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Coolant dripping on the cowling (eBay radiator)


Tom
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So I've finally managed to sort out the electrics on the Bird after the soap opera episode I had this year with the service and with repairing the cracks that started to appear on these old fairings... and I finally went out for a ride.

 

CXB24hi.jpg

 

All was nice, normal, felt good to be on the bike again and all the usual stuff. However, throughout the day as I was riding around I was also focused a bit on how the bike behaves, since I didn't ride it for months.

 

Naturally, in this summer heat, I kept my eye on the temp display. Riding on the open road, without any traffic in front, but with palpable summer heat in the air, the temperature was probably 5 celsius above the usual 82-84 numbers that I would normally see. Didn't think too much about it, I figured it was because of the summer heat.

 

However, when I would get behind some traffic (tourists) on the road and slowed down to 40 km/h or whatever, the temperature would go up and it would bounce between the 95 and 105, which is right around the cooling fan range. So I figured the fan works normally. Also, when I would ride on a big downhill road, letting the bike coast down without any throttle, the temp would fall to 79 celsius which is really low and I thought all is well.

 

However, on a gas station I noticed some drips of water (hopefully it's just water...) on the fairing "triangle" under the exhaust. Right where my 3 year old chinese radiator is. Figured I'll look into it when I get home, and on my way home I did ride a bit more spirited, and well, when I parked the bike this is what I saw;

 

W9UVv7I.jpg

 

So what happened here?

 

I still have the OEM radiator, I bought the chinese one because I thought it cools the bike better, but it really made no difference. What coolant should I buy, Motul Motocool or something, and should I mix it with distilled water or just pure Motul?

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I would want to track down the point the coolant is leaking from so you are sure it isn't from a hose or somewhere else.  Fluids tend to move around with all the wind on the bike.  Honda coolant is always a safe bet in our bikes.  Saying that, I have been regular Prestone For All Vehicles coolant in my bikes for some years now.  It has no silicates in it to harm the waterpump.

 

Edit to add:  Great photo of your bike.

Edited by blackhawkxx
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Would you say that this dark patch on the radiator is something to worry about, stone chip damage or something?

 

Hoses were replaced at the service...at this point I really have a problem finding a proper mechanic, if it turns out it's a hose leak or something I'll go insane, I'm just trying to get a damn standard 20 year old mass produced Honda bike serviced ffs

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Chasing down a coolant leak only requires some very basic tools to pop the fairings off, and some patience.  Coolant leaks usually leave a trace even after they dry, unless you've washed the bike well.  I agree about making sure it's not some hose leak, ESPECIALLY after a service since they could have left a loose clamp.  As far as coolant choice, same as above, just be careful mixing types.  Some cannot mix.  Coolants need to be 50/50 water and coolant.  Some come premixed, most don't.  Check your bottle for instructions.

 

There is an add-on product called Water Wetter that seems to help drop a couple degrees more.

 

I have no real concern over the dark area, I've noticed that happen on some vehicles and never paid attention.  I assume it's a place where road grime is concentrated.

 

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Motul Factory Line is what most stores here have - https://www.motul.com/hr/hr/products/motocool-factory-line

 

But if I see correctly, this is a premixed solution that shouldn't be diluted? 

 

And it says its nitrite free, amine free, phosphate free, borate free, silicate free, the silicate part being important for the Bird, correct?

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10 hours ago, Tom said:

Hoses were replaced at the service.

At times, not often, I had a new hose relax a little and need the clamp tighten just a little more.  I'm not saying that is what is happening but just something to look for.  In the end, careful inspection is the only way to find out if it is leaking.

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26 minutes ago, blackhawkxx said:

At times, not often, I had a new hose relax a little and need the clamp tighten just a little more.  I'm not saying that is what is happening but just something to look for.  In the end, careful inspection is the only way to find out if it is leaking.

 

Added point.  I've had screw clamps get a kink or nick and "lock" in a certain place when re-used.

 

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Tried something just now...cranked the bike and left it to sit in a parking lot, few minutes later the temp was in the "cooling fan" zone...the fan turned on, but we all know Bird can be hard to chill if it doesn't move.

 

I left it idling some more, the temp crawled slowly, 105'C, 107...I looked away for a moment, the temp got up to 114'C which is pretty high, fan was trying its best but no avail...but one thing I noticed - the fairing under the radiator was WET again. So it seems this happens when the temp gets really high, way outside the cooling fan temp which is 104'C....so, whatever this means.

 

Also it's pretty hard to find a decent mechanic here nowadays, or any solid craftmanship, it seems to keep eroding...

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You should be able to find angles where you can see the hoses where they connect to the radiator, a mirror and flashlight might do it.  Other things to look at: cap, hose to the reservoir, temp switch.  If none of those are leaking then it's probably the radiator.  Only 3 years old, it should be fine....but being Chinesium, 3 minutes old can sometimes be too much.  The dark spot on the radiator is suspicious, but it's far from a tell tale so try to get in there and look at everything.

 

1 hour ago, Tom said:

So it seems this happens when the temp gets really high, way outside the cooling fan temp which is 104'C....so, whatever this means.

