Author Topic: Coolant level is super low please help  (Read 1577 times)

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Offline Jerdurr

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Coolant level is super low please help
« on: February 11, 2018, 01:01:49 am »
Hey there guys; it’s winter here in Toronto, so i decided i would change the air filter (much. Eeded) and flush the clutch as well.
When i removed the left fairing, the bottle of coolant level was super low (look at the picture); do you think there’s a leak somewhere?
I haven’t used the bike since end of October, and it never overheat during the summer.
Temperatures today outside (bike is in a non heated garage) arr -6 centigrade (don’t know what that is in farenheit, but way below freezing.

What do you guys think?
The coolant looks green, what should i refill it with?

Thanks!

Jeremy
Best,

JD

--Harley Davidson is king when it comes to turning gas into smoke, without the outcome of power--

Online Freddy

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2018, 01:08:05 am »
Any signs to coolant under the bike?  May have a leak, maybe not.  Top it up with green coolant.
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Offline Jerdurr

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2018, 01:42:28 am »
Any signs to coolant under the bike?  May have a leak, maybe not.  Top it up with green coolant.
Zero signs of coolant leaks anywhere...
Best,

JD

--Harley Davidson is king when it comes to turning gas into smoke, without the outcome of power--

Offline C. Moore

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2018, 10:40:49 am »
Top it up and fire it up. Look for leaks. What's the maintenance history on the bike? Have you ever checked or replaced the coolant?
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Offline jwh20

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 12:19:31 pm »
That's just the overflow bottle, so just because it's low there doesn't imply that the system is actually low as well.  You'll want to double-check by removing the radiator cap.  There should be coolant all the way to the neck of the radiator, generally some will spill out when you remove the cap.  If that's the case, then just top the overflow off and keep an eye on it going forward.

If the radiator is low, then you may have a problem.  The most common place for coolant to disappear without a trace is through a leak into one of the cylinders where it gets burned and goes out the exhaust.  Usually a symptom of a head gasket problem.
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Offline ghostrider990

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2018, 12:19:57 pm »
It's been my experience over the years that measuring the overall coolant level in the bike by looking at the level in the overflow reservoir is not the true indicator.

Best indicator is to pop the radiator cap, and making sure no bubbles are at the top, assess the level in the neck of the radiator.
If it's to the top, then simply bring the overflow tank to capacity and call it a day.

Naturally check for leaks, and where the missing coolant went, but generally, some loss in the overflow is normal to me.

As far as replacement coolant:  I searched high and low and could NOT find a specification on Kawi Coolant requirements, so the last time i replaced the OEM green stuff, I went with Kawi Branded OEM (green stuff) again. Not cheap@ $15 qt., and not pre-diluted, so I had to mix it, which I find - annoying.
On that note: always dilute coolant with DISTILLED water, when using 100% coolant.  This is important so as not to introduce hard water contaminants into the aluminum environment of a radiator and engine, which can cause premature scaling, deposts, blockage, and failure of the internal cooling system.

Next time, if I do it myself, I'll opt for some of the Honda long life low borate / low silicate 50/50 premix that can be bought at any Honda Automotive Parts Department.  Cost is about $12-15 Gallon, but this is the LONG LIFE stuff, and will last up to 5 years.And it's a pretty cobalt blue.  Why Honda?  I've used it in other bikes and cars -- it's just what I know.
Other brands make a similar blend, like Toyota and Nissan.

