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Honda RVF400 Start up electrical problem?

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by Galactus, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. I've been having a lot of trouble getting my honda rvf400 to start and I have no idea what to do.

    Going back on september last year I remember having some kind of issue with it not starting and I'm 100% sure it died on me once while I was riding it real hard. I was about to go overseas for quite awhile, so I just left it covered up in the backyard at my mum's.

    Since then I've had it worked on at team moto three times.

    Fast forward to June 2011. I get it flat-bedded to team moto blacktown (where I bought it) for a comprehensive service. I travel by bus and train from the north shore to go pick it up.. I get there and it doesn't even start.. So they have a quick look, tell me there's something wrong with the electricals, maybe its not drawing a charge from the battery right, could be a problem with the stater?... I'll have to come back another day. Obviously it DID start when they tried it some time earlier.

    So they put a new battery in, check the electricals(?) and try starting it a couple different days call me up and tell me its good to go. So I go out to blacktown again pick it up and ride it home. It sits for 1 day in between me riding it back and going out to ride it again.... and it won't start.

    So I call them up again, flat-bed it out to them again. They charge it, check it (but as far as I can tell don't actually do any work on it?) and say its starting fine. They told me they've started it every day of the week then skipped sunday and its starting fine. So I go and get it and ride it home. This was the day before yesterday.


    today I try it, it starts up and I rev it for a fair while before rolling off the throttle to let it idle and it dies... I curse myself for not revving it out longer and sure enough it wont start now.....

    The same thing it always does is just kick over weaker and weaker until it can't manage anything more than a sickly sounding bzzzzzzzzz.

    So after a couple hours I head out and try it and hallelujah it starts. So I ride it up into my yard (from just down the street) and let it idle for 5 minutes or something. At this point I'm conscious there isn't much petrol in the tank so I decide to kill the engine while I go inside and put on my gear and grab some things (since its been running awhile I thought..)

    And now it won't start...

    So I'm cursing myself, because I know what I've done today is drain the battery by turning it on and then not letting run long enough, but I honestly figured after having it on for 5-10 minutes it would start up fine?

    I called up team moto and told them all this and all the mechanic had to say was:

    did you leave it out overnight?
    then thats probably what it is, the cold is going to wreak havoc with your battery.

    then he said I should go buy a trickle charger

    Now I Know should try to be more careful about not stopping and starting it the way I did in future, since this WILL drain the battery... but I have to say I expected things to be less touch and go than this. I just had the bike in the shop for the third damn time and just bought a new battery!

    Even if it starts up tomorrow, I don't own a car anymore, I need my bike to be relatively reliable. Not "works most of the time if I'm careful with it and make sure I don't ever let it sit for a day or two, never turn it on and off too often and always keep a charger on hand just in case"

    I didn't think charging your battery all the time and making sure you never leave your bike outside overnight was mandatory? its not even cold this time of year. This seems like bullshit, I thought rvf400s had a reputation for being reliable?

    What should I do? Should I just go buy a trickle charger like the guy says and fingers crossed that everything works from now on? Should I call up teammoto and insist that they fix my damn bike to the point where its reliable? As far as they're concerned there's not anything wrong with it apparently? Doesn't seem that way to me?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!
  2. Well, it's a Honda, so your regulator/rectifier is probably toast, meaning the battery will not be getting charged by the engine while running.

    (Did they check the charging circuit when you had it in the shop?)

    It could also be a dodgy connection somewhere, are your light coming on when you turn the bike on?
  3. the lights come on, although they are very dim.

    i just checked it now, I thought maybe the charge might improve overnight. but its not even close to starting.

    i'm guessing if I bought a trickle charger I could charge it up and get it to start, even if it meant that I had to charge it every night or something. but I don't really want to invest in something that I shouldn't need.

    I honestly don't know whether they checked the regular/rectifier. They just said they "checked it" as in the bike every day and it was holding a charge fine while it was in the shop. It seems silly to think they wouldn't run tests like that on a bike that could have some electrical problem

    Although, I'll ask them exactly what you just mentioned and see what they say. you never know.

    thanks for reading my long post lol
  4. the battery is totally dead today pretty much. the bike barely lights up.
  5. Ok, MV is probably right then your regulator/rectifier is stuffed.
    1: Charge your battery with a car battery charger,
    2: Borrow a multimeter from somewhere or go an buy a cheap one ($20 - $30)
    3: Start the bike (after charging don't forget)
    4: Measure the voltage across the battery.
    5: Hold the engine revving up in to normal cruise revs and measure the battery voltage again.

    Battery voltage should be approx 13V when idle and 14v - 15V when revving. Higher or lower and you have a stuffed regulator or less commonly a stuffed stator in your alternator.

    Let us know how you get on.
  6. As mentioned above. Honda have a known issue of regulator/rectifier (R/R) problems. If you still have the original VFR/RVF regulator and is found to be the culprit, time to either upgrade to a VFR800 regulator one (has cooling fins), or better yet, get a Yamaha R6 5 pin regulator/rectifier (will need some wiring, but much more reliable from what I have heard/read).

    Have a read through THIS for information on R/R issues on VFR/RVFs and possible upgrades/remedies.

    Also, even if the shop "checked" it, it could just mean they turn it on, let it run for a couple of seconds and turn it off. It just means the battery is holding charge, but could possibly be not charging at all. When you rode it home, the bike would have been running on battery power alone, so the head lights, plus lights and ignition would have drained the battery. Same thing with letting it warm up.

    Check the charge rate first and see how you go. If it isn't charging, get yourself another R/R and hope it's not the stator.

    Hope that helps.

    EDIT: Forgot to add, when owning a VFR/RVF, good to invest in a mutlimeter, even a cheap one will do.