Water cooled problems.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by S/W, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. S/W

    S/W Been here awhile

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    What problems have you had with your "water cooled " bike. Have you; had a blown hose , replaced the thermostat or cap due to failure, etc., and at what milage and bikes age.
    #1
  2. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    My '84 RZ350 ate an impeller shaft,bearing and seal about 10 years ago @ 20K miles. Other than that nothing on 3 liquid cooled bikes.
    #2
  3. oldxr

    oldxr Long timer

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    Thr biggest problem is owners not using the correct coolant.The old school green coolant you get a your local discount auto parts store had silcate in it.Basically sand to scour the water jackets on old iron block engines.The silicate is hard on water pump shaft seals.Best bet is to usa a premixed ready to use coolant that contains no silica.
    #3
  4. Warin

    Warin Retired

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    On the older K model BMWs it was the water pump shaft that corroded. Aftermarket replacements were stainless steel. The other thing that goes are the electric fans - bearings seize then the brushes overheat the plastic holders ... smoke. Keep teh bearings lubricated and you don't have problems there.
    #4
  5. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    I had a water-pump seal "go bad". This was in 2006? for a 1980 engine with unknown mileage.

    It's a known minor problem for CX500 and GL500 bikes that have been parked for a while.

    Replace it and it's fine. My other water-cooled bike has had zero problems.
    #5
  6. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    Fan thermo switches on many bikes are full load contacts, no relay. They fail. Had 3 go bad.
    #6
  7. Guano11

    Guano11 Behind Bars....

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    Go ask the same question over in Orange Crush. The 950ADV guys will talk your ear off over multiple water pump seal and radiator cap failures, presumably from casting sand still in the block from the factory.
    Me, I still don't know where my coolant is going.....
    #7
  8. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod Red Clay Halo

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    Have lots of miles on various water cooled bikes, never had a cooling system problem.
    #8
  9. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Most new Japanese "manufacturer branded" coolants are silica free. If you go to your local Toyota/Nissan/Honda dealer and ask for a gallon of coolant, you'll get the regular bottle that says "Toyota/Nissan/Honda on it but it will be silica free. There are also some brands of auto parts store coolant that are silica free, but you'll have to do some research on which ones.
    #9
  10. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    My Husky had a coolant temp sensor go bad.

    But in all the years and miles I've operated water-cooled bikes, that's about the only problem I can recall that ties to the cooling system of any of the machines.

    I've had air-cooled bikes seize when run too hard.

    My preference is for water cooling.
    #10
  11. fast4d

    fast4d Long timer

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    just the usual KTM water pump seal failures.:D
    #11
  12. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    If you are after fuel on why to do air cooling over water, I have 49,000 miles on a KLR and never had the head off and it is running fine. the water cooling has never caused me to walk away from the bike. But I have had a few issues.

    Waterpump seal started to leak (not a show stopper, just needs maintance)

    Waterpump shaft broke as a result of repairing the seal. still held water just was limited to about a mile at a time between cool downs. One stretch I coasted far enough with the engine off that I could restart and go another mile without actually stopping. Thermal siphon action was probably working very well. No long term damage and I made it home 11 miles later.

    Cooling fan fuse cracked once. Intermittent cooling fan. Only an issue when stopped for extended times.

    Overall I have had better luck with water cooled then air cooled. Lost a good lawnmower once because a mud dobber made a next between 2 cooling fins inside the fan cover. that one spot overheated the cylinder wall and galled the piston and took out the rings. I can plug half the radiator of a water cooled engine and it will overheat evenly and give signs of it's doom allowing a fix before its demise.
    #12
  13. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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    I have had, in over 40 yeaers of car/truck owenership, 1 radiator cap go south . . . . .

    in 5 years of water cooled bike ownershiip, I've had 3 caps go pear shaped.

    My 07 Triumph Tiger had to be flushed 5 por 6 time, from new, before what looked like casting sand stopped coming out to the engine . . . . but,m other than a cap, no problems.
    #13
  14. duck

    duck Banned

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    My 94 K1100RS blew a radiator hose in Carmel at about 60k last spring. I was within 25 miles of several BMW dealers but of course it was Monday so they were all closed.:baldy
    #14
  15. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    One of the great irritations of society.

    Oh, and no problems so far, 35,000 miles into my first water cooled bike.
    #15
  16. AustinJake

    AustinJake TE450-KLE-FXDWG

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    I've had the water temp sensor fail a couple of times, Husky TE450, and I had a slight leak on the head gasket, bike ran fine, there was no white smoke, I tested for exhaust gas in the rad, there was none, but whenever I shut the bike off hot, and then 20 minutes later, try to start it up, there'd be water on the spark plug. I'd wash the plug off with alcohol, stick it back in, and she'd start right up. Finally pulled the HG and found the breech in between the plies. The pressure of the coolant system would force coolant into the combustion chamber and waterlog the plug.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    In case ya didn't know a leak down would have found that for ya.
    #17
  18. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Early 80's and the coolant pipe came off on my first year Honda Sabre and my leg got kind of warmish. Jeans were sticky all day.....:roflFixed quickly with a hose clamp and some water. Apparently they all did that and Honda improved the design the next year.:wink:

    Late 80's and the "they all do that" BMW water/oil pump seal on the 85 K100RS. Early enough that they hadn't updated yet.:wink:

    K1200RS was running a little hot, no wonder considering all the dirt,bug crap and road tar I picked out of them radiators with needles and homemade tools a few years back. Better now that I screened them all but still spent a few hours recently picking little specks of gravel out of them.:wink:
    #18
  19. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    This... All Jap bikes from 1994 and newer.
    #19
  20. S/W

    S/W Been here awhile

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    When I started as an auto mechanic back in the sixties, if your car was three years old, you had probably better replace all your hoses.It was very common to see a car on the side of the road with steam coming out from under the hood. I think there were more on road breakdowns back then, impressive considering how many more cars there are now. It was also common for customers to replace all their hoses before a long trip.
    My Silverwing is elevin years old now, and I had to tighten all the hose clamps over the past couple of years as a lot of the connections started leaking. A sure sign of deterioration. I replaced all the hoses which all showed their age, although barely, as I hate beaking down on the road.
    I also replaced the thermostat and waterpump. I didn't test the thermostat,I put a new one in any way, and the waterpump showed no weeping at all from the drain hole with no roughness in the bearings, probably could have lasted another few years. Let's call these "time changes".
    Anyway, I am impressed with the reliability of these motorcycle cooling systems.
    #20