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Discussion Starter #1
I have tried several different times to burp my cooling system. I have an 08 Vulcan 900 w/140,000 mi on it. I keep getting back pressure in my reservoir which pushes out coolant and causes bike to overheat. Can't go over 70 mph or the coolant gets the back pressure too, which pushes out the coolant from the reservoir cap/overflow. I have taken off the cap and ran until fan kicks in, waited for it to cool then filled tank to top. I have even elevated front wheel, did the same process, still gets air bubble. I have given it throttle at high rev until fan turns on, cooled it, then refilled it and still gets back pressure within 400 miles. Depending on traffic or if I drive 70 mph continuous. I have squeezed the bottem and top hoses prior to topping off, then even after, before replacing the cap. Cap, thermostat and all hoses have been replaced. What could I be doing wrong?
 

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Sounds like a bubble in the engine; getting the radiator above the engine should solve it. What about your water pump? On cagers I've seen the impeller blades corrode to the point that there are no blades left and the blades on the V9 impeller are very small to begin with. Here is a schematic of the pump. http://www.motosport.com/cruiser/oem-parts/KAWASAKI/2011/VULCAN-900-CLASSIC-_-VN900B/WATER-PUMP

Is that a typo, or do you really have 140,000 miles on the bike? If so, please post a pic of your odo; this I gotta see.
 

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AT 140,000 you are the Hero of this site !

I don't have an answer for your questions, but I'm sure someone will come along that does.

Please let us know what other difficulties you have had.
 

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Your problem is not an air bubble, your problem is that the engine is BOILING!
First check, bring the bike up to temperature and squeeze a coolant hose. It should be hard indicating that the system is pressurizing.

Post back with your findings.
 

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I have tried several different times to burp my cooling system. I have an 08 Vulcan 900 w/140,000 mi on it. I keep getting back pressure in my reservoir which pushes out coolant and causes bike to overheat. Can't go over 70 mph or the coolant gets the back pressure too, which pushes out the coolant from the reservoir cap/overflow. I have taken off the cap and ran until fan kicks in, waited for it to cool then filled tank to top. I have even elevated front wheel, did the same process, still gets air bubble. I have given it throttle at high rev until fan turns on, cooled it, then refilled it and still gets back pressure within 400 miles. Depending on traffic or if I drive 70 mph continuous. I have squeezed the bottem and top hoses prior to topping off, then even after, before replacing the cap. Cap, thermostat and all hoses have been replaced. What could I be doing wrong?
Purchase an engine block tester at you auto parts store. Remove the coolant reservoir bottle to the outside of the bike and run engine, as you do this you will may see bubbles come to the top of the bottle as engine begins to get hot. You may need to rev the engine up a little to get the bubbles You will place the the block tester tube on top of the coolant bottle tightly. The blue fluid in the tube may turn from blue to yellow. If this happens remove cylinder head and have it checked for cracks. See any parts store for info about the tester. Sorry it sound bad to me. :crying:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My problem did not start until the shop replaced my clutch. I have had this problem ever since. The shop was not mechanically inclined to burp my system properly. I bought a ramp to run my front tire up on to give it some lift. I did the burp process again last night, will see if this solves my problem. I hope it's not a cracked head. I'm not leaning that direction because I have not allowed bike to run but a short moment with the temp light on.
I am new here, so I hope my photo was uploaded to show my mileage. I was guilty or rounding up. Actual mileage is 136,483 miles
 

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WOW, and I thought I rode a lot.

Cracked head or blown head gasket will cause the engine to overheat, but there will be tell-tale coolant in the oil. This will give the oil a milky white tint or coloring, and it will also cause a froth to appear either in the side glass or with the oil cap removed.
 

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If it is spraying coolant out of the overflow bottle, it is boiling...simple as that.
It is not that hard to remove trapped air...there is something wrong here.
Before thinking about cracked heads, gaskets, etc, perform the basic tests first.
IF the system will not build/hold pressure, it will not function correctly!

A blown head gasket may/may not show coolant in the oil.
 

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Also, please expand on the temp light you had.
Why was the shop into the cooling system for clutch repair?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
After the coolant is back pressured into the reservoir, if I drive over 70 mph or sit in alot of traffic, the temp light will come on. I turn the bike off, then turn back on the key for the fan to cool it off. Or I let off the throttle when driving and start to pull over. Before I can get pulled over the temp light goes off. So I have never ran it with the temp light on for more than a few seconds.
The shop drained the collant when they replaced the clutch. It's a small aftermarket type shop. Why, I don't know. But since then, I have had to burp my bike once a week. I put at least 200 miles a day on it. Last night when I burped it on the ramp, it burped the same until I rolled it off the ramp before replacing the cap. Rolling off the ramp, it made a 3 second gurgling noise as if air was leaving the radiator from the opening. Never had that before, so I'm hoping it was the trapped air. Before the gurgle, the level was at the top of radiator cap opening. After gurgle it was about 1/4 inch lower level in opening. I topped it off and put cap back on. I'm still not leaning towards the head gasket, just because I haven't run it with the temp light on but a few seconds.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I should note, when it would blow out the reservoir cap it was usually because I did not lower the level in the reservoir after adding more coolant to the radiator itself. When I lower the reservoir level to the "low" line, it merely back pressure fills the reservoir to the top. Sorry bout that lack of info. But it is back pressuring the coolant into the reservoir nonetheless. Hopefully the gurgle I got yesterday when I was rolling off the front wheel ramp, was the solution. I bought the ramps you use to drive a car up on to do an oil change at home, which I did not have on previous burpings. Thus, the gurgle I never had on previous burpings.
 

