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Coolant - Noob Question

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by vladpp, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. For those that don't know, i bought a bike a couple of weeks ago and it was running well until the fuel tank started to leak, well... leak is an understatement, more like it was gushing fuel horror movie style. So anyway i fixed and sealed the tank, now its out of action until i paint it. While i had the tank off i decided to have a look around and noticed the coolant has gone black. So i'm going to change it (coolant, not the bike).

    Question time.

    - Does the engine have to be running in order to fully bleed to coolant.

    - On the coolant reservoir cap it says "Water", does it mean add water,coolant or mixture of both?

    Again, sorry for the noobiness of my question.
  2. Black is not good, especially coolant in an aluminium engine....it is typically oxidised aluminium.....
    Anyway, here is what I would do.
    Go to a good automotive store. Buy some cooling system cleaner. Make sure it is SAFE FOR ALUMINIUM ENGINES. Follow instructions to teh letter.
    ALso buy some coolant, read teh bottle and fill cooling system with this product.
    With motorcycles, the cooling system is very small, it is hard to get the coolant mix accurate by pouring it straigth into teh radiator. So, either buy a pre mixed coolant (it wil say ready to use, or complete fill on the bottle) or mix the coolant in a bucket with a spout, and then add it to your coling system.
    Be aware that many bikes have cooling systems that need to be bled of air after being opened, so you should make an affort to find a workshop manual, or bike specific forum to get details on this procedure.
    The workshop manual will also advise the best way to drain the system, usually the best way is to undo the bottom radiator hose at the engine.

    Regards, Andrew.
  3. Black coolant in one thread and black smoke in another; is Barak Obama on a secret visit to Australia???

    Black coolant sounds bad, as Andrew says. Unless you're a reasonably adept mechanic, I'd be taking the bike to a mechanic and getting the system flushed and checked.
  4. How adept are we talking? I took the carbies apart and cleaned them easily, but i wouldn't feel comfortable doing any major engine rebuilding work.

    If you think black coolant sounds bad, wait till you get a look at my rear brake fluid (hint: its the same color as the coolant), doesn't taste too good either.

    The engine oil looks alright and i found a sticker that said it should be changed at 67k, currently its done 65k.
  6. Black is usually decomposed seals.
    You ain't seen nothin till you've seen crystallised brake fluid.

    Regards, Andrew.
  7. ...crystallized brake fluid.

    is that how they smuggle drugs these days?
  8. Your bike sounds like its a shitbox, that someone unloaded to you. If mixing coolant, be aware it requires distilled water, not tap water. For that reason alone it is often far easier to buy pre mix.
  9. Black coolant.... Erm, possible warped head/blown head gasket? Put fresh coolant in and keep an eye on it. If it turns black again, or even brown, you might be f*cked. Not cheap.
  10. To be fair, the previous owner of the bike bought it for his girlfriend, who rode it once, dropped it at low speed and then never rode it again. According to the guy i got it off it has been sitting in their yard, under cover since october 2007, being started once a week to keep the juices flowing.
  11. Black dont sound right, coolant comes in green/blue/red.

    Also not a good idea to run the engine whilst draining fluid, motor temp will rise like crazy and you could do some serious damage, cracked head etc.

    all the best with your bike, im glad im not in your shoes :)
  12. Theres no reason to stick to distilled water, that rule is for batteries. Running plain water without coolant is asking for trouble though.
  13. In a high tolerance, alloy engine - yeah there is. There's all sorts of dissolved ions and other crap in mains tap water - why would you take the risk for the sake of a few bucks worth of at least de-ionised water or pre-mixed coolant.
  14. Maybe in Ballarat. If you live in melb plain tap water is OK. You do need antifreeze/anti corrosion however ( I prefer Castol antifreeze 960g/l or higher) so any of the proprietary coolant (glycol based) mixed according to the bike manufacturers specs should suffice. Be wary of premixed coolants. It must be at least 50% glycol (might be expressed as 480g/L or higher) or else you've wasted your time. There is a lot of below standard stuff around.
  15. I dropped' by Mitre10 and bough a 4L Jug of Premix coolant witch was formulated for cast iron AND aluminum engines. I didn't look at the glycol level, but it can't be worse than the crap thats in it now.

    I tried to open the drain bolt, but it was seized so i undid one of the hoses instead and drained the most of it, however reservoir didn't drain and I'm assuming the engine is still full of it. Tomorrow ill put the tank back on, throw in some fresh fuel and get the coolant circulating a bit.

    I'm thinking to disconnect the hose again and start up the engine witch should hopefully pump out the old coolant and I'll add fresh coolant in the reservoir as its running.

    For the record, upon better inspection the coolant is a brown color while the engine oil is a much darker brownish-black (hopefully a sign the gasket is still good).
  16. Was it left outside under a tarp or something or stored in a closed garage?
  17. It was stored under a bike cover, witch had vents at the top to prevent condensation.
  18. Started it today. Its running well, except there is white smoke coming out of the exhaust and the coolant in the reservoir has gone brown again. I'm going gasket hunting.
  19. dont despair, hopefully it just a gasket, keep us informed
  20. If it is only the gasket, i doubt i could find a replacement as the bike is a grey import that isn't even available on the netrider garage list. For the record its a 1987 Suzuki GF250 (not GSF), Engine Nr. J702-111767.

    I'm considering have a gasket custom made. Has anybody ever used www.gasketstogo.com, it looks promising however I'm a bit weary buying things over the net from Thailand.

    EDIT: The engine only starts smoking when it warms up.