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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shout out to Saddlemen saddle bags

This new to me bike came with a set of Saddlemen throw over bags that was missing one twist-lock closure. So I emailed the folks at about getting replacement hardware and they sent me what I needed for free, via priority mail even. And they threw in two toolbox stickers to boot. I love it when I can tell people about great customer service.

Déjà Vu

I decided I needed a 700 mile-a-day bike that was a little more two-up friendly. I have been wanting to take my son on some all days rides instead of just bike night. I need to be able to get to Indiana and back in a hurry, too. The rigid shovelhead is about a 400 mile a day solo and my 03 Vulcan uses a lot of oil after the 400 mile mark in a day.

So last Friday night, in the dark and cold, I picked an '02 Kawasaki 1500 Vulcan Classic. Just over 8k and still rolling OE tires.(I was shopping for Roadkings and Wideglides, too. But it is hard to spend $6-8K when $2600 can buy a clean and functional bike, like this one.) It needs de-chromed for my tastes, but it seems I can't just ride a bike like I bought it. I saw a few craigslist specials dressed closer to my tastes, but I like this one because of the low miles and damaged paint. The tank is fine, but both fenders are badly scuffed from a trailer ride at some point. I wanted one as fresh as I could get mechanically and the bad paint helped lower my offer. I didn't mention that I have a spare set of perfect tins to run. 

I'm naming this bike Déjà Vu, because I will probably build it with all the dresser parts and tins that I was running on my '03 in 2003.

Too much chrome and the hyper charger needs to go. Of course my son loves the "hot rod part on the side of the engine". SMH, but he is only 8. The carb wasn't jetted quite right, so it wouldn't quite idle right in the cold and the clutch switch was a bit dirty. So it was a challenge to keep running at stoplights and I couldn't get it to start in gear.

The paint is pretty nice if you like flames. Definitely glossy enough to floss your teeth in.

There's the scuff on the front fender.

There's the scuff on the rear fender is worse, clear to bare metal.

Including the elusive out of production chrome inner engine cover, chrome side covers, and driveshaft cover. That's all going to be up for sale, so I afford some new tires. The Corbin gunfighter is surprisingly comfortable for the rider, but not the passenger so that will be up for sale, too.

The mileage was under 8200 when I bought it.

Garage is getting a bit crowded.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Vulcan 1500 Charging Issues - Bad Stator most likely

So, looking at the resistances of my questionable outside stator and my seemingly good inside stator didn't yield me anything. I couldn't get consistent numbers from either one with my ohm meter. It's either my ohm meter being not sensitive enough to measure two spots behind the decimal, or operator error, or some combination of both. Running an AC Voltage test was a bit more conclusive. I couldn't get more than 15 VAC from the outside stator at any rpm. The inside stator did about 20 VAC at idle and would throttle up to 70 without much issue.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Vulcan 1500 Charging Issue Not Fixed

I cut the three black wires from my outer stator and the three wires from the plug that goes to its regulator.  I then soldered and shrink wrapped wires in between and used the extra wire length to ensure I would have enough wire if I needed to cut them later to pull the engine.

I didn't troubleshoot the AC output of the stator or the regulator.

Yeah, that was dumb. The outside alternator is still not charging. I should have plugged the outside regulator to the inside stator first to check that regulator. I suppose I need to check the AC output of the stator and go from there.

Alternator Shovelhead Timing Plate Adjustment Cheat Sheet

We have all been there. Our static timing is close, but kicks back(too advanced) or pops out the pipes(too retarded). I can never remember which rotation direction does which. Lummie had a little kick back the other day and adjusted it wrong and got a kick back so hard that it broke his ankle. I decided to make a cheat sheet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Vulcan 1500 Charging Issue Found

Time to get a look behind the left dust cover to see what's happening. That means the floorboard and shifters come off first.

FOUND IT! The plug and wires on the outside stator are toasty and even corroded. Why couldn't this bastard just burn itself to ground? That would have made my life easier for sure.

These plugs are known for doing this. I thought we had packed them with dielectric grease, but it still got dirty and hot. My wire routing may have hurt it a bit, too. The main starter motor lead was laying on top of the three wires and may have pulled the wires loose from the connections, or too tight  together, or something, or maybe not.

Roasty toasty.

The wires to the stator didn't get really hot, but the three wires to the 6 pin regulator/rectifier plug don't have any insulation left between them. So basically, I can't cut and solder the wire connections of the 3 pin plug together.  Without buying a new/used wiring harness, I will have to cut the 3 black wires from the 6 pin plug and solder the stator wires directly to those wires.

I rolled it out into the drive-way to wash everything down. I wanted to get as much grease and oil off of everything as I could to be sure of the wire color.

Check this out. All wires were touching and one wire was complete cut.

I really should run all the troubleshoots on the stator and regulator/rectifier, but I think I will just let everything get good and dry and solder things up and see if I can get 14 volts out of it with the spot lights on.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Vulcan 1500 Charging Issues

My battery from Batteries Plus was new in April. It seemed weak a few weeks back, so I had it tested at Batteries Plus. It tested fine. 

So I drove to Indiana(700 miles). The bike was parked outside in the rain and kind of cold for a couple days. It was pretty much a monsoon. I pulled the seat off for part of that time to dry the sheepskin cover.

I tried to start it at 45 degrees at O dark thirty to go home and it wouldn't start. I jumped it and drove 700 miles home and it started fine at every gas stop. The headlight(and spotlights) came on just fine. That means the alternator is working right? I stopped in my driveway to open the garage and it wouldn't start again. At least I was home, right?

So I checked the battery voltage and it was 11 and some change. I trickle charged it over night to see what was going on. The battery was still low, but I got it to start and I couldn't get it over 13 volts throttling it up. Ugh, alternator?? The headlight is still coming on, though.

I left it on the charger some another day. The battery finally got up and when I started it the alternator had it up to 13+ just fine.

UGH, what is up with this thing? I had the battery tested again and it showed just fine. So off to my write-up on 1500 charging systems. I got to playing with it and it will go to 15 volts at idle without the two 50 watt spots, but it couldn't keep up very well with the spots on.

Just looking at the numbers, holding 12.5 Volts at idle with the spotlight load and all the way to 15 with only the regular headlight, seems like it would still be okay. But that does not explain the two no starts and 11 volts at the end of a 700 mile ride.

I still need to pop off the left cover and look around. I would think at least one alternator is working fine, but one may be unplugged or otherwise dead.