There's a good thread on the maintenance discussion board from SIS about his cocktail of water wetter for summertime, and what you choose to run in your climate and riding scenario is up to you.
you can't go wrong following the Manual with Kawi fluids though.

good luck.  And let your NOSE be your guide when "sniffing-out" coolant leaks.....they Always smell like really hot, sticky, sryupy sweetness around the engine.  And then there's the trail of Flourescent green liquid...  :o

gr

**And what JWS said about "magic" coolant loss via the engine -- but if it's a minimal amount, say 1-3oz per year, then really nothing to get worried about**
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 12:34:13 pm by ghostrider990 »
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Offline oldnslo_MO

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2018, 01:10:58 pm »
i use honda car coolant, it's non silicate and non borate and is for aluminum engines..i buy it at the honda car dealer for 18$ a GALLON..it's also good for 5 years... ;)
happy trails  2016 concours14,2010 bmw k1300ggt, 2015 bmw r1200rt, 09 concours14, 75 kawasaki H1   500cc*79 triumph bonneville750* 2 each  82su zuki gs1100e* 05 yamaha fz1 1100* 03 yamaha fz1 1100*01 goldwing 1800*97 goldwing 1500* 93 goldwing 1500* 80 kawasaki vulcan 1500*76 kawasaki kz650* 66 triumph Bonneville 650* 68 triumph tr 650* 72 norton commando750* 70 bsa rocket III 750*  68 hon cb350* 66 hon cb305*1960 BSA golden flash 500cc*1950 cushman

Offline Jerdurr

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 01:46:03 pm »
That's just the overflow bottle, so just because it's low there doesn't imply that the system is actually low as well.  You'll want to double-check by removing the radiator cap.  There should be coolant all the way to the neck of the radiator, generally some will spill out when you remove the cap.  If that's the case, then just top the overflow off and keep an eye on it going forward.

If the radiator is low, then you may have a problem.  The most common place for coolant to disappear without a trace is through a leak into one of the cylinders where it gets burned and goes out the exhaust.  Usually a symptom of a head gasket problem.

Thx jwh20 and the rest! Should I check the radiator level with the engine off?
Thx again guys!
Best,

JD

--Harley Davidson is king when it comes to turning gas into smoke, without the outcome of power--

Offline ghostrider990

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 02:17:33 pm »
That's just the overflow bottle, so just because it's low there doesn't imply that the system is actually low as well.  You'll want to double-check by removing the radiator cap.  There should be coolant all the way to the neck of the radiator, generally some will spill out when you remove the cap.  If that's the case, then just top the overflow off and keep an eye on it going forward.

If the radiator is low, then you may have a problem.  The most common place for coolant to disappear without a trace is through a leak into one of the cylinders where it gets burned and goes out the exhaust.  Usually a symptom of a head gasket problem.

Thx jwh20 and the rest! Should I check the radiator level with the engine off?
Thx again guys!

Yes!
Engine COOL.
..."I like to keep this handy -- for Close Encounters"...

Offline Jerdurr

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 05:20:19 pm »
That's just the overflow bottle, so just because it's low there doesn't imply that the system is actually low as well.  You'll want to double-check by removing the radiator cap.  There should be coolant all the way to the neck of the radiator, generally some will spill out when you remove the cap.  If that's the case, then just top the overflow off and keep an eye on it going forward.

If the radiator is low, then you may have a problem.  The most common place for coolant to disappear without a trace is through a leak into one of the cylinders where it gets burned and goes out the exhaust.  Usually a symptom of a head gasket problem.

Thx jwh20 and the rest! Should I check the radiator level with the engine off?
Thx again guys!

Yes!
Engine COOL.

Sheesh everything is so complicated to work on on this bike!
How do i access the rad cap!!?! Right fairing?
Best,

JD

--Harley Davidson is king when it comes to turning gas into smoke, without the outcome of power--

Offline JDSCO

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2018, 06:01:25 pm »
I too am baffled why KAW makes filling the overflow so complicated
If you don't pull the right mid-fairing for the radiator cap just fill your overflow res (your picture) to the "max" level
It's not totally empty, it would appear
Start and warm up to two or three bars
Watch your overflow res tank level and look for leaks
No leaks?
Shut down and sit for 15 min or so and repeat

If system is just "low", the overflow will need to be "topped off" and will stabilize
You CAN top-off the overflow res with engine running if you choose

