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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read a bunch of threads. I'm on the road far from home (Georgia) in Boston on business. It was 98 degrees in stop and go traffic when i learned about the K1600GT new design feature: i got the Red Triangle and an overheat indication. What surprise. So I immediately pulled off the highway and parked the bike into the wind in a shady spot about 4 miles from my destination...not how I planned to end my day.

So it was 98 degrees and it was stop and go.
but this is my reliable bike and it has been nothing but lizard brain fun all the way from Georgia up through Ashville up I81 to Pennsylvania till I got to that stop and go on I95 in the heat.

If I can stand the heat then so should my bike.

The crazy thing is when I parked I could hear the fan running. So I put down the kickstand and killed the bike with the power on and the fan quit. But as soon as I started the bike the fan ran again and the bike cooled off. When I started the bike again it didnt want to turn over on the first cylinder it was on. It didn't spin with its usual aplomb on the nearly new PC680.

So WTF is going on here? Why is my bike overheating?

I read that the computer will shut off electrical stuff when things get hot. Don't tell me the fan is one of those things?!!!?

I will check the oil in the morning.

The end of the story is I took secondary roads to my destination and the bike stayed cool.
 

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Techmeister
K1600GA
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I am north of you about 70 miles in NH if you get stuck.
Your problem is well known. This bike can overheat on that stretch of road; I commuted it for years.
1. Be sure your radiator is clean and you have enough fluid.
2. When you ride in this heat, keep your RPMs as low as you can. Almost lug the engine by shift early - less than 2000 RPMs. Keep the RPMs low; you have plenty of torque.
3. Lane filter; it is not legal, but neither is being hit. Boston drivers do not notice bikes; be aggressive and stay out of the way.
4. Your bike should not overheat at idle; if it does, do step one again. Your radiator is clogged or fluid is low.

As for the starter not engaging; this is likely another problem - the Sprag clutch is not deploying properly. It will likely be OK, but you may have to try again.
 

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Nothing different about your bike than the rest of ours. It sounds like your radiator needs a good cleaning, on the outside. See if you can remove the louvered plastic shield that is in the front of your radiator. It will accumulate road debris behind it and block some of the radiator. It's kind of tricky to disengage the top plastic clips. If you have access to compressed air blowing behind the louver will remove the debris also.

Start searching for threads here about cleaning the radiator. Using chemicals like Simple Green, house air conditioner condenser cleaner and such with a garden hose is worthwhile. Don't leave Simple Green on aluminum for too long and make sure it's well rinsed off. Read the label.

You can remove the 4 screws that hold the fan in place and blow air and or water from the back side of the radiator. Also take a look at your oil cooler radiator above the water one. It may be plugged with bugs. Hydrogen Peroxide is good for dissolving organic matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. I will admit to something else unusual that happened. I ran through the cicada hatch on I 81 just south of Winchester. It continued up though just south of the Penn border. Its hard to believe but I will inspect the radiator. The one red eyed bugger that was on the oil cooler I removed.

The shocking thing was that with the motor off and the red bars showing the fan didnt run. Once I started the motor the fan ran. That makes no sense to me. With power to the system and high temp the cooling fan should run.

Are the torcX screws around the radiator the same as the tool under my seat? I can always buy a cheapy metric ratchet set if needs be. I will check he radiator reservoir in the morning as well.

The funny thing is I actually packed my owners manual. I must be psychic. I think I read up on checking and adding radiator fluid tonight.

Hey wednesday I'm heading to Providence RI. Is there a BMW shop down there that you would recommend?

Watched the Rad Guard video and the removal of the plastic center piece...

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
While overheat thing was going on I check the system voltage and the oil level as reported by the BMW information system. 13.8 volts and Oil Level OK. Something else I noticed: There was a following wind today. Hmmmm.

Am I going to have to Farkel my cooling system?

Dumb question: Once the air goes through the Radiator how does it exit the tupperware?
 

