Gettin out that 27 year old coolant... help? - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Gettin out that 27 year old coolant... help?

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Okay so I bought a 1985 vn700 for 200 bucks that needed work... then bought another 85 vn700 for 500 bucks. The more expensive one is the one I have on the road, for obvious reasons. Anyways, it's only just barely been broken in. 5k miles was reassuring, BUT it was all stock, like, everything. It had just been sitting. Just replaced the stock tires on it, but I have this overheating issue that stems from old nasty coolant that wasn't circulated for decades.

Initially, I drained it all and ran a garden hose through it to get the crud out of the engine and radiator. After replacing with water, it still was barely better. I then removed the thermostat from my system because it was simply overheating too quickly to ride for longer than about 5 minutes still.

After numerous heating/cooling cycles I flushed again... rinse repeat about 10 times. After still no luck, I was thinking of using something other than water to flush it, after all, I had been getting small brownish-black flakes of gunk from the system. Less and less from each successive flush, but was certainly cause for concern. All of the coolant flush chemicals on the market are too weak or intended to clean oil from the coolant, which was not my problem. I have built up solid coolant or some such on the inside... hence the blackish gunky flakes. This called for something more powerful.

Hydrochloric acid! Diluted of course, and circulated while the bike was running for about 3 or 4 minutes, then drained and rinsed. LOTS more gunk came out after the water flushes had started coming out clean.

The bike became driveable for long distances! Only barely, however. It is able to run with the temp needle hovering over the center of the icon, but only at 50+ mph at low rpms... start driving more spirited or slow down for stop-and-go city driving and it gets mighty close to the red. Fan seems to work, and it appears to be the only thing keeping it from touching the red. Although, sometimes when it's hot I can hear the coolant in the reservoir boiling, which is NOT OKAY! I have driving the bike about 600 miles or so in this condition.

I recently downloaded the manual and found out about three additional drain plugs for the coolant, one at the bottom of each cylinder and one on the bottom of the crank case. I took these all out and tested the flow with my garden hose. I got fantastic flow from the bottom, and decent flow from the front cylinder, but nothing was coming from the rear. I then fitted the garden hose directly to a hose with a clamp to pressure test it. The pressure from the garden hose was enough to leak past some tight hose clamps, so it must have been far greater than anything the system would normally experience (pressure cap was where I fitted the hose, so it was removed at the time). Even under this pressure, I was only able to make the rear cylinder drain plug dribble slightly. To put it in perspective, the water that came out amounted to nothing more than a few milliliters.

This leads me to believe that my rear cylinder has extremely reduced coolant flow and is thus getting hotter than the front cylinder, which is also bad news.

Now, I was wondering if shoving something into that drain plug hole might be a good idea. I wanted to try and break some of that **** up so I get more flow, since I'm planning on flushing with another diluted hydrochloric solution. The difference between no flow, and some flow could mean a world of difference when flushing the whole system at once.

Also, I had an idea to use a hose fitting to pump my hydrochloric solution directly into the rear cylinder drain plug. Straight to the source of the problem you know? I could also avoid any more unnecessary wear to the cooling system by flushing the entire thing with the acid solution.

Also, other discrepancies I have already sorted out:
- Water pump works, it is circulating with good flow (I just don't know if it's all going through the front cylinder)
- Radiator is not clogged and appears to have good flow.
- Nothing is leaking unless you count coolant (water) boiling and flowing out of the reservoir overflow.
- I thought air in the system might be an issue, since I have never used the bleeder valve, but finding no flow in the rear cylinder makes me think that's the sole cause... or at least the major one.
- The fan acts strange; doesn't always turn on when the engine is hot and the bike isn't moving (works predictably most of the time)... also waits about 20 seconds to turn on after the bike is shut off, then runs for 10 seconds, then shuts off for good.

TL;DR: Old bike, original coolant, **** gummed up inside my rear cylinder and my drain plug on that cylinder has nearly no flow.


What do you guys think? Any input here? Questions perhaps?
Any input is appreciated!

Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 06:08 AM
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It still might be an air issue, If you think your radiator is not the problem, then hook up some type of circulator pump to your system and bypass the radiator and run chemicals through it for awhile.

"Show me a man who makes no mistakes, and I'll show you a man who doesn't do things." Theodore Roosevelt."

