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  1. #1
    Member Jake's Avatar
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    Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Hey All,

    Picking up a pre-owned 1998 VFR800 tomorrow (only1500 miles!) so I was reading up on them today and saw a lot of comments about the Regulator/Rectifier failing prematurely. Just wanted to know if this is a problem on my year of bike and where I could get a reasonably-priced replacement should mine ever go out. (I've heard that Honda charges an arm and a leg...)

    Thanks,
    Jake

    1998 VFR

  2. #2
    michael
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    hi jake,

    there is a lot of information on the internet about the infamous r/r problem. here is one article of many: http://www.yft.org/tex_vfr/tech/rr-maintenance.htm.

    if you shop around, you can usually get a much lower price than what honda charges. locally, we go to honda of milpitas. http://www.hondamil.com.

    congrats on the bike, you'll LOVE it!
    michael

  3. #3
    Member Jake's Avatar
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Thanks Michael!

    Wow. Great writeup. Very informative.

    ...You'd think Honda would've fixed something like this by now.

    Jake
    1998 VFR

  4. #4
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    ;D LOL ...

    Honda's been hearing from viffer owners for more than a decade on this very topic. And suffered pretty bad press when a long-term MotorCyclist mag rider (Mitch Boehm?) had his brandy-new 02 die on him for this reason. The new OEM replacement and an alternator upgrade supposedly fix it, so there's hope that this won't occur on the 03-and-beyond models, but us older VFR owners need to travel with a spare, usually. Hope you don't get bitten!
    -m-&&Matthew Kershaw / www.icebrrrg.com&&1998 Honda VFR800i Interceptor

  5. #5
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Hello All...

    New guy here.... Towards the end of last season I traded in my 92' F2 for a beautiful 02' VFR... I loved the bike... so far anyway... only a few thousand miles on it before winter came our way....

    Anyway... I've since recieved a "Product Update Campaign" notice from Honda concerning the 02's alternator assembly. I quote:

    "American Honda's Motorcycle Division is conducting a Product Update Compaign to replace 2002 VFR800/A alternator assemblies that may produce inadequate output during certain riding conditions... Frequent battery discharge or the starter's inability to crank the engine may occur if the high beam and radiator fan are both in operation when riding at low engine speeds or idling for an extended period of time.... a new, higher output alternator is now available"

    My guess is that this is what killed Mitch's bike... I guess it's good that it happened to someone with clout in the business... Honda probably would have been quiet about it... whenever they figured it out on their own....

    Anyway... great to find this site... can't wait to watch it grow... everything looks great!


  6. #6
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    I own a 98 VFR and have about 41,000 km on it. Last summer the rec/reg died on me, leaving me with a long push back home. However I was running Hi-per superwhite Xenon bulbs, drawing about 85 watts each, for the previous year. Any thoughts from the group on this being a contributing factor?

    MARK

  7. #7
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Had a regulator/rectifier failure on my '98 last Summer @ 16K. During the replacement/recharging process, I found the negative battery termainal bolt loose. Part of my weekly pre-ride checks now are the battery terminal bolts; have found them loose several times and suspect this contributes to the R/R failure frequency. With no place for the output to go, the R/R will stroke out on overload (heat) quickly.

  8. #8
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Has anyone checked to see if the '02 upgrade will fit the '98-'01 bikes?

  9. #9
    Guest
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    :'(When I had my 91 VFR, I put three sets of regul/rectifiers into it. I went to Electrux USA for their replacement and it fried at 2k miles. Went back to the Honda products (too damned expensive) and it has lasted about 20K with the new owner. Maybe there is lightning shooting out of my backside or something. I bought a 97 when I sold the 91, went 6K and the system failed. The replacement has lasted for 14k with no problems. This business is really inconsistent, but I can tell you that having a total electrical failure in freeway traffic will really soil your seat. I wrote to Honda about this safety issue and got no reply. I have to guess from the previous responses that there is no replacement available for older Viffers, and that is a damned shame. Kind of like the starter on the old XV920 Euro Yamaha I had. Tried every fix with no success. Hope all of you have good luck with this electrical item, and it is a good idea to carry a spare on those trips into the country, but of course the Rectifies weighs about ten pounds.

  10. #10
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Hey, please check out this page: www.electrexusa.com and there you can find the regulator rectifier at reasonable price for every bike,you will find this part for sure, ;)thanx!

  11. #11
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    I've just picked up a 98 VFR800 with only 15500 kms on in (almost 10k miles).

