Remove Upper Middle of Plastic Radiator Obstruction? - BMW K1600 Forum : BMW K1600 GT and GTL Forums
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post #1 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Remove Upper Middle of Plastic Radiator Obstruction?

Replacing bad coil, and doing the plugs while Iím there, along with radiator flush and other maintenance items. Radiator needs cleaning.

Really only a lot of road crud over the lower 2Ē (I have a fenda extenda) of the radiator, so I'm thinking maybe the fenda extanda does a good job eliminating the slinging crap?

So much airflow is lost because of the big plastic cover right in the middle of the radiator. Has anyone else removed some of the plastic near the top; say about 6" x 2-1/2" strip in the middle of the big plastic blockage of the radiator (remove plastic behind the louvers)?

Iím thinking I could increase airflow 10-15%.

-Brian
RIP CCR: 2008, Midway; 2011, Boise; 2012, Duluth; 2014, Chattanooga.
MOA: Billings, 2015; SLC, 2017; Nashville, 2019
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post #2 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Hallzee View Post
So much airflow is lost because of the big plastic cover right in the middle of the radiator. Has anyone else removed some of the plastic near the top; say about 6" x 2-1/2" strip in the middle of the big plastic blockage of the radiator (remove plastic behind the louvers)?

I’m thinking I could increase airflow 10-15%.

I know that is a common assertion, but is it really true???

My daughter's boyfriend just bought a bike, a Harley NightRod, with a MUCH bigger plastic panel covering the center of his radiator. He tells me that the bike does not have a reputation of similar overheat problems. He was telling me of a documentary covering the development of the bike where they discussed this very issue.

See this video here:

They talk about the radiator starting about 22:30 until about 24:00 and then again at 30:45 to 31:30.

In summary, they were not getting enough cooling. Through wind tunnel testing, they determined they were not getting sufficient airflow but found that it was the wheel/fender that was really the culprit in blocking/diverting most of the air away from the area. The addition of the panel to protect the radiator didn't really affect how much air got to it. The solution was to capture air further away from the center and manipulate the flow of that air so it was more effective.

I'd suggest that having the panel in the middle of our radiators isn't as big of an issue as you might think.
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Last edited by RefCat; 09-12-2019 at 04:26 AM.
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post #3 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 04:32 AM
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That is an interesting point. The font mudguard on the K16 is very short and I know I have put fender extenders on all three of my bikes, one wonders if a fender extender is blocking air.

Having said that, the only one of the three bikes that did not overheat on me had a fender extender and a Rad Guard.

Wouldn't it be nice if BMW could enlighten us..............
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post #4 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 05:49 AM
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Replacing bad coil, and doing the plugs while Iím there, along with radiator flush and other maintenance items. Radiator needs cleaning.

Really only a lot of road crud over the lower 2Ē (I have a fenda extenda) of the radiator, so I'm thinking maybe the fenda extanda does a good job eliminating the slinging crap?

So much airflow is lost because of the big plastic cover right in the middle of the radiator. Has anyone else removed some of the plastic near the top; say about 6" x 2-1/2" strip in the middle of the big plastic blockage of the radiator (remove plastic behind the louvers)?

Iím thinking I could increase airflow 10-15%.
Only one way to find out!

I have a fender extender which over the last 4 years has done an excellent job of keeping crap/muck away from my radiator and that plastic louvered thing had virtually no muck on/in it also.

So.... I have decided to remove it completely, even though I've not actually experienced any overheating issues (including two hot Pyrenean mountain climbs), just as a precaution given the number of posts here and elsewhere on overheating!

I reckon the existing plastic honeycomb screen gives reasonable protection for anything which escapes my fender extender and I'm prepared to take the chance on that.

I was originally going to re-design the plastic louvre bit but after giving it more thought, and looking at what has actually reached my radiator escaping my fender extender so far, I've shelved that idea.

So, I guess time will tell .... !!

Last edited by edinburghbiker; 09-12-2019 at 06:01 AM.
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post #5 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DavidMcK View Post
That is an interesting point. The font mudguard on the K16 is very short and I know I have put fender extenders on all three of my bikes, one wonders if a fender extender is blocking air.
.
No. That much I can be pretty sure of. It is just too close to the tire to block any more are than the tire is already blocking.

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Originally Posted by DavidMcK View Post
Having said that, the only one of the three bikes that did not overheat on me had a fender extender and a Rad Guard.

Wouldn't it be nice if BMW could enlighten us..............
I'd put the money on the Rad Guard as the thing that helps....it keeps the fins clean and that is the main factor.

The center mud guard also keeps the fins clean (or at least cleaner). For any air that it may be blocking (which should be minimal in the shadow of the tire/wheel/fender), it probably benefits more in the form of protection.

If anything were to make the situation better, aside from keeping it clean, it would drawing more are in from the edges and ensuring that are can flow into the radiator. If the scoops were a little wider, they'd catch more air and funnel it to the radiator. But, since the problems are low speed related, that may be ineffective.

