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Drive less, ride more...
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1,114 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I thought I would post this, mainly for the benefit of the newer VN750 owners on the Forum.

With winter here, and the bike doing more sitting than usual, I took the time to do some preventive maintenance on the electrical system.

I removed the bike’s seat and side covers and made sure the battery terminals were clean and tight (I found the negative terminal was starting to work loose)—then coated them both thoroughly with dielectric grease. Then I did the same thing for the ground connections on the frame adjacent to the battery. After that, I pulled all the electrical connectors apart (adjacent to and below the battery—including those in the junction box and especially the 6-pin connector at the rectifier), sprayed the male/female contacts with CRC brand electrical contact cleaner, then hit them good with an old toothbrush, then sprayed them again with the same cleaner, and then let them dry. Then I coated/packed both male and female sides of each connector liberally with dielectric grease, and then plugged them back together.

I even did basically the same thing inside the spark plug cables where they attach to the plugs.

“So what?”, you might ask….

Well, the take-away is that after I did all this, I couldn’t help but notice on my next ride that my charging system voltmeter readings were somewhat better than before. Even though the connections actually still looked pretty clean as I took them apart.

More food for thought: if this treatment can be noticeably beneficial for a 2005 model VN750—then how much more could this same effort benefit an even older Vulcan—especially one that has had very little (or no) electrical cleaning and dielectric grease packing similar to that described above?

Given the change in voltmeter readings, one could argue that this sort of maintenance (say, once every year) probably would play a healthy part in keeping a bike’s stator and rectifier in good shape for a longer period of time than they might otherwise have.

If you buy into the basic logic that (at least part of) what kills stators and rectifiers is the heat produced from excess electrical resistance in the charging circuitry, then anything you can do (like the above) to help keep your bike’s electrical connections clean and tight will enhance stator and rectifier performance and longevity.

Now that cold weather is here (but this works well in hot weather, too), I also keep the bike’s battery hooked up to a “smart” charger, when the bike is not in use (especially if the bike will sit unused for extended periods of time). Since the bike’s stator likes a strong, healthy battery (and stator life can be cut much shorter when the battery goes weak enough), a strong, healthy battery helps keep the stator from having to work too hard or overheating. Be sure that the charger you use for this has the correct charging capacity for your bike’s battery!

And…as stated many times elsewhere on this forum—a sealed, maintenance-free battery will also greatly help reduce charging system problems on this bike. If your bike is currently equipped with a traditional, wet-cell battery, you would do well to consider it a “new year’s resolution” to replace it with a sealed, maintenance-free battery. These sealed batteries simply perform better, and relieve you from the chore of having to remove the seat to check battery fluid levels. Sealed batteries also won’t leak battery acid on your bike’s frame—a problem that past a certain point is impossible to fix.

Some of this same info above is discussed in the following thread from the “Vulcan Verses” here:

http://www.vn750.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1105

Anyway, hope this info helps prevent or postpone someone’s charging system failure out there.....:beerchug:
 

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Love My Baby
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1,165 Posts
Good post Theauhawk. As I have to clean off the corrosion on my battery case, I'm going to do exactly as you did with all the connections. Thanks!
 

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Super Moderator
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11,958 Posts
Cleaning your connections should be a yearly proceedure. Thanks for going into more detail than my often repeated suggestion to "clean all your electrical connections"

I use crocus cloth, (look it up) and firmly believe that many a stator-R/R issue could have been prevented with yearly wire maintenance.


And GEEZ.... Anyone running a wet cell battery in this century should slap themselves for being hopelessly "behind the times".;)
 

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Drive less, ride more...
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1,114 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I first got the idea to do the above after reading the first 2 pages of the Electrical System chapter in the VN750 Clymer Manual.

IMHO, those 2 pages should be pretty much required reading for every motorcyclist.

It could be a useful oversimplification to say that if your charging system electrical connections are not encased in some form of electricity-friendly grease, then they are slowly corroding (unless you live and ride in a consistently dry area of the world).

If they are slowly corroding, then your bike's charging system is over-working itself (in some way) to a premature death.

RUST NEVER SLEEPS...:(
 
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