Help: '97 charging system shutting down

Discussion in '3rd & 4th Generation 1990-1997' started by Tat, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Tat

    Tat New Member

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    Hi,

    New ricks stator, regulator/rectifier, vfrness, battery, digital voltmeter, installed summer of '17. Ran fine all late last summer in to fall. Bike put into hibernation for our Canadian winter. Woke it up, ran great.

    However about a month ago bike shut down, thankfully on a back road with no traffic. Turned on my voltmeter (had shut it off trying to break the habit of focusing on it lol) and sure enough low volts. Checked wiring. Let it cool. Pushed it, started, volts showed 14.2, thought ok, lose wire.

    Since then, starts fine, runs great, volt meter shows the charging system always coming on at start up, 14.2 volts. Then within 5 mins or perhaps up to 1 hr running time shutting down, volt meter showing 12.6 and slowly decreasing. I can shut off the bike and turn it right back on and volt meter shows 14.2. Then repeat, charging system shuts down. I've done the "drill" as written too many times to count on the stator and r/r, I did so hot and cold. The stator never stops making power or going to ground, even when the bike is running and volt meter at battery shows 12.6. I stripped the bike, checked every connection including ignition relay, removed and cleaned every ground. I called and talked to tech at Ricks, he agreed r/r. The Canadian company I bought the stator and r/r from agreed to replace it and give me a credit. All the same I need a new back tire anyway. Happy, was thinking obviously I got a bad new r/r. Installed the new one, no change. Needless to say very disappointed.

    Before I either drop money for a mosfet r/r, even more loonies and toonies for a OEM Honda r/r, or listen to the growing voice in my head that is telling me to sell it as is for peanuts, is there anything else that could possibly be doing this? i.e. could a fine looking starter relay, the CDI, or possibly a well working keyed ignition switch internals somehow be "telling" my charging system "ok shut down now you are not needed?"

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

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    Look at the starter relAy connections. pull off the top plug and inspect for signs of overheating, melted wires, etc. remove two large nuts, and snap off the plastic part that holds the main fuse and other connections.

    new 031.JPG
     
  3. Tat

    Tat New Member

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    Thanks Squirrelman. I will have a another look at the starter relay. I had pulled the plug off the top and didn't seen any issues and left it at that not realizing I could dwell deeper into it. I will as you said, remove two large nuts and snap off the plastic part that holds the main fuse and other connections. Really hoping for a aha moment when I do. Much appreciated!
     
  4. Tat

    Tat New Member

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    Finally had time to again have a look at the ignition relay. No signs of burn. My relay does not quite look like the one in your pic Squirrelman. Pretty sure mine is not meant to come apart. Nonetheless I ordered a new one and expect it in tomorrow. Hoping that is the final part required to get the bike back on the road.
     
  5. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

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    starter relays were updated after 1990 ( i think) from round to square, but i'm doubtful that a replacement relay is gonna help you. :Canada:
     
  6. needragr

    needragr New Member

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    So why do you believe that squirrel dude?
    Can someone post or direct the OP & any others that WILL encounter such problems to a Ignition current flow diagram or drawing &/ or step by step troubleshooting guide so that they dont waste time posting this same problem over & over only to suffer the same less than helpful responses~!?
    Its not that complicated.
    USE a VM. Check the voltage at on your battery. with power off & on. notice any drop in voltage.
    A weak or dying battery will cause all many of weird operating symptoms.
    Does you clock display and tick over?
    Do you get power ...to anything...when you key on? Yes . . go to <insert> No ..go to <insert>

    Perhaps there is thread with this info already? Cant it be made a sticky?
    Are the bikes so old now that no one cares?

    :surrender:
     
  7. Tat

    Tat New Member

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    Update: same ol' same ol'. needragr thanks for the support. I have been through every thread from here to the moon. The drill is solidly implanted into my brain lol. I am likely reaching and hoping it may be something other than the r/r, stator and battery or combo thereof. It just has me scratching my head how I can go from 14.2 volts to 12.6 when on the go, i key the bike off and back on it, crank it over and show 14.6 volts again only to it randomly shutting down showing 12.6 again and depleting from there if I keep it going. I verified the reading with a VM. I have tried a new battery, I have a new r/r installed, the stator is less than a year old and checks out. The parts are not OEM, but are not ebay Chinese cheapo's either. I have been through every connection on that bike and everything is clean.
     
