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Published: 10/12/2005 - Updated: 10/12/2014

Honda VTR1000F Firestorm / SuperhawkStar Icon


Replacement Regulator / Rectifier Modification


From this page I will try to provide technical assistance and step by step instructions on how to perform a modification to your VTR1000F.

Honda VTR1000F Firestorm

Known as a Firestorm in the UK.
And a SuperHawk in the USA.

Please Note:
None of the information below is official or without error.
This modification is the way I carried out the work and should not be understood as the official or necessarily the correct way. There are no guarantees.
The reader should understand that the information contained here is not meant to endorse any product, event, person or company.

I have carried out this modification on several Honda's which include a CBR600F, VFR750, Blackbird CBR1100 and of course my very own VTR1000F Firestorm used in this very example below.
Some people may not agree that this is a helpful or good modification and I do not wish to argue the point with them. I know from my experience that this modification was helpful to me and resolve my situation without future failure.

As some of you may well be aware most Hondas have a well known problem - the R/R (Regulator or Rectifier) likes to die at very frequent intervals. When it does fail, sometimes other components get taken out along the way, which can make it a very expensive repair. In most cases your battery usually gets cooked and in least cases the magneto is damaged. Most people will go out and buy a new Honda R/R costing between £60-£80 (approx $90-$125 in the USA) and plug it in. Only to have it fail again so many miles down the road at a later date. This simple step by step modification is to show you how to replace the Honda R/R with a non-Honda unit that won't fail. The general setup is common to all Hondas, but there are some small differences. The photos here are of the conversion done to my VTR1000F (Firestorm) or also known in other countries as the SuperHawk 996, but the process is similar for all Hondas. The photos printed below were taken by myself while carrying out this modification.

My R/R failed on me while on a 12 mile journey returning back home, at first the analogue clocks turned on and off with the needles being erractic and then decided to die completely, secondly all lights and electrics ceased to work, thirdly as I was approaching a roundabout on a dual carriageway I heard a very large pop and a bang from the exahusts and the engine cuts out slowly grinding to a halt. The battery was dead and my Firestorm did not want to fire back up, even a bump start on a steep hill would not get it started!

As you can imagine I no longer wanted to use another Honda unit, so I decided to purchase a replacement unit and use something different. There are many options and many different R/R's out there to replace it with. The first recommendation is not to use anything that comes from another Honda, simply being they are crap. The biggest problem being they are just not capable of producing the current required and overheat very quickly as there is little means and air flow for it to cool down. You want to use a unit that can handle the demands. I have never heard of Yamaha R1/R6 units failing and they also have a large heatsink built into them to dispurse the heat, yes they look a little on the bulky side but they are solid units. So i took the plunge and purchased one on eBay for only £10 including P&P (approx $16 in the USA give or take the exchange rate) to use for this modification. There are plenty of these units laying around in breakers yards etc. They have got nice big cooling fins (unlike the Honda unit, please see photo below) and the number of wires match, 5 in total. It does not matter which brand and model you use, just make sure you have at least the same current rating as the old Honda stock unit and the same amount of wires being 5 as some have up to 7.


As you can see from the pictures below I am using a 2000 Model R/R from a Yamaha R1. The R6 unit is exactly the same, and all years are more or less roughly the same as well.

Now onto the Modification.

VTR1000F Reg/Rec Mod 1

As you can see from the above photo, the rear subframe is exposed showing the R/R on the right hand side of the subframe. This is possible by removing the rear seat and plastics, only a couple of hexagon bolts. The smaller unit on the left is the indicator flasher relay, this will have to be moved as the R1 replacement R/R is a larger unit and double the size.


VTR1000F Reg/Rec Mod 2

From the photo above you can see the comparison between the R1 R/R unit on the left and the stock Honda R/R unit on the right. Please note the complete lack of cooling fins on the Honda stock unit, (this little unit generates a huge amount of heat as it produces somewhere around 40amps on the output!). This is the main primary contributor to the failure and the inability to keep cool, the resulting heat/cool cycles destroys the semiconductors contained inside.

Our new replacement unit looks very beefy and is far bigger than the old stock unit. I seriously doubt you will never need to replace it.


VTR1000F Reg/Rec Mod 3

First things first, unbolt the Honda stock unit and remove the indicator flasher relay from its mounting point. If you want to, you can use wiring harness and plug that fits the R1 Unit., but I did not want to pay any extra for a complete rear subframe wiring loom just for the plug. If you do use the R1 plug the only difference is that the R1 plug will use white wires, which correspond to the Honda yellow wires. When some R/R's fail the plug is also taken out and either melts or they become brittle resulting in not being able to re-use the stock plug.


VTR1000F Reg/Rec Mod 4

Cut off the stock Honda plug, strip the 5 wires and solder the ends (please solder the ends as this is important, there is a serious amount of current going through these wires and we dont want the ends to burn up). When finished crimp on female spade connectors and your now ready to fit the spade connectors directly to the unit.

VTR1000F Reg/Rec Mod Plug

The above diagram shows the corresponding coloured wires that fit directly into the bottom of the R1 unit. To fit the wires to the R/R, connect the three yellow wires onto the top row (these wires originate from the stator/pulse generator so it does not matter which order you connect them). The two power wires go on the bottom row (negative being green on the left and positive being red on the right. Please note and double check that you have the unit the right way up with the outter indent sticking out on the bottom and the wires are connected in the right order!.

VTR1000F Reg/Rec Mod 5

At last nearly there. I would recommend to use a cable tie around the wires about 3cm away from the connectors to keep the wires tight. Your now free to tape everything up with electrical tape so that you can't pull the individual connectors out and this will also help secure them together once again. Your now ready to refit the replacement unit and bolt back into place. The unit is much larger so you are only able to use one mounting hole, usually the top mount. This is not a problem and the unit will be just fine, but please if you need too safelt drill an additional hole and bolt through. At this stage you will require a new larger bolt as the new R/R is thicker and please don't forget to mount the green earth wire through this mounting bolt. As you can see from the photo above this is the best mounting position with little fuss and the indicator flasher unit has been secured further up the subframe to the left with the aid of a cable tie.

Finally feel free to use cable ties to secure everything into place. Start your bike up and check the voltage over the battery terminals using a multimeter. You should see between 12.5v and 14.4V depending on revs. If this checks out fine, refit the plastics and seat back onto the bike and away you go!

I hope this modification helps you as much as it helped me.

Later Honda models were shipped and included a revised R/R with cooling fins. I have not heard of any failing as of yet! Good Luck.

Reference:
VTR1000.org - http://www.vtr1000.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=5308 - Beast
SuperHawkForum.com - http://www.superhawkforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=211424 - CyberBeast
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