Hopefully you won't smell coolant or see water vapor

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Offline jwh20

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2018, 06:58:03 pm »
Yes, the radiator cap is a PITA to get to.  It's under the RH-side fairing.
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Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 08:01:38 pm »
I too am baffled why KAW makes filling the overflow so complicated

Spot the rubber overflow tube hanging down on the left side, and inject as much coolant as you need to top off the overflow reservoir. No need to remove anything. I haven’t needed to do this, but it has been reported to work well.
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Offline JDSCO

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 09:45:12 pm »
Spot the rubber overflow tube hanging down on the left side, and inject as much coolant as you need to top off the overflow reservoir. No need to remove anything. I haven’t needed to do this, but it has been reported to work well.

Yep!! Necessity being the mother of invention!
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Offline oldnslo_MO

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2018, 10:40:58 pm »
great idea, never thought of that..kudos... :beerchug:
happy trails  2016 concours14,2010 bmw k1300ggt, 2015 bmw r1200rt, 09 concours14, 75 kawasaki H1   500cc*79 triumph bonneville750* 2 each  82su zuki gs1100e* 05 yamaha fz1 1100* 03 yamaha fz1 1100*01 goldwing 1800*97 goldwing 1500* 93 goldwing 1500* 80 kawasaki vulcan 1500*76 kawasaki kz650* 66 triumph Bonneville 650* 68 triumph tr 650* 72 norton commando750* 70 bsa rocket III 750*  68 hon cb350* 66 hon cb305*1960 BSA golden flash 500cc*1950 cushman

Offline khager01

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2018, 03:18:16 am »
What I did was remove the hose from under the radiator cap going to the overflow tank and injected it in that way.  I believe it was the upper of the two small hoses, I can't remember where the lower one goes to.   You can remove it without removing anything else.  Of course injecting it in the hose coming out of the overflow tank would work too I guess, it would just be a little more messy when you remove the syringe whatever is left in the hose is going to run out.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 04:43:28 am by khager01 »
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Offline Jerdurr

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2018, 01:08:26 pm »
I too am baffled why KAW makes filling the overflow so complicated
If you don't pull the right mid-fairing for the radiator cap just fill your overflow res (your picture) to the "max" level
It's not totally empty, it would appear
Start and warm up to two or three bars
Watch your overflow res tank level and look for leaks
No leaks?
Shut down and sit for 15 min or so and repeat

If system is just "low", the overflow will need to be "topped off" and will stabilize
You CAN top-off the overflow res with engine running if you choose

Hopefully you won't smell coolant or see water vapor
What I did was remove the hose from under the radiator cap going to the overflow tank and injected it in that way.  I believe it was the upper of the two small hoses, I can't remember where the lower one goes to.   You can remove it without removing anything else.  Of course injecting it in the hose coming out of the overflow tank would work too I guess, it would just be a little more messy when you remove the syringe whatever is left in the hose is going to run out.

Great advice, thanks guys!
Now I just have to buy some mama kawi coolant (i went looking for it yesterday but all the stealerships are closed on sundays in the winter), So i'll go today.

The reason I actually started disassembling stuff was to install a fuse block (the one I purchased is too big, gonna have to return it), and a stebel air horn (for some reason I couldn't for the life of me find a hole to mount it to on the right side under the flimsy plastic cowling).
Best,

JD

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Offline jwh20

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2018, 01:46:46 pm »
There is nothing special about the Kawasaki branded coolant.  Kawasaki doesn't make coolant anyway, I'm sure it's a major brand with their label on it.  The "green" stuff like Prestone is what's called for.   Don't use the "red" kind (i.e. Dex-Cool).  But either buy the 50:50 pre-mixed or buy distilled water and mix your own but don't mix it with tap water.
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Offline Jerdurr

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2018, 02:44:27 pm »
There is nothing special about the Kawasaki branded coolant.  Kawasaki doesn't make coolant anyway, I'm sure it's a major brand with their label on it.  The "green" stuff like Prestone is what's called for.   Don't use the "red" kind (i.e. Dex-Cool).  But either buy the 50:50 pre-mixed or buy distilled water and mix your own but don't mix it with tap water.
.

