Hey fellow motorcycle riders! On the Facebook VFR Owners group there are a lot of discussions around doing a regulator / rectifier upgrade on the Honda VFR800. The stock unit are older technology and they can not deal with upgrades like LED lights that require less energy. The benefits to the SH847 should be:
- Less work on the stator, especially if you have lower power loads with LED lights, etc.
- Better heat dissipation to make it last long
- This is the only way you can get by with doing LED lights or removing the lights completely for the track. If you take away your power consumers, you need to deal with that excess energy.
My stock r/r was an SH689FA model on my 2006 gen6 model. Even though I bought my VFR with 49,000 miles on it and the r/r was still running with good voltage output, I decided to go ahead and upgrade it as a bit of preventative maintenance. There are SO MANY discussions on this topic, it seems well-worth it to do the upgrade. That, or everyone gets a commission from Jack at roadstercycle.com.
This was my BOM for the SH847 from http://roadstercycle.com.
I have two changes to the order if I did it again:
- I would order 36" of stator wire add on. The only reason being is to have a bit extra for pulling it through and then I could trim it off exactly where I wanted. This isn't mandatory and could be overkill, but I just started to get a little scared that there would be too little to work with adequately on the stator side for soldering / crimping.
- I would order the 1/2" PVC Sheathing to go with the stator wires. I wrapped the three wires up in electrical tape OK, but I think the job would be much nicer if they were in the sheathing.
- Electrical tape
- Socket set
- Allen Wrench Set (I like this one from Amazon https://amzn.to/308GsjE but any type will work)
- Soldering Iron / solder - make sure it is a HOT iron!
- Kit Gear from Roadstercycle
- Crimper (I bought this one from Harbor Freight. It seems OK)
- Various 2x4s. A short one to hold up the tank, one to do soldering on and a longer one that I used to cut the mounting plate corner, as I don't have a vice...
- First step was to watch the excellent videos from Kevs Shed on YouTube. I just happen to be right behind him on most things. His video on the front fork rebuild was hugely valuable to me when I did that project just before this one. While he has an FH020AA r/r instead of the larger SH847, this will get you familiar with all the parts of what goes where. Thanks Kev! You can skip a lot of the wiring loom video, as he makes some from scratch. If you bought the kit from Roadstercycle, you are already done there.
- First real step was obviously remove the fairings on both sides. I still hate doing that, so many screws and so many parts to accidentally get caught and break.
- Second step, remove the coolant bottle and set it on the side. I found that a couple of Home Depot Buckets worked wonderfully for this whole process. Turned upside down they were nice height shelves to work with.
- Unbolt the take and lift it up. I always use a 2x4 for this that happens to be lying around of the right length for the job. This just helps a bit with the wiring part to the battery.
- Next, commit to this. You will be cutting the wires from your stator and there is no turning back once you do this!
- Study your wiring. Look at where the current r/r wires come out and where they go to. Are they all in good shape? Any changes that have been made? Mine had an odd wire that was spliced in to the r/r plug and run all the way back to the secondary fuse for the bike by the battery. That turned out to be a whole new problem for me I'll discuss at the end. Pull down the sheathing on the stator and make sure you see your 3 yellow wires there.
- Remove the old r/r. If you can, follow the leads and get the connector plug. Undo those two plugs. They aren't on the r/r like the SH847, they are about 10" down from it and it splits in a Y. Half goes to the stator and half go to the bike wiring harness that untimately goes back to the battery, too. Once the cables are unplugged, just unbolt the r/r from the frame with the two bolts. Your fairing mount is right behind it and should be clipped to your wires that go over the r/r. Just leave that in place. You shouldn't need your old bolts from the r/r mount. They will be too long for the new plate and r/r.
- Tape up the connector end that goes to the bike harness. You want this left in place as it feeds some other controls along the path back to the battery.
- Now you can work on either the stator wires or the battery wires. I did the battery wires first and ran them mostly how Kevs Shed did on the YouTube video above. I took off the fuse box from the positive lead, as it is too bulky to pull through. You just open it up and remove the one nut to separate the lead from the fuse. Route those wires back to the battery area. I ran the positive down and under to come up on the left side of the battery, then the negative side has plenty of room to route anywhere that is free of the seat so it doesn't get caught up when putting the seat back on.
- That was easy! Now for the fun part, the stator wires.
- I triple checked the plug and without a doubt it was the stator wires (they route through the middle of the engine V). Now, cut off the plug end and tape the new yellow stator wires up to the old one. If you bought the sheathing (like I said I should have above), put if on! If you didn't, I'd recommend wrapping the wires in electrical tape now while they are free. Just wrap them up all the way near to the connector plug.
- Now that your cut stator wires are taped up to the new ones (double check! The pulling will have some difficulty, you don't want them to separate!), start pulling them through. Kev shows this well on his videos. Push some on the right side, pull some on the left side. Take your time, if it hangs up, jiggle it gently to get it to move through.
- If you ordered 24" of extra stator wire, your plug on the right side will probably be pretty close to the engine block. It can't possibly be plugged into the r/r area at all with that length. That's one reason I might do 36" if I did it again, but it may not be worth it as you don't want a whole lot of extra wire in there if you don't need it and if you trim it down, you may as well have started with less.
- Now, I think I played around a bit here with how much possible length I may have on the right side to reach the r/r with the stator wire. I wanted to cut the old stator wires as close to the stator as possible, but not so short that I couldn't work with them to solder it. I think I left about 5" or so of the original stator wires. I pulled back the sheathing around them to expose the wire to work with for the connection.
- Strip the old stator wires to about 1/4" or so to match the new ones. (Jack strips them for you, leaving the end piece in-place to keep them looking nice!).
