If you have a pesky oil leak on the left side of your Vulcan, this is a likely place to look. There's a small oil seal around the clutch pushrod which should be pressed into the crankcase. In my case, I found that the seal simply came out when I pulled out the pushrod and was clearly not doing its job.
Credit to tearitupfixitrepeat.blogspot.com which has a bunch of great pictures.
So, from the beginning....
What you need
- 5mm Hex Wrench
- 8mm, 10mm and 14mm socket wrench
- (2) zip ties, string, wire, or something similar
- Torque wrench measuring in inch-lbs
How to do it
- Determine that you have a leak. This is the easy part.
- Next, loosen the front left floorboard bolt and remove the rear one. You don't have to remove the floorboard, just get it out of the way to remove the side cover. (Note: this is a Mean Streak and yes, it has floorboards. The idea is the same if you have pegs.)
- Remove the shift lever, taking note of its position (remember how the little dimples on the lever and shaft line up.
- Remove the left side cover with the 5mm hex wrench. Now you can look for the source of the oil. I added some UV dye to my oil to help find the leak, and you can see how it glows green. There's a telltale drip on the slave cylinder banjo bolt. A little blurry, but it's there....
- Pull your clutch lever in and tie it to the handle bar. This will keep the piston from being pushed out of the slave cylinder, which keeps you from having to bleed the clutch.
- Remove the three 8mm bolts holding the slave cylinder and tie it up to something so it's not dangling by the hose. Observe if there's oil in it (there probably is). You're likely to see some oil in the slave cylinder housing also. Feel free to wipe that up. Brake cleaner on a Q-Tip works well to clean the slave cylinder piston.
Note the pushrod in place, and notice the little dimple on the end. The other end does not have a dimple. This is how the pushrod should be installed.
Also note the small notch at the lower-left part of the crankcase in the above pic. Apparently Kawi thought this issue to be likely enough that they put in a drain!
- Pull out the pushrod, at least a bit. The seal shouldn't pop out with it, but it might. As I mentioned, mine didn't appear to even be pressed into the crankcase.
- Now's a good time to check the condition of the seal and the pushrod. There shouldn't be any grooves or significantly rough spots on the pushrod. The seal should just be replaced, it's less than $5 (P/N 92049-1017) and the pushrod for this bike (P/N13116-1132) is only around $14. Might as well replace them both as long as you're in there.
Note: If you're checking partzilla.com or a similar site with diagrams, the pushrod is on the "Clutch" diagram and the seal is in the "Front Bevel Gear" diagram. Go figure.
- Assuming your parts are good, or you have new ones, reassemble everything. Push the pushrod back into the engine. There's a little hole deep in the crancase that it goes through; a flashlight will help here.
Make sure you have the pushrod going in the right way. Remember the dimple on the *left* side?
- Put the oil seal onto the pushrod and into the engine. You'd expect the hole to be countersunk, but it isn't. You don't want to press it all the way through. Get it seated, then put a large-ish washer over it and tap it in with a deep-well socket. The seal should be flush with the surface of the crankcase.
- Once it looks (again) like the pic in step 6, bolt your slave cylinder back in place and torque to 61 inch-lbs. That's not a lot, so get the torque wrench on it after the bolts are barely snug.
- Untie the clutch lever, pull it a few times to be sure there's no air and it feels right. You shouldn't have to bleed the clutch if the piston never came out.
Now, go ride and keep an eye out for leaks. It might take some time to see any leak; because the bike leans left on the kickstand, the oil accumulates in the bottom of the cover before leaking onto the ground.