Low coolant level

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by RoundOz, May 23, 2013.

  1. RoundOz

    RoundOz Plenty of seasoning

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    I havent seen this mentioned anywhere but excuse my ignorance if it is already covered in another thread...
    2009 990 with about 10,000 miles...I found the coolant level low in the reservoir after winter storage (about 3/4" in the bottom)..I think lower than the last time I checked when I rode it last year. No signs of any external leaks.
    Is it possible for this to be a sign of a bad waterpump seal. Could this internal leak pull fluid from the catch bottle if it hasn't run?
    Secondly, am I right in thinking that I can tilt the bike to the right and pull the oil filter, to check for water mixing, without losing too much oil? The oil in it is pretty low mileage and I use the expensive crap. If the leak developed over the winter storage period I guess it would be possible for oil to be in the sump without having any effect on the oil filter ( using the wavy fins as a telltale). Some would say I should change the seal every 10,000 miles anyway, but i have yet to hear of a 2009 or later model having a water pump seal failure (and I am "happy" to hear if there has been - at least I would know to definitely put it on my list)
    Any thoughts? Little time or spare money on hand right now...
    #1
  2. Gustavo.Ramos

    Gustavo.Ramos Long timer

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    You're thinking too much.

    Pull the radiator cap, see if the coolant is at the top without traces of goo. Clean the radiator cap rubber sealing lip. Add a bit of coolant to the reservoir up to max and go ride.

    Check if the coolant goes too low, the oil level goes high(er) and gets foamy.
    #2
  3. dad2bike

    dad2bike Retired! Cranky Old Fart

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    I lost my water pump at 7000 miles on the 950. I saw the issue and caught it quickly by watching the coolant tank level. It dropped about 1 inch. I topped off and it dropped another 1 inch after the next days ride & cool down. That was my indicator.
    I'm now at 27K so 20,000 miles on this water pump kit. :clap

    A good place to confirm any water in the oil is the breather hose going to the airbox. Pull it off and it will have a white film in there is water present.
    #3
  4. RoundOz

    RoundOz Plenty of seasoning

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    I agree that I am probably over thinking it....my fear was that the seal went bad over the winter and so there wouldn't necessarily be any signs of oil and water mixing. Another complicating factor is that I currently have the bike pulled apart doing some final mods before my big trip for the year in a couple of weeks. My dance card is kinda full so I am stealing an hour or two to work on it when I can and not much chance to run it before then.
    I guess I will do the checks you guys suggest and redouble my efforts to try to run the bike some before loading up and taking off.
    Thanks guys.
    #4
  5. gefr

    gefr Life is a trip

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    All fluids will warm up and circulate. Then you can check the inner side of the clutch cover for white goo. The foam, in order form and reach the radiator cap, needs to pass through the temperature valve. This valve opens after the coolant warms up. So you need to let the bike run for a while.
    Cheers.
    #5
  6. RoundOz

    RoundOz Plenty of seasoning

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    Sounds like a plan...thx...

    My other thought was to drop some oil out of the sump drain. Any coolant should collect at the bottom of the engine I reasoned, being heavier than oil (afaik...) maybe also tip the bike to the left and pull the screen to check it...?

    #6
  7. gefr

    gefr Life is a trip

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    But since this is a dry sump motor, coolant could collect at the ball valve at the bottom of the oil tank. So, if we are trying to save the oil here, maybe you would have to open these two places.
    It would be easier to drain all oil in a clear box (with a valved opening at the bottom) and let it sit and separate. Then drain the coolant and keep the oil.
    Cheers.
    #7
  8. RoundOz

    RoundOz Plenty of seasoning

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    I have enough oil to top up if I drain a little out. Without wanting to start an oil thread, I like to stick with Motorex or at least JASO MA oil of the right temp rating and my closest source is 4 hours away. That being said I am not trying to be so cheap that I would re-use contaminated oil.
    I will update this thread with my findings. It had better be soon as I am running out of days....
    #8