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Discussion Starter #1
Hey All,

So I thought I was being crafty and saving myself some coin by buying a greybike 1988 GPZ400r for my first motorcycle (It only had 11K so I reckoned I wouldn't see any issues for a while at least). Don't get me wrong, I still love her (You always remember your first right?) but the little lady has been giving me some trouble lately and I think she might require a new alternator. Before I go down that route I'm hoping some of you fine folks could provide some guidance!

Trouble started a few weeks ago, rode to work fine, got home, turned off the bike to open the garage gate and when I went to start her again there wasn't enough juice left to fire her up.

Bought a new battery, charged it up and put it in. Bike starts fine, runs well for about 20 minutes until it starts cutting out and eventually dies (Thankfully only two blocks from a friends house, so after a short UPHILL push she was in a safe spot). Recharged the battery at the friends house and was able to ride home.

So I really don't know a lot about motorcycle mechanics, but from what friends and my father have told me it's likely the alternator. I purchased a multimeter to test things out, and with the bike off the meter read 12.14 volts across the battery, with it on about 12.10 and when revved about 12.08. Does this confirm my suspicions about the alternator?

Basically, what I'm hoping someone can tell me is:

A) What can I do to figure out if it's actually my alternator that's the problem? I'd take it to the shop for diagnostics but I live downtown(ish) and Imperial or Burnaby Kawasaki are both in well, Burnaby, and from past experience I wouldn't have enough charge in the batter to make it all the way out there. I could pay $100 to have it towed out there, but would rather try and figure things out a bit myself first so I can be sure it needs to go into the shop.

B) How difficult a job is replacing an alternator? Despite the bikes grey origins, the electrical system parts are the same from a GPZ600 of the same era, so i can get an alternator from Ebay UK for a $50-$60, which is a helluva lot better then the $500 Burnaby Kawasaki wanted. I probably don't know enough to do it myself, but have a friend who could probably help. other wise I might just buy the part and get the bike towed to Imperial to have it serviced there.

C) Anyone know of any good local sources for used Kawasaki parts?

Sorry for the long post. This good weather + a broken bike is killing me so hopefully the community here can help me figure this out.

Cheers,

RDub
 

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there should be a 3 prong plug from the stator/alternator and you need to get measurements from that. The most basic way is to just pull off the stator cover usually the large left in my experience and check for damage. It could also be the rectifier, but again you need to know the readings.
 

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Just out of curiosity, what do you mean by grey bike?

Grey Market would imply that the bike was either a knock off or imported illegally, which therefore would render it unable to be registered in BC.
 

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Do not buy a 22 year old bike which was never imported into this country for your first bike. Oops, too late.

Having said that, jlg0987 has the right advice for you.
 

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Lee RideFar
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99% sure it is your Stator (alternator). It is toast. You might need a new Regulator Rectifier as well since they work together.

1. Check your wiring from the stator to the reg rec to the battery. Look for any burns or fried wires.

2. Replace your Stator and Reg Rec. They work together and one going bad may make the other go bad.

3. Test your new stator (or old) for resistance. There should be very little. consult manual or forums for the colour of the three wires.

Test the voltage at your battery. Should be between 13V and 15V at 5,000rpm. About 11V to 12V at idle.

Test the voltage from your Reg Rec. It should be around 14.5V @ 5,000 rpm. (less if you have accessories).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It is a Windbell special indeed. Bought it from a fellow who bought it from them. It is a good bike, but like any older lady she has some needs that need to be attended to from time to time.

So when I'm taking readings off the Stator/Alternator, I should basically be looking for an increase in the voltage when revved versus at idle? If there isn't a voltage increase when revved it's a pretty clear indication that the alternator is the problem then right?

Thanks for the help so far guys!
 

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it most likely is the stator. I've had problems like this before and I just replaced everything. You already have done the battery just get the stator and rectifier. Don't buy local as you will get screwed. I bought mine in the states for like $400 for the both new. Don't buy used electrical equipment, especially those things as they'll probably go again. Do it right or don't do it at all. Best of luck to you.

You probably have a couple shorted, burnt winding on the stator.
 

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mike was taken
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It is a Windbell special indeed. Bought it from a fellow who bought it from them. It is a good bike, but like any older lady she has some needs that need to be attended to from time to time.

So when I'm taking readings off the Stator/Alternator, I should basically be looking for an increase in the voltage when revved versus at idle? If there isn't a voltage increase when revved it's a pretty clear indication that the alternator is the problem then right?

Thanks for the help so far guys!
Isn't windbell known for selling "low km" bikes?
 

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No soup for you!
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umm

Isn't windbell known for selling "low km" bikes?
Rev the bike up and watch your headlights. If your lights get bright when you rev it, its not your stator. Recifier is the most common problem on bikes. And like any old mechanic will tell you check the simple stuff FIRST! Because 9 times out of 10 thats usually the problem.

I had a bad rectifier last summer and it did the same thing. Killed the battery repeatedly. They can suck your battery dry and kill it by over/under charging causing you to replace both. Happen to me true story bro.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So I checked the light and it didn't get any brighter when revved... Shame, would really rather it had been the simple stuff!
 

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.

I had a bad rectifier last summer and it did the same thing. Killed the battery repeatedly. They can suck your battery dry and kill it by over/under charging causing you to replace both. Happen to me true story bro.
+1 on that. Had the exact same problem. Ted at EMS helped me out. Got a new reg/rect. and a new batt to boot and now it works like a charm.
 

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New here my first post. i have a '87 GPZ400 that is my first "sportsbike" and rebuilt last winter. It only needed rod bearings and a rocker. If there is any thing you need to know about it I can help u out i also have a spare regulator and manuals and 40 yrs of working on old bikes!
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, somethings definitly wrong with the rectifier

So took some of the fairings off today to have a closer at the rectifier and found this:

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Looks like the wiring connecting the regulator/rectifier has gone a bit melty. Can anyone comment as to whether this would be likely to cause my problems?

Cheers,

RDub
 

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license to chill
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Ha. Yes grey bikes are the siren song of something cheap with cheap insurance that stands out from the crowd.

Sounds like your issue is really manageable though - you'll be up and running in no time. Good luck.
 
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