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  #1  
Old 02-13-2016, 11:19 AM
chrisb123 chrisb123 is offline
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How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

I remove the cap on the left side of the bike and all i see is a plastic tub
How does it work?
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2016, 12:54 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb123
I remove the cap on the left side of the bike and all i see is a plastic tub
How does it work?

It Works like nearly any other coolant system! What did you expect to see?

That's where you fill the coolant. The "tub" as you call it, is under pressure and acts as a fluid expansion chamber. When filling, NEVER mix types of antifreeze! If your fluid level in the tank is a little low, refill with water. If it is a LOT low, find the leak!

But be aware, wen it comes time to CHANGE the coolant, it MUST be done under vacuum, and that requires special equipment which you can either buy or kludge yourself. You will also need the BMW Service DVD to be able to follow the required (and detailed) procedure.
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  #3  
Old 02-13-2016, 12:55 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

The tank is connected via a tube to the radiator cap neck. It also has an overflow tube that goes back by the rear swing arm. It has a twist off (difficult) cap. Use distilled water and fill to indicated lines. Not all that easy to do. Push down and twist.
If you're adventurous You could check the radiator, bike cool, on the side stand and needed right side plastic removed. Make sure it is up to the bottom of the neck with distilled water.
The engine coolant gets changed at the valve check intervals of 18,000 miles so your good there. As Bob mentioned there is a complicated procedure to replace the coolant in total. Don't drain the radiator unless you have a plan. Air gets trapped in small passages of the head.
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  #4  
Old 02-13-2016, 01:13 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

One more thing. Here's how to find the correct coolant level....

Remove the left-side cap from the tank, and look down inside. You will see a small plastic cone pointing upwards. The coolant level when cold should be somewhere between the base of the cone and the top of the cone. Normally, you can go for MANY thousands of miles without needing to add water, so if you find the coolant is significantly below the base of the cone, this implies there is a leak somewhere.

As Beech says, do not remove the right side rad cap unless you have a plan and the equipment for draining and changing coolant.
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Old 02-13-2016, 05:32 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

There is actually two recovery tubes on the tank, one goes to the radiator cap, the other goes to the RHS of the engine, just beside the cam chain tensioner.
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Old 02-13-2016, 05:35 PM
chrisb123 chrisb123 is offline
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

I dont see a cone when I remove the left side cap I see a plastic tub
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Old 02-13-2016, 05:38 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

The low-high level marks will be on the rear of the "tub".
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:59 PM
chrisb123 chrisb123 is offline
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

I know where the level marks are, but how do I fill up the tub?
I just pour water over what seems like a sealed plastic tub under the cap?
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  #9  
Old 02-13-2016, 08:02 PM
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Cool Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Like they said man use distilled water and fill it up to the proper marks. From many years of experience nothing is easy that isn't made here in the USA . Especially motorcycles . Good luck .
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:04 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb123
I dont see a cone when I remove the left side cap I see a plastic tub

Is this the cap you removed?

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Old 02-13-2016, 08:10 PM
chrisb123 chrisb123 is offline
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Yep thats the one I remnoved
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2016, 08:14 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb123
Yep thats the one I remnoved

When you remove the cap, can you stick your finger in the tank?
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:25 PM
chrisb123 chrisb123 is offline
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

no, i see a white plastic tank inside
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  #14  
Old 02-13-2016, 08:41 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb123
no, i see a white plastic tank inside

Can you post a picture looking down into the tank?
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  #15  
Old 02-13-2016, 11:46 PM
chrisb123 chrisb123 is offline
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

https://goo.gl/photos/bsbmt4Q5cn6RPbAp9
Can't focus that close, but thats a plastic tube
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  #16  
Old 02-14-2016, 02:44 AM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

oops, sorry! See message below.
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:49 AM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb123
no, i see a white plastic tank inside


Water will find its way past what looks like an obstruction.