I'm really curious about a better/bigger fan (or additional) that covers more of the area of the radiator. As it is, the problem times are when you're dependent on the fan to provide for much of the airflow. Since it covers under half of the radiator area, it seems even a small increase in fan coverage could lead to a dramatic improvement. If I get the chance someday, I just might try that...adding a supplemental fan on the top half of the radiator that either runs all the time or simultaneous with the stock fan.
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post #6 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 08:55 AM
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I think the "blocking air flow" is a red herring.

The centre cover sits proud of the rad about 1/4".

When moving air will still be shoved behind that piece

When the fan is on it will pull air from behind that piece.

Paul
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post #7 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RefCat View Post
I'm really curious about a better/bigger fan (or additional) that covers more of the area of the radiator. As it is, the problem times are when you're dependent on the fan to provide for much of the airflow. Since it covers under half of the radiator area, it seems even a small increase in fan coverage could lead to a dramatic improvement. If I get the chance someday, I just might try that...adding a supplemental fan on the top half of the radiator that either runs all the time or simultaneous with the stock fan.
I was surprised too how the fan sits directly behind the plastic blocked off down low. I don't plan on making any changes down there, as the lower you go, more crud.

I clean the radiator regularly while on the bike, by blowing air/water from the back side. This is the first time (60,000 miles) I have completely disassembled the radiator (once you get it apart, you can see a lot more stuff). The 2" of clogged fins in the bottom middle (a LOT less than I have seen from others, BTW - Fenda Extenda helps a lot)) was actually behind the solid plastic baffle. So my thoughts were I could at least open up the [plastic up high to get more airflow, and wanted to know if others have. Looks like they have as I have seen on other forums, and I got a couple great ideas.My plan is to insert aluminum window screen behind the (entire front of radiator) factory plastic "mesh". I will cut out the upper 6" or so of solid plastic behind the louvers, and use pond filter media in there, to block some boulders (with the benefit of aluminum screen behind for fine stuff)...

OR, I may just say to myself, "I'm not as smart as a BMW engineer, and I'll just leave it alone!"

-Brian
RIP CCR: 2008, Midway; 2011, Boise; 2012, Duluth; 2014, Chattanooga.
MOA: Billings, 2015; SLC, 2017; Nashville, 2019
'13 GTL-P Dark Graphite Metallic (3/27/13 Build Date)
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post #8 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by RefCat View Post
I'm really curious about a better/bigger fan (or additional) that covers more of the area of the radiator. As it is, the problem times are when you're dependent on the fan to provide for much of the airflow. Since it covers under half of the radiator area, it seems even a small increase in fan coverage could lead to a dramatic improvement. If I get the chance someday, I just might try that...adding a supplemental fan on the top half of the radiator that either runs all the time or simultaneous with the stock fan.

I am optimistic that would "cure" the problem Cam. I have thought a stronger fan was the ticket too.


The difference between going red and not going red is very fine.



The fear I have when going red is that it goes red because the temperature IS escalating.


I don't know how high it can go before serious engine problems happen and I don't want to know.

Paul
1984 Honda V65 Magna
1985 BMW K100RT
2011 BMW K1600GTL - gone
2018 BMW K1600GTL
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post #9 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 01:27 PM
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I have thought a stronger fan was the ticket too.
For those who've purchased the Bren tuner, this is an additional benefit it brings (from the Bren Tuning website):

LOWER FAN-ON TEMP
In an effort to cool the engine down more, we have lowered the temperature in which the radiator fans come on. This keeps your bike cooler and more consistent with power.

2018 K1600 GT Mars Red Metallic
► There exists a group of people who believe that 2 > 4.
► "I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol." ó Steven Wright
► No government, constitution or law gives you any rights... breathing does.
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post #10 of 36 Old 09-12-2019, 01:55 PM
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No. That much I can be pretty sure of. It is just too close to the tire to block any more are than the tire is already blocking.



I'd put the money on the Rad Guard as the thing that helps....it keeps the fins clean and that is the main factor.

The center mud guard also keeps the fins clean (or at least cleaner). For any air that it may be blocking (which should be minimal in the shadow of the tire/wheel/fender), it probably benefits more in the form of protection.

If anything were to make the situation better, aside from keeping it clean, it would drawing more are in from the edges and ensuring that are can flow into the radiator. If the scoops were a little wider, they'd catch more air and funnel it to the radiator. But, since the problems are low speed related, that may be ineffective.

I'm really curious about a better/bigger fan (or additional) that covers more of the area of the radiator. As it is, the problem times are when you're dependent on the fan to provide for much of the airflow. Since it covers under half of the radiator area, it seems even a small increase in fan coverage could lead to a dramatic improvement. If I get the chance someday, I just might try that...adding a supplemental fan on the top half of the radiator that either runs all the time or simultaneous with the stock fan.
Most of the problem comes when the bike is barely moving or sitting still. The problem as I see it is the OEM fan. It needs to be either more aggressive (fin design) or faster RPM to simply move more air. Its a fine balance between current consumption and the ability to move air and the current fan design seems to be pretty uninspired. It might be worth a contacting the OEM manufacturer to see if there is an alternative solution. I have been trying to fit this in the schedule for the last few weeks but it hasn't happened. Another approach would be to get the original fan motor rewound to be higher power/rpm.

2012 BMW K1600GTL
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