Radiator Rescue!! Waterless Coolant? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2013, 5:40 am Thread Starter
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Exclamation Radiator Rescue!! Waterless Coolant?

Hello All,

Having changed from my beloved stealth black GSXR1000 k5 (which never missed a beat in 20,000 glorious miles) in Aug '11 to an '05 K1200s with 22k miles, I was looking forward to a blissful blend of sporty performance and comfortable touring ability. Little did I know that the Germans seem incapable of designing a bike that is fit for life on the road outside of its warranty. If only I had done more research......life lesson learned.

That said, I love the K to bits . It has completed 3 tours of the continent, each 2.5k miles and it has never let me down.....until the 4th tour. On the way into Paris on the last leg of an 6 day 1700 miles blast around the Alsace and Jura regions of France the bike started to get warm. To be fair, it was 35 degrees C ambient and we were in stop start traffic. My previous bikes (CBR600 & GSXR1000) had dealt with this scenario without issue but the K1200s was caught out by the heat. Temp guage climbed, then flashed with the dreaded hazard triangle of death. Luckily this was just as I arrived at the hotel parking. The bike had decided to wet itself and leaked coolant all over the rear tyre, this was just from the overflow so I was not overly concerned given it is a modern engine and permanent damage was, IMHO highly unlikely.

This is when my education about the shortcomings of the K's design began. First I learn that the reservoir is below the head of the engine and a vacuum tool is required to remove air from the system. Now, as prepared as I am when I go on these trips I did not think to pack one of those, my oversight perhaps. On most other bikes I could have simply topped up, bled through and been on my way . A bit more research reveals that I should have had a "fenda extenda" if I wanted my radiator to last more than 10k miles (and that is from new!!). More learning ensued - it seems the cooling ability of the engine is pretty much on the edge even in normal conditions. Fine when you are romping through cool Bavarian forests gulping lovely moist cool air but not so good in Paris, it seems. So, after attempts to remedy the situation were thwarted I began my "educational" journey home on the back of a breakdown wagon. Never had to use breakdown cover before but I have to say they were outstanding. There are worse places to break down than the 10th Arrondissement on a sunny day right next to a cafe and the ride up through northern France can be a bit dull at times but I still would have preferred to return home under my own steam.

If you are still with me, well done for reading this far

Upon my return I set about formulating a plan to repair for the least amount of money possible. Radiator removal, soaking and cleaning seems to be the way forward. My local dealer will collect the bike and bleed the system for 110. Hopefully, job done, fingers crossed.

All of the rambling above was leading to this one simple question:-

Has anyone tried running waterless coolant in a K engine? If so, did it deliver the promised results?

Thank you for reading and hopefully responding, not just to the question, all responses appreciated

To all you super loyal K fans I apologise for openly denigrating the object of your affections. If my fix works out I might manage to forgive its shortcomings and upgrade to a K13s at some point. There really is no other bike that ticks enough of my boxes at the moment.

That said, for those of us who can't afford to buy new and don't enjoy regular visits to the dealer I think extra attention to winter maintenance is needed in certain areas.

Happy and safe riding to you all!

Cheers,

Weedsy
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2013, 7:18 am
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I looked at Evans products for my K12RS. It is not cheap and you have to keep using it once you fill up with it. In the end I thought using something that is free all over the planet was best because I like to do frequent flushes to keep the cooling system clean.

I don't think you will get a mega improvement in cooling which you will ultimately find is down to the radiator core spec.and surface area. Even if you can get heat through another cooling medium quicker, the log jam will still be how good air can take it away from the radiator. As soon as you start to see the temperature gauge rising, your cooling system has run out of capacity unless you can ride faster! That marginal performance of the cooling system is common on big engine bikes.

The best radiator solutions I have seen are on some big Jap bikes where they use a curved radiator design to get as much surface area on the rads as possible AND have a decent underbelly oil cooler built into an air scoop. Perhaps your radiator needs a good flushing and the gaps in between the fins cleaned out?



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Last edited by voxmagna; Aug 4th, 2013 at 7:24 am.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2013, 3:57 am Thread Starter
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Hello Voxmagna,

Thank you for the reply, much appreciated.

Think you are right, I have decided to stick with the normal coolant mix. Too much faffing involved with the Evens stuff and as the rad is the limiting factor I don't think it will improve heat exchange much.

