|Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 06:56 am: ||
So, just letting you know how things are working out.
Well-maintained (well, kept clean)
Repeatedly blowing headlights, but not PIAA auxiliary lights (despite being tied into high-beam circuit).
Putting out a steady 12.5 volts, but not going up in voltage at 3,000 rpm
Could be voltage regulator
Could be stator
Could be battery
Printed out 200-page Buell Ulysses electrical manual (not part of the factory manual). Boss did not come out of his office while I killed trees and toner.
Battery good, full 12+ volts (despite being original)
Did the four way-way stator test:
1) Sniff test. Pop the primary chain cover and smell. Smell something burnt, electrical, like a fried electric motor?
You have found your problem!
2 & 3)
To check the Stator unplug the regulator then unplug the Stator.
Meters ground should be a clean metal one.
The pos.+/lead on meter put in Stator plug.
Set to OHMs should read no continuity.
Do both sockets on stator & should be the same.
NOW to Check (Resistance), put both Meter Leads one each in Stator plug,The reading for resistance should read 0.1 to 0.3 ohms.
A higher reading needs the Stator OR the Rotor replaced.
Also once you turn on the Meter Touch both Meter Leads together and make sure it reads Zero before Starting your work.
IF the Stator Checks Good check the Regulators plug for melted or burnt areas.
4) All that checked out. Also, connectors all looked good.
Finally, also checked the actual output from the stator — 45-50 volts, climbing as it came off idle to 3,000.
Which is what should happen.
Voltage regulator had some minor corrosion on the bottom plate that covers the three wires that run into it.
Also, dirt ran out from the flexible sleeve that holds the three wires together (!)
Ordered the voltage regulator from Lance at St. Paul H-D.
My local H-D dealer said, and I quote: “Huh?”
Lance took the time to talk through the issue with me a little; he wondered if it really was the VR, which spurred me to look deeper, and find the stator tests too.
We also debated the merits of cheap H4s, vs. more expensive PIAAs.
But we also agreed that having a spare VR on the shelf in the Man Cave could not be a bad thing.
(One is none and two is one.)
Right now, awaiting delivery of the VR from St. Paul H-D, and two new PIAA H4 bulbs (and one H7 for one of the aux lights.)
This place is an awesome resource. Thanks for all the support and advice, gents!
Now, about the coils, plug wires and plug caps on my 1979 Suzuki GS750 ...
(Message edited by RNR on July 27, 2016)
|Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 08:11 am: ||
Great write up, thank you. Only one clarification, reading from stator pin to ground, you are correct that it should be no continuity, which is infinite resistance. So remove the "zero" reference.
That's a nice succinct guide.
There is a $70 digital storage scope with a steep but not impossible learning curve that will let you see the waveform (and transients) in real time. I had already climbed the learning curve being an EE, but I think it would be a really valuable tool for mechanics as well.
|Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 11:15 am: ||
I have noticed that experienced mechanics have ways to diagnose things very quickly and easily.
I have had two stators and one voltage regulator go bad on my ULY with 70,000 miles on it. Both times the stator went bad all it probably would have taken to diagnose was a the old sniff test. When I removed them they were blackened in spots and had a strong burnt aroma. I'm willing to bet if the stator is bad you can quickly tell (in addition to popping headlight bulbs and probable battery charging symptoms) by removing the little cover where you check the primary chain tension and taking a whiff.
Not to say don't do the electrical checks on the stator, but if it smells that way you wouldn't have to. Just disassemble and the stator will most likely be blackened and visibly fried. Another sure clue it needs to be replaced. If your not sure about the smell I would go ahead and do the electrical checks.
|Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 12:06 pm: ||
Yeah. And if it's popping headlights, it has to be either a bad voltage regulator, or a bad connection somewhere related to the voltage regulator.
The battery can't produce enough voltage to pop a headlight, and a failing stator can only go down in voltage, never go up.
It's the "won't charge" scenario that is the harder diagnostic. In that case, it could be the stator, VR, battery, and pretty much every connection involved.
|Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 02:24 pm: ||
Per your suggestions, I've updated my wrap up.
Will report back when the VR and the bulbs come in and I get them in.
Since I have the left-side air scoop off, she's getting new spark plugs too.
|Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 06:07 pm: ||
Do you have a link for the Ulysses electric manual? Thanks
|Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 08:03 pm: ||
Ummm. There's this thing ... called Google ...
|Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 08:25 pm: ||
Heed Reep's advice when the new parts come in. Make sure the whole circuit is Kosher from the VR plug up to and including the battery. Anything wrong here can cause more electrical issues. As far as appearances and dirt on the VR, just look at where it is. It's mounted low and forward to catch all that cooling air. Of course it's also catching everything that comes off the road. Don't worry, it's all sealed. A little dielectric grease around the mating parts of the plugs should help keep moisture away from the terminals.
|Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 07:19 am: ||
Thought I put a picture of the VRs up here, but I don't see it.
Here it is.
Those two little holes in the back of the old one are "interesting."
(Message edited by RNR on July 28, 2016)
|Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 07:52 am: ||
Probably bubbles in the potting, but that expensive potting stuff isn't supposed to bubble.
The crack along the potting on the bottom, with the vertical crack intersecting it, looks more like trouble to me. Looks like it could be a water ingres point.
|Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 08:14 am: ||
Just interesting to me that you put something in that location and don't make it bombproof.
|Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 08:18 am: ||
Looking forward to cutting that stuff off and looking inside.
I'll put it on my shelf in my garage with other select components from bikes past and present, "sacrifices to the gods of speed ..."
|Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 09:16 am: ||
Mine got weak but didn't fail outright.
I tore into mine with picks and xacto blades.
Took forever, made a mess, found nothing other than perhaps a dry-ish solder connection.
It's not worth ripping into it in my opinion.
I was expecting to find some burnt stuff but just found a mess and boring components.
BTW, I experimented with all sorts of chemicals here at work and couldn't find anything to touch that potting compound.
They should make cars out of that crap!
|Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 09:58 am: ||
I tried taking one apart as well. It was a bear.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2016 - 04:11 pm: ||
VR installed, new headlights installed, showing 14.7 at 3,000 rpm, headlights not blowing so far.
Put new brake pads on, but didn't realize the stainless steel radiator plates popped off the old pads.
So ... tearing the front apart again tonight to put those one.
If we learn by doing, I'm a learnin'.
As you can see, I get full value out of my brake pads.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2016 - 05:19 pm: ||
14.7 sounds perfect.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2016 - 09:51 pm: ||
Yes, think the VR was the problem.
But if you hear bulbs popping and loud curses ...
|Posted on Thursday, August 04, 2016 - 09:55 am: ||
Took the bike out this morning for 25 miles or so.
All lights still working!
New plugs and brake pads, and she's a brand new girl.
Glad it was apparently NOT the stator.
Will keep you apprised of longer-term use.
|Posted on Thursday, August 04, 2016 - 10:33 am: ||
|Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 11:07 am: ||
Another quick update:
All systems green, no headlights blowing, running like a champ, no "ghost" check-engine light episodes (where it would light up for no apparent reason then go away.
So ... VR it was!
|Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 05:11 pm: ||
Nothing quite as satisfying as a successful episode of trouble shooting.