Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA - 2002 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak (VN1500-P1) – Inferior Manufacture from an apparently inferior company - Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA - 2002 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak (VN1500-P1)

Posted on Sunday, November 3rd, 2002 at 12:00am CST by c9ba54a0

Company: Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA - 2002 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak (VN1500-P1) – Inferior Manufacture from an apparently inferior company

Category: Other

Complaints.com received the following consumer message on November 1, 2002:

From: Arnold Vitarelle [[email protected]] RE: Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA - 2002 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak (VN1500-P1) – Inferior Manufacture from an apparently inferior company

2002 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak (VN1500-P1) – Inferior Manufacture from an apparently inferior company. I just purchased a new 2002 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak (VN1500-P1) motorcycle from Sportline in Queensbury, NY on September 28, 2002. I loved the bike at the time, it had a nice look, the engine was smooth, and the bike was easy to handle for a heavyweight cruiser.

Other than the ride home from the dealer, I had taken it out twice; it had just over two hundred miles on it. Within three weeks of the purchase I received a recall notice from Kawasaki. The information provided here is from the NHTSA web site http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 02V261000

Potential Number of Units Affected: 698

Manufactured: 12/2001 - 12/2001 Defect Summary: ON CERTAIN MOTORCYCLES, A FLANGE ON THE TRANSMISSION OUTPUT SHAFT CAN FRACTURE, RESULTING IN ENGINE DAMAGE WITH POSSIBLE ENGINE LOCK-UP. Consequence Summary: FLANGE FAILURE COULD CAUSE THE OUTER GEAR ON THE SHAFT TO CONTACT THE TRANSMISSION HOUSING, PIECES OF THE FLANGE COULD INTERFERE WITH TRANSMISSION OPERATION, OR OPERATION IN FIRST GEAR COULD ALLOW TWO SETS OF TRANSMISSION GEARS TO MESH SIMULTANEOUSLY. THESE FAILURES COULD CAUSE SUDDEN TRANSMISSION LOCK-UP, WHICH WOULD CAUSE BOTH THE ENGINE AND REAR WHEEL TO STOP SUDDENLY, INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH. Corrective Summary: DEALERS WILL DISASSEMBLE THE ENGINE AND REPLACE THE TRANSMISSION OUTPUT SHAFT. OWNER NOTIFICATION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING OCTOBER 2002. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT KAWASAKI AT 1-949-770-0400. This recall also affects 2002 Vulcan 1500 Classic (VN1500-E5) and Vulcan 1500 Classic Fi (VN1500-N3) The dealer could do nothing for me except arrange for the repair. I called Kawasaki Consumer Services. The representative said to have the bike repaired; it was all I could do. No one seems to understand that a new motorcycle (less than a month old and still within the break-in period) with an engine that has been torn down and rebuilt by a dealer mechanic is not a new motorcycle. It’s certainly not a motorcycle that I would spend over ten thousand dollars on. I explained this to the manager of Kawasaki Consumer Services. She was quite patient but at the same time quite inflexible. The federal authorities accepted their solution and that’s all they intend to do. Kawasaki could do nothing for me that they wouldn’t do for the others affected by this problem. Well, I feel that anyone affected should have the option of receiving a brand-new replacement engine and drive train or simply returning the motorcycle to their dealer. I finally gave up on trying to explain my issue and my wife took over. The two spoke for quite some time and the manager finally agreed to extend my one-year warranty for an extra month. So she could do something outside of the standard resolution but I still find this unsatisfactory and unacceptable. Not knowing what to do anymore and not really clear on the extent of the repair I arranged to have the bike repaired at Sportline. The service manager could not elaborate on it much since it would be the first one they were doing it (I’m not feeling real comfortable at this point). I dropped the bike off there on Tuesday, October 22. I was told the parts would be in but upon arrival I was told they would not be in until Friday. I received a call on Wednesday afternoon, October 30 the bike was ready. I went to the dealer the next day and inquired about what exactly had to be done. I was told that the entire engine had to be torn down, completely, over sixteen hours worth of work to facilitate the repair, but he did have his best Kawasaki mechanic working on it. I really don’t have a good feeling about this. I’m not a mechanic by trade but I do have a decent understanding of the intricacies of engine building. This is a machine that must be assembled within certain tolerances. There are important torque specifications, clearance specifications, carefully installed seals and gaskets. A factory-assembled engine is one thing; an engine reassembled by a dealer mechanic is another. I know this bike pretty well; I’ve thoroughly cleaned it three times and waxed it twice since I purchased it. There is now a very small triangular indentation on the chrome crankcase cover that was not there before. I noticed that the rubber boot on the drive shaft was not installed properly; it was pulled too tight. It has a contoured groove that is supposed to fit on a lip on the shaft. I pulled the chrome cover off and fixed it. I decided to pull the chrome cover off the left side of the engine in order to more closely inspect the engine. Certain areas on the side of the case are oily. Underneath there is a thicker wet film of oil; it’s not dripping but it’s not clear as to why it would be wet. Either they didn’t properly wipe down the block after the rebuild or something is leaking. Now everything comes to light; all the bolts that used to have clean sharp edges are now worn from being wrenched on. There are small scratches I never noticed before; this is not the new bike I purchased a month ago. I spoke to the manager of consumer services again and was told there was nothing she could do except see to it that the dealer corrects what is now wrong with the bike. I condemn Kawasaki for their actions in this situation. The resolution may be acceptable for the authorities in that it is supposed to correct the problem with an unsafe vehicle, but is completely unsatisfactory for the consumer. Obviously Kawasaki is not concerned with customer satisfaction.


