***SOLVED*** Overheating Issue ***SOLVED*** - BMW K1600 Forum : BMW K1600 GT and GTL Forums
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post #1 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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***SOLVED*** Overheating Issue ***SOLVED***

Follow this to the letter and I guarantee you will never see a flashing red triangle (for overheating issues) on your K16 again.

The best part is that it requires ZERO additional parts and is FREE!!!

A lot has been said about the K16 having an issue with overheating. I've had the problem myself. Although I have never heard of one actually boiling over, it can be quite disconcerting to watch the temperature gauge steadily climb until suddenly the red flashing triangle makes its appearance.

We just got back from the IBR. During our entire ride to/during/from the rally we did 12,720 miles riding in some of the most extreme conditions we've ever seen. "xx miles of Unimproved Dirt Road" was a common phrase used in the bonus descriptions. In one eleven hour period, we covered 311 miles on the most extreme twisty roads we've ever seen. Think: 311 miles of 10 mph switchbacks and missing pavement (No, we weren't lost, we just couldn't find a way to get to where we wanted to go).

Add to that the rush-hour traffic in some pretty large cities (Nashville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Memphis, etc) and we were in a LOT of situations that would normally see the flashing red triangle appear pretty quickly.

We saw it one time. That one time was because I was NOT following this advice. It went away rather quickly once I started using this technique again. Other than that one time, I never saw more than seven bars.

Many suggestions and proposed 'fixes' have been tossed around in an attempt to solve this problem.

"Clean your radiator" - This seems to be the most common response. Yah... A clean radiator helps, but that is not at the heart of the matter.

"Use an additive to make your water wetter" - Ummm.. Yah... Okaaayy....

"Add a fan to the oil cooler" - Not sure what this was supposed to solve. It's the coolant that is getting too hot, after all.

"Add more fans to the radiator" - I couldn't find any room to do that.

"Add an auxiliary switch to turn on the fan sooner" - I actually thought of that one and seriously considered it but never had time to implement it before leaving for the IBR.

About a month ago I was doing some preventative maintenance on the bike and for one reason or another, the bike ended up sitting on the center stand for over an hour and a half with the engine idling. It struck me that during that entire time, the temperature gauge never got to more than SEVEN bars (the level at which the fan is engaged). Parts of the bike actually got hot enough that the computer started shutting stuff down (the auxiliary power sockets, for example) but still the temp gauge never peaked above seven bars. The fan would come on, the temp would drop, the fan would shut off...

It was then that I realized what is at the root of this overheating problem.

The radiator and fan obviously have enough efficiency to keep the engine cool AS LONG AS THE RPMs ARE AT OR NEAR IDLE.

Get much above idle and the engine is producing more heat than just the fan alone can dissipate. In order to get rid of that heat, the bike needs to be moving at some appreciable speed to increase the airflow across the radiator.

So what do we do when we CANNOT move the bike fast enough to keep the air moving at an appreciable rate across the radiator?

Easy... We just do not create so much heat.

Like most (all?) other motorcycle riders, I like using engine braking when decelerating and higher RPM shifts when accelerating. Not only do the feeling of the decel/accel forces feel cool, the sound is pretty neat as well. Problem is, running the engine at those higher RPMs during these relatively slow motion periods is only adding more heat to the system than can be removed by the inefficient radiator.

So here's the secret to keeping this beast cool:

USE LOW RPM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!


This bike has GOBS of torque available so low on the power band, make good use of it!

- When approaching a situation where you know you are going to be crawling, DO NOT downshift through the gears to slow down. Simply close the throttle and let it coast in 6th gear. DO NOT downshift below 6th gear until you are near 25 mph (~1200 RPM). As long as you do not come to a complete stop, the LOWEST you should get is 3rd gear. Whatever it takes to keep the RPM as LOW as possible.

- When starting from a stop, shift through the gears as quickly as possible with as low an RPM as possible. Simply put, DO NOT exceed 1500 RPM at any point. No more than 1200 RPM is even better. I was skipping gears while upshifting. Going 1-3-6 in stop-n-go traffic. Put more simply, if you are anywhere above an idle RPM for more than a few seconds, you had better be in 6th gear. Do not worry about stalling the bike. It has the torque to handle a proper acceleration from idle to full freeway speeds in 6th gear.

