Question about 2000 kawasaki VN 1500 Vulcan Drifter

4 Answers

Hi i have a 1988 vulcan 1500 when i take off in 1st gear the clutch slips and grabs i can take off in 2nd with out a problem and i1st gear is fine if i quietly drive it no problem in any other gears.

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  • pephi Jul 19, 2010

    hi i own a 1500cc vulcan its a 1988 model when i select low gear and take off after about 20 metres or so its as though the clutch disengages then engages if you take off quietly it seems fine drained oil an checked to see if there was any fileings but oil seems to be clean and nothing on the sump magnet i can take off in second gear no problems and changeing down into first gear smoth as and performs well on highway no slipping.

  • pephi Jul 20, 2010

    hi i own a 1988 vulcan 1500cc mileage is 26000 miles the trouble im having is on take off after say 15 to 20 metres clutch seems to disengage then engage and it will keep doing this until i change into 2nd i have taken off in 2nd with out any problems and bike is fine on the highway i have changed engine oil and found no metal shavings and the sump magnet was clean have asked this question twice before one expert thought it was possibly first gear synchro but when i change back into first from 2nd there is no noises and i can drive in 1st gear without a problem at low speed the other comment who thought it was clutch plate but i would have thought it should do it in every gear it takes off very smoothly until it starts baffled owner.

  • pephi Jul 21, 2010

    hi i own a 1988 vulcan 1500cc when i select 1st gear and drive say 20 metres bike seems to release clutch then lock it up again its a bit like missing a gear through selection and it will keep doing it until you change gear or reduce speed to 20 km per hr does'nt grounch when changeing down through the gears when it first starts it keeps doing it every 5 tto 10 metres have changed oil and have found nothing in oil or on the sump magnet can take off in 2nd gear wiyhout any problems and seems fine on highway i am running a mineral based oil and there are no obvious noise when driving in 1 st gear and if you keep speed around 20 km theres no problem cheers.

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4 Answers

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  • Master
  • 986 Answers

IF the slippage has been bad, then the plates may be glazed, and after that happens, just switching to a better oil will not help, though some have reported being able to break clutch glaze by adding Seafoam to their oil.

Worst case, you need a new clutch. It's not a difficult job, if you can handle the pulley installation you can handle the clutch.
If Seafoam doesn't help and If you don't mind doing the job twice in case this doesn't work, you can try lightly sanding the clutch plates to break the glaze.

Posted on Jul 21, 2010

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  • pephi Jul 21, 2010

    hi if it is clutch plates why don't i get slippage in other gears.

  • Roger Campbell
    Roger Campbell Jul 21, 2010

    The amount of torque applied to the plates increases as the rpm and load increases. The reason you have 1st gear only slippage is the applied torque is minamal allowing slippage. When the plates are glazed it will not grab as well in the low torque situation. As the torque increases the glazeing of the plates is not as important due to the forces applied with the increased torque.

  • pephi Jul 23, 2010

    hi i think your solution is probibly on the money thank you cheers.

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  • Master
  • 6,826 Answers

I had a similar problem with my 1985 Honda Interceptor where the 1st gear seemed to chatter a little if the oil was not full or if the oil was hot.

It was annoying but there isn't any solution other than to use a different viscosity oil, but even that cannot solve the problem in all cases.

I think it could be a minor design flaw or it wasn't built to be smooth and quiet in all gears

Good luck on solving this problem.

Posted on Jul 20, 2010

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  • kawasaki Master
  • 1,906 Answers

Replace the clutch disk it is partially glazed or, burned,

Posted on Jul 19, 2010

  • pephi Jul 19, 2010

    hi why would it only slip and grab in 1st gear if it was the clutch disk shouldn't it have problems in other gears as well and do you mean replaceing all the clutch friction discs.

  • Jim Goldsmith
    Jim Goldsmith Jul 21, 2010

    clutches need a uniform, gripping surface to smoothly engage, after time a disk can become "sticky"

    in places on it's radius; this causes "chatter" variable grab; it's usually most evident when you take off from a dead stop in a lower gear.

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  • Expert
  • 252 Answers

Hi there,

Firstly, very nice bike.

Your problem sounds as if the clutch actuator is bent or not engaging/disengaging properly in first gear.

Open up the clutch housing and look for any damage. Check the condition of the gear lever. With heavy use (and it being 22 years old) it could be bent, causing the shifter to twist.

This is a little more extreme, but the gear casing could come off and you could look at first gear. The selector fork or 1st gear syncro sounds damaged. Check the teeth on the gears, if they are worn (rounded) it is new gear time or gbox if that is cheaper.

I hope this helps your cause. Happy riding!

You vote counts :)


Posted on Jul 17, 2010

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