Originally Posted by highwaythunder
bike is a 1992 kawasaki vulcan 1500. the oil level is halfway up on the sight glass tank thing. so i dont think thats a problem. and its more of a click. i would say its a knock
The good news first...
You're gonna have a heck of a tough time bending a push rod on an overhead cam engine - there are no push rods.
One thing that has cropped up with Vulcan 1500s is that the cam chain tensioners run out of adjustment or can just plain go bad.
I'm not positive and I can't seem to get on the Kawasak parts site, but I think the engine has hydraulic valve adjusters.
So you may have a valve adjuster issue.
The way to know if it is the tensioner or valve adjuster is to listen to where the ticking is coming from. If it is coming from the cam drive tower, that is play in the cam chain allowing it to rattle. Not an immediate critical issue, but potential for future issues like the cam chains wearing out prematurely, possible cam chain slider damage, and worst case scenario the cam chain jumping a tooth and possible valve/head damage. The latter would only happen after a long long time based on what I know about the cam drives, but it could happen. If the noise comes from the cam area it may be a collapsed valve adjuster if they used hydraulics on the bike.
I know a fair amount about the cam chain adjuster thing because I've developed a sideline business making manual cam chain tensioners when I had to make them for my own bike. To date I've been in touch with about a thousand riders and sold near as many kits - it grew as more found out about me. I also learned more as I communicated more.
Should you find the ticking is from the cam drive, I've actually sold a few manual cam chain tensioner kits to Vulcan owners to replace the failed OEM units. There is some kind of extender out there, but the thing is if the OEM unit quits working right, what's to stop it from screwing up again. The manual unit installation is non-invasive (no engine apart deal) and relatively easy for someone with minor but decent mechanical experience. It takes about an hour.
Key point, make sure where the noise is coming from. The rear cylinder cam drive is on the right side, the front cylinder I believe is on the right side. The rear cylinder cam chain tensioner is on the back right side of the cylinder making me assume the front cylinder tensioner will be on the back left side. It is the same tensioner design for all years of Vulcan 1500 engines from 87-08.
Feel free to PM me if you find that is the problem. I can help.