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Old 08-18-2013, 08:16 AM   #1
dirtriderbloke OP
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Washing Bike THEN Starting, will that blow head/head gasket?

hi. im not sure if I have a coolant leak or cracked head/head gasket or not. I filled up the radiators to almost the very top and noticed a bit of drips coming from my Radiator overflow hose once i started it and let it idle for a few min, then i re-checked the radiator fluid and it was still above the fins but not as full.
I am just wondering, i know that washing a car or bike once it's been running or still hot is bad and can crack a head/head gasket...but what if it's the opposite way around? washing THEN starting/running the bike? ive been told washing then starting a bike won't crack a head but im just wanting to make sure?
also, what other symptoms should i look out for?
i am pretty certain I saw some stuff come out the exhaust, not sure if it was dust/dirt or little drops of water/coolant. it also had a little bit of white smoke coming from the exhaust but that was when i revved it quite hard or would white smoke be constantly coming from the exhaust even when not revving it??

they are new radiators with a new cap
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:25 AM   #2
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Use some KW block seal if you really think it is leaking. Follow the directions.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:48 AM   #3
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DO NOT use sealer. What's the bike? You need to be positive you're leaking. If you fill the radiator to the top it will go out the overflow with the cap off. You may have just blown some water from the wash out the exhaust .
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:56 AM   #4
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Washing your bike with a pressure/self service washer will bring on more bad than good. Get's in your wiring connectors, bearing points, not good for the chain, etc.

or "Et Al" for the legal types.

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Tell them that.......... --Who are those guys?”

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Old 08-18-2013, 09:14 AM   #5
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To answer your question, starting a wet bike won't damage the head gasket.

Within reason washing a hot bike won't do any damage either - unless you get it really hot and then drench it in water the thermal shock isn't particularly bad. Its only like riding in the rain after all.

You may just have an air lock that prevents water circulating - Fill the radiator and bleed it properly then ride a few miles and let it cool down several times so the bike goes through several short heat cycles. Check the coolant between rides and top up only if you're sure its dropping. On some bikes it goes down a bit and then stays at that level so if you repeatedly put back that little bit that it loses, you may fool yourself into thinking you have a problem when you don't.

If it does continue to drop then get it looked at properly. Continuing to ride it like that will do some damage. Its very hard to diagnose from a distance. What you saw coming out of the exhaust may be coolant or it may be condensation or oil etc. If you are convinced that its leaking then do a pressure test first and look for a leak - no point tearing into the engine if you just have a damaged radiator or hoses.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:22 PM   #6
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If I fill the rads on my KTM 640 right to the top they always spit out a little coolant through the cap once warmed up. I suspect it's just expansion of the coolant. Once it's at the happy level just above the fins (cold) it stops dribbling coolant & stays at the same level. If I top it up again it just spits some back out.

Check it again after a short ride, if the level continues to drop you could have a problem.

I would guess that it would be virtually impossible to crack the head on a liquid cooled bike even by immersing the whole thing in water, much less just starting it after washing.

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Old 08-18-2013, 05:52 PM   #7
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If I remember you have a 450 exc. you have probably overfilled the coolant. If you filled to the top this is the case. The cooant levelneeds to be 10 mil from the top. This will make the top of the fins visible. If you have to much it will burp out the excess. I wolud highly recommend a service manual as it will help with many of these issues and questions
I'm so far behind I think I'm in first
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:18 PM   #8
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Not to over simplify, but it sounds like you just overfilled the radiator. Did you check the post start fluid level against the overflow nipple level?
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by dirtriderbloke View Post
........ i know that washing a car or bike once it's been running or still hot is bad and can crack a head/head gasket....
Then why don't they self destruct when you ride or drive through deep water?
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:16 AM   #10
dirtriderbloke OP
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i dont know mate. that's a fair point but just what ive been told by several mechanics(car mechanics)
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