919 overheating in heat wave - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 35 Old 01-15-2014, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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919 overheating in heat wave

Hello fellow 919 owners across the Pacific ocean.

Down in Melbourne we have been hit with a heat wave Ė temperatures are exceeding 40 C (104 F). In these conditions, my 2002 919ís cooling fan is failing to bring the engine temperature under control while the bike is idling in traffic.

In normal weather, the bikeís temperature will rise up to about 2/3 of the gauge, at which point the cooling fan will kick in and bring the temperature down. In this hot weather, the fan is only drastically slowing the temperature increase, not reversing it. Yesterday the gauge reached the small gap between the ďnormalĒ section and the red. If Iíd been stuck in any more traffic, the bike would have reached the red.

Here are some more details:

I recently replaced the coolant, using a 50/50 mix. The system was properly bled and is not losing coolant.
When I replaced the coolant, I also flushed the system with a commercial product.
The water pump is good.
I recently installed a new thermostat (which I tested) after finding that the previous owner had removed it.
Externally, the radiator is in good condition.
A layer of surface rust is coating the water passages inside the engine. The rust is not flaking off and coolant drains cleanly from the system.

My plan of action:
Fully inspect and clean the exterior of the radiator.
Back flush the radiator.

My feeling is that even in 40-43 C (105-109 F) weather, the fan should really be able to cool the engine while idling stationary. Is that right?
Would switching to a lower mix of coolant likely improve the situation very much?
Would something like Wetter Water make a very big difference?

Thanks heaps for your help!

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post #2 of 35 Old 01-15-2014, 10:47 PM
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In that condition in Dallas, my 919 was able to hold a stable if elevated temp.

Are you sure you put the thermostat in the housing the right way? This is a common reason why it might not work.

Also, there should not be a coating of rust in the engine. The engine is aluminum, so is the radiator. We have almost no iron in those passages.

What it could be is that someone has put a stop leak product in and it basically coated the whole system with a substance that wouldn't allow heat transfer.

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post #3 of 35 Old 01-15-2014, 11:53 PM
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Yeah I am in DFW area as well and had some pretty sustained temps, probably 115 plus on the road in stop and go traffic and never had any overheating, or signs of overheating. Not sure what else could be recommended... Maybe check the water pump and see if the impeller is not toast. I am sure that is made out of some type of steel and that may be the source of your rust, especially if the impeller has turned into a tin can lid or something like that.

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post #4 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 12:49 AM
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This might be elementary and no offense, I don't know your level of mechanicness, but did you burp the system when you flushed the system? Could be pockets of air.

Is your coolant silicate free?

Does it hit the red on the gauge? Not close to but actually in the red.

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post #5 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 03:03 AM
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Didn't read the rust bit, definitely not normal. Like CB says, could be additives with those fill tabs/powder mixed in. I know the GM coolant additive tabs are brownish red in color IIRC so it could very well be what you're seeing...

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post #6 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 03:58 AM
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I would check everything over again from scrath just to be safe.

- remove the rad and t-stat.
- back flush the remaining system on the bike.
- flush the rad and give it a good general cleaning.
- inspect the rad and sraighten any bent fins, steam clean after if possible.
- test the t-stat in a pot of water for servicability
- bench test the fan and inspect the blades


Reassemble and fill with a less aggressive 30/70 or 20/80 coolant mix, as long as it won't freeze when it gets cold down your way. Ride it then top up after cooled down.

Also if you have one, carry a laser digital temp gun with you and use that to compare the L/H and R/H radiator end tanks/caps, as well as the t-stat housing etc. It may just be a faulty temp sensor or an issue with the cluster read out on the bike. At least by carrying the digital temp gun, you can have the piece of mind that thye cooling system is function properly and moving/cooling fluid.

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post #7 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 04:07 AM
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It sounds like you know what you are doing, but a few here have filled the systems from the overflow tank and not the radiator cap under the tank and had similar problems.

