BAF's Ramblings » #motorcycle

Spring Motorcycle Work

April 11, 2013

Spring is on its way in, as much as mother nature does NOT want to admit it this year. I didn’t get much riding in over the winter, because, unfortunately, the weather wasn’t anywhere near as nice as it was last year. This means it’s time to get the 1125CR ready for the season. The bike is fine, and I’ve ridden it a couple times this year, but it still needs some preparing.

I’m almost due for an oil change, after last fall’s trip down the east coast (it’s occurring to me that I didn’t write a post about the trip… I’ll have to do that!). It’s not due for a filter (Buell specs changing the filter every other oil change), so I probably won’t bother, since it’s so messy to do so. I’ll just drain and refill with fresh oil.

I need to give the bike a good washing. I’ll wash the whole bike, and polish and wax the body plastics.

I then need to mount new tires. I bought the newly-released Pirelli Angel GT tires, front and back. I’ll be mounting these with my trusty spoonbars, and double checking that the TPMS sensors in the wheels are still held in place securely and that the wheel/tire assemblies are balanced.

Finally, I’ll flush the brake and clutch fluid. I need to buy a Mityvac or an Actron unit to do this well, so I’ll be ordering one of those soon.

After all of this, the 1125CR should be ready to go for the season! First major outing is coming up in about a month - the Adirondack Buell Rally.

1125CR Stator Update

Just giving a quick followup to the last update, my stator re-wind ended up failing. Due to the messiness of some of the windings, one of the wires (one that was way too close to the outside of the stator) came loose from the epoxy, and started rubbing on the rotor. Eventually it wore right through, leaving quite a mess on my rotor in the process.

I’ve wound a new stator; much more neatly this time, and installed it. I’ve also cleaned up the rotor. I may go back and add some epoxy to one of the abrasions on it at a later point.

I will be posting a complete writeup of my 1125 charging trials and tribulations - stay tuned!

1125CR Stator, Again...

It occurs to me that I’ve not posted an update on my 1125’s stator failure. I ended up re-winding the stator myself, which was a fair bit easier thanks to Hildstrom’s write-up on the topic. I used the same magnet wire he did, with one of the Duralco epoxies mentioned. Got it all installed, along with a new CE-605 SB series regulator. I may do a more detailed write-up at some point on this, as I took some pictures along the way to document the progress.

The bike was fine for a while on this new stator. The first regulator I got was defective, so I sent it back for replacement. The new one worked for a little while before it started acting flakey. I switched back to the stock shunt regulator temporarily, and noticed that voltage on the bike drops faster at idle than before. Some checking of the stator confirms that, unfortunately, two of the phases are putting out under-spec voltage. They still put out some power, and the bike is able to charge the battery while moving at speed, but at idle, voltage drops off fairly quickly.

At this point, it seems like one set of windings is acting up - probably shorted somewhere. I’ll have to pull it apart and see if it’s something I can fix without re-winding everything again. On the upside, I do have an extra burnt out stator here from a friend, so I may just go ahead and re-wind that core and swap it in. This first one I rewound is a bit messy anyway, so having a fresh go at it may not be a bad thing.

1125CR Stator Died

Unfortunately, the stator in my 1125CR bit the big one the other day. What’s weird is that it went from working fine to a state of total failure within about 25 minutes. Typically, an issue will appear in one phase of the three phase stator, and just drop it down to either 1 or 2 functioning phases - meaning you won’t have full charging capacity, but you will still have something.

With mine, it died much quicker.

Let’s start with some back story on the charging system of these bikes. The stators in the 2009 and 2010 models have an increased output (which means larger thermal load), as well as very little in the way of airflow, oil spray, or oil bath to help keep things cool. In an effort to prevent the stator from burning out, these bikes were recalled to have a harness added between the stator and the regulator. Under certain thermal and engine conditions, one leg of the stator is cut out, bringing the system to 1/3 capacity. Given this knowledge, it isn’t alarming to see voltages in the 12 volt range while sitting still for a long amount of time. Everything gets hot, the fans start running full blast, and charging system capacity is cut. This new harness hasn’t been successful in completely cutting out stator failure, however. Various efforts have been made to solve this issue, including installing different voltage regulators, modified rotors to promote airflow or spray oil directly on the stator, or even the installation of the lower output 2008 charging system. I’ve personally installed an oil spraying rotor, and am considering installing a new regulator and removing the stator control harness.

