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Electrical failure, replace rectifier or stator?

3409 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Rolex
Hey all,

My 14 wee wouldn't start the other day, seemed like a dead battery so I replaced it with a new one and it started fine. The next day it had a hard time starting leaving work, then wouldn't start at all when I tried leaving the gas station. Had to get a jump to make it home. It seems to be an issue with either the rectifier or the stator, and I've heard both can go bad on this bike. My bike is my only vehicle and I need it back yesterday, looking for some advice on how to get it rolling again.

I noticed that the turn signal indicators are only lit up when I'm moving, as soon as I stop they quickly dim. Same with my headlights. I also noticed some weird behavior on my dash, with the lights lighting up in strange ways.

Are there any tests that I can do to determine if the stator or the rectifier went? Also are there any parts I can buy now so I can get them ASAP? I really need it working again by next week. I usually do my own maintenance but I'll go to a shop if they could have it turned around faster.
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There is a recall on it. Maybe you can get Suzuki to honor it.
The stator is the more likely of the two.

if you search this site you will find instructions on how to test them so that would be your first check.
My 2012 was recalled based on VIN and Suzuki Canada sent me a letter. No test was needed. I had not experienced any issues before the recall.

Check here to see if your bike is included:

There are a gazillion troubleshooting guides for testing motorcycle charging systems. It's cheaper then throwing parts at it and hoping you will fix it. More then likely your stator is bad. R/R very rarely go bad. Many upgrade their R/R to prevent further issues but it's not required.
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I'm on the third stator in my '13. Funny thing is, I'm also on my third R/R, though those were not likely bad. Two of the stators were troubled recalls, though when I replaced them it was out of pocket.

The first was replaced before there was any recall, and I replaced the R/R with a CompuFire at the same time.

The second stator was replaced out of pocket because of the mods I'd done the first time, which included new connectors on the stator to mate with the CompuFire. The original CompuFire was replaced because testing the stator and R/R was useless, and I didn't want to think I'd need another stator. I did.
All good advice above. Two more:

A multimeter (less than 10 dollars for a cheap one, 20 dollars for a decent one) goes a long way. Tip: Get one that has a rubber backing or even a magnetic plate in the rear, so it doesn't easily slide off all the rounded surfaces of the bike. Failing that, get one with an integrated hook. And get one with clip-on alligator clips, so you can clip one or both leads to a wire or terminal somewhere, so you have your hands free to manipulate switches, jiggle wires and whatnot. It also helps if your probes are thin enough to "backprobe" a connector. So you can measure voltage on a connector without removing it, by sliding in the probe from the rear of the connector, along the wire. For bike work, you need to be able to measure DCV up to about 15V, ACV up to about 100V, resistance and possibly diode (for R/R tests). Nothing fancy, most will do this.

Once you have the multimeter, there's a number of standard tests you can do. Here's a shortlist of them. If you give us the result of these tests we can narrow down your problem considerably:
Stator tests - for this you need to unplug the stator from the R/R:
  • With the bike off: Resistance between each of the three wire pair combinations - should be around 0.5 ohm each.
  • With the bike off: Resistance between each wire and a known good ground (e.g. negative battery terminal) - should be infinite (some multimeters do not do the infinite sign so show 0L for Open Loop)
  • With the bike running at around 3000-5000 RPM, AC Voltage between each wire pair combinations, should be 70-90V AC.

If the above checks out, test the R/R and battery - this is done as DCV tests across the battery terminals:
  • Bike completely off: 12.6 to 12.8V
  • Ignition on, lights on, engine not running. Could be as low as 11V now.
  • Bike started, idle. Should at least be the battery voltage, possibly even in the low 13Vs
  • Bike started, 3000+ RPM. Should be at least 13.2V, ideally at least in the low 14Vs.
  • There is also a specific diode test you can do on the R/R. But you really need the service manual for that.

How long is your commute? If this is your only mode of transport and your commute is not more than about half an hour, you can also wing it a bit. Get a decent battery charger that can charge your battery in about an hour or two (so not a "trickle charger"). Use this overnight to charge your battery, ride to work. At work put it on the charger again, ride home. A decent battery can power the bike for at least half an hour, especially if you cut some electrical consumers. On dual-headlight Stroms, the biggest impact you can make is to unplug one of your headlights. If you can't charge your bike where it's normally parked, bring a screwdriver so you can remove the battery from the bike and bring it inside to charge. Sounds like a lot of work, but it's really just a one-minute job.

Do you still have your old battery? You can charge it up and bring it with you as a spare.

(For the curious: The absolute maximum that the V-Strom charging system can put out is around 400W, depending on the model year - it improved a bit over time. Around 300W is used for the fuel pump, ECU and lights, but you can easily save yourself around 50W by detaching one of the headlights. So around 250W is the base bike load in that situation. 250W for an hour is 250Wh, at 12V this is 20Ah. The standard battery is 12Ah so on a good battery half an hour should be possible with a bit to spare. It's not generous, it's not good for the battery, I would not recommend this for prolonged periods, but it could get you out of a tight spot.)
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I am on my original R/R and stator.

I did have the recall done though. No problems here...
Wait, sounds like stator magnet it up and look.
It's a 650. As far as I know their rotor magnets are fully encapsulated in epoxy in the rotor, so no chance of them migrating.
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Yes the magnets don't move on the 650

The stator and RR are original in my 09, keeping the oil level high will help with cooling

After talking to a expert about air cooled motors and heat dispersion I don't use synthetic oil so that may also have helped
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