Broken motorcycle speedometer cable replacement, Kawasaki Vulcan

Broken motorcycle speedometer cable replacement, Kawasaki Vulcan
My 1995 Kawasaki Vulcan VN800 speedometer stopped working abruptly. The video shows how I diagnosed the problem and then replaced the cable and cable sheath.

The replacement I bought included the speedo cable sheath, and was slightly shorter than the original so I couldn’t just replace the inner cable portion. You’ll see that I tried to replace the whole cable without removing the gas tank, but the routing was too tight so I had to remove the tank and air box for better access. In retrospect I should have used my wheel chock to position the steering wheel straight ahead, so removal of the tank would have been easier. Even though the tank was not siphoned dry, very little gas drained when the fuel line was removed.

My new cable came with lubrication already in place, but I plan to do frequent lubrication to allow the new cable to last longer.

For an interesting explanation of how the motorcycle petcock works, watch this interesting video by my friend mrmaxstorey

This video is amateur effort, published in good faith for entertainment purposes only. I am not a qualified professional motorcycle mechanic, and a pro may have accomplished this task very differently. So, this is in no way a qualified instructional video.

Motorcycle repair is a potentially dangerous activity, especially when removing a gasoline tank. Don’t be a dick, don’t let anybody smoke or cause sparks near open gasoline, and of course take all appropriate safety precautions. Be sure to inspect the vehicle afterward and while running to be sure that fuel connections are not leaking. Any misadventure resulting from your attempt to repair your vehicle is your responsibility.

31 thoughts on “Broken motorcycle speedometer cable replacement, Kawasaki Vulcan

  1. Next time, not in the near future. Shane Conley has a channel here on youtube where he does that as part of a brake job. He’s a great teacher. Just a word of explanation that he uses what we in the auto field consider a somewhat different method because he uses retrograde flow. Some auto mechanics don’t like the use of retrograde flow because of possible strain on seals in the MC. I don’t have a problem with it, though.

  2. Thank you for the easy instructions. The only thing I’ll say is I’m glad I don’t have your bike. I have an old Honda CB450 and the speedometer cable is exposed right in front, no need to take the gas tanks and other parts off.

  3. Yeah, this one was a little tricky. Last week my clutch cable broke, and that repair was really easy, in contrast to some other bikes. Overall I’m really happy with how well this bike has performed over the past 13 years — very few repairs needed. I would certainly buy another Vulcan, based on my experience with this one.

  4. Definitely good looking bikes. I like some of the modifications some have done with them. The CB450 is my first motorcycle and though it is in good shape for a 30 year old bike, it definitely has issues, namely the speedo cable just snapped. so far in the 6 weeks, I’ve had to replace fork seals and springs, replace the chain and sprockets, repair the master cylinder in the brake and replaced brake cables

    If not for videos like the one you’ve made I wouldn’t know where to begin, so thank you.

  5. Thanks for your response, Gabe. Yeah, I’ve learned tons from videos on youtube, and my channel is a humble effort to return the favor. You might consider turning a camera on when you do your repairs (grin).


  6. Glad you posted this. My 02 classic 800’s speedo just started acting funny amd just quit working as well today.

  7. Great  video. I have a 96′ Vulcan 1500 with a broken cable. Do you have any information about hooking up a digital speedometer from Autometer? I have only the speedo and no instructions. I’ve contacted Autometer, but they never responded. Thanks!

  8. Hi.I have a 800 cc Vulcan from 2000.The speedometer stopped working.I checked the cable and was nothing wrong with it.I got this problem after I changed the back tire.It still worked about 2000 miles.Now,I can’t figure out what the problem is.What parts I need to replace.Any Ideas?

  9. Great video. Just had to use your video to check my speedo on a 99 Kaw Vulcan 800. Didn’t have to replace it but I knew where to look because of your video. Just had to reconnect it. Thanks again.

  10. If I can make a recommendation- how about a tube up, or things to do to make a bike winter ready for storage. Now that I have a safe place to keep my bike in the winter, what should I look for, major things to upkeep the bike. Please and thank you again.

  11. Was just trying to read up on the Kawasaki 800 Vulcan. Trying to get some use out of the book. But I just got confused and looked up on the internet. Here it is with everything I needed. GREAT!!!!!

  12. Great video, I had the same problem with my vulcan. All fixed now. Thanks a lot.

  13. After you removed the tank- before you removed ed the air box- what was that tube or something you removed? I couldn’t tell what it was- it was as you were removing the tank. Ps- my speedo just broke. Your video again will be what I look to to fix it!

  14. Any plans to make a video to show. How to make a bike “winter” ready? Some of us live on the east coast and we already have cold mornings and warm afternoons.
    winter is coming and it may not be very nice to us.

  15. Great videos, really help me in the past so thanks for that….

    hey would you have any advice for two (2) problems ? 1st. I have a wobble in the handlebars at 30-45 mph and 2nd the popping I n the exhaust when I come off the throttle, I beleave the popping is due to open pipes but is there anything that might stop some of it?

    Thanks for Any help,
    Tim H.

  16. Re Tim Hayes, Most wobble I’ve seen is a tire issue. I’d be checking wheel balance and wheel position on the axle, not forgetting to closely look at the tire for sidewall weakness and other issues. Not sure about the popping. MrMaxStorey is a good resource here on youtube, with way more experience than I have.

  17. Great stuf, i own the same bike and your video’s are helpfull.. thanks a lot.
    I am missing info on the Gear sensor, i would like to make a gear indicator for my vulcan, do you have any info on that..?

  18. This video was very helpful. However I have the same issue. But I do not believe its my cable. but I didn’t purchase a new one in case. But my speedo tends to jump. and doesn’t run at all. but will jump from time to time….I was told there may be a speed sensor in the rear wheel that may need to be aligned as since I had a tire replacement and that might have happened. Anyway to get a video on how to check or replace it or know of one I should watch as I have not found one unfortunately…… Thanks in advance!

  19. any clue on how to take out the whole speedometer?…..that little thing on the left (that one that adjusts the riden distance) side wont let me take the whole piece out.

  20. So I have replaced my speedometer cable on my 1999 Vulcan 800 Classic. After installing it, speedometer still not functioning, I realized my original speedo cable was still working properly. I connected a Dumore to the aft end of the speedometer cable to test it, and realized my cable and the speedometer itself were working properly. I’m assuming there is something wrong with the part on the rear wheel, where I connect the speedometer cable. Do you have any recommendations or ideas as to what is going on?

    Thank you in advance! I love your videos, they have been extremely helpful to me.

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