So, I bought my '06 Buell XB12Ss several months ago (19K miles), for a serious bargain price. The previous owner said it had been having some engine/rideability difficulties, but it was running fine, and so I trailered it home a happy man. It has a Drummer exhaust, and the PO said Drummer himself had recently adjusted the fueling. It ran wonderfully for a few hundred miles, but then started flashing the engine malfunction light and going into limp-home mode or even shutting down. I did some research on the BadWeatherBikers forum and learned of some grounding issues on the aluminum frame XB12s (which I had never experienced with a couple of Ulysses), and so I pulled the frame-ground fittings that I could find, 400-grit papered them and reassembled with a dab of dielectric grease, and bought a heavy gauge ground strap that I ran from the battery terminal to one of the main frame-grounding points. Eureka! All was well.
For another few hundred miles, until the engine malfunction came back on, and I pulled over to shut down and restart.
Bad move. It wouldn't restart. We're probably all familiar with that chittering sound from the starter/solenoid that means the battery is toast. Fortunately I was on a hill and so was able to coast/bump start it and get home, though it was hardly running by then.
After installing a new battery, it fired up just fine, and off I went on a ride. All was well.
Until I stopped about 20 miles later for fuel, and it would not restart, sounding like the battery was dead. So I pushed the bike a couple hundred feet up the hill (I'm getting too old for such foolishness), and was able to bump start it coming down. Headed straight for home; it ran fine for a while, and then started running like it had only half a cylinder, and then I coasted dead into a parking lot a few miles out. And I started walking home. It was 90 degrees or so outside by that time, but the missus collected me a mile or so from home. So I hooked up the trailer, and went back and collected the Buell. Curiously, there had been no engine malfunction lights whatsoever, this time.
It's on the charger now, just to see if it will start back up tomorrow, to hopefully rule out the new battery as the issue. But I strongly suspect there is a deeper problem. Maybe the alternator is not charging? Anybody have any experience with such an issue?
With your multimeter at hand and the charged battery installed, start the bike. With the RPM's at 2k, you should see 13.5V -14.5V on the multimeter at the battery terminals. If so, the charging system is good. If not, start at the alternator and check there for proper functioning.
Got the (new) battery charged with it disconnected. Then hooked it back up and saw ~12.8V. When I then started the bike and held the throttle at 2-3K, I'm only seeing ~12V. Took a 20 minute ride---no problem. But now it will just barely start, and I see 12.2V when not running, and something like 11.8 when at 2-3K RPM.
Best guess is that it's the generator? But I guess I first need to looked for bad connections (and figure out where the @#%$ generator is!)
So, I finally got around to starting to troubleshoot the charging issue. The sniff test was inconclusive; I'm not sure if I'm getting an electrical smell, or maybe just the clutch oil. The infamous infamous connector plug on the opposite side looks fine, and when disconnected and I put an ohmmeter in the 3 female sockets, I get zero ohms in all combinations. My understanding is that that means the stator is probably OK? I pulled the voltage regulator, and the rubber on the back has lots of little cracks. Is that suggestive of failure? (I haven't yet figured out how to test it) From the wiring diagram there appears to be a fuse between the battery and the voltage regulator, but it does not appear to be located in the fuse block, and I'm not sure where to look for it. Back to studying the service manual, and posts on this fine forum!
Service manual does not have electrical troubleshooting info. You need electrical diagnostic manual. At least that how things going on for 2008-2010 Buell XB. Those years have dedicated electrical manuals besides service manuals.
I do not know if 2006 Buell XB service manual has electrical troubleshooting info. But if it does not have such information download 2008 Buell XB electrical diagnostic manual and see the troubleshooting process for alternator. There are some differences between 2006 and 2008 Buell XB alternator, for instance 2008 is single phase stator with 2 pins on the plug.
I do not know the stator coils resistance value for 2006 Buell XB, but for 2008 it should be 0.1-0.3 ohms, not zero. Zero resistance might mean shortage between the stator coils and stator will likely not work properly with coils shortage. If the resistance is higher then there is a possible broken coil wire or connection inside the stator wires and stator will not work properly too.
