Honda ownership = electrical apprenticeship and no riding
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Thread: Honda ownership = electrical apprenticeship and no riding

  1. #1
    Registered User Array glib's Avatar
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    Honda ownership = electrical apprenticeship and no riding

    I've had my VFR for almost 2 months now, and I've been working on diagnosing and fixing electrical problems for almost half that time.

    Followed every test in the service manual, it told me my R/R was bad. Replaced it last night, still not getting a charging voltage so I re-run through every test again and get to the end, where it tells me my R/R is bad and should be replaced.

    It's not a short in the harness. The battery is new. The stator checked out ok. I backprobed the output pins from the R/R and I'm getting a reasonable charging voltage of 13.4-13.8 (idle-5000rpm) yet still I get 1V less at the battery: 12.4 to 12.8 (idle to 5000rpm).

    I hate this.

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  3. #2
    From N00bie to Wannabe Array FASTn50's Avatar
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    Excellent site for VFR info:
    http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.php/index

    But if you're stuck, Ted @ EMS has a permanent repair.

    Also, Elevation may be able to offer a link worth your attention.

    My 2005 VFR? Changed the front harness (warranty recall), stator & regulator at about 20,000 kms. No electrical problems since at 100,000 kms.
    All my Mistresses have two round, sticky black feet and are Made in Japan or Germany!
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  4. #3
    Moderator Array CHIA's Avatar
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    I have a lust for VFR's, but every time I read one of these posts,
    and there have been MANY, I instantly lose that lovin feeling.
    Quote Originally Posted by G Hats View Post
    A sore ass is better than a shredded back!
    .

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  5. #4
    Ridin Dirty Array vstromgreg's Avatar
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    Shame, because they are a sweet looking bike... hope you get it sorted out..... is there a frame ground point? corrosion there could be responsible...

  6. #5
    From N00bie to Wannabe Array FASTn50's Avatar
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    I love my VFR. I doubt I'll ever sell her even if I eventually go the dual sport route. Triumph 800XC has caught my eye but dust & moths in the wallet is keeping me in check!
    All my Mistresses have two round, sticky black feet and are Made in Japan or Germany!
    If I die on Phillip Island, so what! I'm already in Heaven! WOOHOOO!!!

  7. #6
    Ridin Dirty Array vstromgreg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHIA View Post
    I have a lust for VFR's, but every time I read one of these posts,
    and there have been MANY, I instantly lose that lovin feeling.
    makes me like the ST1300 even more...... and I like that bike A LOT!

  8. #7
    Registered User Array Mechannibalism's Avatar
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    is there a frame ground point?
    YES check the Neg. wiring from the R/R to the frame and Batt.
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  9. #8
    Back in the saddle, baby Array bc-lefty's Avatar
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    VFRs have bad harnesses, it's pretty well known. You may want to spend the money now to get a VFRness, it augments the standard harness and eliminates the problem spots.

    You may be having an issue with the sensor wire that tells the R/R what voltage the battery is at - it can cause the R/R to over or undervolt depending on how it's failing. Also, is the battery known good? Last VFR I rode wouldn't hold a charge, the voltages were dropping to around 11.8, even lower when the bike got hot enough for the fan to kick in.
    Where do I find the intake snackle??

    2013 Triumph Tiger 800XC

  10. #9
    Registered User Array glib's Avatar
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    Yeah I think I'm putting in an order for a VFRness now. It will probably take another week at least before it shows up though which means yet another weekend of no riding. I'm going to double check and test the resistance of the harness when I get home, but 13.4-14V coming from the R/R into the harness, then 12.4-12.8 once it gets to the battery is pretty clear that there's something ugly in that harness. I'd rather just swap the whole thing out for something that everyone agrees is solid rather than fix one spot and have it fail on me later somewhere else.

  11. #10
    Registered User Array MrCheeky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHIA View Post
    I have a lust for VFR's, but every time I read one of these posts,
    and there have been MANY, I instantly lose that lovin feeling.
    Indeed. I had a 1997 VFR 750 for 88,000kms and 3 regulator/rectifiers. The dealer was excellent in replacing them. I contacted Honda Canada who denied that there was any "issue" whatsoever with their reg/rec. Honda Canada can blow me, I will never buy another Honda motorcycle.
    "There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life"

  12. #11
    Back in the saddle, baby Array bc-lefty's Avatar
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    Eh, Suzuki has problems with reg/rec too, ask VStrom owners how long they are backordered for

    I certainly don't agree with Honda Canada's policy of "oh it's not an issue, we've never heard of it" etc, especially with potentially dangerous failures like wiring harness short causing a fire, but I wouldn't throw out the whole brand. None of the major bike manufacturers are any better, unfortunately
    Where do I find the intake snackle??