I know how superior the jap bikes rad design are because the smug b*****d I was with at the time mine gave up was on a Pan and took great pleasure in pointing these differences out!

Cheers,

Weedsy
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2013, 2:11 pm
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If I had not been bowled over by the condition of my '97KRS when I bought it, I might have ended up with a Pan.

What put me off was all their undercarriages - header, pipes muffler etc were rusted out, did not last long and cost a fortune to replace. Went through that scenario with my twin muffler Kawa.

Next time point out to Pan riders the nice mostly stainless exhaust on Beemers. Mind you, I think he has a more comfy seat!



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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2013, 7:24 am Thread Starter
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Went with standard coolant. Radiator completely trashed. Big bill from dealer.

Arse!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2013, 10:28 pm
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Temp rise

Hello Weedsy;
I think Voxmagna has a good point re coolant flow/material about the fins and radiator screen. I have taken both my 07 and 08 GT to Death Valley in July and August without heating problems even though ambient temps were in the 40-45 C (120-122 F) range. Granted, I kept the bike at a good pace, but in the park you are restricted to fairly slow speeds and summer traffic at the center can be numbing.
My current ride (08 GT) has 53K miles and never seems bothered by our So. Cal desert temps that have been fairly high this summer.
Best of luck to you in the investigation. Let us know what you discover.
Ride "coolly" and well
EJ
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 2013, 11:03 am
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My K1200S died in a cloud of steam on the A6 autoroute near Lyon. That was the end of my continental tour in 2012.
Corrosion from salty roads had narrowed the air spaces in the radiator to nil. The water spaces were fine.
A big bill.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 2013, 11:54 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erniejen
Hello Weedsy;
I think Voxmagna has a good point re coolant flow/material about the fins and radiator screen. I have taken both my 07 and 08 GT to Death Valley in July and August without heating problems even though ambient temps were in the 40-45 C (120-122 F) range. Granted, I kept the bike at a good pace, but in the park you are restricted to fairly slow speeds and summer traffic at the center can be numbing.
My current ride (08 GT) has 53K miles and never seems bothered by our So. Cal desert temps that have been fairly high this summer.
Best of luck to you in the investigation. Let us know what you discover.
Ride "coolly" and well
EJ
I know I am on a KRS in a relatively cool U.K climate. But I have been all through the BMW cooling system design on my bike.

These bikes are not called sport bikes for no reason. Sport means fast riding when you get plenty of airflow through any size of radiator. What these German designers fail to realize, is cooling problems in high ambients when the bike is hardly moving should be where they set their design brief.

I am afraid the practical improvement solutions are difficult. Some give a small improvement, others a lot of work but big gains. Fundamentally, you have to switch off all those ideas of some magic coolant mix and concentrate on how to get heat away with little speed related airflow and that 'boils' down to radiator design - core size/surface area, electric fan specification and how it operates.

Ideally I would like to have increased the radiator sizes, number of rows and core depth but you can be limited with the space to work with up front. Then there is the Jap solution of a custom curved radiator with the added problem of plastics customization.

I went for the lowest cost option on my KRS. First I learned the open bypass system at low rpm significantly reduces water pump efficiency, so I throttled mine down with an ali insert made from rod and drilled pushed into the bypass hose (8-10mm drilled hole I think).

Then I discovered that the BMW fans only cover half the radiator area. There's another issue in that they do not seal and shroud the radiators, so air can be lost around the sides. Not a lot you can do about that in the space though.

The big bang for the buck in my case was to add two more fans to the front of each radiator, each additional fan being at least as good spec. wise as the oem but they are not nicely ducted out through the plastic. But I did think about and design a cunning control system for them. I was also careful to make a lot of digital temperature measurements to check I was getting real improvements.

The low header tank is not a problem, just something to make life more difficult. Obviously what I did was not your bike model, but the principles may be the same. There is no quick fix if you want to get a decent result.



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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 27th, 2013, 7:21 pm
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You don't need a vacuump pump

http://www.i-bmw.com/showthread.php?t=23585

Or if you don't want to click....
The dealer uses a vacuum pump so he does not have to start the bike to bleed the system. Auto dealers do the same thing pretty often. They don't want a garage full of exhaust and mechanics working on hot motors.
Shade tree mechanics know you can open the bleed over the water pump, fill the radiator and catch tank (downhill slope helps the catch tank be higher than the bleed). Then just start the bike and let it idle keeping the catch tank full and bleeding the water pump into a bucket.
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