Kawasaki Vulcans have had plastic oil gears (POG) since their inception. While they have proven reliable in the A models, a problem seems to have developed with the advent of the Vulcan Classics and Nomads. POG failure has been observed in the Classics (1996 to 1999) and Nomads (1999 only).
Starting with the 1999 Drifter and the 2000 Classics and Nomads, Kawasaki has changed to a steel oil pump gear (SOG).
The reasons for the POG failures have been debated long and hard among the VROC members. Although many factors have been suspected, none have been decisively confirmed. I will leave this debate for another forum.
To determine the extent of this problem, I conducted two surveys of the Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC) membership. The first was done in January 2000, and the second in October 2000. The survey stressed the need for ALL owners with the identified models to reply regardless of whether they had experienced failure. 146 members responded.
It appeared from the outset that there was a marked difference between the Classic and the Nomad. The Classic had fewer failures, more high mileage bikes without failures and a higher average mileage at failure, compared to the Nomad. The charts below show the results of the survey.
Tables updated October 2000
Kawasaki USA has been fixing all POG failures regardless of warranty status. They have not decided to do a complete recall at this time. To do the repair in the traditional manner involves removing the engine and splitting the cases,
If you are at risk, however, take heart. A VROC member (The Judge #2594), in a stroke of judicial brilliance, has developed a steel replacement gear that can be installed without removing the engine. This is commonly known as the Judge's oil gear (JOG). Details on this kit and its installation were covered by Coyote in the FAQ.
If anyone has any further data on their POG equipped Classic or Nomad, Email me.