Question about 2003 kawasaki VN 800 Vulcan Classic

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Rubbing noise comming from underneath or rear of bike.

It sounds like a swishing noise that comes with the roation of the tires or chain. It's not constant but more like one particular point rubs as the bike rolls. It happens both with the clutch engaged and disengaged.

Swish...swish...swish....swish...etc comes in more rapid cycles the faster I go. Any ideas????

16k on the bike and otherwise fine, beautiful bike.

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  • Ken Eakins II
    Ken Eakins II Apr 15, 2009

    Thanks Tombones49. Now this might sound like a novice question, but in the area of bike maintenance....I'm a novice. How do I adjust the chain and how do I lube it? Is there a special oil or chamber to put it in? Or just spray lube?

  • Fahr Quad May 11, 2010

    I was thinking the Vulcan had a shaft drive, but it looks like that didn't happen until 2005, so I think tombones49 nailed it.



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I will bet the chain is talking to you. I can hear its' voice from here... it's saying " Please adjust me , please adjust me, and lubricate me also." Chains can be such a pain at times. :)

Please rate this answer. Thanks keakins2! :)

Posted on Apr 14, 2009

  • tombones Apr 15, 2009

    Quite honestly, the best thing you can do for yourself is to ride over to the Kawasaki dealer to pick up his recommended spray can of chain lube and ask them to give you some instructions in owner maintenance of your bike. They will be happy to show you what you can do and HOW to do it. This includes adjusting the chain. Don't be bashful. Ask questions; " How often is that needed? What do I look for? What tells me I need to bring it in? Can I get those parts here? " Build a relationship with your dealer. You will both benefit more that way than if I just tell you how to do the adjustment.

    One other thing > personal safety. Since you are a novice at bike maintenance, I assume you are a novice rider as well.

    LEARN TO STOP. Sure, you can ride a bicycle and you have already ridden your motorcycle, but have you practiced for an accident. STOP!! A car just pulled out in front of you! You don’t have the time to think, " Now where are the brakes on this motorcycle? " Stopping needs to be a reflex. Go to an empty parking lot and practice emergency stops. Pretend a car or a child is suddenly in your path. STOP!! Repeat this at faster and faster speeds for about one hour. Now when you need to stop you will do it automatically without even thinking...

    • I just saved your life. Thank me by riding sensibly and with a helmet.

    • One other thing. The top rating for the answer was left out. I live for those top ratings. No better answer is out there. :)



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If the 'grinding' only happens when the bike is in motion, the problem is probably not inside the engine. Remove the chain and then start the motor. Put it in gear(s) and listen for the noise. No noise eliminates the engine as the problem.

Now lay the chain on the concrete and 'compress the chain in a straight line. Mark the end of the chain on the concrete. Now hold on to one end of the chain and stretch the chain. Did it stretch more than one inch? Replace it if it did. Look at the chain. is it rusted? Is it limber or do the links resist bending? Replace the chain if rusty and stiff.

While you are doing all this, check the rear wheel. Does it spin freely. Make any noise? Does the rear brake go on and off properly? Next check your sprockets. A bad sprocket will ruin a new chain. The ends of the teeth on the sprocket should be rounded. A worn sprocket shows pointed teeth. I have seen teeth so pointed they could pop a balloon. LOOK at both sides of the front and back sprockets. Are they rubbing against anything anywhere? Look at the chain, any rubbing? Is the tire rubbing on anything? Did the prior owner install heavier sprockets and bigger chain than stock sprockets and chain? > Check with the dealer.

Chances are you will find the problem if you do the above.
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