Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: California Central Coast
Honda upgrades VFR regulator/rectifier
Finally, Honda has addressed the infamous VFR750 regulator/rectifier problem (the verb "solved" would be premature at this point). I recently replaced mine--yet again--and found that the part had been redesigned to better dissipate heat.
For readers unfamiliar with the problem, some 1990-1997 VFR750s tend to fry regulators. The first symptom is usually a dead or dying battery, often stranding the rider.
The part is designed to conduct its heat into the bike's frame through a metal plate affixed to the back of the unit. But on some bikes it can't shed heat fast enough to keep up with normal operation, and heat accumulates. The potting on the front surface of the unit, which seals in the electronic components, is not designed to withstand high temperatures and when subjected to them, tends to delaminate from the edges. Sometimes, it will even spew material outward, leaving black stains on the inside of the rear cowling.
The new part is much different. It retains the metal plate on the back to conduct heat into the frame, but the front is now a deeply finned metal case capable of shedding additional heat into the air. Footprint, mounting, and the electrical connector are unchanged.
My '97 VFR750 is, unfortunately, an example afflicted with r/r disease. The first failed at 16,000 and the second (an aftermarket Electrex unit) after 8,000. The third (back to the Honda part) had close to 20,000 on it when I inspected it last month as part of routine service. I found the potting delaminating at the perimeter, so I ordered a replacement. Much to my surprise, I received the improved part described above. It's now installed and has survived an occasionally scorching 400-mile trip to Laguna Seca and back. As I said, it's too early to say they've solved the problem, but they've certainly made a good attempt.
If you have a 1990-1997 VFR750F, I suggest that you inspect your regulator. It mounts to the rear subframe, just under the rider's right cheek, and is accessible by removing the rear cowling. Look for spots where the black, plasticky stuff on the exposed surface is peeling away from the metal around the edge. If you find that kind of damage, consider replacing the part before it causes a problem.
Be sure to check the part number when you order. If the dealer's records aren't updated, or if he happens to have an old-style part in stock, you might get the old one instead of the new one. Insist on the new part number shown below. For info, I paid $205.
OLD part number: 31600-MY7-600
NEW part number: 31600-MY7-305