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I was looking over my bike the other day, just trying to check connnections the best I could without actualy pulling everything off. I found the Rectifier / Regulator bolted to the bottom of the battery box. It's very rusted! Do you think all that rust can harm it in any way, and do you think that cleaning it up would do anything good for it?

Soon as I can I'll replace it and do relocation. Lots of things on my "need to fix, replace, mod" list, and the more I look, the longer the list seems to get.
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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It's quite possibly corroded from battery acid.
Either way, it'd be a good idea to take a closer look at it and clean it, as well as the wire connections on it.
 

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I'm with Hyper, the battery acid is probably the issue. I'd clean it up as good as you can. If there is rust scale down between the fins it's not goint to cool as good as it's supposed to. If you still have the goat's belly on your bike, the relocation is a very good idea, especially riding in the LA heat and it's a pretty easy (and cheap) mod.
 
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