After all, BMW is not so stupid that they installed a filler cap the went nowhere! My GT tank looks like your description too, but water easily finds its way inside.
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  #18  
Old 02-14-2016, 10:25 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beech
..........It has a twist off (difficult) cap..............

Normally, the tank filler cap (and also the one on the Radiator) are a bitch to get off.

Easy fix.... smear a thin film of Silicone grease (like Dow Corning #4) on the big rubber ring that is underneath the upper part of the cap you grab with your hand. DO NOT use normal grease... only silicone grease,

The cap will now easily twist off.
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:41 AM
chrisb123 chrisb123 is offline
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Cool, now I cant determine the level on the reservoir tank
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:51 AM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

If you undo the two bolts on the accessory power outlet, you can swing the bottle out too get a better look,..BUT, even with a torch on the side of it, I couldn't make out the level from the back of the tank, on my K12 07. About 50-60 mm down from the lower seal of the cap, thats the high mark.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:08 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

OR, for $63 you could fit a later model tank thats easier to read the level.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/BMW-k1200...gAAOSwWKtUscgu
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Old 02-15-2016, 10:34 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulmogs
OR, for $63 you could fit a later model tank thats easier to read the level.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/BMW-k1200...gAAOSwWKtUscgu

On my 2011 you still need to remove the cap to check the level.
There's a Min and Max line on the outside of the white tank, but you can't see the coolant through the white plastic.
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Old 02-21-2016, 06:33 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
On my 2011 you still need to remove the cap to check the level.
There's a Min and Max line on the outside of the white tank, but you can't see the coolant through the white plastic.

Hi Lee

I found 3 ways to check the level

directly as you mention, if I remove the cap (Engine cold!!!!) I can see the level and the return tube:



Another way is using a little led lantern putting it below the tank, by contrast is possible to see the level



And the third, taking a pic with the cellphone with flash

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Old 02-21-2016, 06:38 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

The only method that barely worked was to used a small bright torch behind the tank and I could just make out the level when I shook the bike. It was sitting just above low, so I just poured water onto the inner plastic tub and filled it up to almost high.

Thanks everyone
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Old 12-14-2016, 08:35 PM
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Cool Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beech
The tank is connected via a tube to the radiator cap neck. It also has an overflow tube that goes back by the rear swing arm. It has a twist off (difficult) cap. Use distilled water and fill to indicated lines. Not all that easy to do. Push down and twist.
If you're adventurous You could check the radiator, bike cool, on the side stand and needed right side plastic removed. Make sure it is up to the bottom of the neck with distilled water.
The engine coolant gets changed at the valve check intervals of 18,000 miles so your good there. As Bob mentioned there is a complicated procedure to replace the coolant in total. Don't drain the radiator unless you have a plan. Air gets trapped in small passages of the head.



Here I was thinking I should do it soon lol. But every 18,000 miles isn't a short time especially around the city. I was curious about it and I've noticed mine is where I think it is, rofl. I can make out a line, but it might be dirt lol.

Runs smooth and fine, the fan comessage on at 197F I think it is, what I was told. Then shuts off afterwards, or if I speed up on an open stretch of road. More airflow helps it cool and that means faster! Charge!
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:14 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

in an effort to get to my spark plugs, i removed my radiator from my 2006 k1200s and all the coolant spilled everywhere. I was following a digital manual directions for replacing spark plugs, but now i have a mess on my hands.

before I read this thread, I had it yanked from the bike and opened the right side cap and tried to drain out what I could. now I read I was not suppose to do this?? Any recommendation on what to do now? I was just going to reinstall after the spark plugs were in and refill with antifreeze.

