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 Cooling system issue

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mitch
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midlandchip
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midlandchip


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PostSubject: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSat Mar 05, 2011 6:48 pm

A number of you have helped me quite a bit with questions I have had about my new SilverWing and I am hoping to get the same sort of help this time as well. I have a question or concern about my bike’s cooling system.

As I have said in other threads on this board, I live in Michigan and bought a 2009 SilverWing at the end of the 2010 season. It was new (had never been titled) but had not sold and the dealer had carried it into the 2010 model year. I traded in my 1999 Honda Helix 250cc and got a good deal on it.

I only rode the SilverWing for a short time last fall before the weather forced me to put it away. I couldn’t have put more than 300-400 miles on it. One of the things I noticed last fall was the coolant temperature. It seemed quite high when one considers I was not riding in hot weather.

The coolant temperature gauge has five levels which light up one at a time as the coolant temperature increases. When the fifth level lights up the high temperature indicator will also go on the owner’s manual says the rider should stop and check the reserve tank coolant level and if low a check should also be made for leaks.

My problem is all the time I was riding last fall the fourth level on the coolant temperature gauge was lit up. When I first started out riding the second level was on but I never had to ride vary long before the fourth level would light up and that concerns me.

If the fourth level is lighting up in cool weather I am wondering what is going to happen when I ride this summer in really hot weather at 60-65 mph for some time and then have to come to a stop.

I have not checked the reserve take to see what the coolant level is. In April, when the weather warms up I’ll do that. However, I assumed when I picked up the bike from the dealer that would have been taken care of. After all, it was a new bike when I got it. Also, I’m not far away for the 600 mile check up and when I take it to the dealer I will have the cooling system checked.

In the meantime, I would like to hear your comments? What levels are lighting up on your temperature gauges when you ride? Should I be worried about the fourth level lighting up on my bike in cool weather - is that normal?
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DennisB
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSat Mar 05, 2011 7:05 pm

Holy smokes that HOT!!!

Mine never gets over the third bar even in 100F weather. Does your cooling fan kick in at all? Checking the coolent level sounds like a good idea also.
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bigbird
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSat Mar 05, 2011 7:47 pm

x


Last edited by bigbird on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Wingnut
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSat Mar 05, 2011 8:20 pm

I would bet you have a faulty gauge if your fan is not coming on.
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JeffR
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSat Mar 05, 2011 9:05 pm


I would do as the others mentioned and check your coolant level. Mine never gets past the 3rd bar and I have ridden in 100 degree temps too. As a matter of fact, I had mine changed by the dealer just today. I had to have them remove my tappet (oil drain plug) since I rounded it off and couldn't remove it. While it was there I had them change the coolant too. I really wanted to do it and then do a Pictorial but I have been so busy lately I couldn't do it.

Do you know that the coolant tank, for lack of a better word, is behind the right glovebox? It is easy to remove the glovebox and then see the tank. Good luck and tell us what happens. Maybe even take a few pics when you remove the glovebox and the coolant tank.
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bigbird
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSat Mar 05, 2011 10:25 pm

Wingnut wrote:
I would bet you have a faulty gauge if your fan is not coming on.

Anxiously awaiting the OP's report of.....
Fan or no Fan.
Sounds like a takeoff of Howie Mandel's short lived Deal or no Deal.
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roadrunner
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSat Mar 05, 2011 11:56 pm

Have to agree with JeffR -- I've ridden on many 100 degree+ days and nave never gone above the third bar, unlike my 2007 Helix that would always go to the next to last bar before the fan kicked on. The SWing cooling system seems to be as efficient as any Civic I've ever had, and I'm on my 8th.

As BigBird said, it's likely a coolant level issue. But don't rule out a faulty water temp sensor -- if it's bad it won't send a signal to the fan motor. If your fan doesn't come on at all, I'd check that before I replaced the fan motor, the sensor is much cheaper.
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BlackFly
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 06, 2011 2:51 am

If there is enough coolant in the tank, feel the tank for the temperature. If the tank is full but not warm, the thermostat is jammed.
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mitch
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 06, 2011 2:59 am

Midlandchip.

