2008 KLR coolant always low after ride - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-12-2014, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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2008 KLR coolant always low after ride

Hey all,

I had a cracked radiator in the middle of a desert: radiator ran dry but I had to keep going (or get stuck in a desert). I operated the bike at low RPM for 30 minutes on a dry radiator - cringing the whole way. I should have pee'd in it - stupid. I made it to a radiator shop and had the radiator repaired and pressure tested successfully.

It's been two weeks and 3000 miles since the incident, the bike runs fine, starts smoothly hot and cold, and does not overheat even when in start/stop traffic for several hours.

However, after every ride, when I open the radiator it's drained down to the level of the top fins.

I'm guessing it's a leaky head gasket? Observations:

- I see lots of bubbles and pulsing in the coolant when running the engine hot (e.g. impeller is working?), but ... I see no bubbles in the coolant in the radiator when running the engine cold.
- There is no visible oil in the coolant (in either the radiator or the reservoir).
- I have not noticed white smoke coming from exhaust pipe.
- I have been told there was fluid coming out of the back of my bike when slowing down (coolant being ejected from the top of the coolant reservoir?)
- I can blow air through the coolant bottom hose which causes coolant to blow out the back of the bike, so there are no blockages in the feeder tube.
- No visible coolant in the oil sump (not white or frothy)

What other diagnostic tests can I do? I don't have a pressure gauge to do a leak down test with, and I'd rather order the parts before I take it to a mechanic as parts will take weeks to arrive.

Last edited by aidanlister; 01-12-2014 at 02:16 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-12-2014, 04:13 PM
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Hello and welcome !!!

It's going somewhere and you need to find it. I'd say with seeing bubbles while running the head gasket is leaking. Does it smell gassy when you remove the cap? Will it pressure up at all with the cap on?

Gray-haired riders donít get that way from pure luck.

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post #3 of 9 Old 01-12-2014, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!

Should I expect to see the bubbles when the engine is cold? I don't see any bubbles until the engine is warm enough that the impeller is running and then I see lots of pulsing / bubbles but I'm not sure if that is normal?

The coolant has to be going somewhere right?! But even when it's really hot I cannot see gas bubbles going into the reservoir.

It must be a very small leak in the head gasket to only let air in, and no oil or coolant out?
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-13-2014, 03:38 AM
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Quote:
- I see lots of bubbles and pulsing in the coolant when running the engine hot (e.g. impeller is working?), but ... I see no bubbles in the coolant in the radiator when running the engine cold.
Extracted from Googling, "What are the signs of a blown head gasket," one finds:
Quote:
•Typical symptoms of a blown head gasket may include these: bubbles of air coming up into your radiator (remove cap before starting); a leaking radiator; milkshake-colored oil; overheating; rough running; coolant or oil running from head; spark plug(s) that have a green tint (if green coolant); white-colored or sweet-smelling exhaust.
The missing coolant could be disappearing into the sump, from the overflow reservoir, or out the tailpipe, maybe.

Since the bubbles appear in your radiator only after the thermostat opens and the coolant circulates, water pump seals bear watching, IMHO.

Last edited by Damocles; 01-13-2014 at 03:43 AM.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-13-2014, 05:32 PM
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IMO only,
If coolant is coming Out of the coolant reservoir overflow hose, back by the tail light. (After proper fill of reservoir and radiator?) And the radiator is low after cool down. It is most probably because of Head Gasket Leakage.
Sorry to hear of your troubles.

pdwestman
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-20-2014, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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Just an update

Hey all, so I took it to the Kawasaki shop down in Sao Paolo, great bunch of dudes. They said seeing bubbles in the radiator was perfectly normal from the impeller movement, and put a new radiator cap on it. Radiator fluid hasn't needed topping up since. Good news!
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-20-2014, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aidanlister View Post
Hey all, so I took it to the Kawasaki shop down in Sao Paolo, great bunch of dudes. They said seeing bubbles in the radiator was perfectly normal from the impeller movement, and put a new radiator cap on it. Radiator fluid hasn't needed topping up since. Good news!
Awesome, gotta love quick easy fixes! Glad to hear it was nothing serious .

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post #8 of 9 Old 02-20-2014, 12:37 PM
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That sounds convenient. Luckily it wasn't anything that was more serious. Good to know for my own future though, just in case.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-21-2014, 03:35 AM
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Yes, gotta love the quick, cheap, easy fixes!
Just out of interest, did you mention to the folks in the Kawasaki shop that the machine had been run dry for 30 minutes? Did they have any comment ?
Glad it worked out for you,
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