That's it... Don't create more heat than the bike can naturally remove and you'll never overheat again.



P.S. Until/Unless you actually give this technique an honest attempt, do not even bother trying to argue with me about this.
(Asbestos Flameproof Suit: Engaged)
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-Stephen! (The rider formerly known as smv)
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Last edited by StephenV; 07-02-2019 at 10:12 PM.
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post #2 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 10:14 PM
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You nailed it!

My solution is to stop passing SUV's on hair pin curves while pulling my trailer.
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Paul
1984 Honda V65 Magna
1985 BMW K100RT
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post #3 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 10:20 PM
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You sir are a new hero to me.
Try Boston at rush hour on the Deck in 95-degree temps; and bumper to bumper cars not seeing you. I had four episodes last Summer where I spent part of that commute looking at cars passing me from the breakdown lanes, or getting angry with me for HAVING to move through stalled traffic.

Last edited by djfalkenstein; 07-03-2019 at 07:57 AM.
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post #4 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Contrary to all my previous experience with liquid cooled internal combustion engines, this engine does not like higher RPMs when it comes to heat. Whenever I've had an engine getting too hot in the past, the solution was to pull over and stop then slightly increase the RPM a couple hundred or so over idle and the temp gauge would rapidly drop again.

Not so with this beast...


-Stephen! (The rider formerly known as smv)
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There is NO need to tailgate me when I am doing 50 in a 35 zone... and those flashing lights on top of your car look ridiculous.
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post #5 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by djfalkenstein View Post
You sir and a new hero to me.
Try Boston at rush hour on the Deck in 95-degree temps; and bumper to bumper cars not seeing you. I had four episodes last Summer where I spent part of that commute looking at cars passing me from the breakdown lanes, or getting angry with me for HAVING to move through stalled traffic.
Give it a shot. I am sure you will be happy with the results.

-Stephen! (The rider formerly known as smv)
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post #6 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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P.P.S. Naturally this assumes you have a clean radiator... No sense crippling yourself before going into battle.

-Stephen! (The rider formerly known as smv)
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There is NO need to tailgate me when I am doing 50 in a 35 zone... and those flashing lights on top of your car look ridiculous.
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post #7 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 10:39 PM
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[I][COLOR="Red"]The radiator and fan obviously have enough efficiency to keep the engine cool AS LONG AS THE RPMs ARE AT OR NEAR IDLE.
Not so sure this is obvious...or true. But I'll try it.

I am certain I will have an opportunity test this work around, cuz it ain't a "fix," on I-285 at some point this summer.

Seems like a BMW could just make a more blowey fan so that I could just drive this thing without concerns of it overheating, like I have every other vehicle - boat, car, truck, tractor, or motorcycle - that I have ever driven.
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post #8 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenV View Post
Contrary to all my previous experience with liquid cooled internal combustion engines, this engine does not like higher RPMs when it comes to heat. Whenever I've had an engine getting too hot in the past, the solution was to pull over and stop then slightly increase the RPM a couple hundred or so over idle and the temp gauge would rapidly drop again.

Not so with this beast...

My thoughts also. I was taught that with an overheating engine, one should not turn it off, but keep that water flowing to cool the engine. That doesn't seem to work on this bike.

I still cringe when I do turn it off.
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post #9 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenV View Post
The radiator and fan obviously have enough efficiency to keep the engine cool AS LONG AS THE RPMs ARE AT OR NEAR IDLE.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dhendy View Post
Not so sure this is obvious...or true. But I'll try it.
Go ahead and try it out now... Set the bike on the center stand and let it idle as long as you want. It will not overheat (again, given that your radiator isn't clogged up). It will go to seven bars, fan comes on, temp drops, fan goes off... Over and over again...

-Stephen! (The rider formerly known as smv)
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There is NO need to tailgate me when I am doing 50 in a 35 zone... and those flashing lights on top of your car look ridiculous.

Last edited by StephenV; 07-02-2019 at 10:58 PM.
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post #10 of 55 Old 07-02-2019, 11:06 PM
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I'll play devil's advocate. This is a high-revving engine. Aren't you robbing Peter to pay Paul by lugging it? I'm not saying that the suggested procedure isn't valuable in certain situations but if this is done too often, is it not hard on the engine and drivetrain?

Okay, I'm ready. Start throwing the flames my way.

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