- Now, you need to join the wires with the crimps. If you watch Jack's videos, this one of him connecting the wires is a good one for this step (Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=56&v=KwsrnUJl9os&feature=emb_logo). He sends you butt splices and a barrel connector. They are very similar if you take off the rubber around the butt splice, but you can't solder with rubber on there... :-)
I practiced this with the left over wire from the stator and another barrel connector (I took a butt splice I had and stripped off all the plastic from it). That let me try this out with my crimper to see how things hold up.
- I grabbed another 2x4 to use as my soldering table. Make sure the heat shrink is on the wire (I used the new wire side because I didn't have electrical tape on it, yet. You may need to use the old wire side.) Crimp the end of one side. Crimp the other side and you are almost 1/3 of the way done with the stator wire.
- Solder both ends. Now, some people will say you don't need more than a crimp. If I were really good at crimping and had lots of experience, I would agree. However, I am not confident in my crimps and I have done enough that failed to know this, so I did the solder too. My only problem was this: my solding iron is a single-temp model and it really wasn't hot enough to do this properly. I had to hold it on the barrel for a long time to get it hot enough to pull in the solder. This, as I learned the hard way, heated up the wire enough that it shrunk the heat shrink I had put on... Note to self: push the heat shrink as far away as you can OR use a much hotter soldering iron!
- Repeat that step for all 3 wire pairs. If you are happy, tape up the wire or pull your sheathing over it and go get a drink of water.
- At this point, you are getting close to done. We need to mount the plate and dry fit the r/r.
- Here's what I did to mount it. I struggled. There aren't any instructions. With a little thought, you realize that the fairing bracket (hanging there still) needs to go behind the plate. The plate needs to go on using the two slide holes that are countersunk. This is to ensure that the r/r sits flush on the plate.
If you play around with the plate and the r/r, you will realize you need to cut the plate. My final plate had the top corner cut off (see images below). You have to cut that corner off or the fairing mount will not fit. You could also cut off the bottom corner to make it look a little nicer. I didn't do that. To cut mine, I used a RotoZip with a metal disc on it. I used a sharpie to mark off the line I wanted to cut (then checked about 3 more times to make sure that was the right corner!). Then I got out a long 2x4 and screwed the plate into it with a couple of screws with the corner to cut hanging off the end. The RotoZip did that quite easliy. I filed off the end with a file to make sure there weren't any sharp edges.
- Mount the plate using the provided hex screws with the fairing mount behind it. Should fit nicely.
- Dry fit the SH847 to maks sure everything seems to line up. This will have the plugs coming out of the bottom of the SH847 pointing down. Some people like to have the plugs pointing to the rear of the bike. I think that is nearly impossible with the 4-way super bracket. A custom one might work (like Kevs Shed did). The main trick to getting it all done is to plug in the cables first, then mount it to the plate.
- That's what I did. Apply some dielectric grease to the plugs and connect both cables (you might need to pull the stator ones through now) to the SH847 and rotate it downward and over the plate. It should be a snug fit, but you shouldn't need to remove the cables and if you do, it's simple to unbolt the r/r and unplug them. Mount with the washer and bolts, using thread locker if you wish.
- Nearly done! Tidy up the wires to the stator a bit now and you can mount the coolant tank again.
- Move to the battery and hook up the positive and negative leads, leaving the original leads on the battery, as well.
- Check over your work, did you miss anything? Did you move anything that you forgot to put back? Are you feeling lucky? Where there any extra wires that you didn't think should be there?
- Get your voltmeter out now and prepare to start up the engine. You probably want to lower the tank first and put those bolts back in. Fire up the engine (hope there are no FI codes!) and test the voltage at the battery. It should be greater than 12.9 at idle, probably around 13.4-5. Rev it up to 5k RPM and you should see around 13.9 or 14 volts. If so, you are in good shape!
- Button up the fairings and congratulate yourself on completing this task!
Now, if you are lucky like me, you may have started to get odd FI light codes. I must admit, I freaked out a bit. They were inconsistent. Sometimes it would start, other times they fuel pump wouldn't turn on. The lights were random with their values.
When I did this, I had one very odd wire that was orange and ran from the r/r plug to the second fuse at the battery (the 30AMP fuse that is probably tucked away near the battery box). I found this odd and because it was covered in electrical tape and hand soldered, this was definitely not part of the original wiring.
Early on in the tear down, I cut that wire out. It wasn't factory and it didn't serve any other purpose. That plus the fact that the fuse connection looked awful, it was melted in parts and even had a problem during my test ride, I went to this area as my first suspicion. When I looked closely, the wires to the fuse where I cut off that hacked up wire were in bad shape. There were only a few strands of wire that were actually connected. It looked like this:
If I pushed those in a bit, the bike would start up without FI codes. There is no way that wire was in any shape to carry 30AMPs across it. I searched online for some options and ended up getting a local inline fuse for 30AMP at an O'Reilly Auto Parts just down the road. I decided to cut off the connector, it was all melted anyway and just go with a splice. If I ever have to replace the harness, that connector would be the least of my issues.
So I turned that above into this:
Much better! After that there were no more FI codes and it started up every time.
Here are the photos of my mount plate and r/r mounted.
Here is a photo of the r/r fuse box that I took the lead off of to better pull it through for wiring.
Finally, here is a video I made trying to figure out how to arrange the 4-way super early on. I thought I wanted the plugs to face the rear of the bike, but you can tell in the video that if you have to use the top and bottom screw holes, it won't work with the fairing mount. That was when I learned from some local VFR owners that the plugs will fit going down, if you plug them in first.
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