Remove Radiator Louvers? - My Solution - BMW K1600 Forum : BMW K1600 GT and GTL Forums
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-15-2019, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Remove Radiator Louvers? - My Solution

In this thread, I had asked if anyone had removed the radiator louvers (that ladder-like blockage in from of the radiator). Interesting replies; a couple had, some added a RadGuard. I had seen posts in that past from @Meese about using aluminum window screen (smaller holes than RadGuard), for the finer grit).

I live in the Sierra Foothills, and regularly I get stuck behind a slow moving parade (usually behind an RV, or a Prius trying to hyper-mileage) on steep 2 lane canyon roads in high 90's or more temps. My bike (YES - I keep the radiator CLEAN!) will get to 8 bars or more on the temperature, even with the practice of keeping RPMs low (which @StephenV ) advocates here in a nice write up (and it works nicely).

I just want to ride the bike, and try not to worry about RPMs, temperature, speed, etc.

My solution (pics attached).

* I got a $10 roll of aluminum window screen (not nylon) at Home Depot. This was Meese's idea that I stole from him.
* I got some Pond Filter Media at Home Depot.

I noticed that with my Fenda Extenda the crud only got into the three lower "rungs" of the ladder, so I decided to remove the plastic behind the ladder from the third rung up, using my Dremel. Even though I would have the added window screen, I decided to put a layer of Pond Filter Media behind the ladder opening to keep large items out.

Note: I put pond filter media all the way from top to bottom, to keep rocks and road crap from back filling the areas. Even though the pond filter would be held in place by the OEM radiator guard, I decided to add wire mesh, held in place by zip ties.

The size of the new opening pictured will increase surface area that the fan can draw though by about one-third. My goal is to allow the fan to be more efficient, while keeping crap out of the radiator.

Yesterday was in the high 90's so I decided to test...

Went on a 400 mile ride, in heavy traffic in Downtown Reno - and even stop and go for several miles in temps from 98 - 102 (according to bike) degrees. Normally, I wouldn't ride Virginia Street, but I wanted to test stop and go...

The bike stayed on 5 bars longer than it would before. 5 bars is "normal" for my bike. Even in stop and go, the bike would get to 6 bars, and the fan would kick in. If I ignored the RPMs, and "just rode it" it did get to 7 bars briefly a couple times - but unlike the past, would drop back down completely to 5.

Previously in high 90's the bike would just stay at 6 bars, with the fan running.

Up over the Mt. Rose Highway (a steep climb, stuck behind some cars here and there), flirted with 6 bars a couple times, then came back down. It was a hot day - high 80's even at Lake Tahoe.

Overall Take: "Normal operating temp" not affected (meaning, she still runs at 5 bars), BUT the ability to cool once the fan kicks in has improved somewhat. Prior to this excercise, and these conditions, the bike would have been at 6 and 7 bars much more often, and for greater lengths of time for sure.
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-Brian
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'13 GTL-P Dark Graphite Metallic (3/27/13 Build Date)
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-18-2019, 12:32 PM
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Mr. Hall I am going to try your mod. I just got home from my west coast ride and the GTL overheated 4 times even though I did everything I could to keep RPMs low. I was 2 up, pulling ungo and the side bags loaded, in stop and go traffic, temps above 100 degrees, so the red warning was probably unavoidable. I couldn't get out of the traffic so never stopped to allow it to cool down. I never had any antifreeze to boil out and it quickly returned to normal as soon as I could maintain a speed of around 30 mph. The mod may not have stopped the overheating under these circumstances but it might have helped some.

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post #3 of 11 Old 09-18-2019, 12:41 PM
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Thanks for posting the details of your modification Brian. Very creative approach to this problem. I entirely removed the rock catcher ladder from the front of my 2018 and have not yet worked on a further solution. I had the redGuard on my last bike. I lost the opportunity to do it your way because I discarded (i think) the plastic ladder looking piece. I now think my longer term solution lies in the materials you used in yours.

Chris H (formerly known here as Charlie Fogg)

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post #4 of 11 Old 09-18-2019, 12:43 PM
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i brought some aluminium screen designed for body work repair, a winter and the entire thing turned to dust, probably salted roads issue

R80/7RT / K75RT / R1200RT / K1600 GTL - in the U.K.
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-18-2019, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for the tip. I am going to give it a shot as well. That is a good, simple idea. I have not worried about it so much cause the average temp in the North East is not too high and not for that long. I think it would help more in stop and go traffic.
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-20-2019, 12:48 AM
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I just pulled and emptied mine, there was only about 7 or 8 rocks in it after 6k miles. I did punch a ton of small holes in the body of it to help with air flow though....

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post #7 of 11 Old 09-21-2019, 11:12 AM
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I decided to reinforce the radiator guard with aluminum window screen and hardware cloth on the back side and just remove the louver box.

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Al

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post #8 of 11 Old 09-21-2019, 04:37 PM
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Have you u taken it for a ride since you drilled the holes?
Notice any difference?

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post #9 of 11 Old 09-28-2019, 10:05 PM
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I ride every day and its hot here, seems to be pretty much the same in stop and go traffic, but I have not overheated at all.

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post #10 of 11 Old 09-29-2019, 01:26 AM
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did you overheat prior to drilling the holes?

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