I have replaced the stator that has fixed all sorts of problems with my Vulcan. Because of this, I find myself reading other peoples problems and find myself thinking “It’s the stator”! I know that this cannot be the case and I have refrained from posting “replace the stator” as the common fix for all things. In my defense, I was plagued with a stator that died very slowly over a two year period. Except for the drive coupler, rip in the seat, and the hinge on the tool box breaking; all my troubles with this beast has been the dying stator and all the voodoo problems it gave me.
I do not know if this information will help anyone, but it was a nightmare that I lived with until the bike finally convinced me that I had to fix it before I could ride it again (unless I wanted to push it back). First off, I have a 2003 vn750 and purchased it new. At present I now have over 30k miles. I have put every mile on that motorcycle.
Now for the story.
After several years of mostly worry free riding on my brand new Vulcan, I started to have problems starting. These were not big events, but it got worse and worse. I ended up blaming the battery for this and made myself believe that I would have to purchase a new one every year. Keep in mind that I live in south Texas and can ride year round and was using the bike to get me back and forth to work. I had no problems riding in the rain at all, and found myself getting drenched because I would not give up on the two wheel commute. One day, I had to crank and crank on it and finally had someone give me a push start. When I got home I immediately charged the battery (which helped) and thought no more on it.
When it got cold, I would really have starting problems. I never remembered having such problems getting the bike started. I got to a point that I thought that it had to be a combination of choke and “warm up” cranking. Every time I came up with a plan to get it started, it would fail later on. Normally I would crank on it and end up giving it full throttle for the last few seconds of cranking, and then I would turn off the ignition and let it rest for about one minute (keep in mind that this is a good way of getting some very violent back fire action which actually ended up parting my exhaust pipes from the clamps). Then with no throttle I would crank it and it would attempt to start. Almost always charging the battery would help, but the situation just kept getting worse until it was acting this way during warm weather. I was replacing the battery about once a year and finally went through two batteries in less than 12 months. Right before it gave up on me, I would charge my battery every night so I could use it the next day.
As the malfunction progressed, I found that the stupid front light would not always come on. This is very bad at night. I once stopped at a stop light and turned off the engine and then started it back up (it almost did not start) and the light was back on. I thought that I had yet another problem because I had replaced the battery and had it fully charged when this happened. A few days later on my way back home after finally getting the beast started (headlight did not come on as well) I noticed that I did not have good acceleration. As a matter of a fact, I had to baby the bike home at less than half throttle to get it home (more than half throttle and it would start loading up). I thought to myself… what else could go wrong. Well it died at the stop sign about 4 blocks from home and I had a little “one on one” time with the bike pushing it home. I tired to keep it revved up when I came to the sign, but it just flat out died and would not start (I actually cranked on it until the battery was close to dead).
The thing that was really confusing is that it would crank and crank w/o out starting and I was getting real sure that it was an ignition issue not a power issue. I finally got it home and wanted to start it again, so I took the seat off and jumped it using the car battery. I was shocked, it started right up! So like the idiot that I am, I thought I would take it on a test drive which ended up having me push the bike back from about five blocks away. This is when I finally decided to ground the beast until I could get it fixed.
I finally got my volt meter out and took the voltage of the battery (yep I got another new one freshly charged). I read something like 12.4 volts. I jumped started the bike using a car battery, disconnected it and read the voltage off the battery. It was something like 11.8 volts and it did not get any better when I reved it up. Finally I had a handle on what was wrong (at least one thing that was wrong). This had to be the stator or the voltage regulator.
I had my son over and by phone we talked to a mechanic and we did the stator test. All looked good. So I ordered the voltage regulator (R/R) and replaced it. I still had the same problem. After reviewing what we had done, I realized that when we checked the stator for shorts, we did not pay good attention to the decimal point. Instead of having .7 ohms, it was showing .007 ohms. This meant that I almost had a dead short between two legs of the stator.
So I replaced the stator and all my problems have gone away. It starts by just bumping the starter (instead of grinding away like it used to). The headlight comes on and stays on, the back firing has stopped, and I can give it full throttle and it won’t bog down and cut out like it did.
I have shared this story with you in hopes that you will find some humor in the situation I lived through and hopefully you can gain something by noting all the problems that a dying stator can cause. For a while there I was getting the feeling that someone was setting me up for a “funny video” episode. I really thought that everything on the bike was going bad at the same time! So beware and be on the look out for the madness that a dying stator can put you through.