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post #8 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 08:44 AM
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Antifreeze (as you probably know) doesn't cool as well. It sounds like you could get away with VERY little antifreeze coolant, just enough to get the anti corrosion benefit.

Water wetter does work, I've heard 10 deg difference.

Bleeding out the air, I don't know how it's done, just know it's important. Double check that you aren't missing a step in the process.
Someone should (or may have) post a vid how-to on burping the system.

My prior bike (700S) had an engine oil cooler, I wonder if there's an add on for this that would work for the 919.

After all the double checks, it comes down to an airflow issue.

Maybe a larger fan would do the trick.

A second fan might do the trick as well. I know honda cars that have 2 fans of different sizes.

Maybe even a larger fan blade would do the trick if the can be removed.

This overheating issue is one of the reasons California allows for lane splitting.

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post #9 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 11:34 AM
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Lol, you're basing all of this on that stupid temp guage? If your fan is coming on get over it and ride the thing.

If your cap pops, then we'll talk.

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post #10 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlJay View Post
Antifreeze (as you probably know) doesn't cool as well. It sounds like you could get away with VERY little antifreeze coolant, just enough to get the anti corrosion benefit.

Water wetter does work, I've heard 10 deg difference.

Bleeding out the air, I don't know how it's done, just know it's important. Double check that you aren't missing a step in the process.
Someone should (or may have) post a vid how-to on burping the system.

My prior bike (700S) had an engine oil cooler, I wonder if there's an add on for this that would work for the 919.

After all the double checks, it comes down to an airflow issue.

Maybe a larger fan would do the trick.

A second fan might do the trick as well. I know honda cars that have 2 fans of different sizes.

Maybe even a larger fan blade would do the trick if the can be removed.

This overheating issue is one of the reasons California allows for lane splitting.
The 919 has an oil cooler. It's the base of the oil filter boss and it dumps heat into the liquid cooling system.

The other thing is that even with regular coolant, he shouldn't be nudging the red in those temperatures.

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post #11 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ditch View Post
Lol, you're basing all of this on that stupid temp guage? If your fan is coming on get over it and ride the thing.

If your cap pops, then we'll talk.

I would tend to agree as long as there isn't any coolant overflow. If the temp gauge is just high but its not boiling over then I would just ride it.

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post #12 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 12:49 PM
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If the cap is intact and functional, your engine is fine. Honda KNOWS what they are doing.

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post #13 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 02:00 PM
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Jack1313, can you give us more info on your 919? Miles and maintenance you've done outside of fluid changes. Possibly take pics of that rust look, etc.

I would be concerned of a bike running hot specially in the middle of a summer heat wave. (107* at the Australian Open?!?) I've seen my gauge go up in some traffic situation, even in 90* weather but never has it gone past the temp logo. The needle's never gone to the edge of the logo but never past it.

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post #14 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 02:27 PM
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post #15 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB700S View Post
The 919 has an oil cooler. It's the base of the oil filter boss and it dumps heat into the liquid cooling system.

The other thing is that even with regular coolant, he shouldn't be nudging the red in those temperatures.
Just went out and looked, you're right on both points!

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post #16 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 05:35 PM
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IF the cap is holding.
IF the system is full and purged of air
IF the stat is opening
IF the fan is coming on
IF the temp is still rising
IF the water pump is moving liquid
Then there is a heat transfer problem.
Bent/blocked rad convolutions and/or coating on the inside of the cooling system.
I'm very suspicious of the coating described.

Oil heat can not be the cause, as the oil can't get that hot.

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post #17 of 35 Old 01-16-2014, 07:05 PM
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did you bleed it properly when refilling it? after refill, start the engine with the cap off, watch all the bubbles come up and the fluid level drop. top it back up.

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post #18 of 35 Old 01-18-2014, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Hi guys, thanks heap for the help Sorry that it has taken me a while to get back to you Ė I have no internet in my house.

