Maintenance induced failures.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by rickr84, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. rickr84

    rickr84 Adventurer

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    I recently had a radiator cap fail and cause me to go crazy for a bit, simply because I wanted to finally do some maintenance on a perfectly running bike.

    My 2006 R1 has 16k miles on it. Virtually everything on it is untouched except for oil and filter, and even that I accidentally neglected for 6 years/9k miles. Recently upgraded it to commute duty, so I've been trying to take better care of it.

    The bike was running perfectly. But I wanted to flush the radiator. So I did. I even burped/bled the system as recommended online. All was well. Put the cap back on and rested easy.

    Except, the next day it pushed some fluid out of the overflow when I got to work. I figured it was no big deal, just overfilled something maybe. On the ride back home, it actually lost fluid out the overflow sitting a stop light. Not good. I got home and removed some water from the overflow to make it sit at the max level line.

    The next day, on the way to work, the bike reached 235 degrees in traffic, something I had never seen. I took it apart before leaving for home, and refilled the radiator with distilled water. It took about a quart of water. Burped it again. Extra burping. Put cap back on.

    Bike ran cool now with the proper fluid, but I noticed even coming to a stop at just 190-200 degrees, it was already moving more fluid into the overflow tank.

    I figured it had to be the cap. I stopped at the dealership. Got a new cap for $30. Put it on.

    All problems solved.

    That cap must have been on its way out, but was holding on somehow since it hadn't moved in 13 years. Once I removed it, it never sealed the same again and wasn't able to hold pressure. It was sending fluid into the overflow WAY too early, and it doesn't even seem like it was sucking it back in either.

    Just made me realize that even when doing regular maintenance before a big trip, its important to leave a few miles to test everything you did, because sometimes there are unintended consequences.
    #1
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  2. JR356

    JR356 Long timer

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    The Iron Butt Association folks say never do any major changes,maintenance,add new gear right before a trip.
    Always give stuff at least a ride or two,maybe a hundred miles or so,before you know it will work and can be trusted.
    I follow that advise,most of the time:D

    JR356
    #2
  3. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    That is my practice as well. :deal
    #3
  4. shovelstrokeed

    shovelstrokeed Long timer

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    As is mine though I will tend to break in a new to me bike on my first day. Then again, 600 miles IS a short day for me.
    #4
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  5. Bounder

    Bounder Typing...

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    I'm not sure I would class that as a maintenance induced failure more that the part would probably have failed at some point during regular maintenance but the fact that you have done none has masked the problem.
    If you had been doing regular coolant changes then the problem would have manifested sooner and been dealt with under normal maintenance routine.
    Wait till you start on the brake system!
    #5
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  6. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Oh yea. Like make sure it's all done a good week before, and drive it that week to make sure.
    #6
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  7. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    NTNP

    never
    trust
    new
    parts
    #7
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  8. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    More like LACK of regular maintenance failure
    #8
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  9. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    Radiator cap is about the ONLY part I don't have to worry about on the bikes I have now..........
    #9
  10. jstyles

    jstyles Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I feel your pain.

    My (17 year old) daughter's vehicle has a tendency to have a clogged heater core. So, nice dad that I am, flushed it for her. I filled it with CLR, my neighbor came over, and we talked while i was doing it all. I was not paying close enough attention to what I was doing when i flushed the CLR out and got it on the top of the engine. No big deal I'll just rinse it off so it doesn't corrode anything. Flushed, filled and test drive a few miles. All is well.... I get a call at work the next day,

    "my car is shaking when i back out of the parking spot at school."
    "Uh, OK get a ride home and I'll look at it when I get off work."
    "*insert dummy boyfriend's name here* drove it home and I drove his"
    "Ok it must not have been bad ill check it out when i get home."

    I get home... *dummy boyfriend* "Yeah i had to hold it on the floor just to go 50"
    "...What... Why did you keep driving?"
    "I didn't think it was a big deal"

    I drove it around the neighborhood and it has a slight miss at about 20. But, I don't have time to mess with it because I'm busy at work, so I make arrangements with the shop I use that's not too far away. They are going to look at it when I get off work the next day. I was just going to limp it down to the shop.

    My loving wife decides to help me out and meets me at the shop in it the next day. I pull up to 4 frantic mechanics, water hoses, and a huge pillar of smoke....

    "I don't know what happened! I was driving slow! I was probably only going 50." She had run the thing at full throttle going 50 for almost 10 miles...

    Turns out when i rinsed off the top of the motor, water pooled up around the coils. When I test drove it there was no problem but I warmed it up and when it cooled it drew the water into the coil/ around the boot and shorted 3 coils out of 6. Then, driving it at highway speeds on 3 cylinders caused a massive amount of raw fuel to go into the exhaust. That fuel hits the hot catalytic converters and burns. Almost burned the car down and succeeded in melting the catalytic converters.

    So rinsing out a heater core cost me 6 plugs, 6 coils, and 2 catalytic converters. Better part of $1,700.
    #10
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  11. rickr84

    rickr84 Adventurer

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    I understand what you're saying, but my main point is I had a great running reliable bike, and doing a simple maintenance task actually made a dormant problem show it's head during my commute week.
    #11
  12. Bounder

    Bounder Typing...

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    But isn't that preferable to having it fail on a long trip where it may not have been as easy to solve?
    #12
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  13. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    "If it aint broke DON'T fix it!" When I first started working as a mechanic many years ago. I was told that numerous times. Way too many things fail because somebody tried to fix something. One of the reasons why in aviation checklists are a mandatory tool.
    #13
  14. concours

    concours WFO for 47 years

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    Yup.
    It’s the parts by lowest bidder, usually.
    Next time, an auto parts store will have one for a generic Asian car application that fits. Less than $10.
    Think “Denso Company”, builds rads for zillions of applications, and use common necks/caps when they can.
    #14
  15. rickr84

    rickr84 Adventurer

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    I noticed it was the same cap as my 4runner, but I didn't know if the pressure ratings would be the same or as high, so I figured I'd go OEM and get another 10 years out of it.

    I was tempted to get a higher rated cap (people run 2.0 bar caps instead of the stock 1.1 it seems) so that as it loses pressure and seal over the years, it still was stronger than stock. But wasn't sure if the rest of the system could take it.
    #15
  16. Wingboy

    Wingboy Been here awhile

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  17. JensEskildsen

    JensEskildsen Long timer

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    90% of your maintenance is because of 90% of your maintenance..... Let that sink in.
    Understanding what you're actually doing, how things work , and how it affects other stuff goes a long way.

    There was a test during WWII, which actually showed increased downtime on airplanes right after they've been serviced.
    They lenghtened the serviceintervals, and had more planes in the air for longer. Very controversioal, especially for that time. Very interesting reading.
    #17
  18. Bounder

    Bounder Typing...

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    Didn't Ducati do the same thing recently?
    Push the service intervals out some few thousand without any evidence of material change.
    #18
  19. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    If you think about it, every time a unit is touched, is an opportunity for an error to occur, since humans are involved. An oil drain plug could be left loose, or overtightened. An air filter housing gasket could be crushed and leak. The dust on the housing could fall on the clean air side and get sucked in the engine, a wire bundle could be pryed out of the way for access and tweak a connector, ad nauseum
    #19
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  20. mike in idaho

    mike in idaho Been here awhile

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    As one of My old dirt-riding buddies used to say"we always did more damage to 'em working on them and hauling them than we ever did just riding them".
    #20