View Full Version : New Vulcan 750 concerns - normal break-in?

05-12-2005, 08:37 PM
A couple of weeks ago we bought a brand new 05 Vulcan 750. Two whole miles on the odometer when I drove it off the dealer's lot. So far...

we had anti-freeze leaking on the way home.

the switch to activate the brake lights from the hand lever was not hooked up.

today (364 miles later) we have final gear case oil on the right side of the rear wheel, and the gear case oil level seems low.

So, is it normal to have lots of small things go wrong on a new bike? (Or is three things not really a lot?) And is it also normal to have final gear case oil leaking? Should I expect this to be a break-in issue, or should I be concerned about what else might be going wrong?

I plan to call the dealer tomorrow and see what they have to say. Meanwhile, any suggestions??


05-12-2005, 08:50 PM
I've never had anything go wrong with any of my bikes and I bought both new. I'd definitely have a talk with your dealer ASAP!! Congrats on your new bike btw. Hope you get it all worked out soon!!

05-13-2005, 12:00 AM
I don't get it either.
Here's a list of what I had to do on my new bike ('04):
a) Adjusted the throttle cables. I had about 20mm of play. Book says 2-3 mm's. I like it alot better with less play. b) Routed the battery vent tube per the diagram under the seat. The tube took a 90 degree turn off of the battery so it was kinked, and pinched. Plus it was running to the outside of the drive shaft boot instead of down the middle of the frame. c) Adjusted the hand brake so that the resevoir was horizontal. It was tilted up about 20 degrees, but honestly, it probably ended up there after the first time I dropped it. d) Checked air pressure in tires. Don't remember what they were, but they weren't right. e) Topped up water level in battery. All but one of the cells were fine. The one closest to the ground was about an inch lower. f) Put positive battery cable on right side up. You'd think they'd notice when the red, vinyl cover didn't fit over the post! g) plugged brake light wires into hand brake. h) Freed wiring harness aft of battery from crossmember. Screw on fender had rubbed through tape and shorting out one of the wires. Couldn't figure why Main fuse was blowing when bike was turned off :)! This also corrected a problem I was having with the right side cover. It didn't want to fit properly before. i) Added a cup of coolant to reservoir tank. After next ride it needed another cup. Radiator apparently hadn't been filled all the way. j) Replaced OEM battery with Sears 44005 maintenance free (made by Yuasa, by the way)

It'd be a good idea to check that all nuts and bolts are torqued properly.

05-13-2005, 05:06 AM
Thanks for the encouraging words, Mer.

Thanks, Mike, for posting the list of what you needed to do. Perhaps I have unrealistic expectations, but I was really kind of disappointed that everything didn't just work perfectly. A new bike, after all. I had expected a few things to need attention on my first bike (86 Kawasaki 454), since it was 18 years old when I bought it. But, for heaven's sake, a new bike ought to have been ready to roll.

I think I'll print your message and spend some quality time in the garage soon. It hadn't even occured to me to check on the battery.

Since you had to do so much yourself to make things right, do you do all of your own work now?


05-13-2005, 07:46 AM
Go back to the stealership and give him hell. Your bike should work like a Swiss watch. Nothing should leak. Simple stuff you can do but the rest should be taken care of. If you wanted to wrench you would have gotten a vintage bike.

05-13-2005, 10:27 AM
*Since you had to do so much yourself to make things right, do you do all of your own work now?


Even though the dealer prep was a large ripoff, and I had to clean up behind them, the bike has been blissfully trouble free since. (If you don't count it coming with a defective stator, that's another story) I've been doing the routine maintenance myself, the warranty will be up soon and I already have a line on a reputable mechanic in town. I spend a lot of time on http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/VN750/ which is a fabulous resource for Vulcan 750 owners. Someone there has already seen and dealt with any problem that I might run into. Knowing what usually goes wrong is a huge step in keeping it from happening.

05-13-2005, 05:52 PM
Sounds like "the new guy" assembled the bike. You know- the guy who has trouble not screwing up sweeping up the oil-dry.