    It has the clock+trip meter reset problem (see seperate post).
    Dealer said the previous owner had replaced the battery in November and had the charging system checked out (was fine) . NB was private sale, but we use same dealer.
    The bike has only done 1000km since then (not much).

    Had a battery test done. They said it was down on charge and couldnt tell if the battery was OK until it's had a trickle charge.

    So, could the battery just be a bit flat from lack of use of the bike ??

    Should a trickle charge fix this?

    Any ideas anybody?

    I've just picked up a heatsink/fan unit that I'm mounting onto the r/r. ($10 used from computer shop)

    My Australian model has a power 'outlet' just near the R/R that I think is for the licence plate light needed for US models - this should make it very easy to plug in.

    Cheers.


  12. #12
    Senior Member Tourmeister's Avatar
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Howdy,

    Please don't take this as bragging, but merely a counterpoint to the numerous posts about RR failuers. I have a 98 with 47Kmiles on it, and an 01 with 30K miles. Neither bike has ever had any hint of a problem. For the first two years, the 98 was stored outside under a bike cover, same for the 01 for the first year. But I keep the bikes clean.

    I've no electrical accessories on the 01, but the 98 has HotGrips and a PCII. I have been running the higher wattage headlights on both bikes since I got them.

    There are so many theories as to why the RR's fail on some bikes that it is hard to keep track of all of them. It could be a design flaw, a manufacturing flaw, the manner in which the bikes is used or maintained, who knows?

    The moral of the story? I simply don't worry about it. Sure, I keep an eye on the battery voltage, make sure it is always charged, watch for the flickering needles and guages on the dash, etc,... But mostly I just ride the snot out of the bikes ;)

    Make sure elctrical connections are clean and secure, no frayed wires or worn through wires. Go ride.

    For the rest of you, my heart goes out to you, especially if this keeps you from getting to ride. :(

    Adios,

  13. #13
    Guest
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Top tip for you if you aren't already aware. Attach a CPU fan purchased from your friendly computer shop to your r/r. Wire it into your side lights and it will keep the r/r cool while the bike is running.

    Overheating is the main reason for the failure as they sit in a location which gets no circulating air.

    Have a look at this link. I fitted one to my 99 and it took about 20 minutes. Dead easy.

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/stu.tyrrell/Turbo_Mod.htm

  14. #14
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    >:( Well, it turns out that the R/R is faulty. I just hope my new battery is OK.

    The R/R costs AUD$240.00 and according to Honda Australia's technical people, it will be an updated part (it has a different part number) that is more reliable.......

    Just wondering what Honda charges in other countries, remembering this is a known weakness...Anyone?

  15. #15
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    High,

    New member on the list.

    I traded an '89 Honda PC800 for a '91 VFR 750 last Autumn (fall---Brit in the US)--I replaced the stator on the 89 Coast for an Electrex item BEFORE it failed--'89s were known for it. However, last weekend I was fitting a $6 Radio Shack Voltage indicator to the VFR and all went well until I fired it up--no charge and a very HOT regulator. The battery is fine now I've recharged it (I now have a new spare that I don't need!!)--I always trickle charge at less than 500mA and my recent short winter runs must have been on the battery for some time--but I'd never have known unless I ran out of power--and I didn't --I hope I've just been lucky in fitting the voltage indicator so I know whats going on before I'm stranded.(and I didn't know VFRs had such a reputation--it seems general Honda?) I run higher wattage headlight bulbs but switch one out during the day. I run an electric vest occaisionally, and a radar detector--but LED stop/tail lamps saving more wattage.

    They are not in the coolest place and a fan is a good idea. I'm going with a Rick's product at $120 versus Electrex at $150 and Honda at $190--Electrex want 30 days anyway (out of stock as usual)--does anyone have any experience with the alternatives.

    ps this bike only had 16,000 on it when I bought it late last year--and I did do some good runs on it --now 21,000

    Regards, Chris Barnes

  16. #16
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Further to my last posting I got a RR from David Silver Spares in the UK cheaper and quicker than Ricks Electrical--Electrex wanted 30 days and too much money!!. The product from David Silver is made by Sun electronics in Japan--it looks like quality and is heavily finned--the Ricks Electrical product has "soft "potting and no fins like my '91 OE part. The Sun product is now working and my 6 LED voltage indicator from Radio Shack (at $5-99) is showing a healthy 14.5V at 1200-3,000 rpm. I've also fitted a 2" by 2" computer fan on spacers above the RR to give a permanent flow of air when the lights are on--good idea from the site. It still runs warm (but not as hot as with an internal short which it had before). Does anyone know how the output is regulated--i.e. how much energy is dumped via the "heat sink", and what are the worse conditions?--I only run one dipped beam during the day (switch on the other one)--and I wonder if reducing bike power requirements actually has a negative impact on the RR in that it has to dump more power as heat as a result.

