Concours Owners Group (COG) Forum

Concours 14 Discussion (C14 / ZG1400 / 1400GTR) => Concours 14 / ZG1400 General Chat and Tech => Topic started by: Jerdurr on February 11, 2018, 01:01:49 am

Title: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr 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
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Freddy 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.
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr 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...
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: C. Moore 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?
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: jwh20 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.
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: ghostrider990 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**
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: oldnslo_MO 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... ;)
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr 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!
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: ghostrider990 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.
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr 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?
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: JDSCO 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

Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: jwh20 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.
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: 4Bikes 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.
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: JDSCO 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!
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: oldnslo_MO on February 11, 2018, 10:40:58 pm
great idea, never thought of that..kudos... :beerchug:
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: khager01 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.
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr 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).
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: jwh20 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.
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr 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?
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: connie_rider 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
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: jwh20 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 (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. 

Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr 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:

[url]http://penray.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/01.010.pdf[/url] ([url]http://penray.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/01.010.pdf[/url])

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! :)
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: JDSCO 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.
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: ghostrider990 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
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: jwh20 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.
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr on February 12, 2018, 05:11:56 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
Since Aluma-cool (Kawasaki coolant "brand") is unavailable even at the Kawasaki dealership, I was going to use the Suzuki brand they have in stock, which is also Green and for motorcycles, assume probably fairly compatible with aluminum engines.
Yes, i most likely have kawi green in there.

JWH20, thanks for helping us clear the air on this topic!
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: connie_rider on February 12, 2018, 06:38:18 pm
GR: Good question.  I think the green is ok, but I am open to correction.
      I've been using it for 30+ years in my water cooled bikes.

       Thinking about it; I actually wonder why the red is not supposed to be used.
       It's considered permanent antifreeze, it is formulated for the new engines, and many/most of them have aluminum heads..

Ride safe, Ted

UPDATE: There are 6 different formulations, coded by color.... red, orange, yellow, pink, blue, and green... all differ, some are inter compatible, but all have different uses....
https://peakauto.com/products/antifreeze-coolants/automotive/

After reading; The green std coolant "available at all auto stores" still seems fine to me..??
                      But the; Green / OET ASIAN VEHICLES EXTENDED LIFE  coolant may be a more ideal option??

Gloom: Why is everything so complicated?   :??:
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: JDSCO on February 12, 2018, 08:12:20 pm
After reading; The green std coolant "available at all auto stores" still seems fine to me..??
                      But the; Green / OET ASIAN VEHICLES EXTENDED LIFE  coolant may be a more ideal option??

Gloom: Why is everything so complicated?   :??:

This is just the Coolant form of the age-old "Rotella T6 15w-40 Synthetic versus the universe" thread

It's interesting how many, brand/non-brand name, coolant suppliers meet or exceed OEM ASTM standards.

Applied, Actual Experience is the strength of the COG forum.


Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Roger B on February 12, 2018, 08:51:23 pm
Years ago we were told that the silicates in Prestone would harm the seals in the motorcycle water pump.   I don't believe there is anything in Prestone that is abrasive now and I don't know if there was.  I use Prestone Long Life in all my motorcycles, I think anything motorcycle specific would probably be a waste of $s. 
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: cuda on February 13, 2018, 06:19:41 pm
More options...


http://bndautomotive.com/quantumblue-products-2/quantum-blue-product-1/ (http://bndautomotive.com/quantumblue-products-2/quantum-blue-product-1/)
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: JTX on February 15, 2018, 10:15:26 am
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QIX495A/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=ILHIUNEM2AGJK&colid=33HGRCOG2E79Y&psc=0 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QIX495A/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=ILHIUNEM2AGJK&colid=33HGRCOG2E79Y&psc=0)
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr on February 15, 2018, 02:19:44 pm
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QIX495A/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=ILHIUNEM2AGJK&colid=33HGRCOG2E79Y&psc=0 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QIX495A/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=ILHIUNEM2AGJK&colid=33HGRCOG2E79Y&psc=0)
Thanks man... yeah, that's the one i wanted to buy! Unfortunately, that vendor doesn't ship to this far away land I live in (Canada)  :))
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: flashback50 on February 15, 2018, 05:02:20 pm
go get some Honda type 2 coolant.. don't use regular green it is not good for aluminum
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: 4Bikes on February 15, 2018, 05:15:20 pm
go get some Honda type 2 coolant.. don't use regular green it is not good for aluminum
+1.  That is what I used based on some good advice from this forum.  It's a darker bluish color that shows up better in the overflow bottle so it's easier to see the level. 
Title: Re: Coolant level is super low please help
Post by: Jerdurr on February 15, 2018, 06:09:06 pm
go get some Honda type 2 coolant.. don't use regular green it is not good for aluminum
+1.  That is what I used based on some good advice from this forum.  It's a darker bluish color that shows up better in the overflow bottle so it's easier to see the level.
Now I'm confused... Mama Kawi coolant is the recommended one and is green. Found a nice green one for Polaris (I believe they also have aluminum blocks), so I went with that one. I rejected the blue because i didn't want to mix it with the green one already in there... are the blue and green mixable?