Motorcycles

 

Tuono - Brown Connectors

 

It has been known for some time that Aprilia RSVR's are vulnerable to a wiring issue commonly referred to on the message boards as the brown connector problem.  The three yellow wires that run from the alternator on the LH side of the bike to the voltage regulator on the RH side have two brown plastic connectors along the way.  Due to a poor connection at these junctions, there is excessive resistance and enough heat can be generated to melt the connectors and the wiring.  This eventually leads to the bike running purely off the battery until it is completely drained, possibly leaving the rider stranded. You can read more about it here.

 

The question for us 2nd Generation Tuono owners has been whether or not our bikes are affected.  While assisting a fellow board member work on his sub-4000 mile 2007 Tuono R yesterday I discovered this:

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That led me to check another friend's 5,000 mile Tuono R today, where I discovered this:

Tuono Brown Connector

 

Tuono Brown Connector

 

So, yes, it appears that all 2nd-generation Tuono's are at risk and should be repaired as a preventative measure.  I fixed my friend's bike yesterday with the wiring in place and I DO NOT recommend doing it that way.  There is very little room to work and there is almost no slack in the wires.  The best repair advice I've seen was given by board member Amauri.  He recommended pulling all the wiring out the LH side of the bike and then using butt connectors to replace the entire brown connectors and the spade connectors inside. 

 

How To Repair the Brown Connector Problem:

 

The first thing I did was check my bike, an early production bike (s/n in the 70's). With only 600 miles on it, I was not surprised to find no signs of melting yet.  However, I did find there my bike only came with one brown connector.  Other models have two, making it a bit more difficult as the second connector is less accessible.  The fix for both is similar though.  You need to cut out the brown connectors and the electrical connectors inside them, then reconnect the wires with butt connectors.

 

Here's my bike with just the one brown connector. Start on the RH side of the bike and remove the coolant reservoir cover and reservoir. 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix 2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix 2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Here you can see the brown connector with the three yellow wires coming out of it.

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

 

Tuono Brown Connector

After cutting off the brown connectors I trimmed back the insulation and reconnected the wires back together with these blue 16-gauge butt connectors.

 

Tuono Brown Connector

If they are crimped on properly you can give the wires a good tug and they won't come out.

Tuono Brown Connector

These particular butt connectors have a heat-shrink outer sheath.  After heating them up, I was done.  Pretty easy.

 

For my friend Rick's bike with two brown connectors, it was a little more work.  The three yellow wires come over to the LH side of the bike, exiting the top of the generator housing (marked here with the Aprilia logo).

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix 2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

This photo is a little too dark but at the top of the alternator housing you'll find a single black rubber piece with a black tube running out of it.  This is a protective sheath for the three yellow wires inside.  Compare it to the outer covering on the other side of the bike with the yellow wires - it should be the same.  You'll want to pull the wiring through the V of the engine over to this side of the bike.  You'll have enough length here to work with.  It sounds really difficult but it turned out to be pretty easy.

 

Start by removing the seat, the fuel tank side panels, and the two fuel tank retainer bolts near the handlebars. Lift the tank up and support it with a prop-rod or by suspending it from the ceiling with a bungee hook or something.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

On the RH side of the bike, cut the brown connector off completely, leaving as much wire as possible.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Take some duct tape and secure a length of string to the three yellow wires you just cut.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Standing along the LH side of the bike, use a flashlight to look in the V of the engine. If you tug on the black tube coming out of the top of the alternator, you should see it moving around down in the V.  Now that you've spotted it, use something like this small hook pick to reach down in the V and carefully pull the tube out. 

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

 

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

If you do it right, you'll pull the three yellow wires (inside that black tube) out, along with the length of string.  We'll use that when we're done to easily pull the yellow wires back through to the RH side of the bike.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Remove the duct tape and expose the three yellow wires.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Trim the insulation off the ends.  If you don't have an automatic wire stripper, you NEED one.  A fantastic tool.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Now cut three lengths of 16-gauge multi-strand wire.  I recommend 8-12inches in length.  Too long is better than too short.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Now crimp butt connectors on one end of the three wires.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Crimp those wires onto the three yellow wires and heat-shrink them down.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Re-tape the string to the wires and pull the string back through from the RH side.  It helps to have one person fee the wires in from the LH side while another pulls the string from this side.

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix 2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Now with the wires through, cut out the lower brown connector, trim back the insulation on both the three yellow and three red wires (or whatever color you chose for your extensions), and join them together with butt connectors.

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

 

2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix 2007 Tuono Brown Connector Fix

Now with both brown connectors out of the picture and the three yellow wires reconnected solidly with butt connectors, you're ready to put everything back together and ride.  Make sure the bike starts fine and check your voltage by firing up the bike, flipping your LH switch to 'Menu', and then tapping the selector button (the big square one on the front of the LH handlebar) one time.  You should see the real-time voltage output of the alternator.  If I'm not mistaken it should read high 13's to low 14's.

 

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