Excellent, thanks JWH20, i thought so; thing is, I cannot tell which one out of all the Prestone is the regular green stuff, since I still have the Rad full of it and wouldn't want it to mix/gel up with other composition or 'color' stuff. Which prestone do you suggest?
Best,

JD

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Offline connie_rider

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2018, 02:50:31 pm »
To the best of my knowledge only 2 primary antifreezes are produced. The Red or the Green.
  {someone correct me if I err?}
I think the green is Tri-ethaline Glycol.?

Buy a premium brand "green" and you should be fine.

Ride safe, Ted
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 03:32:14 pm by connie_rider »
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Offline jwh20

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2018, 03:11:26 pm »
The "green" stuff is Ethylene Glycol-based.  The red or orange stuff called Dex-Cool (specified by GM and some other vehicles) is completely different and incompatible:

http://penray.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/01.010.pdf

Look for Ethylene Glycol on the label.  If it says "Dex-Cool Compatible" it's not the right stuff. 

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Offline Jerdurr

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2018, 03:57:48 pm »
The "green" stuff is Ethylene Glycol-based.  The red or orange stuff called Dex-Cool (specified by GM and some other vehicles) is completely different and incompatible:

http://penray.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/01.010.pdf

Look for Ethylene Glycol on the label.  If it says "Dex-Cool Compatible" it's not the right stuff. 


To the best of my knowledge only 2 primary antifreezes are produced. The Red or the Green.
  {someone correct me if I err?}
I think the green is Tri-ethaline Glycol.?

Buy a premium brand "green" and you should be fine.

Ride safe, Ted


Excellent! Thanks Ted and JWH20...I know i can always count on you to clear my doubts! :)
Best,

JD

--Harley Davidson is king when it comes to turning gas into smoke, without the outcome of power--

Offline JDSCO

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2018, 04:02:48 pm »
NAPA

NAPA Extended Life Antifreeze & Coolant is compatible, add to any color and it's $15.00/gal.
contains Ethylene Glycol

I change my bike fluids annually or bi-annually, depending on the bike and this works fine. I use this for my SISF coolant cocktail as well.
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Offline ghostrider990

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2018, 04:09:13 pm »
Guys -

With all due respect.....are you sure you're giving correct advice?

My knowledge of coolants has waned over the years, but as I recall, not all coolants are created equally, particularly those used in motorcycle applications vs. cars.

Unless formulas have changed dramatically in the last 5-10 years, what we should all be using is a version that is specific to be low borate /low silicate to save wear and tear on the seals in the water pump.  Also, this formula should be compatible with smaller engine components that utilize more aluminum in the block and cooling channels/radiator.

Maybe I misread the previous posts, but if you are going with an off brand that is motorcycle specific, you should be fine. (maxima / Motul)
However, I would strongly discourage you from walking into the local autoparts store and grabbing a jug "green whatever" to top off your mostly full cooling system.

Since you are likely to have kawi green in there already (don''t remember the miles on your bike) I would still suggest adding the same kind of coolant, if possible.

Not trying to be the foremost authority here, and not trying to be antagonistic - but i'd caution you to choose your coolant more carefully.

With that said, I will be happy to be wrong....as long as we establish an agreed upon baseline for what coolant is acceptable for use in our bikes.

gr
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Offline jwh20

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Re: Coolant level is super low please help
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2018, 04:58:05 pm »
What does the FSM specify?  Here it is:

Quote
Type (Recommended) Permanent type of antifreeze (soft water and ethylene glycol
plus corrosion and rust inhibitor chemicals for aluminum
engines and radiators)
Color Green
Mixed Ratio Soft water 50%, coolant 50%

If Kawasaki was expecting something "special" they would have noted it here.
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