Cooling System Question - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Cooling System Question

03 1600 Classic here 70K miles. Coolant flushed and radiator replaced about 5K miles ago by previous owner.

Totally new to this bike so I'm not sure what's normal but.... The cooling fan seems to come on pretty quick (like after 2 minutes of idling) and then basically never goes off again while I'm riding. I have not had the temperature light come on but I've not ridden a really long distance in hot weather yet. It's been in the upper 70s and low 80s here.

One event of concern was I had parked in the garage and gone inside. The fan was running when I left it but then 30 minutes later, my wife came home and asked me why the fan was running on the motorcycle so I go out there and sure enough, the fan is still going. I didn't know what to do so I started it up for about 30 seconds and then shut it off to move some coolant through the system. After about 30 seconds the fan went off.

The previous owner, my brother in law, mentioned that it had overheated a little on his last long road trip but that it hadn't done it in the 5 months after that.

I'm in Texas so it's about to go from mild to wild temperature wise and I don't want to end up stranded. Coolant level looks okay. Was thinking maybe it could have some air in the system if whoever did the radiator didn't get it purged all the way.

Thoughts anybody? I'd appreciate any input you'd care to share.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by shiloh101 View Post
03 1600 Classic here 70K miles. Coolant flushed and radiator replaced about 5K miles ago by previous owner.

Totally new to this bike so I'm not sure what's normal but.... The cooling fan seems to come on pretty quick (like after 2 minutes of idling) and then basically never goes off again while I'm riding. I have not had the temperature light come on but I've not ridden a really long distance in hot weather yet. It's been in the upper 70s and low 80s here.

One event of concern was I had parked in the garage and gone inside. The fan was running when I left it but then 30 minutes later, my wife came home and asked me why the fan was running on the motorcycle so I go out there and sure enough, the fan is still going. I didn't know what to do so I started it up for about 30 seconds and then shut it off to move some coolant through the system. After about 30 seconds the fan went off.

The previous owner, my brother in law, mentioned that it had overheated a little on his last long road trip but that it hadn't done it in the 5 months after that.

I'm in Texas so it's about to go from mild to wild temperature wise and I don't want to end up stranded. Coolant level looks okay. Was thinking maybe it could have some air in the system if whoever did the radiator didn't get it purged all the way.

Thoughts anybody? I'd appreciate any input you'd care to share.

Thanks!
Would have system checked,fan shouldn't constantly run
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 06:09 AM
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maybe some air, to check that take the rad cap off and do it old school idle the bike 60 seconds with cap off and any air will expel the system, i think part of your bike sounds normal to me, but if there is a problem its with electrical switch that runs the fan, maybe the water temperature sensor needs changing, i dunno

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:07 AM
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The previous owner, my brother in law, mentioned that it had overheated a little on his last long road trip but that it hadn't done it in the 5 months after that.

s!
What does "overheated a little" mean?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:43 AM
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The fan should only turn on when the coolant reaches a certain temperature. Usually near the boiling point of water 212F.
If your fan turns on within two minutes of idling; I would suspect that the temp sensor is not operating as designed.

When your bike was in the garage with the fan running for 30 minutes; was the key in the "on/acc" position or does the fan run independent of ignition power?

You say that the radiator was replaced. I would ask the BIL what symptoms he was having that prompted the new rad and inquire if there was any electrical work done too.


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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What does "overheated a little" mean?
LOL...yeah I've been trying to get clarification on that myself.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scott_in_TX View Post
The fan should only turn on when the coolant reaches a certain temperature. Usually near the boiling point of water 212F.
If your fan turns on within two minutes of idling; I would suspect that the temp sensor is not operating as designed.

When your bike was in the garage with the fan running for 30 minutes; was the key in the "on/acc" position or does the fan run independent of ignition power?

You say that the radiator was replaced. I would ask the BIL what symptoms he was having that prompted the new rad and inquire if there was any electrical work done too.


