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Coolant leakage in the heat

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by bugeater, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. My bike got pretty hot on the morning commute this morning. It got to 120 degrees and I was pretty worried. Then I noticed a god awful smell and saw something was leaking onto the headers and burning. I took off quick when I could to try to cool it down and the back wheel went into a spin (presumably due to the liquid). I started turning it off at the lights after that. Arriving at work it proceeded to disgorge coolant for a bit.

    The question is: is this something I should be worried about? I suspect it is probably normal, but I've never experienced it before in many years of riding. And I used to live in much hotter Perth. I'm guessing that coolant overflow thing overflowed (I know what it looks like, just not its name). It wasn't to good that it ended up right in front of my rear tyre.
  2. It's my understanding that 'birds have an overheating problem.

    When was the last time you changed the coolant?
  3. It has never been changed, but then it isn't very old either.

    They do have issues with getting quite hot when not moving. In future I'll turn the bike off before it gets to that point. Mind you the gauge wasn't flashing a warning or anything at me, so it spat out coolant before it reached that point.

    I'm hoping it's just an overflow. I'll be pissed if it has sprung a leak or blown a gasket.
  4. Well according to the Redwing guys it is probably normal. Just coolant coming out of an overflow tube.
  5. Bugeater, husband's bird cuts out at 115 degrees...

    maybe you could get a GPX for the commute, they don't get quite so hot! :p
  6. My big girl has yet to get past half way on the gauge (no idea what temp that is) before the thermo fan kicks in and keeps everything coooooooool.
  7. Have you since checked the coolant level when cold?

    Since it has lost some/a lot through overheating that lost coolant will have to be replaced.

    1) You need to check the level in the expansion tank.

    2) You need to check the level in the radiator itself. This must ONLY be done when there is absolutely no heat in the engine or cooling system.

    If the level is down in the radiator you have an air/water leak somewhere in the system, or the coolant level in the expansion tank has dropped so much that the radiator was unable to draw any or enough coolant back in from the expansion tank when the bike was cooling down.

    It is most important that you check and maintain the coolant level. If it is boiling in cooler conditions you almost certainly have lost too much coolant, if not before, then now!


    Trevor G

    PS Avoid mixing different types of coolant - try to find and use what was originally in there or drain and flush the whole system.
  8. Black Betty just doesn't like going slow! Lucky for Paul there are a few back roads he can use to get to and from work so he doesn't have to sit in the Ipswich Motorway Carpark from start to finish!
  9. It wasn't cooler conditions today :) It was nearly 30 degrees at about 8am when I started having problems. The main problem was being trapped in slow moving traffic.
    I'll definitely look at the coolant, but I doubt that will solve the overheating problem. Blackbirds are notorious for overheating. I just have to pay more attention to the temperature gauge and turn the bike off it it gets too high.

    I just looked at the instruction manual. It actually says it starts flashing a warning at 122 degrees. It also looks like the overflow is empty, though it is kind of hard to tell.
  10. Had the same problem with the track bike yesterday at PI. Only got to about 220f/105c though. Bellypan had coolant in there after the 2nd session, but it was pretty hot and the poor bike doesn't get much 'gentle' riding at the track. Stopped coming out so after I cleared it out from the pan I kept riding........... :grin:
  11. It's been hot, but not THAT hot, get your bike checked out, it should not be puking coolant on a 30 degree day. No bike should.
    There are options like aftermarket cooling fans etc, but I think you have a problem.
    I also doubt a bike would be designed with an overflow that dumped in front of teh rear wheel (GTR overflow used to dump all the way at the back of the swingarm from factory), I think you have something with a hole in it, loose overflow bottle cap or similar. No matter what, something is wrong.

    Regards, Andrew.
  12. Forgive my ignorance, but do 'birds have a thermo fan? As I said, mine kicks in at about half temp and the temp never gets above that.
  13. Yeah the 'bird has a fan. It kicks in about 105 degrees. On a morning like this morning it works quite well. But when the temperature gets to 30 degrees or above and the bike is stationary, it isn't enough.

    I suspect the problem yesterday may have been contributed to because the coolant was a bit low and the traffic very bad. I've topped it up a bit with distilled water until I get it in for a service (which needs to be done in the next couple of weeks).

    But in the end if you leave any bike stationary in reasonable ambient temperatures it will probably overheat. The blackbird is just probably a bit worse than most due to its relatively small radiator.

    The bottom line is I'm not worried about the bike. I'll just get the coolant changed at the next service.

    This is nothing like the problems I had on my old KR250. I filtered a lot, so it was usually moving, but it could still get quite hot and it didn't have a fan. So I installed a computer fan with a switch on it worked quite well.
  14. Never a good thing. Just dilutes the coolant that's still in there and doesn't really add any benefit. I keep a bottle of coolant concentrate in the garage. If I add water, I add coolant, too.

    Hope you get it all sorted. :grin:
  15. Or not. He has something wrong with his bike. I know of many liquid cooled bikes that don't overheat standing still on hot days (or mere 30 degree days).

    Regards, Andrew.
  16. Browny, if you're reading this thread, this post was created just for you :LOL:
  17. And how long do they stand still for? How big is their fan? How large is the radiator? Are any of them Blackbirds?

    The bird gets hot on the coolest of days. It's nice in winter cause it keeps you warm. It's a biatch in summer because even on moderately warm days the heat coming off the bike is considerable. This is quite normal as discussed ad nauseum amongst bird owners. I believe the EFI versions are the worst. The situation I described above may be normal, since the traffic was very, very bad. Leave a bike practically stationary for an hour and see how hot it gets. But it may also have been contributed to by the coolant being low or some other factor. I'll point out that the problem hasn't reoccured, but then I haven't been trapped in heavy traffic in high temperatures since either.

    The normal situation is going to vary dramatically from model to model, but as a general rule radiators don't work too well when stationary. I might add, given the 'bird did hold the crown of fastest production bike for a couple of years, it is very aerodynamic, which will probably result in a smaller radiator than normal.

    I mean there might be something wrong with it, but probably not.
  18. O/T, but which years? My understanding was the ZZR held it from 1990 - 1999, then the 'busa held it until the ZX-14 came out. I'm happy to be corrected, though, without this turning into a huge discussion or flame session.
  19. The claims I usually see are that the 'bird was faster than the ZZR. Though I now see there may be a bit of controversy about that. The EFI version is probably faster, but by the time they changed to EFI I think the 'busa was released? I suppose another question is when were the ZZRs produced until? Maybe the bird wins on the technicality of "production"? :grin: :-k
    In any case it certainly was designed to be very, very, aerodynamic.