HELP! what vacuum magic thing is needed here? how is it used?? I was trying to save $$ on a tune up, but if this requires a dealer visit.. uggggh.
and what type of antifreeze should I buy?
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:40 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

You need this tool:
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F192350756553

and watch this video:
https://youtu.be/Prp-c2hCRjg

Or this one (not as visible though, but more detailed):
https://youtu.be/Sb3PDFVvnY4
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Old 11-06-2017, 11:52 AM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Search around here for other methods if you cannot do the factory one.
There is a bleed port over the water pump. If you fill up the system as well as you can and idle the bike while keeping the surge tank full and bleeding that port you can purge the air. This can be dangerous as air pockets can take time. I have done this many times successfully.

As an aside, if you have work done on your bike and they have to fill the system, be sure to check their work by doing the bleed method. Like all work, the vacuum method is only as good as the person who does it.
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Old 11-06-2017, 04:20 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

for future reference,,, did I miss some way you can actually change the spark plugs without disconnecting the radiator and spilling coolant everywhere?
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Old 11-06-2017, 05:26 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

You can remove the engine as one unit and then you don't need to drain/remove the radiator...... haha

DOA is right, there are methods of not having to use the vac-tool.

Although, in my oppinion..... $35 v.s. cylinder head damage......
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Old 11-07-2017, 01:56 AM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrique83
You can remove the engine as one unit and then you don't need to drain/remove the radiator...... haha

DOA is right, there are methods of not having to use the vac-tool.

Although, in my oppinion..... $35 v.s. cylinder head damage......



Sometimes .. but only sometimes ...
you should stick to the manufacturer's instructions.
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Old 11-07-2017, 10:17 AM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

As you can see there is some division on this. If you have experience in this type of work, both ways work. If not, do both ways, vacuum first.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:22 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrique83
You need this tool:
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F192350756553

and watch this video:
https://youtu.be/Prp-c2hCRjg

Or this one (not as visible though, but more detailed):
https://youtu.be/Sb3PDFVvnY4


Thanks for posting these most awesome videos. I followed the process but have one issue. When bleeding the two points on left side of bike (last step of the process), I could never get coolant to come out of the grease zero looking bleed point. What gives?
I test drove the k12s for about 1 hour and it ran cool and normal per the gage, but I am worried about an air pocket. Any advice appreciated.
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Old 11-29-2017, 03:17 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

HANG THE CANISTER HIGHER.....

The system should be filled slowly
(full vaccum to ambient air pressure)

Dont open the valve too quickly.

Fill the hose before attaching to vaccum valve.

Hang the Canister high (handle bar height).

When the vaccum is gone and,
there is plenty of fluid in the jug left......


Start on the right (05-06 K12s only)
Open the bleed screw and let the fluid rush out.....i attach clear hose and catch the run off. I literaly flush it through.

If there is no nipple on the right, just a hose+banjo fitting, then no need to open anything.
The vaccum method does require a hose clamp shutting off the return line to the expansion tank if you have that hose.
Only 07-16..... that means K1300 as well (for those who are reading this too)

Then to left, open the waterpump (plastic part).
Again.... let it flush through.

Open the waterpump bleed screw.....Flush.

07--15, remove the hose clamp next to the radiator
(hose to the expansion tank)
05-06, no clamp anyway.

Remove vaccum tool.....
Check fluid level (marker on the fillerneck)
Cap the radiator
Remove hose clamp + remove hose clamp down under.

Fill expansion tank.

If you do everything correctly,
and i know that it works on my 05 k1200.

The expansion tank will be automatically filled to just below max.

Dont know about the newer style expansion tank system.

Maybe i'll make a video one day.....
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:14 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

I think where I messed up was not bleeding until after I pulled the vacuum tool off , replaced the rad cap, warmed up the engine, etc. do I need to drain it all out and try again?
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Old 11-30-2017, 02:00 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Fill the hose before attaching to the vacc. tool.

Hang canister high.

Bleed the system.

All clamps attached properly?

TRY AGAIN.....
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Old 11-30-2017, 02:25 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducati2
do I need to drain it all out and try again?