  8. COS_VFR

    COS_VFR New Member

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    I am curious to know how the voltmeter is wired so that we know where the 12.6 Volts is measured at.
    My voltmeter is wired through its own relay very close to the battery .
    Something that I would look at is the harness ground connection on the right side of the frame.
    I added a ground wire with ring terminals that connects the harness ground on the right side of the frame to the battery ground on the left side of the frame.
    I wanted to be sure there was not a high resistance path between the two connections.

    - Gordon
     
  9. skimad4x4

    skimad4x4 "Official" VFRWorld Greeter

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    Hi Tat

    As I have never owned a 3rd Gen, until now I have only been watching this thread to see if it was resolved.

    However I though I should point out there are some alarming similarities to the endless thread about charging system issues with 5th and 6th Gen VFRs.

    http://vfrworld.com/threads/how-to-fix-common-regulator-stator-failures.39277/

    As you mention "The Drill" I guess you already know that thread well...

    Certainly going exclusively by information in your posts - if your enquiry related to a 5th Gen I would almost immediately suspect the RR is on the fritz. Of the 4 elements of the charging system (Battery, RR Stator and loom) The first and last are unlikely to heal themselves. Inherently the Regulator/Rectifier) is responsible for REGULATING the system volts and if a diode is on its way out it may work OK for a short while and then fail when hot.

    Sadly as you will see in the above thread there are doubts about “Ricks” RRs. They have been tried and as you can see from posts #34 and #37 been problematic. That is why many people eventually opt to fit a decent Shindengen RR even if they are way more expensive.

    Given the age of 3rd Gen bikes, of course other "age related" issues may be at play. Over many years insulation on wires can wear through due to vibration whilst riding, and may occasionally result in the charging system shorting to the frame. However given experience of others with Ricks stuff I would be wary of assuming that just because a part is "new" that it cannot be faulty - even if they sent you a new one - it may be from the same defective batch!

    In an ideal world, there may be someone else on the Forum living close by with a 3rd Gen who you might be able to meet and briefly swap RRs to see if that resolves the problem. However Canada is huge and I guess that even New Brunswick is a pretty large area, so updating your forum profile to include a more precise location might help secure local help.

    As for schematics - you can find links to the 3rd Gen service manual and many other gens in the Specifications sub-forum - which will usually include a wiring schematic at the end. Whilst some of the original links are now dead, my post on the last page has links which still work.

    SkiMad
     
  10. Tat

    Tat New Member

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    Thanks Gordon and Skimad. The voltmeter positive wire to + battery post with inline fuse and ground to frame. I'll give the extra ground wire from harness ground on right side to main battery ground wire ground spot a try. However I think it is becoming clear the last two r/r's are just bad purchases. I appreciate the comments as I was shaking my head wondering could it simply be new r/r again and again. I might go with the new shendengen mosfet everyone is raving about or choke on the price of oem.
     
  11. Tat

    Tat New Member

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    So I added the extra ground wire and went out for a test ride, sure enough started out 14.2 volts and minutes later 12.6. BUT an update, out of nothing more than frustration I started pulling wiring connectors easily in reach roadside. First a headlight plug, no change. Then the second headlight plug, no change. Then the left front park/turn signal connector and man didn't the charging system slowly build back up to 14.2. I thought it was a fluke so I plugged the connectors for those lights back in one at a time, as soon as I plugged any of them in sure enough the volts dropped. I have found a wiring culprit?? Something or somewhere is drawing power or grounding perhaps? Perhaps a headlight relay or two or their connectors? Anyone come across this crazy scenario or have an opinion how to best and most efficiently go about diagnosing this?
     
  12. Tat

    Tat New Member

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    So I narrowed it down to a wiring problem to the headlights. Opened up the wiring harness behind the instrument cluster, found the ground that splices out to the headlights and front signal/park lights, added my own ground wire at that splice, buttoned it up, put about 6 hours of riding on it since with NO CHARGING ISSUES. Happy, happy 'till next time.
     
    skimad4x4 likes this.
  13. skimad4x4

    skimad4x4 "Official" VFRWorld Greeter

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    Well done for resolving the issue, and for taking the time to let us know how you fixed the problem. :Cheer2:

    Thanks
     
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