    Chris Barnes

  17. #17
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Hey. I have 99 VFR and have just experienced the electrical system failure, ie it aint charging any more. My problem is, how do you tell it's the R/R and not the Stator coil. Based on all the message traffic around the R/R failures I guess the odds are that's what it is. I plan to go through the troubleshooting steps in the manual but I was just wondering if there's a surefire way to nail it down easily. Any help much appreciated. The honda R/R is CAD$206 and the stator is CAD$310, so I want to make sure before I drop the cash. >:(

  18. #18
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    :-[The Electrex website has an excellent guide.

    For the stator check coil to coil (yellow to yellow) resistance (each pair should be the same) , and also coil to earth (shouldn't). You can do an extra "disconnected " AC voltage check just to be sure (bypass the regulator and fire up with the three yellow generator wires free--just measuring AC at their outputs--about 60V if I remember--but check the guide.

    I only found mine when I hooked up a $5.95 Radio Shack battery and alternator tester direct to the battery--I have mine velcroed to the frame rail by the steering head (and a small on/off switch so that I don't drain the battery down)--I can see the coloured LEDs reasonably in daylight/well at night--and certainly every time I get on or off--very reassuring to get an "advance " warning of impending doom--I also plan to carry a spare RR on long trips !!!!

    On the RR you can check as per the Clymer manual or the Electrex guide--but basically looking for odd readings between each of the 3 rectifier circuits.

    Mine got ****dy hot when running --my first indication--shorting to earth and in self destruct mode.

    Also recommend the computer fan--fiddly but worth it I think.

    try David Silver spares in the uk--cheaper and just as quick as any US source.

    Regards, Chris Barnes

  19. #19
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    If you need a new RR in AU try RB Imports (rbimports@surfthe.net.au). I recently got a quote from them for a RR to be fitted to my '97 VFR750 - AU$150 plus delivery.

    Cheers
    Conrad

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormcloud
    >:( Well, it turns out that the R/R is faulty. *I just hope my new battery is OK.

    The R/R costs AUD$240.00 *and according to Honda Australia's technical people, it will be an updated part (it has a different part number) that is more reliable.......

    Just wondering what Honda charges in other countries, remembering this is a known weakness...Anyone?

  20. #20
    Guest
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!!!!!!! ( "NETWORK",1977)
    Suffered an R/R failure at speed- NO FUN AT ALL! Called Honda's problem hotline and after three days of phone tag was basically told to pound salt. IF THIS WAS A FORD TAURUS, AND THIS KIND OF S**T HAPPENED AS REGULARLY AS IT DOES ON THE VFR (AND MILEAGE DOESN'T SEEM TO MATTER), THE PUBLIC WOULD BE SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER! (THIS HAS BEEN A COMMON PROBLEM SINCE '91).
    DON'T GET MAD-GET EVEN!!!!!!! I refuse to let Honda risk my a**- I'LL pick how and when to do that- or pick my pocket to the tune of $150-200. If you've burned an R/R and got stuck- or got hurt- or crashed because it, DON"T WAIT- do like I did and fill out an incident report at the NHTSA website, or call their toll-free number. IF ENOUGH OF US DO THIS, MAYBE HONDA WILL BE FORCED TO ADMIT THEIR MISTAKE, AND WE CAN GET REIMBURSED FOR OUR REPAIRS! (They're halfway there now- or they wouldn't have come up with the new replacement # for the faulty R/R units).

  21. #21
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    I ended up with a UK sourced spare--cheaper and quicker than the US (to the US)--and the part was finned with a aluminium heat sink plate supplied. The computer fan mounted on top suffered from the heat so I went for a blower version just in front--a tight fit. I also used a LED charge monitor just to make sure --no more problems.

    My PC800 was known for an inadequate stator and Electrex (UK firm) supply a beefed up version. On the VFR I switched out one of the headlights during the day and fitted LEDs in the rear to cut the current draw. Buy a BMW and get a 700W alternator!--I have !--you can then run what you like without fear of battery drain or generator system failure due to overload.