Yes. But hey in this case you can reuse the anti-freeze.


provided you do not use the dirtiest bucket
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:02 AM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

QUESTION - I did test drive my k12s after I refilled with new coolant, but before I remembered to bleed the two points. Temp gage was just fine, in fact, right in the middle. Would the temp gage give a false reading if there was an air bubble? if there was some trapped air, would that part of the engine be cooking red hot without the temp gage knowing it?
OR, for those that have had an overheat problem due to not following the refill procedure properly KNOW they were over heating via a hot temp gage reading?
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Old 12-01-2017, 12:06 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

You should be at three bars normally. Yes, the gauge will tell you when you are over heating, and you should stop the bike to cool down, you can cause head damage quite easily. A friend had his bike worked on in February, (pacific NW) road home 150 miles and used the bike all spring, all was well until June riding in Idaho and Montana where he was pegging the temperature gauge. A local shop knew the problem and refilled properly the coolant system. The original shop, a very large dealer here of course said they had nothing to do with it. A poor approach when they were the last people to touch it. So, if you don't stress the coolant system you may not notice any problem until you do. So it was months between the offending work and the resultant failure indication. This is why it is so important to present seemingly un related or past data when asking questions about a problem on line. (Working on peoples bikes requires a bit of "suck it up" when something goes wrong admit your mistakes.)
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:22 PM
chucky1978 chucky1978 is offline
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducati2
QUESTION - I did test drive my k12s after I refilled with new coolant, but before I remembered to bleed the two points. Temp gage was just fine, in fact, right in the middle.
Depending on the existing negative pressure at filling, this can go well, or not.
The higher the negative pressure, the less likely is an air bubble.
example: with minus 0,95 Bar pressure (Vaccuumpump), there is less air in the system, than at minus 0,6 Bar pressure (Venturi-Method with too small Compressor or airhose)

Also, it does matter which model it is exactly.
The cooling system was subject to various changes in the K1200.

With newer K1200 a bubble is less likely, than with old models. But the possibility is still very clear.
Example is here with the old models 3 vents (Enginge, Thermostat, Waterpump), while it was only 2 with newer models (Thermostat, Waterpump).


Quote:
Originally Posted by ducati2
Would the temp gage give a false reading if there was an air bubble?

Yes. But No.
Problem is the trapped air.

The temperature sensor is usually at the point that is filled with water. If air were in the location of the sensor, the sensor would indicate too low a temperature.
See curve on a NTC resistor.
Regular air (not exhaust) is most colder than Water on a warm Engine. (heat capacity)

On the other hand, with microbubbles, the flow rate of the Coolingsystem ist over 1000 liters / hr, this drop in the readout would not be noticed.
However, microbubbles are not really a problem. The problem is actually only air in the system, which is not vented by the flow rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducati2
if there was some trapped air, would that part of the engine be cooking red hot without the temp gage knowing it?

The place where the air is trapped tends to overheat locally. The Temp-Sensor dont know it.

The problem is actually only air in the system, which is not vented by the flow rate until the engine has reached temperature. And that can be less seconds.
The trapped air may therefore be vented in operation due to the high flow rate, but the problem is how hot it has been up to then at this point.
It could be that air is only removed at extremely high speeds, and then it may have already come to damage, which only appear in the long term.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducati2
OR, for those that have had an overheat problem due to not following the refill procedure properly KNOW they were over heating via a hot temp gage reading?

Overheating seen on the display can only be seen when there is hot gas (exhaust) in the cooling system. This causes the temperature to rise very quickly (Seal defective). Or the amount of water that can no longer absorb the resulting heat (too little water in the system, or defective/dirty/too small cooler)

But too little pressure in the system, through a defective cap or leak, leads to the fact that no overheating on the display can be seen, but the water is already boiling.
example : Water with 1 Bar boiling @~100C. Water with 3 bar boiling @(i dont know) ~110-120C?