05-13-2005, 07:15 PM
Cross my fingers-

We've never had to do anything on a new bike- any adjustments were preference. Except put air in the tires.

So it doesn't sound right to me...Think I'd be rather unhappy with the dealership.

Hope it all works out well- and you get to enjoy the new bike!


05-13-2005, 08:11 PM
Chapter 2 - tomorrow we're headed back to visit the dealership (or stealership - <g>) with the bike on the trailer. When I called today, both the salesman and the service rep were apologetic and sympathetic; they wanted to know how soon I could bring the bike back to be checked & repaired.

Before they reacted that way, I wasn't sure if I wanted them to touch my bike again, but since they are willing to try to make it right, I'll give them another chance. With a little luck, I'll follow in Mike B's footsteps (or wheeltracks) and things will go smoothly after tomorrow.

Thanks for the support and the encouraging words!


05-14-2005, 02:00 PM
I've had 2 new Vulcans, and never had anything even minor wrong with them. Well, when I was picking the last one up the salesman (who has been working there 14 years) pointed out some cable that wasn't routed quite right. But he had that fixed before I took it. I think it all has to do with the dealer. This last dealership has 5 stores. The store I was at had a good 250-300 bikes & quads on display in 2 buildings. Great Lakes Power Sports in Burton, MI I think they get the hang of dealer prep when they have to do that many bikes. - Joe

05-15-2005, 05:56 PM
Saturday we loaded the bike on the trailer and headed to the dealership (about 80 miles). The folks at the service desk weren't expecting me, then the mechanic who came outside to take a look was rather condescending. He told us that if the oil levels are too high, the extra will be "blown out". (so shouldn't the levels have been proper, to begin with?)

A couple of hours later, we were told that the problem wasn't actually final gear case oil, it was o-ring lubricant and that was not unexpected (wouldn't it have been nice if they'd told us that before we drove away the first time?). Perhaps we were more concerned than we should have been about seeing leaking oil - but at least now we have official record of registering our concerns early, just in case it all goes to pot later.

So, I suppose is was ok as dealer visits go. I don't think I'll darken their doorway again unless I have warranty issues during the next twelve months.

Thanks for listening to me vent!


05-15-2005, 06:59 PM
Erm, the VN750 is a shaft drive bike -- the only O-ring lubricant I could think of that has any place near the rear wheel is chain lubricant, and you don't have a chain final drive, so it couldn't be that. And there's no excuse for antifreeze leaking on a new bike, period, unless you're boiling the coolant, and that shouldn't happen unless you're on a race track or letting it idle for half an hour in traffic (do you know why it was leaking?). No excuse for disconnected lights, too -- they should have (they are required by Kawasaki; I've bought two Kawas from two different dealers and both of them did thorough checks with me present before I took the bike home) checked that before the bike was allowed to leave the store.

IMO find a friend who is a competent mechanic and have him do a once-over on the bike in exchange for beer/pizza/whatever.

05-15-2005, 11:35 PM
You should get some synthetic rear drive lubricant and change it yourself now. It's easy and you'll be surprised at the junk that comes out. Use synthetic and it'll stay cooler. Make sure you only fill it up to the lower edge of the fill hole with the bike on the centerstand. After it's all buttoned up again, clean the whole drive off really well and keep an eye on it. You said it had oil on the right side. It's probably not drive gear fluid, but excess grease from the hub. I've heard it happens. If you do see lube again after it's all cleaned off, you can go straight back to the dealer, or keep an eye on the level and see for yourself if it starts to drop.

05-16-2005, 05:39 AM
MarcS - the anti-freeze stopped leaking after we tightened a hose clamp. I wasn't really concerned about something being fundamentally wrong with the bike on that issue; more that it was one more sloppy thing that shouldn't have happened.

MikeB - we are planning to do the 500 mile service ourselves, which includes changing the fiinal drive lubricant. I am currently at 430 miles, so we'll be out in the garage next weekend. One of our initial concerns was that the level was 1/4" or so below the bottom threads when we checked it to begin with.

Still need to check the battery, too. Thanks for the tip on the Yahoo forum; there is a ton of good information there!