Frozen coolant? - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Frozen coolant?

I've noticed a white smoke from my exhaust, so I decided to check my coolant level to verify it wasn't a blown head gasket. I found a low level of a frozen greenish substance. Its rock hard and will crack when I stab it with a screwdriver. What does this mean? Should I place a heater next to it and flush the radiator? Could this have done any major damage?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 12:53 PM
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Need more data:
  • What is the ambient temperature?
  • What is the current antifreeze / water ration?
  • When was the coolant system last serviced?
  • How often is the bike used and for how long?

Silicates in the antifreeze will crystallize and "drop out" of suspension if the bike has sat for a long, long time. This usually shows up first in areas where there is little or no coolant flow (e.g., overflow bottle, around the filler neck, etc.).

White smoke from the exhaust suggests a blown head gasket. Easy enough to test with a block tester or leak down test. Also, check the engine oil for signs of coolant.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cglennon View Post
Need more data:
  • What is the ambient temperature?
  • What is the current antifreeze / water ration?
  • When was the coolant system last serviced?
  • How often is the bike used and for how long?

Silicates in the antifreeze will crystallize and "drop out" of suspension if the bike has sat for a long, long time. This usually shows up first in areas where there is little or no coolant flow (e.g., overflow bottle, around the filler neck, etc.).

White smoke from the exhaust suggests a blown head gasket. Easy enough to test with a block tester or leak down test. Also, check the engine oil for signs of coolant.
Ambient temp is about 30 or lower. No idea about the ratio, I just bought the bike. The bike has been sitting since last spring. I just changed the oil to 10w 40, old oil had no signs of coolant. PO said he replaced radiator for a new fan. I'm guessing I should just flush it?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 01:36 PM
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Yes. ASAP. If the coolant froze in the tank, it could have some so elsewhere.
You won’t know what possible damage there is until you replace them coolant.
Coolant if course shouldn’t freeze, so sounds like it was mostly water

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Yes. ASAP. If the coolant froze in the tank, it could have some so elsewhere.
You won’t know what possible damage there is until you replace them coolant.
Coolant if course shouldn’t freeze, so sounds like it was mostly water
I opened the drain on the radiator, and was met with a little bit of new looking coolant. It definitely wasn't a lot. How do I get the rest out?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 02:20 PM
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Well if it’s frozen, your going to need to get the bike into a warmer environment.

Do you have a service manual? It should have info on flushing out the system.
Not sure if we have a write up here.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 03:03 PM
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The lowest drain bolt for the coolant system is a small bolt on the lower forward right-hand side of the engine, near where the lower coolant hose comes into the bike. It's the one pointing towards the ground and has a 10mm head.

There are two more on the lower portions of the jugs, but they aren't really necessary to remove if you drain the engine block from the lower engine coolant drain bolt. It helps to remove the radiator cap for better flow.

Don't confuse it for the oil drain bolt! That one has a 17mm head on it.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 12:12 AM
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It could be frozen if there is very little ethylene glycol in it. But 30 degrees F is not enough to damage an engine with pure water in it. It will flash over, but not hard freeze. I would start the engine, let it run for several minutes, keeping an eye on the temp gauge. If it overheats, shut it off. Remove the three drain plugs. They are all 10mm. One next to the water pump "weep hole" on the bottom of the engine, near the right front, and one at the base of each cylinder. I would not use any kind of flushing chemicals. They can destroy the mechanical seal on the water pump, and cause all kinds of issues if you don't get it all out. I remove the drain plugs, and the filler cap under the right steering head cover, start the engine, and pour about 5 gallons of distilled water through the filler while the engine is running and the thermostat is open. Distilled water is $.50-$.60 a gallon, so it is not expensive. If everything flows freely, I let it all drain, put the plugs back in, and refill it with Maxima Coolanol premixed motorcycle coolant. For the reservoir, remove it, wash it out with soapy water, rinse, let dry, then fill it full of vinegar overnight. That will remove the calcium deposits. Then rinse it out with distilled water, reinstall it, and fill it to the full line with coolant. Hopefully it will be ok. If it has a leak, or overheats, you still have problems to deal with. You're not actually riding in 30 degree weather are you?

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Today, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VN750Rider/Jerry View Post
It could be frozen if there is very little ethylene glycol in it. But 30 degrees F is not enough to damage an engine with pure water in it. It will flash over, but not hard freeze. I would start the engine, let it run for several minutes, keeping an eye on the temp gauge. If it overheats, shut it off. Remove the three drain plugs. They are all 10mm. One next to the water pump "weep hole" on the bottom of the engine, near the right front, and one at the base of each cylinder. I would not use any kind of flushing chemicals. They can destroy the mechanical seal on the water pump, and cause all kinds of issues if you don't get it all out. I remove the drain plugs, and the filler cap under the right steering head cover, start the engine, and pour about 5 gallons of distilled water through the filler while the engine is running and the thermostat is open. Distilled water is $.50-$.60 a gallon, so it is not expensive. If everything flows freely, I let it all drain, put the plugs back in, and refill it with Maxima Coolanol premixed motorcycle coolant. For the reservoir, remove it, wash it out with soapy water, rinse, let dry, then fill it full of vinegar overnight. That will remove the calcium deposits. Then rinse it out with distilled water, reinstall it, and fill it to the full line with coolant. Hopefully it will be ok. If it has a leak, or overheats, you still have problems to deal with. You're not actually riding in 30 degree weather are you?
30° is cold enough to form Ice, which expands and can damage a motor. that is the reason antifreeze was put into engine coolant.geeeezzzz..... and 30° weather isn't too cold to ride.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Today, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VN750Rider/Jerry View Post
It could be frozen if there is very little ethylene glycol in it. But 30 degrees F is not enough to damage an engine with pure water in it. It will flash over, but not hard freeze. I would start the engine, let it run for several minutes, keeping an eye on the temp gauge. If it overheats, shut it off. Remove the three drain plugs. They are all 10mm. One next to the water pump "weep hole" on the bottom of the engine, near the right front, and one at the base of each cylinder. I would not use any kind of flushing chemicals. They can destroy the mechanical seal on the water pump, and cause all kinds of issues if you don't get it all out. I remove the drain plugs, and the filler cap under the right steering head cover, start the engine, and pour about 5 gallons of distilled water through the filler while the engine is running and the thermostat is open. Distilled water is $.50-$.60 a gallon, so it is not expensive. If everything flows freely, I let it all drain, put the plugs back in, and refill it with Maxima Coolanol premixed motorcycle coolant. For the reservoir, remove it, wash it out with soapy water, rinse, let dry, then fill it full of vinegar overnight. That will remove the calcium deposits. Then rinse it out with distilled water, reinstall it, and fill it to the full line with coolant. Hopefully it will be ok. If it has a leak, or overheats, you still have problems to deal with. You're not actually riding in 30 degree weather are you?
Wow, that's a lot of good info! thank you!

And is there a bolt holding the reservoir in, or what? I can't seem to get it out.

And no, there's far too much snow and ice to be riding, but I wish.
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