You need to check whole alternator system DC output (basically you already checked it and found the system does not charge the battery), stator coils resistance, stator shortage to ground, stator AC output.
If the stator coils resistance, stator shortage to ground, stator AC output are OK then the stator is OK and the issue is between the stator and the battery, which is wiring, plugs and voltage regulator. You can inspect the plugs visually and check the wiring with your tester that those thigs are not broken. If the wiring and plugs is not broken, not shortened then the issue is inside the voltage regulator.
I'm confused. I received the new stator and VR. and I got the primary cover off. The stator doesn't look or smell fried (nor does the VR). When I put an ohmeter on the lowest setting (200 ohms) and touch the leads together, it registers 0.2. When I go from any of the 3 wires to another of the 3, I see 0.4. When I go from any of the 3 wires coming from the stator to ground I get 1.0. My understanding is that that latter reading would be an indication that the stator is bad, right? And when I put the ohmeter on the new stator (not yet installed) from any of the 3 wires to ground I get 1.0 (for ground I used the frame of the bike, or the center metal core of the stator).That confuses me further, though maybe the issue is that the new stator is not physically installed?
Am I misunderstanding something here?
Also, when I install the new stator, how do I know which of the 3 black wires goes to which of the pins in the (77?) connector?http://
DOH! I had a feeling that I was misunderstanding something. You are correct---my prior post said I was reading 1.0, but that is not correct. It is just a single 1 on the left margin of the screen----meaning infinity. Same as the new, uninstalled stator. So now I'm thinking, especially since the stator looks (and smells) OK, that maybe the problem is the voltage regulator? So far as I can see, I see no evidence of shorted wires, or bad grounds. I suppose that I should mention that several hundred miles ago I had some sporadic running issues with the Lightning, which were rectified by removing all the grounds I could find, using 400 grit sandpaper and dielectric grease on them and cranking them back down tight, and adding a battery grounding strap between the battery and the grounding point on the frame near the rear cylinder rocker cover. I'm wondering if I should just replace the voltage regulator and see how that works out? I'm going to do another post to inquire if there is an inline fuse between the battery and the VR that I've not found.
There is no need to disassemble the primary case to test the stator.
So as I understand you performed 2 out of 3 tests for the stator and it passed those. The last test you ideally should do is AC output of the stator. For this test the motorcycle should be completely assembled, oil should be in the primary case of course. The battery should be completely charged. The VR should be disconnected from both plugs (from stator and from motorcycle). You set your multimeter to AC voltage measuring mode, start the motorcycle, connect the multimeter to 2 leads of the stator, revv the engine up to electric manual stated RPM and observe the AC voltage. Do the same with another 2 stator leads combination. Then compare the readings with value from electrical manual. I do not know the value per RPM of healthy Buell XB 3 phase stator, this this something you have to Google.
If the stator passes AC output test then the VR or wiring between VR and stator, or wiring between VR and battery or any combinations of those is bad. If the wiring looks good, then the issue is inside the VR.
The 2006 XB12X manual shows a value of 16-20 Volts AC per 1000RPM measured across any 2 of the 3 pins coming from the stator. That stator in your picture looks to be in excellent condition - when they short they usually look like charcoal on some of the windings. The following blurb is assuming that you measure the AC output of the stator is in the range mentioned above (all 3 phases) and the voltage regulator & connections need to be checked. I have seen bad connections with the 3-pin connectors between the VR and the stator so give them a close look. I see in your other post you asked about the 30A fuse - that is between the battery positive terminal and the regulator '77' connector so that connector is 'hot' regardless of the ignition switch so be careful working in this area. The first check I would do is disconnect the '77' connector and measure across the two pins on the lead coming from the battery - this should be battery voltage if the battery is connected. The'77'connector was a source of trouble with the 3 phase XB's (the original connector was a Metri-Pack 480 (Packard) that was superseded on later spare regulators by a Deutsch connector (this required the connector on the bike side to be changed along with the later spare regulator. Have a really close look at the pins on whatever version of the '77' connector you have as a dirty connection here can cause a no charging situation. If these connections are good then the only remaining suspect is the regulator itself. Please note that you can't get a meaningful measurement of the regulator DC output with the '77' connector disconnected (and engine running). I have repaired several XB's by simply cleaning the '77' connector and reshaping the female connectors but the regulator can definitely fail. If you see any cracking or heated lumps in the softer potting on the rear of the regulator then that is one indication it has expired.