You say your temp guage shows 2 bars from cold start and ends up at a running temp of 4 bars (Difference 2 bars).

My SW always indicates one bar from cold then eventually ends up art three bars (Difference 2 bars)

My cooling fan sometimes comes on when stopped / idling for a while say at traffic lights but then goes off once engine cooled by fan and or when on the move again.

Provided the temp guage stays at 4 bar and the overheat light does not come on perhaps everything is OK at 4 bar

3 bars seems to be the norm working temp but I wonder how many other SWs' run at 4 bar or even just 2 bars.

Perhaps you just have a faulty / abnormal guage ?

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KurtPerthWA
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 06, 2011 3:37 am

AT 4 bars it will smell metallically hot! The fan would be working its little heart out. At 5 bars the overflow tank will boil.
Get yourself one of those cheapo temp guages that are used for cooking meat and stick the prong in the overflow when it is reading 4 bars

If you are low on fluid, the guage may drop down on the bars and may not show any bars as the sensor needs to be immersed to work properly, BUT the idiot light will stay on. This is what happened when my radiator was punctured.

Sounds like a wiring or guage fault to me.
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midlandchip
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Number of posts : 79
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 06, 2011 11:03 pm

Thanks much for all your comments. As usual you have been a big help. I now understand I have a problem that may require nothing more than adding extra coolant to the reserve tank. On the other hand, it could be more serious and involve anything from a faulty radiator cap to a faulty water pump, fan motor switch, cooling fan, thermostat, etc. Getting that fixed will require the help of the Honda dealership and since the bike is still under warranty I’m not going to worry about it too much. However, what I have learned so far is it’s not normal for the fourth bar on the temp gauge to be lit up all the time and I must get it taken care of.

There really isn’t much I can do right now. It’s still pretty chilly in Michigan and the bike has been put away in my garage for the winter. I was planning to get it back on the road about mid April. Right now it’s covered and resting on the center stand with the front tire also off the concrete. It’s also connected to a battery charger. I would check the coolant level in the reserve tank but my owner’s manual says the bike is supposed to be at normal operating temperature when that is done. I’ll just have to wait until I can start it.

I don’t think I ever heard the radiator fan go on. I remember quite well hearing the cooling fan on my Helix come on after riding it on the highway in hot weather and then coming to a stop. The temperature gauge on that bike also moved up to the fourth level when I was stopped but it dropped back when the fan came on. It wasn’t long after that I needed to have the water pump rebuilt. I know what the cooling fan sounds like on a Helix and if the fan on my SilverWing had come on I THINK I would have recognized it.

When I find out what the problem was/is and what needed to be done to correct it I will let all of you know.
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bigbird
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 07, 2011 7:44 am

x


Last edited by bigbird on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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JeffR
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 07, 2011 3:56 pm

Don't really have to much to say. I just wanted to be the one with the 25,000th post.
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midlandchip
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Number of posts : 79
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 07, 2011 4:34 pm

Okay, this is what I did today.

I removed the right side or pocket panel and checked the coolant level in the reserve tank while the engine was cold. That was not real easy. It is damn hard to see if the coolant level is between the upper and lower marks because you are looking down on the top of the tank - it‘s almost impossible to see the marks on the side let alone figure out where the coolant level is. I finally figured it out by shining a flashlight into the top of the tank to make the green color of the coolant show up better. It was a little low but still between the marks - so I added more to bring the level up the upper mark.

Also, removing that side panel was not easy the first time. I never did find the screw in the front that is supposed to be holding it in place. I pried the sides off the hooks and the panel just popped out when I applied a little upward pressure to the front end.

It then hit me that even if my bike was up off the ground and hooked to a battery charger I could still start it. So I unplugged the charger and started the bike. It started with no problem what so ever even after being put away for months during our cold winter. While I was at it is set the mileage and time on the digital display. I discovered I only have 144 miles on the bike.

When I started the bike up cold the first bar lit up on the temp gauge after a couple minutes. After it ran for several minutes the second bar came on. I then sat on the bike and opened the throttle a little and ran the engine at 2,500 - 3,000 RPM for maybe four or five minutes spinning the back wheel which I said is off the ground. The third bar then lit up. I’m guessing Honda would not recommend running the engine like that. I continued to let it idle for a few more minutes and then checked the coolant level again - it was still on the upper mark. During all this time I never heard the cooling fan come on and only the third bar lit up on the temp gauge.

