Changing the Coolant (Added: May 2012)
CHANGING THE COOLANT
- 8 mm Socket
- 10 mm Socket
- 12 mm Socket
- Socket Wrench
- Socket Extension
- Philips Head Screwdriver
- Wide, Low Profile Drain Pan (if you're doing this procedure with the bike up on a jack, any drain pan will do. But no jack is required to perform this procedure)
I use Honda HP coolant, but I'm sure that there are other good alternatives. Just make sure that it's "silicate-free", and suitable for aluminum engines (the label should say). Also, never put tap water in your cooling system.
AMOUNT OF COOLANT REQUIRED
Close to two quarts.
Only perform this procedure when the bike is COLD. This is a safety issue. You don't want to open your cooling system after a ride or when your bike is warm. When your coolant gets heated it expands in the cooling system, this produces pressure. You don't want to open your cooling system and get sprayed with boiling hot coolant.
Remove the seat (10mm socket for the rear seat bolt, 12mm socket for the side seat bolts)
Un-bolt the gas tank (8mm front tank bolt, 12mm rear tank bolt). You don't have to disconnect any gas tank hoses or remove the gas tank, all you have to do is pull the tank back a few inches on the frame to expose the rear screw in the front right side plastic neck cover (right side if you were sitting on the bike)
Remove the right side plastic neck cover to expose the radiator cap/spout (philips head screwdriver).
Remove the radiator cap.
FINDING THE COOLANT DRAIN BOLT
To find this bolt, get down on the floor on the kickstand side of the bike and look under the bike, in front of the kickstand mount and further under the bike is the coolant pump. The pump has two hex head bolts facing out at you and a hose with a black "slinky" around it heading off towards the radiator. The RIGHT hex head bolt, the one closest to the kickstand mount, is the drain bolt (10mm socket).
If you're performing this task with the bike on the floor, position your bike so that the kickstand is set down in the middle of your drain pan. The reason for this is, when you remove the drain bolt, the coolant will stream out directly at the kickstand. You want to be prepared for this so you won't have to mop up a puddle of coolant off your floor. If you've got the bike jacked up, position your drain pan under the kickstand and be ready to reposition it if necessary.
There is a sealing washer on the drain bolt, unless you intend to replace that washer, be careful not to lose it. It's possible that it might stick to the coolant pump. It's generally advised to replace the sealing washer but I reused mine without issue.
After removing the drain bolt, and after the coolant has drained out, replace the drain bolt and sealing washer.
Pour fresh coolant into the radiator spout (the spout you revealed when you removed the right side neck cover). There is a ridge line just down inside the spout, that is the fill line.
Remove the hose from the bottom of the over flow container, and also drain
this fluid. Pour some water into the overflow container to wash it out, then replace hose at bottom.
You've successfully changed the coolant. But you're not done yet. Now you have to burp the air out of the cooling system, that is, remove any air that got trapped in the system when you poured the new coolant in. This is a mandatory procedure and vital for the proper funtioning of your cooling system.
BURPING THE COOLING SYSTEM
If you've just finished changing your coolant, perform this procedure with the bike just the way it is (seat off, tank un-bolted, neck cover off, radiator cap off).
If all you're doing is burping the cooling system, MAKE SURE THE BIKE IS COLD! Do not perform this procedure after a ride. This is to prevent you from being sprayed with boiling hot coolant when you remove the radiator cap.
Remove the seat, un-bolt the gas tank and slide it back on the frame a few inches to expose the rear screw that holds the right side plastic neck cover on (right side if you were sitting on the bike), you don't have to disconnect any of the gas tank hoses. Remove the neck cover to expose the radiator cap/spout. Remove the radiator cap for this procedure.
Start the bike and let it idle for a few minutes. Don't worry, this isn't enough time to heat up the coolant.
After a few minutes of idling, and with the radiator cap OFF, give the throttle 3 or 4 quick twists, enough to give the engine a good rev. This will circulate the coolant through the system and force the air out. After twisting the throttle, check the coolant level in the radiator spout, the level should have gone down. Add more coolant to bring the level back up to the fill line. Twist the throttle agin in the same way, check the coolant level agin, add more if necessary. Continue doing this until the coolant level in the spout no longer goes down.
Once the coolant level is stable, You're basically done. All you have to do now is screw the radiator cap back on and put the bike back together.
Go for a ride and check the drain bolt for any signs of leakage (dry it off really good after re-installing it so you'll know the difference between old coolant residue and fresh leakage).
When you perform these procedures, it's also a good time to check that all of your hose fittings are tight.