We had another 110F day and, again, the temperature gauge was brushing up against the red and would have passed into it if Iíd been stuck in traffic any longer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CB700S View Post
Are you sure you put the thermostat in the housing the right way? This is a common reason why it might not work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogunoogun View Post
did you bleed it properly when refilling it? after refill, start the engine with the cap off, watch all the bubbles come up and the fluid level drop. top it back up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by marylandmike View Post
It sounds like you know what you are doing, but a few here have filled the systems from the overflow tank and not the radiator cap under the tank and had similar problems.
The system was properly filled (i.e. from the cap underneath the tank), the air fully bled/burped out, and the overflow tank topped to the required level. I also installed the thermostat facing the right direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ditch View Post
Lol, you're basing all of this on that stupid temp guage? If your fan is coming on get over it and ride the thing.
I like to fix problems before they have a chance to cause more headaches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewebay1 View Post
Jack1313, can you give us more info on your 919? Miles and maintenance you've done outside of fluid changes.
A bit about the bikeís history: I picked up the 919 about six months ago from an older gentleman who had himself only owned the bike for about a year. It had 37 000 miles on the clock when I bought it and Iíve since put another 6 or 7 000 miles on it. It didnít come with much in terms of service history, but the bike looked like it had been very well cared for, with some nice aftermarket bits (Power Commander, carbon fibre side covers and engine covers, a radiator guard since removed, exhaust system) that someone wouldnít bother spending money on unless they cared about the bike.

I have performed the following maintenance:
Chained oil and filter
Replaced spark plugs
Replaced brake pads front and back
Changed the front and back tyre
Checked valve clearances. Three were slightly too tight (0.01mm) and another three were sitting on the limit Ė I re-shimmed all of them

I also replaced the radiator cap when it suddenly stopped holding the required pressure. It was at this point that I had a good inspection of the cooling system and discovered the missing thermostat and the brown coating on the inside of the engine. The water pump is good Ė thereís a little bit of rust on the impeller, but it is in good form and functioning fine.

There was some dirt clogging radiator fins. Iíve since spent some time scraping it out with a needle, which doesnít seemed to have affected the problem. Overall, the exterior of the radiator appears to be in good condition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcromo44 View Post
IF the cap is holding. CHECK
IF the system is full and purged of air CHECK
IF the stat is opening NEW AND CHECKED
IF the fan is coming on CHECK
IF the temp is still rising
IF the water pump is moving liquid
Then there is a heat transfer problem.
Bent/blocked rad convolutions and/or coating on the inside of the cooling system.
I'm very suspicious of the coating described.
Oil heat can not be the cause, as the oil can't get that hot.
I think you and the others who mentioned it are on to something when you point the finger at this brown coating. The question is, what is it and is it inside my radiator as well as my engine? The stuff doesnít seem to respond easily to system flushing products: when I used one, the water ran clean right from the get-go.

Iím going to strip the whole cooling system tomorrow, backflush the radiator, and take some photos to see if we canít identify this brown stuff.

However, the heat wave seems to be over now, so I donít expect to see the bike overheating again until weíre hit by another one.

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post #19 of 35 Old 01-18-2014, 07:27 PM
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Hard to imagine what it is. Hope you get it figured out soon. You didn't ever put any orange coolant (Dexcool) in did you. I've heard that stuff turns nasty when it mixes with the green stuff.

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post #20 of 35 Old 01-18-2014, 09:16 PM
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From the sound of it, the PO had a cooling issue. Why else would he have removed the stat.

Maybe it's sodium silicate aka water glass. I've used it myself in a pinch, had to replace the water pump soon after.

Sodium Silicate used to stop the leak


How to Plug a Leak With Sodium Silicate | eHow

If he didn't remove and flush the coolant, this may have caused the color you see, or it might be mixed with copper flakes (I've seen it done before)

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post #21 of 35 Old 01-18-2014, 09:24 PM
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My guess is that the stock surface would be rough like sand paper, if it's coated, it might be smooth as glass.

Rub the inside and see if it's smooth or rough.

Another option is to gouge a part of the brown stuff and see if it comes off.

If the PO had a warped head or system leak, this would have been a quick fix.

