RD400 - burnt ground wire & toasted rectifier - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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  #1  
Old 06-14-2012, 06:39 PM
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Default RD400 - burnt ground wire & toasted rectifier

Howdy, my other bike is a Yamaha RD400 that looks like a 1979 Daytona Special. It was built in the early '80's from a donor bike and a kid who worked in the Yamaha dealer in Greenville Ms. with access to the parts catalog and dealer cost. That kid later turned out to be my current boss, I bought it from him ~10 years ago and slowly freshened it up.



Anyway, last Saturday when I went to go for a ride, turned the key no lights on the dash, suspected the old battery but found the ground wire had burnt all the way to the solder joint under the tank. It looks like I had the harness routed wrong, pinching the wire bundle between the tank and frame, rubbed thru the insulation on something and caused the meltdown... I guess. I can't figure what else may have caused it, it charged the battery and never blew fuses.

So I spent the day checking the wiring harness and patching and repairing a few other wires. Went and bought a UPS battery and figured I should check the rectifier for continuity, found none in either direction on any of the terminals.

I'm about to take the plunge on a new, modern regulator/rectifier but wanted to check here to see if you think the short fried the rectifier, or if the rectifier burnt the wire. Or if there is something else I should be checking before installing $150 worth of new parts.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 06-14-2012, 06:50 PM
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You can't short a ground wire on the frame. If you short it against an unfused hot wire, both will be toasted. I'll bet on the R/R. It is in the unfused section of wiring as it is a source of power. You may have created another short by the short in the R/R melting insulation on wires though. You need to treat things as if both were a source of the problem.
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:53 PM
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Is it conceivable the rectifier caused something like this? Or did it die as a result of it? Or is it impossible to tell without tearing everything apart and testing everything.

Nuts and bolts I'm comfortable with, 'lectricity I'm not so much.

Thanks
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:20 PM
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Either could have been the source of the short and taken the other out. The R/R will need to be replaced and the wiring gone over completely in any case.
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:26 AM
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Very neat bike! I'd really like to own one of the Yamaha 350 - 400 2/stroke twins one day. I had an R5 back in the '70's that was really something.
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Last edited by kenneth_moore; 06-15-2012 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:24 AM
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Default Get one

If you don't have one, get a cheap meter (Harbor Freight has a some) and check your wiring before you connect the battery. If you've got continuity from positive to ground with the key off, time to start looking for the short. Much cheaper to use a meter than 'smoke test', and much less likely to cause additional damage (and expense). Hopefully you've got a wiring diagram, and can follow along to see what is connected to what. Probably going to get a lot better at 'lectrons before you're done.
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:15 PM
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I appreciate the comments.

I had some luck today and tracked down a good (better) used rectifier, it read ~9.8 somethings across 5 of the 6 diode paths, and ~5.0 on the other. I checked a few other things, tightened up some connections, cleaned and dialectic greased here and there.

There is no continuity (ohms) between the + and - wires with the key off, there is continuity with the key on - BUT - I got brave and installed a battery, connected the ground wire to the battery and my multimeter set on VDC, turned off auto and selected 2 decimal places (xx.xxVDC) and with the key off I'm getting 00.01V to 00.03V, full battery voltage with the key on. I would expect 0.0 with the key off, is this telling me there is something draining the battery or is that small a number "normal".

Thanks

Last edited by haywood; 06-15-2012 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:05 AM
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Great bike !!!! RD350's/400's are at the top of the list for my favorite bikes ever, tied with Gen1 FZ1's, and my Versys.....but the Vstrom is right there so far also.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:01 AM
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Default Depending

Quote:
Originally Posted by haywood View Post
I appreciate the comments.

with the key off I'm getting 00.01V to 00.03V, full battery voltage with the key on. I would expect 0.0 with the key off, is this telling me there is something draining the battery or is that small a number "normal".
Depending on where you have the meter leads connected, you can usually measure some stray (induced) voltages. Modern meters have very high impedance (resistance) on voltage scales, so they don't 'load' the circuit. Nearly any coil of wire in an electromagnetic field (which we are mostly immersed in in modern life) will show some small voltage. A better test of battery drain is to hook up the meter as an ammeter, in series with one of the battery leads (set on the 10-amp setting, to start) and see if there is any current flow with the key off. Bikes with clocks or other continuous draws will show some small current. I'd think the RD should have none.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenneth_moore View Post
Very neat bike! I'd really like to own one of the Yamaha 350 - 400 2/stroke twins one day. I had an R5 back in the '70's that was really something.
I had an R5 350 back in the mid 70's too [bought it second hand].

The bloody things were as quick or quicker than most 500cc bikes of their day

Wish I still had it, just for the fun of it.

Ground off one third of the footpegs, along with the edges of the soles and heels of several pairs of boots- man that thing could corner hard

Love what you've done with yours haywood hope you get it all fixed up again [there are some in bike museums over here, so worth the effort to fix it].
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