    2013 Triumph Tiger 800XC

  13. #12
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    I have read your thread over at:

    http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/i...or-the-stator/.

    A little preamble.

    "Back-probing" is just to say to take a reading while the circuit is complete under operating load ( ie. "live testing"). The test leads are put through from the back of a connector to make electrical contact.

    Under designed operation conditions, the "start" lead-acid battery is there primarily to provide electrical power until the charging system/electrical power generation system kicks in. Once the engine is running, the charging sytem will then provide the required electrical power, and attempts to replenishes the charge the battery lost during the starting up process.

    Although, the measured voltage of a lead-acid battery can be indicative of the amount of charge a battery has, but because of "surface charge", the indirectly measured amount of charge a battery has can be skewed.

    In the troubleshooting chart, it asks to take a voltage measurement across the battery terminals while the battery is installed in the bike with the battery cables connected, and the ignition off (ie. key out). This is an important first step. This measurement is what the manual referred to as the "measured battery voltage".

    Then start up the bike with the headlight on high beam, and take more readings across the battery terminals (ie. the points of the test leads making electrical contact should be part of the battery posts, and not any part of the battery cables IMHO) from idle to 5000 rpm. This measurement is what the manual referred to as the "measured charging voltage".

    In light of I have said above, then it makes sense that the "charging voltage" is higher than "battery voltage". Of course, this has the assumption that there does not exist bad or broken electrical connections in any part of the circuit.

    There can be a few outcomes. Of course the desired one is where the charging voltage is between the battery voltage and 15.5VDC. However, should power not reached the battery terminals for whatever reason, the measured voltage can go lower since the bike is drawing power primarily (or completely) from the battery. Don't forget that the high-beam is on for making this measurement, in addition to other regular loads.

    After starting up the bike, a healthy (properly pre-charged too), fully charged battery doesn't lose much charge and will still be in the "absorption charging stage", and hence it doesn't need a lot of current to re-charge, nor will its voltage drop much.

    Your back-probe measurements at the charging system output (@ the R/R connector) varied between 13.4 to 13.8 VDC. Generally speaking, 13.9 VDC is considered the lowest for voltage charging purposes. Commonly, the "float-mode monitoring" voltage is between 13.2 and 13.5 VDC for many smart chargers. (But until charging system output "sees" the "load" properly, there is no point at this point to worry about it yet.)

    The most obvious symptom reported by you is the measured charging voltage at the battery is about 1 VDC lower than the back-probed measurements.

    This would be the first thing to chase down. If you looked at the schematic diagram of the charging system, there is no reason the measured charging voltage is not the same as the back-probed voltages.

    A complete circuit is required before electrical current can take place. Hence, there will be a "supply side" (positive), and a "return side" (negative).

    The other thing to note is that there has to be a "voltage-drop" across a bad connection under load.

    Now you need to see where the bad connection(s) lie(s). Is it on the postive side, the negative side, or both?

    For myself, I would use the "divide-and-conquer" method ( sort of like the use of the process of elimination). For example, the postive side can be broken up into two segments: the R/R side, and the battery side, since there is a 30 A. fuse. Hence, measure the voltage drop across the two segments segments. For good measure, take a voltage reading across the fuse too. And go from there.

    Note that the charging circuit is really a simple circuit with not many wires nor connections.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited by TechyIam; 07-22-2011 at 04:19 PM.

  14. #13
    Registered User Array MrCheeky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bc-lefty View Post
    Eh, Suzuki has problems with reg/rec too, ask VStrom owners how long they are backordered for

    I certainly don't agree with Honda Canada's policy of "oh it's not an issue, we've never heard of it" etc, especially with potentially dangerous failures like wiring harness short causing a fire, but I wouldn't throw out the whole brand. None of the major bike manufacturers are any better, unfortunately
    My last ride, a 2005 Triumph Daytona 650 was absolutely flawless except for the stator going at around 33,000km. I had it for 5 years and a very enjoyable 45,000km.

    I agree though that most marques have their own "issues". Heck, we've got to complain about something
    "There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life"

  15. #14
    Registered User Array funguy604's Avatar
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    Well, what you've concluded to yourself already is that you have a voltage drop = resistance in between your charging circuit from the RR. visually inspect if the connectors for bad. burnt, toast, crispy, loose. if that turns out ok.

    measure the resistance from the RR+ to batt+ . . if anything higher than 2ohm, repair the wire, or just rewire it with a larger wire. some nice automotive stereo power cable will do the trick.

    good luck

  16. #15
    Registered User Array glib's Avatar
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    Now my backprobed voltage from the R/R has dropped to only 12.9V. I quit, I'm taking it into the shop and I'll pay them whatever. This is just crap. Every single component related to charging seems to be complete shit, I don't have time to waste my entire summer rebuilding this.

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