So, I’m not sure what I accomplished. At least I know the reserve tank has the proper level of coolant. And it was probably never really low on coolant in the first place. I will just have to wait until we get warmer weather to actually ride the bike again to see if I get that fourth bar lighting up. If it lights up and stays on as it has in the past I’ll just ride it over to my Honda dealer and let them take a look at it.

Thanks again for all your help.
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bigbird
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 07, 2011 4:44 pm

x


Last edited by bigbird on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sweendog
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 07, 2011 9:24 pm

It sounds to me like you may have a faulty thermostat. The bike really shouldn't be running at 4 bars, and even in cool weather I would be surprised if your fan didn't come on after running as you described in a garage. (I don't think you would hurt the bike at all by doing what you described though, the radiator and fan will adequately cool the bike.)

I've ridden my bike in some very hot (96+ degrees Fahrenheit) and never did it go above 3 bars.

I wouldn't worry too terribly much though, since the bike is under warranty, just ride it around this spring, and take a trip to the stealership. =)
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midlandchip
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 07, 2011 10:05 pm

Bigbird I have really enjoyed reading your comments on the operation of the SilverWing in this thread and others. You seem to know quite a bit about how this bike operates. I don't know where you got all your knowledge but it's nice to have someone like you on the board.

And by the way, I'm planning to ride my bike over to Ottawa, Canada this summer. I will ride north from Midland, Michigan to Sault Ste Maria, Ontario and then over to Ottawa. I want to make sure my bike is operating at tip top shape before I take that trip. The last thing I need is for this bike to over heat on a trip like that.
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mitch
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 08, 2011 4:13 am

Rather than try to check the coolant level by removing the right hand pocket and looking down into the reservoir through the coolant filler is to place SW on centre stand / go to front of SW / look back into radiator space behind forks.

On the left hand side of the tupperware there is a small inspection aperture through which the coolant level can be checked against the upper and lower level markers of the reservoir.

This can easily be done in a seconds.
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bigbird
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 08, 2011 7:10 am

x


Last edited by bigbird on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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Pendragon
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 08, 2011 10:39 am

Don't be modest, BB, don't forget to add illumination to all your ride's attributes! :-)
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midlandchip
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 08, 2011 10:51 am

Mitch that is a great recommendation. I copied your comments and then printed them. I put the printed material in my service manual and will try to check coolant that way next time. I don't know where you got that idea. It almost sounds like some sort of inside information only a Honda service person would be aware of.
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bigbird
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 08, 2011 10:53 am

x


Last edited by bigbird on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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bigbird
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 08, 2011 10:56 am

x


Last edited by bigbird on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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Pendragon
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 08, 2011 11:03 am

Yup, BB, that would certainly festoon the area 'neath you.


Pendragon :-)
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midlandchip
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeSun Apr 24, 2011 9:52 pm

Okay, here is an update for those of you who are interested.

I have had the bike out a couple times in April. We haven't had many days this month that have been warm enough for riding but we have had a few. Today was one of them with the temp about 55 F.

This afternoon I rode for about 3.5 hours on country roads at 55-60 mph and on freeways at 65-70. I am happy to report I had no over heating problems. I started the bike in my garage and let it run until the second bar lit up. I then started my ride and during the entire trip the temperature gauge never lit up past the third bar. I never heard the cooling fan come on at any time.

I have no idea what happened when I took the bike out last fall and the fourth bar stayed lit up all time. At that time I had probably less than 100 miles on the bike and I rode it for a time on the freeway at 70 mph. All I can think is that was a little too rough a way to break in the bike. Who knows? It seems to be running fine now.

Thanks again for your comments and willingness to help me understand what might be going on.
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buddy19520
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PostSubject: Re: Cooling system issue   Cooling system issue I_icon_minitimeMon Apr 25, 2011 8:33 pm

Thanks for the feedback. It is always nice to here the final solution (even if there isn't one in this case!) when problems are discussed.

Enjoy your riding this summer!
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