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I see a few problems here:

1. If the radiator is full and the overflow tank is too full, coolant will merely trickle out of the hose. If it is blowing and spewing and gurgling, the engine is boiling! The engine is making its own air bubble (steam) that it blows out.
2. You do not mention your fan coming on before the temp light does. This is a no-no and will have to be checked.
3. The fact that the temp light comes on over 70mph indicates that you may have insufficient coolant flow...plugged radiator, bad thermostat, etc.

You have a cooling system problem there and if not addressed, you WILL soon have bigger problems to address!!! You can burp until the cows come home and it will still boil.
Follow the test I described to check for pressure. After engine shut-down, the hoses should still be hard and gradually go soft as the engine cools. If they go soft quickly, you have a leak.

Post back with your findings.
 

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Purchase an engine block tester at you auto parts store. Remove the coolant reservoir bottle to the outside of the bike and run engine, as you do this you will may see bubbles come to the top of the bottle as engine begins to get hot. You may need to rev the engine up a little to get the bubbles You will place the the block tester tube on top of the coolant bottle tightly. The blue fluid in the tube may turn from blue to yellow. If this happens remove cylinder head and have it checked for cracks. See any parts store for info about the tester. Sorry it sound bad to me. :crying:
Remove water pump and inspect the impeller for ware, damage, and looseness on shaft. If there is any issue with the pump your engine will over heat. This is common among high mileage auto engines. I would be tempted to do this before going any further.:confused:
 

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I can't help but wonder how you are able to get to the radiator cap without taking off the gas tank? Especially if it is hot! How would you get coolant back into the system? The only way that I can see to do this without taking off the gas tank is to put coolant into the overflow reservoir..... I've changed my antifreeze once in the 30000 miles on my bike, but not been able to do so without removing the tank....Please let me know how you are able to do so, as it would save me a lot of time and work....Thanks in advance for your reply....
 

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OK, I'm going to weigh in here. SFair is the most logical troubleshooter on this forum (IMHO). Yoou can take his methodology to the bank. Checking this and tearing that apart is the mark of a hammer mechanic (flame away). The ONLY way to do proper diagnosis of a problem is a flowchart approach. Follow the method he runs thru here. This could be a simple an issue as a bad rad cap, not allowing the pressure to build. Without pressure the coolant mix boils at 217 or so, well before the light comes on around 250. Once the coolant boils the resulting steam is 17 times larger than the water it came from and out it goes by the path of least resistance - usually out the cap.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
In response to your posts much appreciated posts: the fan will come on prior to the temp light. My problem first began with the 2 o rings leaking (from where they seat in the head area) after cool down at night. I'd have a little puddle in the morning. When I replaced those, I replaced all hoses, therm. and cap. After that, I got the back pressure into the reservoir. I had the shop burp it, but they didn't elevate the front end. So I got the same result. I too tried burping it, but wasn't lifting the front end. I followed advice here, bought me the ramp, and drove the front tire up it for elevation. In the process I got a long, loud gurgle I'd never heard in prior attempts. I drove it last night for about an hour. Got her hot. Had use of the fan several times, even sitting at a light. I did not get any backpressure as before. The bike even kinda ran better. I will test further, get the bike out in the heat of the day Saturday and see if I get the back pressure that creates the problem.
Watching the circulation in the rad during the burping, kinda makes me think the water pump is functioning. Give it some throttle and it looks like a whirlpool in there. I'm hoping my problem has been that I was not properly burping it.
I don't take off my tank. I slide it back for access. I undo the two bolts at the bottem. I remove the chrome tank cover/odometer trim. Slide the tank back. It should be noted, I plan in advance to be near empty of gas. I slide my hand in and undo the cap. I have a long funnel I got for .89 at Wal Mart to pour the fluid into the radiator. Holding a small LED flashlight in my mouth to see how much I'm pouring, and knowing when to stop. I don't even unhook my power to the odometer when I slide the tank back.
I bought a Gel pad for my seat, after about 1000 miles of pain on the original seat. I've only driven out of Texas once, and that was to gamble in Louisiana just across the border. Most of my miles are within a 200 mile radius of Houston. My bike is my primary transportation. My truck is secondary.
 

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I'm glad it looks like you got it. Can you elaborate on issues you have had. Failures, wear outs and such. If you are getting similar tire miles to most here you have had over 10 rear tires on it - or have you found the secret to better tire wear. Also how has the engine/injection fared over the lifespan. You are well over what anyone in the north is running. I'm riding an 09 LT and in just over 2 years have 10K on it. You are doing that in 2 months - this is like looking into a crystal ball for most of us. Here in the Buffalo area Ill run out of years in my life before I could ride that many miles.

Ride on
 

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OK, I'm going to weigh in here. SFair is the most logical troubleshooter on this forum (IMHO). Yoou can take his methodology to the bank. Checking this and tearing that apart is the mark of a hammer mechanic (flame away). The ONLY way to do proper diagnosis of a problem is a flowchart approach. Follow the method he runs thru here. This could be a simple an issue as a bad rad cap, not allowing the pressure to build. Without pressure the coolant mix boils at 217 or so, well before the light comes on around 250. Once the coolant boils the resulting steam is 17 times larger than the water it came from and out it goes by the path of least resistance - usually out the cap.
I may be a hammer mechanic but it looks to me like the radiator cap, thermostat and all the hoses have been replaced. The methods used to bleed the cooling system are numerous. The cooling system fans have even been checked correctly. Lets check for a possible problem with the cylinder head and or gasket with a block tester for around $30. If tests pass, the radiator can be removed and flow tested at a radiator shop. If that test good lets remove and inspect the water pump for problems.
 

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I may be a hammer mechanic but it looks to me like the radiator cap, thermostat and all the hoses have been replaced.
Sometimes it can be a mistake to assume that replaced = good.
Always start with the basics first and through logical troubleshooting procedures, determine what the fault is.
 
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