RE: Top end oil leak
Had a '95 1500-A model Vulcan (the old BUBF), and developed a leak from the same place, except in the rear cylinder. The first thing I did was the cheapest check. I checked the compression on both cylinders with a compression guage I got from Auto-Zone for about nineteen dollars (cheap investment, that, as I have used it on everything from determining when my son's two stroke MX'er needs a fresh top end to telling when it was time to get Ol' Blue - the worn out Chevy truck that my son I argue over all the time - a new engine). Long story short, the front cylinder was well within spec, but the rear was way down on compression. This led to a bit more investigation, and a hop over to a buddy's who has a larger assortment of toys than I do in his garage. He did a leak down test, and sure enough, the rear piston and rings had to be replaced. Had a complete overhaul of the top end....and since they can't do ANYTHING to this engine without taking it out of the bike, it's a MAJOR ordeal. BUUUUUT, at least I had the peace of mind of knowing that I had done what I could to make sure it wasn't a smaller problem that could be fixed with a cheaper solution. This occured at thirty four thousand miles....less than I would have expected. Oh yeah, had them go ahead and change out the POG for a brass one while they were in there. If I'm not mistaken, Kawasaki went to a brass OEM oil gear in '98. so if you do (and hopefully you won't) have to have them drop the engine, I'd get that replaced as well. Don't know what Kawasaki was thinking with the Plastic Oil Gear...but it's cheap insurance against a catastropic failure to have it changed out if the engine's already out of the cradle.