  22. #22
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Quote Originally Posted by dan berarducci
    MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!!!!!!! ( "NETWORK",1977)
    * *Suffered an R/R failure at speed- NO FUN AT ALL! *Called Honda's problem hotline and after three days of phone tag was basically told to pound salt. IF THIS WAS A FORD TAURUS, AND THIS KIND OF S**T HAPPENED AS REGULARLY AS IT DOES ON THE VFR (AND MILEAGE DOESN'T SEEM TO MATTER), THE PUBLIC WOULD BE SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER! (THIS HAS BEEN A COMMON PROBLEM SINCE '91).
    * *DON'T GET MAD-GET EVEN!!!!!!! *I refuse to let Honda risk my a**- I'LL pick how and when to do that- or pick my pocket to the tune of $150-200. If you've burned an R/R and got stuck- or got hurt- or crashed because it, DON"T WAIT- do like I did and fill out an incident report at the NHTSA website, or call their toll-free number. IF ENOUGH OF US DO THIS, MAYBE HONDA WILL BE FORCED TO ADMIT THEIR MISTAKE, AND WE CAN GET REIMBURSED FOR OUR REPAIRS! (They're halfway there now- or they wouldn't have come up with the new replacement # for the faulty R/R units).

  23. #23
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Does anyone know the new (improved?) part # Honda uses for the r/r for a '98 VFR 800? Also, I'm making a heat sink plate to fasten between the r/r and frame on the '98 vfr. Does the scoop in the plastic rear body cowling exhaust hot air from inside the bodywork, or admit air from the outside?

  24. #24
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Gary, I had good luck with the Electrex unit on my '97, and I know they make a replacement for the next gen. Try their website- www.electrexusa.com - and cheaper to boot.
    Dan

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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Chris, the website for "electrexusa.com" explains that this system simply shunts excess power to ground - so reducing consumption results in MORE heat (they use this kind of system because it is CHEAP!). Why wouldn't you want to run more - brighter - hotter anyway? Here in New York state, the four wheelers are comatose most of the time ("Excuse me, did I wake you while you were driving?!"). I tend to run the high beams all the time, it gets me noticed, and that's all that matters.
    Dan

  26. #26
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Here is another thing that can be done. I did it and have had no problems. It make electrical sense.

    http://imlpld1.berkeley.edu/~bob/mc/vfr/vfrfix.html

  27. #27
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    I too unfornately had to push my bike home (long uphill)the other day after I stoped for gas and wouldn't start back. After reading all the postings I was sure that I had a bad RR. Here are what I've done so far. Recharged the battery, cleaned all charging system connections, installed a fan on RR. Bike is running fine past several days. The negative battery terminal had some corrosion and I'm hoping that was just what kept the battery from charging. One thing I thought odd was the battery had washers on the terminal bolts. I did toss them, that just create more resistance. I have never seen any battery terminals with washers before. I also found some electrex units available at www.denniskirk.com
    I just hope this is all I have to do. Wish me luck.

  28. #28
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Thanks for the great info. My '97 with 4k miles died once again today. Had to push it 1/2 mile to get to an important meeting. I was pushed to the point of dumping it to get a '04 VFR. (Well good excuse anyway). But It Look's like that won't solve my problem either. Oh yea, I am already running with the updated R/R. I am better off working through the fixes posted here. Thanks!

  29. #29
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    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Well, as it turned out I had a bad RR after all. Picked up an old Rick's unit (mfg date shows 2001) for $119 at a local part shop. Seems to work fine. I put the fan back on. The difference between the bad one and the new was a diode check reading on DVM (with ignition off). Bad one read only one way about 1.3V and open the other way, new one read 1.3V one way, 3V the other. I know what to check from now on. Let's see how long this one will last.

  30. #30
    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Regulator/Rectifier Failure

    Quote Originally Posted by cyudyu
    Well, as it turned out I had a bad RR after all. Picked up an old Rick's unit (mfg date shows 2001) for $119 at a local part shop. Seems to work fine. I put the fan back on. The difference between the bad one and the new was a diode check reading on DVM (with ignition off). Bad one read only one way about 1.3V and open the other way, new one read 1.3V one way, 3V the other. I know what to check from now on. Let's see how long this one will last.
    I suspect that I'm having problems with my '95s R/R too.
    The factory service manual's got me confused on how
    to do the R/R test. Can you please explain to me how
    you go about doing the diode check/test. Sounds like
    you were using the voltmeter/multitester to do it with?


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