Harley Davidson Voltage Regulator Rectifiers – A Very Regular Failing

One of my major criticisms of Harley Davidson motorcycles of many years has been their insistence to place the voltage regulator rectifier at the front of the bike, just behind the front wheel being fully exposed to the elements and getting struck and damaged by any road debris.

It seems they continue to favour this mental model as they have done exactly the same with the Pan America…a bike that is supposed to be able to go on dirt roads and tracks with ease. That won’t help the VR’s case at all now will it?

With Harley Davidson motorcycles, especially with those I am most familiar with being the M8 Softails and Tourers, there is a consistent plea from owners who have electrical issues with their bikes. Indeed I get numerous emails from around the globe from owners who have such problems and it usually turns out to be a battery or voltage regulator issue too.

So much is this a common occurrence, that the only part that you’ll likely to be able to hold easily these days from the dealerships…is the VR. They reportedly always have a few stacked up on the shelves for this reason.

So the solution to your electrical woes could be a simple £200 fix. It could be easily changed by yourself or the dealership. So why is it such a common problem?

Is it that the component itself is just poorly made? I would doubt that very much but what I would guess is that it is not resilient enough to be placed in its designed location…perhaps the designers at H-D should relocate it elsewhere from the factory.

If you’re having electrical issues with your bike, then try to problem solving with the battery and VR first of all. Try buying a protective shield for the VR, but until H-D relocate it from the front of the bike, the problems are likely to remain.

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