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Old 05-01-2009, 02:09 PM   #1
GraemePC
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More electrical issues

I feel like I've made way too many of these threads lately but my bike just doesn't want to run right. It is a 98 Honda f3.

Last week I noticed that my headlight was dim but it would get brighter with the throttle. It still ran fine so I left it alone. Then one morning last week I went to leave and the bike weakly turned over but wouldn't fire. I didn't have time to mess with it until this week. I tried to start it up again but it would just barely turn over and wouldn't fire.

I put the battery on a tender overnight and the next morning it was apparently fully charged. I put it in the bike and everything lit up and it turned over fine but it still wouldn't fire. After 3 or 4 attempts at cranking it it got noticably weaker and finally after about 45 seconds of total cranking time the battery went completely dead.

The battery is only 5 months old but the bike has had other electrical issues so I wouldn't be suprised if it was toast. The voltage regulator is less than 2 months old and it doesn't appear burnt out like the last one.

Basically I am asking if this looks like I need a new battery(hopefully), a new starter(I hope not) or something else. Any ideas?
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:11 PM   #2
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when you say voltage regulator, is that the same as the rectifier? I know those F2's and F3's were known for burning up the rectifier. If that has been replaced, I'd go with a new battery and see what happens. Perhaps you burned up the new rectifier using the old battery?
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
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when you say voltage regulator, is that the same as the rectifier? I know those F2's and F3's were known for burning up the rectifier.
Yeah I meant rectifier. I already had one burn up but I replaced it with an aftermarket one about 2 months ago and it doesn't show any signs of being burnt out.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:15 PM   #4
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checked to make sure the stator is doing it's job? and what brand of aftermarket rectifier did you put in?
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:24 PM   #5
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checked to make sure the stator is doing it's job?
I have a voltmeter but I can't check it until I can get the bike running. It was fine when I checked it when I replaced the rectifier.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:26 PM   #6
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I bought this one. It was recommended in by someone in the first thread.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/NEW-H...Q5fAccessories
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:27 PM   #7
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well, I'm no MC mechanic, but there are 3 main parts to your electrical system. Stator, Rectifier, and battery. You had a bad rectifier while using a new battery and discovered the rectifier was shot. You replaced it with a new one and everything seemed to be working (stator checked out ok). I'd start with replacing the battery (it's the cheapest and most convenient to replace; no warranty on the new one?) and then see the symptoms. Good chance you could have burned that battery with the bad rectifier.

Or take it to Motorcycles Unlimited....I'm sure he'd look it over for free or diagnose it for a small fee.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:38 PM   #8
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Thanks for your input. I hope it is the battery but I wanted some outside input before I spent the money on a new one. Being a poor college student sucks. I would definitely have taken it to Motorcycles Unlimited if I was in town, but I am 1200 miles away at school right now.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:38 PM   #9
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Ill trade you a honda civic hatch for your bike the way it is, problem solved.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:58 PM   #10
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Ill trade you a honda civic hatch for your bike the way it is, problem solved.
I don't need a civic but i'll trade it for some cash. I will be selling it in the next couple of months because i'll be studying abroad in Italy this fall and I don't want it to just sit for 5 months.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:12 PM   #11
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The battery hold the charge and completes the system.

The generator(stator) uses rotational magnets off the crank to produce A/C voltage.

The rectifier converts that 3-wire alternating current into direct power for the battery to recharge it.

So... if your headlight is getting dim while riding, your idle could be too low(not creating enough speed to keep power up) or you could have something going out. The battery will only drain while running if it is shorted through and becoming a load on the system(very unlikely.) The system reverts back to using the power from the battery when the charging system becomes inadequate.

You may have charged it overnight, but it may only by a static or momentary charge if the cells/acid cannot hold the charge.

Get a battery from walmart or anywhere else that has a good warranty, and every 2 years be sure to replace it.

With that problem solved, make sure your idle is high enough. Whatever the owners manual says about checking voltage at what rpm, go by that. sometimes its 13v plus after 2krpms. Regardless, if your bike makes the same voltage as it does off vs at 2-3krpms, your system isn't charging.

Check each of the three alternating currents w the DVOM; around 80V A/C, if Im not hugely mistaken.


As you said the system is dim in the morning when you start then runs fine. Either their is a draw on the bike when off(parasitic draw) or the system isn't charging inadequately. 5-6 months if far too short for a battery to fail on its own.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:41 PM   #12
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Check the baqttery acid with a hydrometer, if all cells check good then it should not be the battery.

Parasitic draw could well be the gremlin and it can be hard to find once diagnosed.

As Cali pointed out the 3 wire AC from the alternator is rectified to a DC voltage.

The alternter may have lost its ability to generate one of the 3 phases to the rectifier is so the rectifier output while still DC it not very good signal.

If the battery checks good or you replaced it and still have the problem I would see about having the alternater checked somewhere, if it checks good then have the rectifier tested.

you would have hit the big three then, I doubt its the starter since it still works unless it is the source of parasitic draw, doubtful.

My betting money at this point would be the alternator has lost a phase,
this used to be a repairble thing on older cars, replacing a diode, doubt it is now but at least it was on cars of the 70s and 80s.

Good Luck
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:48 PM   #13
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if you were riding alot with a bad rectifier then you prolly fried your stator. Have your battery tested . If its ok i bet its the stator.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:49 PM   #14
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going through the same thing now, but i havnt checked my stator yet. I will be replacing it anyways.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:50 PM   #15
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Wow I am dumb. I can't believe I never tried this before but I just tried to push start it and its running like a champ. I guess it's definitely the battery. I'll replace that with my next paycheck.

Thanks for the input everyone. Slowly but surely I'm learning how to repair/maintain this thing.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:52 PM   #16
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Try to go to Patrick's Monthly Maintenance Class at Motorcycles Unlimited. It's free and worth the saturday morning if you can make it. He offers a wealth of knowledge; the more you know the better the motorcycling experience will be.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Try to go to Patrick's Monthly Maintenance Class at Motorcycles Unlimited. It's free and worth the saturday morning if you can make it. He offers a wealth of knowledge; the more you know the better the motorcycling experience will be.
I'll keep that in mind when I get back to Houston. I know Patrick does great work, Motorcycles Unlimited is the only shop i have ever taken my bikes to.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:27 AM   #18
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I was gonna guess the battery to until you said you got it running. Sometimes you just get a bad one.....sometimes, parasitic drains on the system kills em. Keep it on a battery tender when not riding it.

Its pretty common for the headlight to be more dim at idle then at 3-4k rpms....the charging systems on bikes don't put out for voltage at 1200rpms...Some are better the others. Hondas are notorious for charging systems.
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:44 PM   #19
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