.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Chain and sprockets on. Pleased with the overall quality of the kit I bought, pumped about the 17t sprocket.

Adjusted the rear brake which prior to this was dangerously poorly adjusted. Enormous amount of peddle travel required to actuate the brakes. Something worth keeping an eye on.

Carbs are back on. This was a fight. 40 minutes of my life I will not get back. Just couldn't get both sides to seat on the air box outlets. Finally got there after a lot of swearing.

Then realised I really meant to reconnect the throttle before putting it back together. That's another 20 minutes fiddling reconnecting that.

Got rid of some additional wiring the PO had put onto the ignition circuit. I suspect for his running lights. Gone now anyway.

The Softail fender turned up. Correct width and shorter. I think it could look really good if I get it right!

Can see the end now. Hopefully the parts I ordered turn up quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Small update - I've been waiting on parts and also generally busy! Annoyingly I messed up the order and only have one of the coolant tubes, I have ordered the other one (and got it right this time!). Until then there is very little I can do.

I did buy a bunch of parts off a friend of mine, 10 1/2" Burly shocks, a HD solo seat, 6" risers and drag bars.

At the moment I think I will probably only use the shocks. I may cut down the bars and use them. The seat is sadly all wrong, really too nice to start messing around with. I have never done it before but I think the best way forward is to make my own seat - covering the existing loops rather than cutting them out which I really don't want to do. Thoughts?

I'd love to see some pics of solo seats if any of you guys are running them.
 

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Here's the solo seat on Hidalgo: https://bikerbillsvulcan500rebuild.shutterfly.com/544

It is a slightly modified OEM seat from a Kawasaki Drifter with a Pro-Tac driver's backrest. Many many miles have been ridden on that seat. Add an AirHawk air cushion and its great for Ironbutt rides.
 
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