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Electrical Systems & Diagnostics Troubleshoot electrical problems here.

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  #1  
Old 07-20-2015, 09:22 PM
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Didn't Want Ricky to Feel Alone

Was on a Muscular Dystrophy charity run a couple weeks ago when the engine light pops on. Voltage is dropping, engine light on and off.
Pull out of formation and decide to head to the house, about 60 miles away.
Beulah got me home, she was pushing between 9-11 volts all the way. The voltage kept rising and falling. I shut everything off but the headlamp and got her to the garage. It was never sputtering or faltering, I'm assuming she ran home using up the battery. When I got her parked I let it simmer down for a few and then tried a restart, dead as a doornail, couple of clicks and that was it.
Where do I start? Voltage regulator or stator?
Work is busy and I don't have a lot of time to wrench right now. I'm also being cheap and looking to check what I can 1st.

2003 Twin Cam, Stage one with a tune. PCIII from Fuel Moto.
Suggestions and instructions appreciated.
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:38 PM
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Dinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowDinero has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever know
Charge and test battery. If good move to voltage regulator. Charging system is easiest to test and repair.

Save the stator for awhile but be prepared to go there next.
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Old 07-21-2015, 02:55 AM
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stoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowstoney has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever know
Check the stator plug - it may be loose.

Hope it's that simple for ya.
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:25 AM
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2003; You have an access cover for the primary belt tensioner. With the bike OUTSIDE, remove this cover. If it's one of the most pungent smells you've ever detected, it's probably the stator...

Your symptoms sound like Stator, but in all the failures I had, the voltage never would raise and fall, just fall. Maybe you'll get lucky and it is the voltage regulator.
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:34 AM
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Didn't Want Ricky to Feel Alone

If it turns out to be either the stator or regulator replace with Cycle Electric. stuff I would also install Cycle Electric regulator with the new stator. If regulator only, replace with Cycle Electric. If you shop around the net you can get pricing better than OEM.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backroad Mike View Post
2003; You have an access cover for the primary belt tensioner. With the bike OUTSIDE, remove this cover. If it's one of the most pungent smells you've ever detected, it's probably the stator...

Your symptoms sound like Stator, but in all the failures I had, the voltage never would raise and fall, just fall. Maybe you'll get lucky and it is the voltage regulator.
That's exactly what my voltage regulator did when it went bad.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:57 PM
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I'm originally from the South Side of Chicago. Back of the Yards. Describe pungent.
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:19 PM
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Sounds like a classic case of stator shorting.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say your warranty expired. Maybe Russ will lend you his spoon
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:01 PM
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Don't change the battery, just charge it. It sounds like you have an exceptional one.
Yes, it sounds like a bad stator to me., but it *could* be just the voltage regulator.
Before taking it down, though, spend a half hour checking every possible connection, especially ground straps.


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Old 07-23-2015, 07:04 AM
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Old 07-23-2015, 07:53 AM
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One usually leads to the other...
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:36 AM
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Check the battery connections...
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:52 AM
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When my charging system went south, I tested both the regulator and the stator. I thought the reg was alright and proceed to replace the stator. I buttoned it all back together only to see it not charge upon starting. The hard part was riding 18 mi. home at 1am. from a friends on battery alone with water freezing on the roads. Plus side, I knew a few more minutes and two more screws would take care of the rest.
Here's to yours being an easy fix


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Old 07-23-2015, 02:08 PM
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The sad bit is that there isn't a definitive VR test, only elimination of other things until we have to get to the conclusion that it must be the VR.

The stator CAN be tested and can be conclusively failed if it tests Open (A to B, A to C, B to C) or Shorted (any of them to case ground)
Here's something often overlooked, I think, when testing a stator.
It is possible for a shorted stator to appear to test "good". Here's how to make certain that you're getting a proper test.
Your volt meter has a "diode check" or basic continuity test position; usually with an audible alert to let you hear that is "sees" a connection across the leads or whatever conductors you are testing. This is the setting that we default to when checking for burned fuses and such because it has the handy beep. This will "see" a connection if the connection is pretty good. A shorted stator *might* be shorted rather severely, resulting a very detectable connection to ground, less than 50 ohms of resistance, say. This will cause the beep sound and you will know, without a doubt, that the short is there and the stator is bad.
But it can also be the case that the stator is shorted *just a little bit*. The beeper will not sound because the setting on the meter is in the wrong range and can't 'see' the weaker connection. No beep, so you'll call it good and then go buy a VR. And then later discover that the stator was bad all along.
To avoid this unhappy circumstance, simply switch the setting on your meter to its highest resistance setting (likely 400K ~ 10Megaohm) And check for a shorted stator again. The beeper will likely not even operate in this setting, so watch the digital readout.

Note 1.) that the stator winding FAILs the test if there is any connection to ground detected. the readout should remain 0.0
Note 2.) also that in this highly-sensitive setting that moisture in the connector or leads or even your fingers touching the leads will cause a reading.
( you can measure the conductivity of your body at around 200~ 300K ohms. as well)
Note 3.) Using this range of measurement is the primary reason the meter has that big-assed 9Volt battery. Make sure that yours has a good fresh battery to get the best test.

P.S. Mike! Thanks for the company down here in the service line.
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Last edited by MrSurly; 07-23-2015 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:16 PM
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Well, one could shunt an ammeter into the VR output and observe. I once had a Zusuki that appeared to function, but the VR would randomly short batt to grnd. Finally wired in an ammeter and observed it happening. Of course, this would be a PITA on a Harley because of where the VR sits.
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