Question about Suzuki VL 1500 Intruder LC Motorcycles

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I have a 2004 VL 1500 Intruder, it is kept in the garage and I was driving it on weekends. I notice it started idling different and the sligt backfiring thru the exhaust tehn what sounds like trough the intake. More of like a coughing type situation. I had taken it in the to dealer to do the recall on the gas tank mounts, while he did, I had a dealer Irv Thomas Honda/Suzuki remove and clean, sync, the carbs. When I went to pick it up, there is a ticking noise coming from the top of the cylinder head area, I asked about it and they didnt know ( a dealer). They said they took it apart twice and cant figure it out. It was not there when I took it in?? So I paid like a fool,$ 250 and drove on out. I ran it about 60 miles and then when stoping, the RPM's would not drop down, I am talking high rpm, I finally got it low enough to get it in 1st gear, and drove home. with still a spit and sputter problem and worse now. I have ran it slower , new gas, added 2 small cap full of the Marvales Mystery oil, ran it 60 miles, so far no change, I also added less than 1/2 oz of fuel stablizer, before the last run. So again I still have the backfiring, high rpm reving up and sticking there. I dont think it is the throttle cable because I can feel it return to normal. I know its a a dumb question, but take it to another dealer? The noise under the "fake tank" ( I know where te real fuel tank is), it soundls like a old wind up alarm clock going off without a bell, a rapid ticking sound, consitant with the rpms. Any ideas would be helpful, not going back to Irv Thomas Honda/Suzuki !

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  • rmbrown616 Oct 27, 2010

    Thanks for th additional information, however I did not have the chattering sound or the rpm's staying at high before. Would that have had to take off the intake to get to the carbs? I went in to have the fuel tank mounts looked at for the recall and now I have all these other problems. Is this something I should take to another dealer or is it someone with average mechanical skills could tackle with a repair manual? Any special tools?

  • rmbrown616 Oct 28, 2010

    Thanks for all you help.

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Sputtering or popping through the carburetor as well as high idle is typically associated with an air leak (bad gaskets/intake manifold) on the intake side of the motor. The backfiring through the exhaust is also associated to leaking exhaust pipe gaskets in the head and some times the head pipe to muffler gaskets. Cleaning the carburetor is always a good idea when experiencing running problems. My guess is that the mechanic reused the gaskets on the motorcycle allowing the problem to get worse . He could have accidentally fixed the popping problem by putting in new gaskets and manifold and had a happy customer with out the time saving short cut.
As for the new sound like an alarm clock with no bell, Your motorcycle is equipped with hydraulic lifters. This problem is probably unrelated to your dealer experience. They should have been able to diagnose or test it for you. The number one reason you would have a clatter or clicking would be if an automatic cam chain tensioner went bad. But from your description (the number two reason) you probably have a hydraulic lifter that is stuck or not holding pressure. When a hydraulic lifter does not zero tolerance itself the way it is designed , you end up with ticking or clattering. This was a common problem in 1983 when Honda first put hydraulic lifters in there Shadow 750. But because of better quality control and better materials this clacking lifter problem is one that most newer mechanics have not seen. It is rare but I suspect you have a lifter gone bad. Remember to only use JASO MA certified motorcycle oil. Do not use any oil that says Energy Conserving. Synthetics help your bike run cooler and shift easier which would also help sticking lifter issues. I do not believe fuel additives will do any thing for your situation except preserve your fuel for long storage.

Posted on Oct 24, 2010

  • David Belcher
    David Belcher Oct 27, 2010

    You said you had the carburetors taken off , cleaned , and synced . When they put the carburetors back on they probably did not seal the manifolds properly by reusing gaskets , causing leaks , high idle, popping, etc.
    I think the other clatter is related to the hydraulic lifters. It may or may not be related to the carburetor repair. I do not know if popping through the carburetor can cause a hydraulic lifter failure. But obviously if the dealer you went to can not diagnose the sound, you will need to find a mechanic that recognizes what it is and has a clue about testing hydraulic lifters if that is the part that has gone bad. So I would trailer the bike to several dealers till you find some one that has a clue what is going on by listening to it.
    You can probably reseal the intake manifolds with new gaskets,o-rings, or manifolds (if necessary) But , a mechanic looking into the lifters may have to take it all off again. This could create that particular problem over again. It does take someone in the know to pressure test a motorcycle lifter. You may need special tools for testing the lifters if that is the sound.

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