I tested the power from the battery to the stator, and it was good 12+ volts, with the engine not running. I then got the clutch-basket/stator-rotor/primary-assembly reassembled, and she fired up just fine, without the voltage regulator connected. I then tested AC voltage across all 3 pin combinations in the '77' connector coming from the stator, and got around 20 volts in each pairing.
So, it would appear that I didn't need to tear the primary down and buy a stator. Sigh. But I do also have my new VR, which looks like a pretty simple plug and play operation, and so I'll do that tomorrow (it's HOT out there right about now).
I greatly appreciate all the help[ful advice I've received (fingers crossed!)
My 12X had the exact symptoms you had and was the first time I have had a bike trailered home ever but in those days the 77 connector was an unknown and I had to find it myself. Your regulator may well be toast but before throwing that pretty rare regulator in the trash I would triple check the pins on the 77 connector.
I will do that triple check of the pins. Assuming that looks OK, I have a final (I hope) quandary. With the new voltage regulator, the 3-pin 77 connector appears to be a direct match with the wires from the stator, The 12V DC connector is not. Top pic is the old VR, bottom pic the new VR. So, I can either modify the old `12V source cable to match the new VR connector (a connector end piece for that purpose was included), or I can cut the connector off the old VR and substitute it on the new VR, or I can directly solder the wires and not use a connector at all. I'm leaning toward the latter, but the problem is, while there's no difficulty discerning the polarity of the wires coming from the battery, the two wires coming from the new VR are black, and I don't know how to determine which should be positive and which should be negative. I could just assume that the left/right polarity is the same on both connectors, based on the ocking clip defining the 'upright' position, but is that a safe assumption?
Eric, the 77 connector is the 2-pin DC connection (the one on the RHS of your first picture) so the female mating plug for that is one you need to check closely. In my case just unplugging/plugging that connector would see charging resumed for a while as that action cleaned off the contacts a little. Assuming you have to replace the regulator then then I would opt for putting the new Deutsch plug onto the bikes loom in place of the original as that was the Buell upgrade but please see if you can get/borrow the correct crimping tool for the Deutsch pins. This charging output can put out a whack of current (remember the 30A fuse) so a poorly crimped pin in this plug will fail. The ground side of the regulator output is connected to the case of the regulator so a quick check with your multimeter on the lowest ohms range should see 0 ohms (or whatever the meter shows with the multimeter leads shorted together - some cheaper meters might should something like 0.1 ohms or so) for the -ve pin which should connect to the black wire on the bike side of the 77 connector. The Deutsch connector will be numbered 1 & 2 for the pins but I can't recall offhand which is +ve and which is -ve. I do have a couple of regulators in the shed I can dig out tomorrow and check for you as confirmation.
Surprised at myself for getting that wrong, but I've finally got it all back together. Instead of spending money and waiting on a specialty crimper that I would probably use exactly twice, I tinned the ends of the new and improved Deutsch 77 connector, hand-crimped them and heated the crimps up until a little more solder would flow. I am now getting a charge to the battery (around 14V at 2K RPM). My only concern is that the shifter seems maybe clunkier than before, though I'll better assess that when I take a ride tomorrow. Wish I hadn't torn the primary down, but I'm pretty sure I got it all back together properly, We'll see!
Took a 40 mile ride today, no issues. It does seem to not want to run as smoothly at low RPM steady throttle, but maybe I was simply paying closer attention. In my experience, with six Buells, from 2001 to 2009, my impression was that the earlier tunings were better set up for low RPM cruising. When I got home today I shut her down, waited for the fan to stop running, and then fired her back up. No hesitation, so that is further evidence that the charging system is again functional!
If you solder the wires to the plug I recommend you to put heat shrink tubes above the soldered spots on each wire and the heat shrink tubes should overlap and go further than the soldered area. If you just soldered the wires they will brake over the time due to vibration right above the soldered area.