What is meant?
If the display indicates overheating due to trapped air, the engine is already scrap because it has already warped or cracked

Since such a damage in the best case but only slightly expressed at the beginning, it is to assume that such damage is not perceived at first.
A K1200S is already warm after 5 KM. That one overlooks here a rapid rise in temperature is to be assumed.
The cylinder head has got a crack, and cooling water runs into the combustion chamber, etc. is possible, but not necessarily immediately noticeable.
It may also be that only a weakening of the material in the most violent case happened,
and a really noticeable damage does not take place, but that does not mean that it is not there.

The possibilities seem unlimited, so conscientious maintenance is more useful than remote diagnostics or a look into the glass globe :-)
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:26 AM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Chucky has a good explanation.
Some further info:
1) the water pump will displace any air in the head, but it may take time above idle. Once you bleed the water pump at idle you will see how much pressure the pump has. If you notice anything or just want to be sure, bleed of the water pump keeping reservoir full. Most places carry coolant and the proper wrench so you can do this on a trip. It's the first thing BMW track bikes do if they suspect cooling problems.

2) "Negative pressure" or vacuum is like "dark" (absence of light), good concept but technically inaccurate they both refer to lower than atmospheric pressure. You may not get complete an air removal at high altitudes because the air pressure and therefor "vacuum" is less.

3) If you are not getting coolant from the bleed ports while filling, something is wrong.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:31 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

"What is meant?
If the display indicates overheating due to trapped air, the engine is already scrap because it has already warped or cracked"
I call BS on that, seen bikes perfectly fine after over heating due to improper bleeding. Of course if you keep riding while in the red, your dead.

"1) the water pump will displace any air in the head, but it may take time above idle. Once you bleed the water pump at idle you will see how much pressure the pump has. If you notice anything or just want to be sure, bleed of the water pump keeping reservoir full. Most places carry coolant and the proper wrench so you can do this on a trip. It's the first thing BMW track bikes do if they suspect cooling problems."
No, the pump will not flush water into some of the small air pockets in the K bike head.
Track bike bleeding, very probable for an S bike but I see few K bikes on the track and bleeding the water pump will not get air out of the head.

One of our members has a method of bleeding that he uses, run the bike until hot several times and bleed the water pump each time. Works for him so it seems the rules are not rules. But one needs to be cautious giving unsuspecting readers a feel good solution that is not fool proof.
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Old 12-02-2017, 04:47 PM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beech
"What is meant?
I call BS on that, seen bikes perfectly fine after over heating due to improper bleeding. Of course if you keep riding while in the red, your dead.


My English is not the best and the translator does the rest.
You did not understand the meaning behind it.
There is NO overheating seen on the Display due to trapped air bubble.
If the bike overheats, then it usually has other reasons that are not directly related to a trapped air bubble. But should actually overheat ONLY due to a trapped air bubble, then the engine is already defective, as this overheating of exhaust gases in the cooling system comes or other options like white smoke.

If the bike overheats immediately after filling, but no damage like Head-Gasket etc, then this is rather due to insufficient water, thermostat (example airbuble on it) , dirty cooler or what ever. But not on an actual trapped bubble causing a local overheating.
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Old 12-03-2017, 01:49 AM
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Re: How do I fill up the coolant reservoir?

I got side swiped by a car, broke the water pump inlet. I did not see it right away as the body was only slightly scratched. Fortunately my leg was only a little bruised. I went on my merry way until the bike stopped on overheat, never over half way on the gage. I run Mobil 1 and credit great oil for saving my engine. Wifey picked me up with our truck and after repairing the damage all has been well - 10K miles. A hot motor needs looking after, but is not necessarily an engine killer.

"But one needs to be cautious giving unsuspecting readers a feel good solution that is not fool proof." Can not be emphasized enough. Vacuum filling is so the dealer does not have to spend time running the bike up to temperature and dealing with the exhaust. Most riders can duplicate this procedure well. But if you have doubts, you can SEE air coming out of the bleed over the water pump. Keep bleeding until you are certain - fool proof as it gets.
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