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post #22 of 35 Old 01-22-2014, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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Hi guys,
Yesterday I did the following:

Removed the radiator, backflushed it with a garden hose and cleaned the outside with several rounds of degreaser.
Flushed the whole system with another over-the-counter flushing solution, the garden hose, and then a few rounds of de mineralised water
Refilled it using a 33% solution ethylene glycol HAT coolant (instead of 50% ethylene glycol OAT coolant).

Here are some high-res pictures of the brown crap inside the system:

Inside the engine via thermostat hole:
(The red liquid is the 50% ethylene glycol OAT)




Inside the radiator before flushing:




On my hand after rubbing it with my finger:



The flush products seems to have no effect on this stuff, though the garden hose did manage to get some out of the radiator.

Now here’s the interesting part:
According to the Honda workshop manual, the radiator and engine should hold 3.2 litres of coolant while the overflow bottle holds another 0.8. If the overflow gets filled with about 0.5 litres, then that’s about 3.7 litres of new coolant that would be required for a coolant change.

I’m filling and draining from the engine and radiator only about 2.3 – 2.4 litres. In fact, I’m only using about 2.8 litres all up for the engine/radiator and overflow – close to a litre less than the system ought to take according to the manual. If, at a guess, 0.2 litres of water is left in the system after the flush, then we could say there is about a 0.6 – 0.7 litre discrepancy.

So either:
A lot more water is getting left in the cooling system than I think
OR
There is 0.6 – 0.7 litres worth of crap blocking up the cooling system that won’t come out
OR
The figure in the manual is wrong and the capacity of the engine and radiator is significantly less than 3.2 litres

Can anyone tell me how much coolant they usually use when refilling?

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post #23 of 35 Old 01-22-2014, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marylandmike View Post
You didn't ever put any orange coolant (Dexcool) in did you. I've heard that stuff turns nasty when it mixes with the green stuff.
I don't know what Dexcool is - I did use red OAT stuff, but I flushed the system fully using de-mineralised water before doing so.

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post #24 of 35 Old 01-22-2014, 08:42 AM
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Did you run the bike up to operating temp in order to cycle the coolant and allow the radiator to open? You have to do this to most bikes to get that last bit of coolant in.

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post #25 of 35 Old 01-22-2014, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack_1313 View Post
I don't know what Dexcool is - I did use red OAT stuff, but I flushed the system fully using de-mineralised water before doing so.
From here:

Eleven years ago GM introduced an engine coolant called Dexcool. Itís supposed to last 5 years or 150,000 miles but there have been problems with this coolant. Cooling systems that use Dexcool exhibit more acid buildup and rust in the system when the coolant level gets low and oxygen is allowed to enter the system. The acid eats away at head gaskets and intake gaskets. Rust builds up in the system, inhibiting coolant flow, which causes overheating. Overall, numerous cooling system problems have been attributed to the use of this controversial product, although GM sternly stands behind it. There are class action suits against GM on this issue, but no settlements have been made to date.

Dexcool is orange in color...when it's mixed with regular antifreeze (green)...The coolants chemically react and form a gel rather than a liquid. The coolant stops flowing through the system, clogs up coolant passageways and water jackets, radiators, and heater cores. The water pump overheats and fails due to a lack of lubricant in the coolant. Head gaskets blow, heads warp, and the engine suffers major damage.

Sounds like its probably not your issue but figured it was worth asking.

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post #26 of 35 Old 01-22-2014, 09:31 PM
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WOW!!!! GM F'd up!

Gel in the cooling system!

I wonder if you could take that rad and give it to a rad shop to have them boil it out.

Maybe some kind of pressure flush would get the engine clean.

If it settles to the bottom, maybe some kind of acid flush or something.

Sorry to see that.

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post #27 of 35 Old 01-23-2014, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g00gl3it View Post
Did you run the bike up to operating temp in order to cycle the coolant and allow the radiator to open? You have to do this to most bikes to get that last bit of coolant in.
Not sure what you mean here - if you run the bike up to operating temperature with the radiator cap off, you're just going to spill a bunch of coolant out as it heats up and expands. If you mean did I check that the system was still full a day after filling, then yes

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post #28 of 35 Old 01-23-2014, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlJay View Post
WOW!!!! GM F'd up!