Scott
Thanks Scott. The key was off when the fan was running for so long out in the garage. I'll have to ask why the radiator was replaced. I only found out by looking through the maintenance log book he gave me and haven't had an opportunity to ask him about it. I wish the bike had a temp gauge so I could see if it was actually running hot or not.

I appreciate the input everyone.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by shiloh101 View Post
Thanks Scott. The key was off when the fan was running for so long out in the garage. I'll have to ask why the radiator was replaced. I only found out by looking through the maintenance log book he gave me and haven't had an opportunity to ask him about it. I wish the bike had a temp gauge so I could see if it was actually running hot or not.

I appreciate the input everyone.
I'm pretty sure that fan wasn't designed to run with the ignition off. It may have been purposely modified that way. The fan alone doesn't really indicate an overheating issue.

Of course it could be masking a problem. And your BILs admission of it 'overheating a little' would be cause for concern.
I'd monitor how well the cooling system is working before I trust it as the temperatures move into summer heat.

First time you get a chance when it gets into the 90s. Start it up, go for a short ride to get it warm. Then pull into your driveway and let it idle for 10 to 20 minutes and keep an eye open for any malfunction indicators. Shut it down if it overheats.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scott_in_TX View Post
I'm pretty sure that fan wasn't designed to run with the ignition off. It may have been purposely modified that way. The fan alone doesn't really indicate an overheating issue.

Of course it could be masking a problem. And your BILs admission of it 'overheating a little' would be cause for concern.
I'd monitor how well the cooling system is working before I trust it as the temperatures move into summer heat.

First time you get a chance when it gets into the 90s. Start it up, go for a short ride to get it warm. Then pull into your driveway and let it idle for 10 to 20 minutes and keep an eye open for any malfunction indicators. Shut it down if it overheats.

Scott
Thanks Scott I'll give that a try.

I had a repeat of the long running fan incident yesterday. Road home from work, parked in the garage and went in. Went out there nearly an hour later and the fan is still running. Key out of the ignition. I started it and let it idle for 30 seconds. No Change so I started it up and held it at 2500 to 3000 rpm for about 15 seconds and the fan went off. I will mention that the engine did not seem warm at all while the fan was still running . In fact the air coming out of the fan was quite cool so I don't think it was case of the coolant actually being so hot that the fan needed to run for that long. Maybe the fan switch is getting stuck? If that was the case I wouldn't think that revving the engine would unstick it unless simply forcing some coolant to move past it is enough to do so.

Anyway. It's kind of pain having to go back and check on it after I've parked it just to be sure it's not running the battery down. I still need to talk to my BIL about the "overheated a little" event and get a good solid story about exactly what happened and why the radiator had been replaced earlier.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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I hope I'm not generating too much noise here but maybe it'll help someone else some day.

I finally got in touch with BIL. The symptom he saw that lead him to believe it had overheated "a little bit" was the same as what I'm seeing. He went in to a restaurant and came back out 20 minutes later and the fan was still running. So, no temp light. No boil over. No real evidence that the engine is actually overheating. Just a long running fan. The radiator had been replaced because of a crack but it went many miles with no problems after that so I don't think it's a case of air in the system from that particular maintenance anything being clogged.

It's not very warm in Dallas today but I thought I'd give Scotts advice a try anyway. I have an infrared thermometer and I took some readings off of the engine and the radiator while I let it idle for about half an hour. When the inlet temperature on the radiator reached 120 degrees the fan came on and never went off. Outlet temperature was around 100 or so. The hottest the heads ever got was about 180 degrees on the rear head and 160 on the front. Once I shut the engine off, the fan cutoff on it own after 3 minutes when the outlet temp of the radiator was roughly 80 degrees.

I know the infrared thing is not super scientific but it's some kind of data at least.

BIL said that after he noticed the fan running long he changed the oil and that seemed to return things to normal. That seems like a stretch and probably a coincidence but it about time for an oil change anyway so I'm going to do that and see if anything changes.
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