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Discussion Starter #1
In my search for a vstar i rode a 2005 1100. It obviously hadn't been ridden for a while judging by how it acted (lots of choke to start, didn't want to run without choke), but it did clear up with a little higher rpm riding. Not perfect but good enough for a quick test ride.
My question has to do with the cam chain on the 1100s. There was a definite and pronounced sound on the right side of the engine. The sound didn't go away very quickly but by the time I returned to the owners house it certainly quieted down.
Do these motors have loud cam chains? Are there any problems associated with the cam chains or tensioners? How about the oiling?
 

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The timing chain on the 1100 does not make noise. You will get some valve tappet sounds, which is normal. Did you by chance check the oil? Old oil or low oil will make the tappet noises more noticeable.
 

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I did not check the oil. According to the seller, it was just "tuned up." Pretty dumb on my part to not check it... was in a bit of a time crunch. That's my excuse anyway. It could've been blacker than black for all i know
 

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Do the 1100s have any oiling problems? Am I just being paranoid?
No oiling issues. Vstars are the most reliable bike made, Google it. You were questioning cam chain noise. Only time I've ever heard of engine noise is from low oil issues, that's why I asked about oil
 

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So I'm a newbie to the V-Star and I changed my oil recently for the first time and had a small challenge. You're supposed to have the bike upright when checking the oil so while filling and checking, I put a 4x4 block under the kick stand with a strap tied to something solid to keep it from going over the other way. While filling, I could not see a change in the window until I realized it was appearing over filled. Cranking up the engine for a minute and then checking the level, all was great. Funny thing though, after a good ride and setting the bike upright to check the level, I had the same issue. I thought the first time was because the new oil needed to be circulated through the filter and all. The second time surprised my but cranking up the engine for a minute and rechecking, all was good.
 

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you should keep the level close to the middle line. if theres to much oil it gets blown out the crank vent tube and collects in the air cleaner..the best way to check is with a hand mirror.when i'm feeling daring i hold the kickstand with my left hand and grip the left handgrip and tilt the bike level.https://sites.google.com/site/vstar1100kb/home/new-owner-must-do-list
 

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...You're supposed to have the bike upright when checking the oil so while filling and checking,...
on all the bikes that have the quarter sized sight glass window to check the oil, get a little piece of mirror, sit on the bike on level ground, keep the bike in gear, and with one hand on the handlebar (grab the brake if the glass is on the left) push the bike up straight and reach down with the mirror to see the window.

You can lean the bike a bit left and right and watch the oil go up and down in the window. Where exactly the bike is vertical is subjective. This will give you a better feel for where the oil level is.

The plate behind the window is white. When the oil is dirty its very easy to see the black oil against the white plate. New oil can be a little harder to see, esp if you run synthetic oil, it tends to be yellow/gold and does not stand out as well.

The other thing, when you change your oil look in your owners manual to see how much you need, depending on whether you changed the filter or not. On all the Vstar bikes I have looked at you only need to change the filter on every other oil change: 4000 miles for oil, 8000 miles for filter. Whatever the owners manual says, put that much oil in the bike.

If you try to watch the sight glass while you are filling it up after an oil change, it will look full about 8 ounces short of what it needs. When you start the bike up it will pump that oil into the transmission and up in the heads, and it will read low. If you watch the glass again it will take another 5 ounces to make it 'look' full, and when you start it up again, it will be 3 ounces low.

Just put the amount in the manual says, check the sight glass to make surer you did not miss a quart, it should look like its overfilled. Ride the bike and check it when you come back, after it sits for a minute, and it should be fine. If its low after that, you are leaking oil.

If you dont have the owners manual for your bike, they are free online downloads from yamaha/vstar - easy to find.

Also the factory service manuals for most vstar bikes have also been scanned into pdf format, and are easy to find online as well. Some of the pages are a bit blurry (like the schematics/wiring diagrams) and the index table of contents links dont work in the scanned copies, but its better than nothing.
 

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BTW, regarding engine noise: air cooled motorcycle engines are a noisy beast. Water cooled motorcycle engines are a bit quieter, but compared to a car with the engine under the hood, you are going to hear things on your motorcycle that you wont hear in a car.

And if you have a windshield, it is an acoustic reflector perfectly shaped to focus all the sound right up to your helmet.

Both my VS650 and Royal Star 1300 make a sound like you are clearing your throat when idling, like Chhhhhhhhhaaaa. It sounds like something sliding over metal, and it does it more when the engine is hot.

I dont know what it is, but my bikes have 41k and 25k on the odos, and they both run fine.

In general you should get use to the sounds your engine normally makes, then if it starts making a different sound, then you got something to worry about. I know that does not help with a new bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've had several bikes over the years and I absolutely agree that air cooled engines are louder without the water jacket. It could be that the bike sat long enough for the majority of the oil to drain out of the upper parts of the cylinder. That being said the bike was warming up for a couple minutes while we fiddled with the choke and looked the bike over so there was oil pressure.
Also, for what it's worth, the front cylinder got hot at some point. The exhaust had turned gold for a longer length than you typically see on your given bike. The exhaust on the rear cylinder wasn't discolored or blued at all. Does anyone have any thoughts about that?
 

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If you let the bike sit and idle with the choke partly on, that would make it run rich, and would make the exhaust pipes start to rainbow.

Only use the choke on full to start the bike, then immediately push it in about half way to slow the idle down to normal. Put your helmet on and check your lights and ride off. About half a mile down the road push the choke in all the way, and you are good.

It might idle a bit slow when you stop for the first few miles.

Leaving the choke out, even part way, while riding longer than a mile or so, will keep the engine running rich, and will rainbow your exhaust.

There is no reason to let the bike sit and idle, unless you are working on it, balancing the carbs or adjusting the idle speed for example.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Unfortunately it wouldn't idle without choke when I got there. I fiddled with the choke and throttle enough to keep it running, possibly more than half choke but that seems about where it was when I got to
I assumed that at some point someone had the front cylinder hot for whatever reason. Temperature wise that cylinder didn't seem out of the ordinary, at least judging by how it felt with my hand. Obviously not touching it, just holding my hand near the cylinder/ exhaust pipe.
 

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when a bike is running rich the cylinders do not get hotter, in fact the cylinders are a bit cooler than normal

but all the fuel does not burn, and it ends up in the exhaust pipes and mufflers. Under certain conditions it burns in the exhaust system, sometimes all the way back to the muffler - then the pipes all rainbow.

Im only referring to Vstar bikes. Other bikes have exhaust pipes with different construction, and they get hot enough to rainbow all the time, esp near the heads. The Suzuki 650 thumper (savage) for example. I dont think Ive ever seen one that didnt have the full spectrum of heat temper colors.
 
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