How To Detect Bad Voltage Regulator On Outboard? (Explained)

Over time, the outboard voltage regulator suffers from a lot of heat abuse since it locates on the ignition system.

But some visible indications can give you hint when your voltage regular is gradually going bad so that you can prevent further severe damages.

Today’s article will help you to learn and understand those symptoms, as well as how to fix the bad voltage regulator problem on your outboard:

What Are The Sign Of A Bad Voltage Regulator On Outboard?

People often get confused between the symptoms of a bad regulator and rectifier on outboard since they are almost similar to notice. But when you are precisely aware of the symptoms differences and how to figure the actual issues, you will not get confused anymore.

The most visibly obvious sign of a bad voltage regulator on the outboard is erratic or inaccurate reading on Voltmeter and battery not charging correctly.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Voltage Regulator Outboard?

The symptoms of the bad stator are usually similar to the below-mentioned and explained indications:

1. Erratic Or Inaccurate Reading On Voltmeter:

Inaccurate or erratic reading is the main precise sign that directly hints at a faulty voltage regulator.

When the outboard voltage regulator goes bad, you will notice that the voltmeter reading shows low under any throttle condition, and the Tachometer stopped working.

Some consumers claim they have experienced that the voltage rate abruptly starts to jump up as soon the outboard motor warm-up at a certain level and keeps fluctuating.

In both scenarios, your engine may not initially show any abnormality, but gradually you will notice the difference in performance. 

2. Over Voltage Or Overcharging:

When you have a bad regulator, you will eventually see that your regulator is getting overheated or the batteries are not charging like usual.

Initially, a weak or damaged water pump causes that overheating issue on an outboard regulator. That intense heat eventually burns out the regulator or causes built-up fire on the outboard.

Also, bad or slightly damaged voltage regulator will fail to cooperate when using an external battery in your outboard, and you will see that the regulator is gradually failing to charge both batteries effectively

3. Encountering Damaged Stator:

The outboard stator’s job is generating voltage, but when your regulator is not responding accurately eventually, the stator gets damaged.

We often say one problem may lead to another, and in the end, the problem only becomes huge until it gets solved from the core. That’s the perfect statement to address when your voltage regulator turns bad since blockage on the voltage regulator directly messes up with the stator.

So, if you notice damage in your stator, make sure to check the voltage regulator too.

These symptoms are the easiest to notice and identify when you have a bad voltage regulator on your outboard, which caused the major trouble you have been experiencing.

How Should You React If You Detect A Bad Voltage Regulator Outboard?

As soon you detect any of the above-discussed symptoms, just remember to follow the below mentioned easy steps to fix the problem:

Diagnosis With The Voltmeter:

After realizing your outboard voltage regulator has become bad, the first and foremost task is to diagnosis your voltage regulator. To confirm the problem, use a voltmeter to check whether the charging rate is too high or moderate.

Remember to check the charging reading while your outboard motor is running and generating voltage.

Your reading measurement should be 13.6 to14.3 volts, and if you see a different result, that means the problem is in your regulator so, you will need to change it.

Dissembling The Alternator’s Top Cover:

First, start the task by dissembling the alternator and make sure to memorize each step so that you can reassemble it correctly. Now, you will find three 8-millimeter bolts on the top cover so, remove all of them.

Then, grab a screwdriver to remove the one left screw, which is mainly holding the top. Now the top cover will come off.

Most importantly, before starting the replacement job, check your service manual to determine the specific torque spec details that your outboard engine requires.

Removing The Voltage Regulator:

After removing the alternator top cover, you will see four screws that holding the voltage regulator. Now, you have to remove those screws using the same screwdriver.

After successfully removing all four bolts, you will be able to remove the voltage regulator easily.

Replacing The Old Voltage Regulator With New:

Well, it is time to place the new voltage regulator in the older one’s position. Now, readjust all the screws in their position and tighten them securely.

After securing your new regulator in there, put back the alternator top cover and re-insert all the bolts, screws to secure the cover in its place.

Are Replacing Voltage Regulator Outboard Typically Expensive?

Technically, voltage regulator replacement cost highly depends on two major facts-

One is the brand, type, and model of your outboard engine. Another fact is whether you will do the entire task all by yourself or hire a professional to do that.

However, the good news is voltage regulators are generally available at affordable pricing and the labor cost is not too high either.

The alternator voltage regulators are available at around $140 to $383 and the average labor cost can be around $135 to $170. But the labor cost may go up depending on your outboard model and how long the job takes.

How Often Should You Replace Voltage Regulator?

Generally, a voltage regulator supposes to last long for the life span of your outboard. But over time, it can damage too, that is unavoidable as well.

However, you should regularly maintain the required servicing of your outboard motor to avoid any damage in essential parts like stator, fuel pump, and voltage regulator.

Therefore, keep those in mind and check your service manual instruction for accurate maintenance guidelines.

Final Thoughts

Several issues may arise when your outboard voltage regulator fails or turns bad, it can severely harm your outboard internally like causing major motor and battery failure.

Therefore, be warned and well informed about the noticeable symptoms to identify when your regulator turns bad to lessen the damages.

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