Gel in the cooling system!

I wonder if you could take that rad and give it to a rad shop to have them boil it out.

Maybe some kind of pressure flush would get the engine clean.

If it settles to the bottom, maybe some kind of acid flush or something.

Sorry to see that.
After reading that I think I'll stay away from the red stuff from now on But I doubt me using it for a few weeks has anything to do with why the bike was overheating during the heatwave. I always flush the system very well when changing coolant and and there is no evidence whatsoever of any nasty gel in the system (hoses, radiator, thermostat hole). That brown stuff coating the walls that you're looking at was already there - but what is it? Just sludge? Or something else?


EDIT: That's not to say that brown coating on the walls isn't the product of a PO mixing coolants, though...

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post #29 of 35 Old 01-23-2014, 02:53 AM
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Dexcool is a form of OAT. What that stuff in your engine looks like is a combination of an early OAT coolant with regular coolant plus possibly a bad radiator cap allowing air into the system. Take a look at this page: Dexcool Pictures



Look familiar?

Unfortunately, that mud is an insulator. It does not allow enough heat to transfer from the metal engine parts to the coolant and from there to the radiator and out to the airflow. Did we mention that mud crap is corrosive and has bad long term interactions with plastics?

You are going to have to pressure flush out the entire cooling system and replace the radiator - even then there's likely still going to be a thin film of oily residue on everything inside the motor, but it will at least work again.

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post #30 of 35 Old 01-23-2014, 09:55 AM
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Would a white vinegar cleanse help ?
Water with 10 % or so and get it hot then dump and flush ?

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post #31 of 35 Old 01-23-2014, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack_1313 View Post
Not sure what you mean here - if you run the bike up to operating temperature with the radiator cap off, you're just going to spill a bunch of coolant out as it heats up and expands. If you mean did I check that the system was still full a day after filling, then yes
Just long enough for the stat to start opening so the air trapped up high in the engine can escape.

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post #32 of 35 Old 01-23-2014, 10:39 AM
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Would a white vinegar cleanse help ? Water with 10 % or so and get it hot then dump and flush ?
Sadly, no. The stuff has to be mechanically removed, I.E., by water pressure.

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post #33 of 35 Old 01-23-2014, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack_1313 View Post
Not sure what you mean here - if you run the bike up to operating temperature with the radiator cap off, you're just going to spill a bunch of coolant out as it heats up and expands. If you mean did I check that the system was still full a day after filling, then yes
Eh, sorry. Typo. I meant the thermostat.

2009 Aprilia Tuono - Ginger
2001 XR650R BRP (Big Red Pig)
2006 Honda 599 - Ex wrecked it :-D
2007 Honda CB900F (sold)
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post #34 of 35 Old 01-25-2014, 04:48 PM
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That dex-cool stuff is crap. I take it out of all my american cars and put in the green silicate stuff. Best stuff ever. Even the Toyota red one sucks. I don't know why these auto makers have to constantly reinvent the wheel. You definitely never want to mix coolant types either, they will definitely gel up. The dex stuff gels on its own after a while.

That crud inside the hose looks like bar's leak, if you ask me. I used that stuff when I find minor leaks in my cooling system on my car, such as buying time on a radiator or intake gasket. Right now my pontiac grand prix 3800 engine suffers from a lower intake gasket leak, so I retorqued it and am going to add some Bar's Leak from the gray bottle into the radiator, to hopefully prolong me from having to rip the stupid thing apart. For me it's at leas a 5-6 hour job because I'm a slow auto-mechanic.

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post #35 of 35 Old 01-25-2014, 06:05 PM
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What kind of cleaners would be safe inside the cooling system outside the normal 'flush' stuff?

I've never seen an additive so yellowish like that.

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- '96 Race-retired GSXR 750 (Sold)
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