Author Topic: "Coolant Leak" for the win!  (Read 2986 times)

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Offline rickm_tx

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"Coolant Leak" for the win!
« on: December 03, 2014, 01:44:34 am »
This thread is an update to a previous thread I started in which I was trying to figure out the source of a slight leak on my bike.  Rather than continue that thread, decided to start a new one since I now know what the source is.

The original problem was seeing small wisps of white smoke from time to time rise from the muffler in the general location of the shift level (rubber end). It was inconsistent in as much as it did not happen all the time while riding, but was consistent in as much as it would certainly occur EVERY time I rode, which is everyday.

I checked the resevoir tank and saw it was low so I deliberately filled it full just to see what would happen.  Long story short, the bike, sitting in the driveway warming up, began smoking like a locomotive at that exact location.  Same smoke, same odor.

The question now is "where is it leaking from?".  I can see the smoke coming off the pipe, I just can't see where it is dripping from.  It's too congested in that area and the engine obscures so much underneath, I can't tell where the leak is.  In the previous thread, people suggested that it was coming from a weep hole near the water pump?  If this is, in fact, the source, what do I do about it?

Thanks, guys -

Rick
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Offline dan4aspen

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2014, 01:53:42 am »
Rickm_tx.  I believe I was one of the posters on that thread.  I can't answer for the weep hole.  I will tell you to pull all of your fairings and check ALL of your coolant hose clamps.  I had a similar problem, of what was believed to be an oil leak around the shift shaft area.  Over the summer, had noticed some evidence of leaks on two of my hoses.  The stock hose clams are complete garbage.  Buy some after markets that you can actually get some torque on to tighten properly.  Also, check the inner coolant line going into the water pump.  There is an O Ring in that hose that can go bad.  That was the cause of my issue as it turned out.  But being near the ground where it gets road debris and water and such, can actually seem like an oil leak, not coolant.  I change my anti freeze every year, but for some reason this year, I had two lines that were leaking, so put new hose clamps on and solved the issue.  HTH
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Offline rickm_tx

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2014, 02:17:08 am »
Rickm_tx.  I believe I was one of the posters on that thread.  I can't answer for the weep hole.  I will tell you to pull all of your fairings and check ALL of your coolant hose clamps.  I had a similar problem, of what was believed to be an oil leak around the shift shaft area.  Over the summer, had noticed some evidence of leaks on two of my hoses.  The stock hose clams are complete garbage.  Buy some after markets that you can actually get some torque on to tighten properly.  Also, check the inner coolant line going into the water pump.  There is an O Ring in that hose that can go bad.  That was the cause of my issue as it turned out.  But being near the ground where it gets road debris and water and such, can actually seem like an oil leak, not coolant.  I change my anti freeze every year, but for some reason this year, I had two lines that were leaking, so put new hose clamps on and solved the issue.  HTH

Thanks for the input.  Will pull the fairing off tomorrow and take a look.  May change that o-ring you mentioned just for general principal.  The bike is 9 years old, so I'm wondering if I should maybe just go ahead and change EVERYTHING out.

Thanks again -
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Offline dan4aspen

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2014, 02:52:15 am »
I wouldn't change it unless it needs to be.  The clamps I would definitely change.  Mine is an 06, that sits outside all year, and gets ridden most of it.  Until snow, salt or ice hits.  Then I wait for it to clear and go again.  Also depends on how many miles you have.  Mine has 68k.  At that point you should be looking at your alternator chain, and adjuster.  Just replaced my adjuster, chain was fine.  Costly, but worth it. Adjuster is $140 or so.  They say change about every 50k or so.  Mine looked ok, but replaced it anyway while we looked at, and cleaned the clutch plates. 
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Offline rickm_tx

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2014, 02:57:43 am »
I wouldn't change it unless it needs to be.  The clamps I would definitely change.  Mine is an 06, that sits outside all year, and gets ridden most of it.  Until snow, salt or ice hits.  Then I wait for it to clear and go again.  Also depends on how many miles you have.  Mine has 68k.  At that point you should be looking at your alternator chain, and adjuster.  Just replaced my adjuster, chain was fine.  Costly, but worth it. Adjuster is $140 or so.  They say change about every 50k or so.  Mine looked ok, but replaced it anyway while we looked at, and cleaned the clutch plates.

My bike came with 18k miles and I have 21.6 on it now, 2 months later.  Aside from the leak, the bike is in excellent mechanical shape.  Runs like new.
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Offline dan4aspen

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2014, 02:42:51 pm »
What year is the bike?   Change the crappy MAW KAW clamps if not already done.  The clamp and screw head are so small, you can't get much tension out of the clamp with torque.  I would check the hoses, to ensure no leaks.  If there is a leak on the inner pipe going to the water pump, that is the one with the o-ring.  Think that seal ran me about $5.00.  Wish I could help you with the weep hole, if that truly is the issue.  Might want to change the title of this to include, need help to fix weep hole, to gain more attention!!
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Offline WillyP

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2014, 03:02:32 pm »
Find the source of the leak before you go changing parts. Changing rubber parts as a precaution is a good idea, but it would kinda suck to go changing a bunch of parts only to find you have to take them all off again because it is still leaking. You should be able to see or feel a drip coming off from somewhere, then wipe it all down really well, and look again to be sure the drip wasn't traveling from somewhere else.
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Offline JimBob

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2014, 04:28:37 pm »
Find the source of the leak before you go changing parts. Changing rubber parts as a precaution is a good idea, but it would kinda suck to go changing a bunch of parts only to find you have to take them all off again because it is still leaking. You should be able to see or feel a drip coming off from somewhere, then wipe it all down really well, and look again to be sure the drip wasn't traveling from somewhere else.

