Slight Coolant Loss, & Related Questions.....


4 replies to this topic
  • Mr. Neutron

Posted July 21, 2011 - 04:26 PM

#1

Hey, All!!!

I raced at an Old Timer's MX race a coupla weeks ago (Washougal). The bike (it's an '06 with 74 hrs. on it, by the way) ran pretty good. But I noticed after the 3rd moto on Saturday, it was a little low on coolant. Odd; it's never used any before. :smirk: I have those small Dixie cups in my trailer, and used about two Dixie cupfulls of distilled water to get the level back about 1/4" above the radiator tubes. The bike sat overnight, and the level was good for Sunday's practce. After the 4 lap practice, the bike cooled, and I checked it again. It was down again, and needed about another Dixe cup of water (my improvised standard unit of liquid measure..... :( ). Same story after my 4th & 5th motos on Sunday; it needed anywhere from 1-2 cups of water.... :p

I've changed the oil, because it needed it, but wanted to see if any water was visible in the oil. None is obvious, and I haven't seen any foam/water out of the end of the puke tube, either. I've fired it up 3-4 times here at home, for short (3-5 minutes) periods of time, and it's used no water after those short running periods.

I've found no water coming from the weep hole of the water pump.

I did think to start the bike today without the radiator cap on, to see if any bubbles were apparent in the radiator. At first, there was indeed a little foam, & a good amount of bubbles. After the coolant got moving good, and the bike warmed slightly, it seemed as if there were still some bubbles in the liquid, but a lesser amount..... :lol: I use distilled water & RedLine's Water Wetter for coolant, this time of year, if that matters any.....

My questions are:

Are ANY bubbles in the water (and some "foam" ) unacceptable? Would a few bubbles on start up be somewhat "normal"?

What are some ways I can positively test to see if my head gasket is blown?

If the motor does have a bad head gasket, and if I read my manual correctly, can the head be removed with the engine in the frame? Cylinder also? I'm thinkin' if I have the bike torn down that far, as set of rings might not be a bad idea????

Thanks for any help/advice/experience y'all may have here, and I'll apologize in advance if i have more dumb questions.....

Jimmie

  • grayracer513

Posted July 21, 2011 - 08:23 PM

#2

I've found no water coming from the weep hole of the water pump.

My questions are:

Are ANY bubbles in the water (and some "foam" ) unacceptable? Would a few bubbles on start up be somewhat "normal"?

What are some ways I can positively test to see if my head gasket is blown?

If the motor does have a bad head gasket, and if I read my manual correctly, can the head be removed with the engine in the frame? Cylinder also? I'm thinkin' if I have the bike torn down that far, as set of rings might not be a bad idea????


When my son's bike pulled this on me, I was also convinced that it was a head gasket. Most of that was because I had just replaced the WP shaft and seals and it kept loosing coolant anyway. Couldn't really ever see a leak, but I could smell it occasionally on a ride. Still no obvious leak, so I figured it could use a set of rings, and he was going off to boot camp anyway, so I pulled the head and replaced the gasket. Still lost coolant. I baby powdered the area under the weep hole, and sure as hell, it was leaking. (the leak washes the powder away) Here's the rest of the story:

http://www.thumperta...ad.php?t=785425

To your questions:

A certain amount of foaming is inevitable. Bubbles by themselves are not a red flag.

If your local shop has a combustion leak tester, that will do it. It detects combustion gases in the cooling system. Otherwise, warm the bike up and CAREFULLY (with hand and eye protection) release the pressure in the radiator. Cap it up, run the bike through two gears, and cut the engine. Carefully open the cap again and see if there's already lot of pressure built up. Shouldn't be much in that short a time.

Yes, the head comes off in the frame. One front and one rear head bolt on opposite corners won't come out unless you tilt the head out of place, or take them out/in with the head. You'll see what I mean. Be careful of the front chain guide.

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  • Mr. Neutron

Posted July 22, 2011 - 08:26 AM

#3

Thanks for your help here, Grayracer513!!! :smirk:

I had actually already read, and then re-read, your earlier post you gave the link to, which was why I tried to look carefully at the water pump's weep hole for any fluid leakin' out..... I tried to do a bit of looking in the "SEARCH" function before I posted..... Your idea to use the baby powder is a good one; I'm gonna give that a shot. Thanks (a lot) for passing that tip along!!! :(

And thanks again for kinda confirming what I'd hoped about the bubbly/frothy coolant. It just seemed to me that there's gonna be a certain amount to aeration present that will show some amount of bubbles in the water as it gets moved along.....

That's another great diagnostic tip on the "warm up the bike, carefully release the cap, cap it, ride it a short bit, and carefully release the cap again" check. Thank you for that bit of help. If I'm still too dense, or uncertain about pressure build up, I'll try to find a shop around here that can do the pressure check.

And again, Grayracer, thanks for the help about the head being able to be removed with the enigne in the frame. Before I'd read my manual, I'd assumed it was too tight in the frame for that. Sounds like it's still a little "challenge" , but doable.... :lol: Any probs getting a torque wrench in there for the head bolts? I do need to go babk & re-read my manual about the Rotation Angle Torque Procedure" method of torquing the bolts..... :p Any good threads here with info on that?


Many, many thanks again. Your help is truly appreciated!

Jimmie

Edited by Diesel Goober, July 22, 2011 - 08:29 AM.
Clarified something, I hope....


  • grayracer513

Posted July 22, 2011 - 09:37 AM

#4

...thanks for the help about the head being able to be removed with the enigne in the frame. Before I'd read my manual, I'd assumed it was too tight in the frame for that. Sounds like it's still a little "challenge" , but doable.... :p Any probs getting a torque wrench in there for the head bolts? I do need to go babk & re-read my manual about the Rotation Angle Torque Procedure" method of torquing the bolts..... :smirk: Any good threads here with info on that?

Yup. In Common Threads:

http://www.thumperta...ad.php?t=972816

The only difference is that I don't remove and re-lube the threads in between the first and second run-down because I'd rather not disturb the gasket that much.

  • Mr. Neutron

Posted July 22, 2011 - 09:52 AM

#5

Yup. In Common Threads:

http://www.thumperta...ad.php?t=972816

The only difference is that I don't remove and re-lube the threads in between the first and second run-down because I'd rather not disturb the gasket that much.


:p

I got so wrapped up in doing "SEARCHes", I forgot to look in the obvious place.... :smirk:

Thanks again!
Jimmie





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