f7d44574, 2009-02-21, 05:30AM CST

Very lame of Kawasaki, very, very, lame. They make some nice bikes, I've owned a 750 and a 1600 Vulcan. However, that will very likely be the end of it after reading this. They should have installed a new engine, period, full stop, end of debate. Kawasaki was wrong, it did not stand behind it's product and they ripped this man off big time. SHAME! I have no reason to believe that Kawasaki wouldn't do the same thing to me, so why give them the chance?

My fear is that all of the bike manufacturers will act in this chickensh*t fashion given similar circumstances, but before I buy another one I am going to research customer service as much or even more than the bike itself. Hopefully someone out there stands behind what they sell.

927471be, 2010-10-15, 08:54AM CDT

This letter was rejected by Kawasaki. I felt I should have gotten more than 45,000mi out of a bike without having to spend $1500 to replace the transmission. They said too bad after being a customer for 40 years and 4 brand new bikes. This will be my last Kawasaki .

October 1, 2010

Dear Sir or Madame,

For the purpose of clarification, the following information is provided:

References to dealer refer to:

Midtown Kawasaki LTD

1864 Silas Deanne Highway

Rocky Hill, CT 06067

(860) 721-0193

References to bike or motorcycle refer to a brand new 2003 Kawasaki 1500 Vulcan Mean Streak VIN No. JKBVNAP143A014872 Engine No. 121976 purchased from the dealer on 5/16/2005. The bike odometer currently reads approx 45,000 miles.

To begin with Id like to provide some information about me. I am a 60 year old male who has been exclusively buying and riding Kawasaki motorcycles, all of which have been purchased through my dealer and all bought new since 1973. My influence as an owner/rider caused my father and both brothers to own Kawasaki bikes over the years as well. I am a local and very conservative rider.

The Mean Streak was my first Twin-V bike upgrading from a KZ1000. It was a leftover and I paid $10,000.00 for it. The first problem to surface during the warranty period was an oil leak. It was serious enough to require the entire engine be pulled off and fixed. A second leak was discovered after that both covered under warranty. There have been two additional oil leaks since repaired at my expense. Beyond these issues, additional repairs have been written off as routine maintenance with nothing of a serious nature.

Recently I noticed the bike slipping gears, particularly when trying to accelerate in 3rd gear. The bike actually lunges and nearly jumps out of your hands. I brought it to the dealer and was told the clutch needed to be replaced. I picked the bike up once and the problem was not resolved. I was told a part needed to be put in from a 1600 Mean Streak. Again I picked the bike up and again the problem was not resolved. Finally after spending nearly $600.00 on repairs, I got a phone call telling me that my bike with less than 50,000 miles on it needed to have the entire transmission replaced and will cost an addition $1500.00.

Not only is this unacceptable, its appalling. I have access to a tremendous number of Kawasaki Owner/Riders through groups, chat rooms and forums on the internet and not one person has come forward to mention having this problem. Most have replied with precisely my line of thinking which is this is unheard of. This is a bike Ive only had for 5 riding seasons, is unsafe and cant be ridden and now faced with another $1500.00 repair bill totaling $2000.00 or 25% of the cost of the entire bike.

I am looking to Kawasaki to authorize the repair of my bike for two reasons: This is a manufacturing flaw and has nothing whatsoever to do with me as a rider and for nearly four decades of customer as well as dealer loyalty. I have authorized Midtown to release any and all information concerning me or this bike to you. You may contact Bryan McCann who is the owner or Dennis in their service department.

I await your response.


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