Temperature is rarely the cause, but the pressure that happens as a result of temperature will often increase a leak.  With hose connection leaks I usually find them to be more leak prone when cold, but sometimes they'll only leak when pressurized.  I'll throw my guess in the bag-radiator cap.

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11 hours ago, blackhawkxx said:

Is that only with plastic end tanks or also with metal ones?  I've only had them with plastic.

Metals too; brass, aluminum, and steel.

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I went to clean up the bike now, few days after that last ride, and on the left cowling, just behind the calipers, there was a trail of dirt.  So I cleaned that part of the fairing, and then I noticed a little scuff, like from a stone chip....but I don't recall that being there before. The bike was just resprayed.

 

Then I figured maybe it's not from a stone, maybe it's DOT4, since the caliper is all oily (check the first post here) maybe it's not from "dripping coolant" maybe the idiot who serviced the bike botched the job?

 

So I went to check the fluid levels in the cylinders. And well...

 

iof7FYa.jpg

 

 

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17 hours ago, Tom said:

Then I figured maybe it's not from a stone, maybe it's DOT4, since the caliper is all oily (check the first post here) maybe it's not from "dripping coolant" maybe the idiot who serviced the bike botched the job?

 

So I went to check the fluid levels in the cylinders. And well...

 

On 8/3/2022 at 4:42 PM, Tom said:

I left it idling some more, the temp crawled slowly, 105'C, 107...I looked away for a moment, the temp got up to 114'C which is pretty high, fan was trying its best but no avail...but one thing I noticed - the fairing under the radiator was WET again. So it seems this happens when the temp gets really high, way outside the cooling fan temp which is 104'C....so, whatever this means.

How would brake fluid get from the caliper to the fairing while sitting still, and only start leaking after the engine warmed up?  And if it was brake fluid I'd expect the paint to be pretty well fucked by now.  Brake fluid won't chip paint, it basically melts it and/or makes it bubble up.  And the reservoir that's a little low is the clutch, not the brake.  If the front brake had lost that much fluid I think the reservoir would be empty by now...tho it could be from the rear reservoir through the linked system so see if that's low.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Went for a ride yesterday, this whole saga with this shitty service really took the wind from my bike sails and all...but I went scooting around town yesterday just to see if all is ok, and stopped by a local garage, asked the guy to take a look...

 

Turns out the oily residue on the caliper isn't coming from the brake lines, rather from the fork. So the left side of the fork is leaking, which is great because I bough every single part from Honda and had it rebuilt.

 

sk5DhrS.jpg

 

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57 minutes ago, Tom said:

Turns out the oily residue on the caliper isn't coming from the brake lines, rather from the fork. So the left side of the fork is leaking, which is great because I bough every single part from Honda and had it rebuilt.

Are you saying that you had it rebuilt and it is now leaking or it was leaking and had it rebuilt and everything it good now?  If it is the first one, that really does suck.

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On 8/3/2022 at 10:06 AM, SwampNut said:

  I agree about making sure it's not some hose leak, ESPECIALLY after a service since they could have left a loose clamp.  

My thought as well.

 

I've been having the blue Honda coolant installed.

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This was all done as a part of this year's "big service".

 

IWMHwXC.jpg

 

To be honest I don't get easily annoyed but with this fork leaking, I am annoyed.

 

The only reason I took my bike to this guy was because of a recommendation. I have a friend that I know for 20 years, he works with cars etc. so I asked him for a friendly advice where could I take my bike to get it serviced and also to repair the cracks on the fairings.

 

He gave me the contact for both the mechanic and bodyshop, since he knows both of them and he "vouched" that they're both stand up guys and I have nothing to worry about. So given that we know each other for 2 decades, I just took the bike over there and let them take care of it, didn't ask any questions.

 

And I'm not the tough customer type, I'm not confrontational (big mistake), I just want to get things done and get on with my life, so I didn't bother with all the small imperfections I saw on the bike regarding the paintjob. It looks good enough for me, but with close inspection you can find mistakes and the guy charged me pretty nice sum of money, one would expect top notch spotless job for that money. But, like I said, I just wanted to get on with it, I wrote about the harness issues I had right after the bike was delivered to me, didn't mind fixing that but that cost me money as well, those errors didn't exist prior to the service.

 

But now that the fork is leaking, I'm just annoyed as fuck. Also I'm annoyed at this friend of mine who recommended me these clowns. I know it's not his fault but fuck, it's just not right. Like I said, I don't expect Pebble Beach concours type of job, I don't go around the bike with a loupe, but this is just ridiculous. It's really a shame you can't trust anyone for anything, this is just a fucking bike service and people still can't resist scamming you out on it, even if you go there on recommendation. Pathetic.

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Took the bike for its first wash this year, was a bit nervous since it's fresh paint etc.

 

When I was rinsing the front cowl, I noticed, under both rearview mirrors, a crack. So the "fairing guy" who fixed the crackes on my nose cowl really did a good job, it held up for approx 500 km's. Absolutely pathetic.

 

Also, I told about the forks to my bike buddy and he went checking them with a light, and he says there's a vertical hairline-width scratch on the one that leaks. So that sounds great as well!

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