Fun & games with coolant level...

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RichUK
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Re: Fun & games with coolant level...

Postby RichUK » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:23 am

Motogoon wrote:it wasn't too bad of a job to do but I also did my base gaskets at the same time as they were leaking oil and that did add a LOT of extra hours.


Is it possible to change a head gasket without removing the cylinder?
If it is then I will be leaving my base gaskets alone as they don't leak. Thing is I read that you have to remove the cylinder and thus also the piston so that you can separate the head from the cylinder as there are bolts that you can't access otherwise?

I'm planning to get started on this soon and have now ordered the think walled socket for the plugs and a cheap leak-down tester.
I'm hoping 100 psi in each cylinder should be enough to show which is leaking, and hopefully it's just one of them. If I can't prove it I'll just go ahead a change both like you did.

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RichUK
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Re: Fun & games with coolant level...

Postby RichUK » Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:35 pm

Made a start on it now, got a little surprise when I pulled the airbox.

Image

That gunk from the engine breather wasn't there when I last cleaned the filter back in April this year!

To be fair the engine has recently done a fair amount of short test runs, had extended idling to the fan and then switched off, and also been run with the front in air a few times. So this could just be pretty extreme but normal condensation, or it could mean coolant is entering the cylinder. The oil in tank looks fine btw.
Will look further into this tomorrow.

Plan is pull the spark plugs and see what they tell me - probably nothing.
USB endoscope - gonna have a look in both cylinders for signs of coolant ingestion, or even just wet in there.
Leak down test - that'll be the final test to see if I can narrow down which cylinder is the problem.

Wish me luck! :)

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RichUK
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Re: Fun & games with coolant level...

Postby RichUK » Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:36 pm

Just completed the leak down test and confirmed that I do indeed have a bad head gasket, the rear one.

At just 60 psi applied I could see the coolant level in the radiator filler rising.
I went up to 80 psi on the front and saw no level change so I'll just change the rear head gasket.

Kind of bitter sweet really, at least I know now what is wrong but it also means I now know what I have to do. :(

Front spark plug looked drier than the rear, rear had oily threads.
USB endoscope - not much help but the rear piston looked wetter than the front but both looked to be wet around the edges, probably just reflective carbon build up.

So I now have a few question but I'll start some fresh threads now.

Spike_africa
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Re: Fun & games with coolant level...

Postby Spike_africa » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:04 pm

Mine does the same thing. Coolant leaves the overflow tank and just goes away. No idea. Nothing leaking, no coolant in oil, and it's not burning it as the exhaust is clean. So idk.
2007 SD 990
2009 Triumph Street Triple

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RichUK
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Re: Fun & games with coolant level...

Postby RichUK » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:33 pm

Check your radiator when cold.
Mine would be holding pressure in there when cold, so would hiss when the cap was removed, it could even burp out coolant if it hadn't been run for long since filling.

Basically once filled & bleed it would push out coolant whilst running until the system stabilised. This happened until the coolant level in the radiator was down about 3 inches.
At that point the bubbles of leaked exhaust gas could collect at the top of radiator and leak out every time the pressure gets high enough.

I did one test run without the side fairings on and it was then that I could see air bubbling up through the coolant overflow tank, that's when I knew it had to be a head gasket.

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RichUK
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Re: Fun & games with coolant level...

Postby RichUK » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:55 am

All sorted now.

I replaced the rear head gasket and now the coolant tank hardly moves. It drops a little on cold mornings and raises a little when the engine is very hot but no huge swings in the fluid level anymore and the reservoir breather pipe is now dry after a run. :)

Some pictures of that horror that was this job.

Image

Image

It wasn't that hard a job tbh but you have to be methodical and just work away at it.
And I have my bike back again..

Image

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Scotty
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Re: Fun & games with coolant level...

Postby Scotty » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:55 am

A lot of head-scratching over a fair amount of time, and a fair bit of work, but big ups for figuring it out and fixing it yourself to save a heap of money and learn loads in the process.
Well done Rich
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RichUK
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Re: Fun & games with coolant level...

Postby RichUK » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:38 am

Thanks Scotty

My local (and cheapest) KTM dealer quoted me 3 days labour plus parts to investigate and repair, which I estimate would have resulted in a bill of at least £1800, so I'm pretty happy I managed it myself.
I also got other jobs done whilst in there (the valve clearances and also put new sparkplugs in), plus some cleaning of parts you can't normally get at as I plan to keep this bike for while yet.

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Re: Fun & games with coolant level...

Postby nampus » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:36 am

Nice job!
Glad to hear you got it sorted!

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