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2018 Honda GoldWing Tour/2020 BMW K1600GT
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Many years ago I had several vMax's, which were notorious for getting hot. A product that every vMax owner swore by was Redline WaterWetter. Just add a few ounces to your coolant and it aids the coolant's ability to transfer heat and keep your engine cooler. Sounded like snake oil to me, but the stuff works! You can get it at many auto parts stores like O'Reilly.
 

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Many years ago I had several vMax's, which were notorious for getting hot. A product that every vMax owner swore by was Redline WaterWetter. Just add a few ounces to your coolant and it aids the coolant's ability to transfer heat and keep your engine cooler. Sounded like snake oil to me, but the stuff works! You can get it at many auto parts stores like O'Reilly.
The problem is getting the heat from the radiator into the air. Not sure how a fluid inside could improve that.
 

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The shocking thing was that with the motor off and the red bars showing the fan didnt run. Once I started the motor the fan ran. That makes no sense to me. With power to the system and high temp the cooling fan should run.
That would be a surefire way to end up with a dead battery.

With the engine off, the system is going to cool down since there source of the heat is now gone. It will take a few minutes but it is cooling down. Having the fan on isn't going to protect anything at that point. It would only speed up the cooling and the battery drain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Which is really interesting. Refcat and CSX4350. Because none of this discussion has yet to identify the problem

Why does the cooling system design stop working under certain conditions?

Which from various discussions are:

1) 95 degrees ambient and higher.
2) Stop and go driving
3) Little forward or following wind
4) dirty radiator/oil cooler (possible)
5) reving above 2000 rpms
6) lack of super style coolant

If BMW corperate would like to chime in I would be most apreciative because this seems like a design problem. Id be happy to use google translate from german to english. Maybe somebody who knows somebody could cc them this conversation.

I think Refcat is correct. How to get heat from the radiator to the air. Something in the above conditions is stopping the cooling system from doing its job. Something that BMW didnt take into account in the design. This a major design flaw. I have an idea of the problem but I wont be able to test my hypothoses until I get home and can get the tupparware off and see how air from behind the radiators is exhausted.
 

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That’s funny about BMW corporate chiming in here! They couldn’t care less about these issues. The ”less than marginal” cooling system on the K1600 has been an issue since 2011, among other things, and BMW will not address this, or any other issue.

As others have said, all you can do is ensure your radiator is clean as a whistle, and use low rpm in stop-and-go traffic. Same goes for elevation climb in the twisties. Ride the bike like its a Ural in these conditions, and you might be ok.
 

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Mr.Fix It
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Yes, the K bike will, supposedly, overheat; red triangle. In 8 years/92k miles mine has 3-4 times. I pull over, shut off motor, wait 5-10 minutes, and walla, problem solved. Many say BMW should fix this problem... I’m ‘guessing’ they don’t because overheating isn’t costing BMW a dime; e.g. wait 5 minutes, etc. And I’ll add I’ve never heard of any damage to a motor from overheating, none, zero, period...

Duane
 
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Scammer Hammer
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That would be a surefire way to end up with a dead battery.

With the engine off, the system is going to cool down since there source of the heat is now gone. It will take a few minutes but it is cooling down. Having the fan on isn't going to protect anything at that point. It would only speed up the cooling and the battery drain.
Having a mechanical water pump running the fan would do nothing after a shutdown.

My VW continues to run the cooling system after shutdown until it cools to some point. To cool the turbocharger. The VW has an electric water pump.
 

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Techmeister
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To your question about the water pump: The water pump is located on the right side beneath your footpeg. It enters from the right side, through the engine, and out the left side, mid-engine just behind the Tupperware. There is a bleed screw that many people forget to bleed out when they change their fluids.
 

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The problem is getting the heat from the radiator into the air. Not sure how a fluid inside could improve that.
In the case of Amsoil's Coolant Boost, it is a surfactant that breaks the coolant's surface tension. It allows the coolant to more completely contact the metal surfaces by eliminating the surface tension that is inherent to all fluids. That improvement in surface contact allows heat to more readily transfer from the coolant to the metal in the radiator, and from the metal in the engine to the coolant. I used to use it, but am now using Amsoil's Powersports Coolant, which has the coolant boost incorporated into it.

