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Mr.Fix It
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got another forum member's bike in my garage; working on major overheating problem. He's from Canada and is running hot in any traffic or speed below 50-60 MPH. I'm talking running in the "red" hot. I pulled the radiator, it was as bad as any I've ever seen. Reinstalled but can't system to "burb". Bleed screws have a few bubbles come out when loosened, but very little. BTW, bike is a '15 K1600GTLE with about 60k miles.

I'm "thinking" either water pump or thermostat. Anyone on here had a water pump or thermostat failure? WRT water pump, I'm not referring to a leaky pump, I'm talking about an actual failure to pump. Any idea how to check specifically the K bike water pump or thermostat?

Duane
 

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Remove the thermostat and put it in a pot of boiling water. See if it opens.
Or run the bike without the thermostat temporarily. It's main purpose is to help the bike get up to temperature more quickly when it is started by forcing the same fluid back through the engine and not allowing it into the radiator to get cooled down.
 

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Not too sure if you have the covers off, but I would suggest;
(If the covers are off.)

1. Radiator fan - kick in.
Top-up radiator to overflowing.
Loosen bleed screw & "burp"; a) Left hand side of motor. b) Water pump. c) Thermostat housing.
Top-up again & replace radiator cap.
Run engine till fan kicks in.
Let engine cool down and top-up radiator again to overflowing. Replace radiator cap & top-up reservoir to overflowing.

2. Thermostat. (± $40)
I replaced my bikes thermostat. The cover to the thermostat housing "lifts straight up". Beware thermostat housing is plastic = it can crack!!!!! Thermostat housing is all cast as "part & parcel" of the whole radiator unit!!! Crack this and it will be a whole new radiator assembly!
(Attached picture is of the "good" thermostat.)

3. Radiator cap. (± $27)
This is the easiest, cheapest, quickest route to go, to eliminate your problem.
My over-heating cause was a faulty radiator cap.

Drinkware Serveware Art Artifact Glass
 

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2019 R1250GS HP, 2013 K1600GT
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I would think that if the thermostat was stuck you would see the issue once the engine got hot not just above 60. I think I would pull the water pump, it easy enough and see if the impeller is slipping on the shaft or is completely broken. Pretty sure the impeller is plastic and from my experience with plastic impellers they can be problematic
 

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2013 GTL
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I cant confirm, but would expect the thermostat to be the "Fail Open" type, but maybe the failure mode also failed and its stuck closed.

Also mentioned by others, the radiator cap - maybe the pressure seal is working but not the seal that ensures fluid is drawn from the expansion reservoir and not air during cool down.

Yes, it could be the pump impeller, but that would be lower on my list of things to check.



Fail-Safe® Thermostats | Prevent Engine Damage from Failing Cooling System (motorad.com)

Radiator Cap Function and Operation (freeasestudyguides.com)

 

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Duane, you're pretty savvy mechanic and I'm sure you know how to check for flow with the cap off.
It very well may be a collapsed radiator core from excessive overheating.
 

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I would think if it were the water pump/impeller, you would be hearing it? I'd start with the radiator cap.
 

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Mr.Fix It
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got the bike on the way this morning. System finally burped over night. I rode it hard and got most of a gallon of anti-freeze in it. Purpose of this post was I didn't want to just throw parts at it; e.g. thermostat, water pump, etc. I've yet to read/hear of a failure of either on a K bike. For some reason, I couldn't get the air out of this system by bleeding. Had to let gravity/time do the work. He'll text me tonight and let me know how the bike did on today's ride; their heading back to Ontario from Virginia.

Duane
 

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I got the bike on the way this morning. System finally burped over night. I rode it hard and got most of a gallon of anti-freeze in it. Purpose of this post was I didn't want to just throw parts at it; e.g. thermostat, water pump, etc. I've yet to read/hear of a failure of either on a K bike. For some reason, I couldn't get the air out of this system by bleeding. Had to let gravity/time do the work. He'll text me tonight and let me know how the bike did on today's ride; their heading back to Ontario from Virginia.

Duane
Have you ever used a vacuum filler system?
 

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Mr.Fix It
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9,121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Have you ever used a vacuum filler system?
Yes and I've looked at generic vacuum pumps for the K bike. But there is VERY little clearance to attach one on the K bike radiator.