What WillyP said.

Let's find the source of the problem first. Like others, my bet is on a loose hose clamp, maybe an o-ring.

Once you find the source of the problem, the fix may be as simple as tightening a clamp. Though given how cooling system problems work, I'm not optimistic.

IF it turns out the problem is an o-ring, then I'd be inclined to say "do it all" - all the o-rings, hoses and clamps (including the t-stat and log). If one o-ring is leaking, the others are likely not far behind, and you gotta open the system for the one anyway, so why double your labor/time?

But let's diagnose first, clearly identify the source of the problem, THEN choose a path forward.

My guess is the leak is an o-ring on the pipe going to the water pump, or one of the hoses/clamps down there.

Offline SteveJ.

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2014, 11:27:32 pm »
At nine years old, i would diagnose, then all new hoses/o-rings. This stuff does deteriorate.
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Offline rickm_tx

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2014, 02:57:40 am »
To me personally, years on a well maintained bike only matter one-way: plastic, hoses and rubber.  The reason being is that all three are nothing more than solid chemicals who's composition breaks down with age.  Metal?  Not a problem.  A belt, a  hose?  hhhhmmmmmm.

Anyway, the bike gets naked tomorrow and that will tell the tale.  Personally, I dunno.  I'm hoping a clamp as opposed to an o-ring.  I'm just lazy that way.

Will let you guys know tomorrow.

Thanks.
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Offline dan4aspen

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2014, 03:58:29 am »
Well, for the most part I agree, but then there is yesterdays post about metal coolant pipes ;}  http://forum.cog-online.org/index.php/topic,55701.0.html  That could shoot your theory in the foot!!  I wish you the best of luck!!!  I know you will do what YOU feel is RIGHT, and that is what matters.  I wish you the best of luck, and was just trying to give some helpful advice from my experience.  Definitely post what you find, as I am curious. 
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Offline rickm_tx

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2014, 01:21:07 am »
Well, for the most part I agree, but then there is yesterdays post about metal coolant pipes ;}  http://forum.cog-online.org/index.php/topic,55701.0.html  That could shoot your theory in the foot!!  I wish you the best of luck!!!  I know you will do what YOU feel is RIGHT, and that is what matters.  I wish you the best of luck, and was just trying to give some helpful advice from my experience.  Definitely post what you find, as I am curious.


I certainly will (post the results), and thank you.
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Offline JimBob

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2014, 04:21:37 pm »
To me personally, years on a well maintained bike only matter one-way: plastic, hoses and rubber.  The reason being is that all three are nothing more than solid chemicals who's composition breaks down with age.  Metal?  Not a problem.  A belt, a  hose?  hhhhmmmmmm.

Anyway, the bike gets naked tomorrow and that will tell the tale.  Personally, I dunno.  I'm hoping a clamp as opposed to an o-ring.  I'm just lazy that way.

Will let you guys know tomorrow.

Thanks.


Yea, I'm kinda lazy (hate doing things twice, like removing the plastic for one hose, then another, etc), and I dislike riding around with a known-worn part (again, replaced one hose, knowing another is likely worn too). That's why if I have to replace one piece of rubber in a system, I'm gonna do 'em all. Otherwise it comes back to bite you later, especially with cooling, especially on a bike (with a small cooling system, and trivial air cooling of these bikes).

Nine years? Just order the hoses, clamps, o-rings, t-stat, radiator cap and be done with it! (Maybe, if it's not just a clamp leaking...)

Offline rickm_tx

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 01:29:26 am »
Sorry it took so long to get to it, but stripped the bike down and was able to view the exact source of the leak.  This is what I found:





The drip is coming from the lower left bolt head.  A drip every minute or so I guess...very minor.  So minor that nothing has ended up on the garage floor.  The bottom fairing has been catching it.

I guess this is the water pump?  And, I guess the fix is to change the gasket?  Looks like the shift lever and linkage and who knows what else has to come off.  Is there anything special I need to know before I do this?
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Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2014, 05:36:29 am »
Does the smoke have a "sweet/sugary" smell, or a hot oil smell? If it ain't sweet, its the internal waterpump oil seqa,, if its sweet, its coolant, taste the wetstuff, it won't kill ya, if it isn't sweet, its oil, and a waterpump internal oil seal.

I'll post pics in the morn to show the weep hole, on my nook now, and can't lknk them.

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Offline WillyP

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2014, 10:50:52 am »
There's pics and info here: Remove and Replace the Waterpump
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Offline rickm_tx

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2014, 06:36:34 pm »
Does the smoke have a "sweet/sugary" smell, or a hot oil smell? If it ain't sweet, its the internal waterpump oil seqa,, if its sweet, its coolant, taste the wetstuff, it won't kill ya, if it isn't sweet, its oil, and a waterpump internal oil seal.

I'll post pics in the morn to show the weep hole, on my nook now, and can't lknk them.

Hey MOB.

Def coolant.  Nice and clear, and sweet.
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Offline rickm_tx

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2014, 06:56:21 pm »
There's pics and info here: Remove and Replace the Waterpump


Thanks, WillyP, for the link and  tutorial.  While this assembly is apart, I would just as soon go ahead and replace all o-rings and seals.  The hoses look great so no worries there.

Anyone have any suggestions as to the best place to get new rings and seals.  The local Kawasaki shop is out of the question.  It would be cheaper to buy a new pump off ebay than to buy o-rings and seals from them.
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Offline WillyP

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Re: "Coolant Leak" for the win!
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2014, 07:03:06 pm »
The large odd-shaped o-ring that seals the pump cover to the pump I bought at the dealer, but the others I got at a local hydraulics repair shop.

Murph might also have them.
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