In the case of Amsoil's Coolant Boost, here is how they test it and the results:

To test temperature-reduction capabilities, controlled engine dynamometer (dyno) tests were performed on a 350 cubic inch Chevy* engine with an aluminum block and cylinder heads. In each phase of testing, the engine was operated at 4,500 rpm until coolant temperature stabilized. As benchmarks for the test, straight water stabilized at 220 ̊F (104.4°C) and a 50/50 antifreeze/water mixture stabilized at 228 ̊F (108.9°C). Reducing engine temperatures helps racers retain power and cool the engine in extreme conditions. Temperature ReductionDOMINATOR COOLANT BOOSTMixed with 50/50 Antifreeze/Water ............................................................8 ̊F (4.5°C) reductionMixed with Straight Water ..................................................................25 ̊F (13.8°C) reduction

 

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Mr.Fix It
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@capav8r , assuming one isn’t concerned with freezing, would you recommend running coolant boost/straight water for optimum cooling?

Duane
 
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Yep, have had the triangle come on a time or two. I think that's at 8 bars?? Anyway, just kept moving slowly and would have stopped moving and likely just let the motor idle had the red gone to the top, or 10 bars, on the gauge. But it never got past the 8 or 9 bars and then crept back down. I say I would have let it idle to keep the the coolant moving and fan turning to suck heat out of the engine. If it didn't begin to drop quickly with no load on the motor, then I would have turned it off. Not sure if this is the best way, but it fits my elementary understanding of engine cooling dynamics. Obviously, removing the combustion removes the genesis of the heat. But so far, I've not had to stop.

@capavator... well @Gunnert just asked what I was going to ask. With that much reduction on straight water, if not for freeze protection, that sound incredibly efficient.
 
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@capav8r , assuming one isn’t concerned with freezing, would you recommend running coolant boost/straight water for optimum cooling?

Duane
No, I wouldn't recommend it for long term street use. You would lose far too many benefits of the coolant, such as anti corrosion additives, boil over protection, lubrication properties for the pump, etc. Yes, your running coolant temperatures could be reduced by 25° F with straight water and a coolant boost, but I think the benefits of actual coolant outweigh the reduction in temperatures. Using Coolant Boost in your coolant still will yield somewhere around an 8° F reduction in temperatures.
 

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In the case of Amsoil's Coolant Boost, it is a surfactant that breaks the coolant's surface tension. It allows the coolant to more completely contact the metal surfaces by eliminating the surface tension that is inherent to all fluids. That improvement in surface contact allows heat to more readily transfer from the coolant to the metal in the radiator, and from the metal in the engine to the coolant. I used to use it, but am now using Amsoil's Powersports Coolant, which has the coolant boost incorporated into it.

In the case of Amsoil's Coolant Boost, here is how they test it and the results:

To test temperature-reduction capabilities, controlled engine dynamometer (dyno) tests were performed on a 350 cubic inch Chevy* engine with an aluminum block and cylinder heads. In each phase of testing, the engine was operated at 4,500 rpm until coolant temperature stabilized. As benchmarks for the test, straight water stabilized at 220 ̊F (104.4°C) and a 50/50 antifreeze/water mixture stabilized at 228 ̊F (108.9°C). Reducing engine temperatures helps racers retain power and cool the engine in extreme conditions. Temperature ReductionDOMINATOR COOLANT BOOSTMixed with 50/50 Antifreeze/Water ............................................................8 ̊F (4.5°C) reductionMixed with Straight Water ..................................................................25 ̊F (13.8°C) reduction

For all we know the BMW coolant already includes surfactant.
Amsoil's test doesn't take into account that the thermostat and ambient conditions, and these could skew their results.

I can see a benefit to race cars that aren't permitted to use coolant products like the stuff we run in our cars and K-bikes.
 

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I think that was within design specs. If it was able to idle indefinitely when it's 100 degrees outside the cooling system would have to be bigger and heavier. You might as well be on a Goldwing. Heat bleeds off pretty quickly when you shut it down so you can get back on the road after ten minutes or so. Or find a way to split lanes. It seems to be ok above about 20 mph. Just needs some air flow.
 
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