But I digress… Let’s go back to the stator failure itself. Everything was fine when I left for work that morning - the charging system was running at around 14.1 volts at idle. When I left work in the afternoon to head home, I got caught at a traffic light, as normally happens. I usually flip to the screen on my instrument cluster that displays system voltage - to make sure I’ve got power, and to give myself plenty of warning if the harness cuts the stator output. However, I noticed that the system was only running at around 12.7 volts or so, which is unusually low. I figured that the relay in the stator harness may be bad, as voltage returned to the 14 volt range when I was moving. The harness should not have been activated at that point, as the motor was still relatively cool. After that instance of traffic, everything seemed fine, so I flipped off the voltage display and drove home. Somewhere on my ride home, the stator suffered a complete failure; I did not notice the failure though, as I got home well before the battery drained far enough to affect the bike.

Two days later, I pulled the bike back out to take it to work. While starting it, I noticed it cranking a little slower than normal, but the bike started fine. However, my GPS/XM and TPMS both remained off. For the ECM to activate accessories, voltage has to go higher than 12.9 volts after starting the bike, so seeing the accessories not come on was alarming. I saw that system voltage was around 11.9 volts, so I put the bike back in the garage and put the battery tender on to refill the battery.

After work, I did some troubleshooting. I bypassed the stator control harness in case that was the problem, to no avail. I checked the AC output of the stator, and all 3 phases were reading abnormally low. Normal voltages are in the range of 20 VAC at idle, and 45-55 VAC at ~3k RPM. My readings were around 2 VAC at idle, and 3.5 or so VAC at ~3k RPM. None of the stator legs were shorted to ground, and between each leg was showing some resistance (as it should), so the stator only failed the output test.

I pulled the bike apart and removed the stator. In taking it apart, it was obvious that the rotor was fine, and hadn’t lost its magnetism. One of the poles on the stator looked especially charred, but other than that, nothing smelled burnt or anything.

My final test was one I made up myself. I hooked 12VDC across each of the phases of the stator. I limited current to 30 amps during this test, which is below the typical operating power of the stator at anything much above idle. The stator didn’t make it close to 30 amps before the charred pole started arcing and smoking. Similar results no matter which phase the power was applied on, and it happened in the same area. This happened instantly upon application of power, so it wasn’t damaged caused by my testing. The failure area was where the wires for two of the phases cross between two of the poles, so my best guess is that something got hot enough to burn the insulation off the windings, and cause a short.

If you’re still reading this, then kudos to you. Here’s some stator pr0n to reward you - pictures of the failed stator. The area circled in yellow in the last picture is where the failure occurred. At any rate, it’s time to install a new stator. I’m optimistic that the oil spraying rotor will prevent a new stator from burning up, and that the reason for this failure was that the stator was damaged heavily already.

New Commute, Updates, and Some Goals

Whew, a long overdue update. Since my last post, I’ve gotten my new bike on the road. I’ve put roughly 5000 miles on it, done the 12,000 mile service myself (oil/filter, rotate motor to change sparkplugs and inspect valve clearance, etc). I also had the bike with me at the Adirondack Buell Rally (great event, by the way).

My commute is shorter now. Due to some changes at work, we’ve moved our Albany office to Clifton Park. This cuts around 15 miles off my commute (each way) - and luckily, it’s these 15 miles that contain the horrible traffic and congestion during rush hour. This saves me around 30 miles of driving per day, and 30-45 minutes of time. This gives me more time, and a monetary savings of $50-$70/month at current gas prices, depending on what I’m driving.

In early May, I took a trip partially down the east coast on the bike with a friend. This took us through Atlantic City, Baltimore, and the surrounding areas - giving us casino time, time at Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags America, and a bunch of relaxing, riding, and seeing sights. It was fun and relaxing.

However, since the trip, I’ve been slacking off in going to the gym - some of this was being busy, some of it was being lazy. I also started eating like crap a little bit again, but nothing too horrible. I didn’t gain any weight back, rather, I maintained where I was at, so I’m not too disappointed. I finally got back to the gym tonight, and did a nice long workout to get back into things.

I plan on getting back into my routine of going to the gym a few nights a week. The 5-nights-a-week thing is a bit stressful, especially during the nicer weather when there are other things I want to do. A few nights a week is a nice balance, though. My goal is to drop some more weight, and then buy a new jacket and pants for the motorcycle - maybe the Spidi H2OUT Marathon set or something. An expensive set, so I want to meet my gym goal before dumping the cash.

Another ongoing goal is paying off my debt. I backpedaled a little on this, however. After I bought the new bike, I also bought a brand new Can-Am Outlander 650 XT, and financed it, giving me another $10,000 in debt. I did qualify for the promotional interest rate on the loan though, which is nice - 3 year, 3.9% interest, so that debt is not a huge deal at all to me. The big items are paying off the last couple thousand on my car, and paying off my loaded up Discover card before the 0% promotional period ends.

If you’re still reading this giant wall of text braindump, then kudos to you!