Duane
 
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Mr.Fix It
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Appears it was a good call not to just throw parts @ Don's bike. Last night he reported bike overheating was no problem at all; e.g. normal, 5 bars, heavy/slow traffic 7 bars.

Duane
 

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Wel I am back home to Renfrew, Ontario and the bike worked flawlessly all the way home. I can't stress enough about taking the radiator out of the bike every couple years or so and cleaning it thoroughly but carefully with a pressure washer. This is what Duane did with my bike. I was under the impression that my rad had been cleaned by myself over the years by spraying it from the backside to the front while on the bike. Boy was I wrong. As Duane said and displayed to me the only way to do this rad cleaning properly is too have it removed from bike and clean it properly.

Now the other important news about my trip.

My brother and I left Renfrew, Ontario, Canada on June 9th for our annual 10 day trip. We usually do about 400 miles a day and ride wherever we choose no real destinations all though we wanted to ride in and around West Virginia this year and as far south as North Carolina.

Now I have been on this forum since 2015. Read it everyday to gain knowledge because I am not very mechanically inclined but from reading the posts over the years I had come to the conclussion that the man on this forum that goes by the handle Gunnert knows a thing or two about our bikes. So I was having an overheating issue like you wouldn't believe as Gunnert mentioned in earlier posts. So as I'm driving my bike back from North Carolina to home I get a brain wave why not call Duane and pick his brain and see if he could possibly take the time to see my bike.

So I called his house got his wife Carolyn who is a lovely lady told her my dillema and she said Duane was out at an appointment and would call me back in an hour or so. We are about a 6-8 hour drive away taking Interstates to get to Duane's. Duane called me back in a short time and said certainly pop by and we will take a look at it.

We finally get to Duane's house around 530pm in the sweltering heat and introduce ourselves to a complete stranger who is more then welcoming and ready to help me.

We put the bike up on the lift table and as it is cooling down a bit I explain what has been happening the last 2-3 days with the bike in the red. To try and make a long story short Duane takes the bike apart with very little help from my brother and I, removes the Rad and cleans it thoroughly, we put it back in the bike, he is having some difficulty getting it to bleed so he says he will need to leave it overnight and see if it comes down. At this time we contact a hotel to stay at he gives us his brand new truck to go to the hotel for the evening(now remember we are 2 strangers) who he has never met before today. We come back in the morning he is thinking the issue is solved but before putting it all back together he wants to take it for a test ride and see if it is ok. again trying to make an even long story short he puts everything back together and we are on our way. The bike works flawlessly all the way home. My stress level riding the bike home is non existant compared to the previous couple days. The only payment Duane wants is the $25 for the anti-freeze.
While Duane was out on his test ride I wrote him a little thank-you note and paid him for his service work. He texted me later to thank me for the tip.
The morale of this story is 2 things
1) Clean your rad have it taken out and done properly otherwise what you think you are cleaning is useless.
2) The greatest gift you can give someone is your time because once you give it away you can never get it back and that is exactly what Duane did for me with no expectation of payment.

For anyone that knows Duane or has not had the pleasure of meeting him I can say you are one fine human being. I am blessed to have met you.

My home is open to you anytime my friend anytime.

I can't thank you enough. I hope to return the favour to any forum members that are ever in the Renfrew, Ontario Canada area. Don't hesitate to call.

Thanks
Donald(AKA Wardo)
613-433-1984
 

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2005 BCR 2012 GTL 2020R1250RS
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Good Job Duane, You are a very nice guy!!Maybe our paths will cross one day .If your ever out on the west coast give me a ring Dennis Emanuel!!
 

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Mr.Fix It
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@Dennis , thanks. I've had CA on my bucket list to ride for years. I've always put it off because you guys are so FAR from Virginia. I can now add to that excuse the price of gas... :)

Duane
 

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@Dennis , thanks. I've had CA on my bucket list to ride for years. I've always put it off because you guys are so FAR from Virginia. I can now add to that excuse the price of gas... :)

Duane
I get what you’re saying. I had to take a deep breath before committing to the ride from California to the TTD in North Carolina. There was no “beam me up Scottie!” to get back home. 😉

But, the riding experience in the southern Appalachian Mountains was worth the trip. It’s a very different world compared to riding in California. I think you’d really enjoy the contrast.
 
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