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Hydrochloric acid! Diluted of course, and circulated while the bike was running for about 3 or 4 minutes, then drained and rinsed. LOTS more gunk came out after the water flushes had started coming out clean.
Q: Is Hydrochloric acid safe for our engine ?

'86 VN750 13,700 mi -Stock
-Purchased 2008 w/8800mi
Replaced ALL Cables . Kuryakyn LED Voltmeter
SilverStar Ultra 9003/HB2 H4 Headlamp, Jardine Fwd Controls,
Iridiums DPR7EIX-9 & Wires, Tuxedo Mod, Coil Mod, P/U Sensor Mod, Fork Seals,
Splines Lubed - 11/4/2012 - MF AGM Battery
Additional Flashing LED Brake Light on Trunk
Dampers went out @ 13+K !
After TOC MCCT's..... so amazingly quiet I discovered a rattling heat shield on my stock exhaust !
...have a vulcan good day!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by WilliamTech View Post
Q: Is Hydrochloric acid safe for our engine ?
Not really my choice, HCI eats aluminum like crazy, yielding hydrogen gas and aluminum chloride in solution. So depending on the concentration I would think that you can really screw up some aluminum parts with pitting and such. Not sure what the impeller of the water pump is made out of, but I would think that it would attack the edges resulting in less pumping force if it is an aluminum type of metal. Vinegar would be my choice if I wasn't using a radiator flush product.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 12:05 PM
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Not really my choice, HCI eats aluminum like crazy, yielding hydrogen gas and aluminum chloride in solution.
x2 ....that's what I thought.

'86 VN750 13,700 mi -Stock
-Purchased 2008 w/8800mi
Replaced ALL Cables . Kuryakyn LED Voltmeter
SilverStar Ultra 9003/HB2 H4 Headlamp, Jardine Fwd Controls,
Iridiums DPR7EIX-9 & Wires, Tuxedo Mod, Coil Mod, P/U Sensor Mod, Fork Seals,
Splines Lubed - 11/4/2012 - MF AGM Battery
Additional Flashing LED Brake Light on Trunk
Dampers went out @ 13+K !
After TOC MCCT's..... so amazingly quiet I discovered a rattling heat shield on my stock exhaust !
...have a vulcan good day!
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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It still might be an air issue, If you think your radiator is not the problem, then hook up some type of circulator pump to your system and bypass the radiator and run chemicals through it for awhile.
Was thinking this would be a good way to avoid eating the radiator. The hydrochloric would destroy that long before doing significant damage to the engine. Perhaps bypassing the radiator for the next flush would be a good idea.

The impeller was also something I was worried about, but if I can't get that crud out any other way (aside from disassembling the engine) then I say it's worth the risk. If anyone knows for sure what the impeller is made of please let me know, but for now I will just be very cautious. I don't use much acid in the solution, but I know it dissolves the crud very quickly. I tested one of the larger chunks that came out beforehand in a little vial of solution, was gone in about 2 minutes.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CW-4 View Post
Not really my choice, HCI eats aluminum like crazy, yielding hydrogen gas and aluminum chloride in solution. So depending on the concentration I would think that you can really screw up some aluminum parts with pitting and such.
x3. Using a random concentration of HCI can be dangerous to the bike and the user. I am not sure why this would be preferred over a store bought flushing solution that is known to not damage aluminum.

and always remember, "Ride until you rot!"
**Really not sure if the Big "C" is back right now
but having to face the fact that this is a lifetime routine
going forward. Five operations done and it still continues.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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x3. Using a random concentration of HCI can be dangerous to the bike and the user. I am not sure why this would be preferred over a store bought flushing solution that is known to not damage aluminum.
It's not exactly a random concentration. It is a controlled mix of roughly 1 part already diluted HCL (don't remember how diluted), and 9 parts distilled water. My brother is the chemist, not me. He handles the mixture. He uses said chemicals to refine precious metals out of old computer parts.

Also, you ask why this instead of a store bought flush solution... my answer is that my issue is an extreme case, and with all the regulations on store-bought crap, it's not likely to fix such a problem.

I'm not really concerned with a little pitting on the inside of the coolant channels if it means the bike will run at a normal temperature. Coolant lines have some wiggle room, which is why I'm only really worried about the impeller and the radiator.

Keep in mind I've already done this once with great results and no adverse effects. I'm just trying not to push my luck, so that's why I devised the external pump idea to put my acid solution straight into the semi-clogged drain hole. Going to the source might eliminate the need to flush the entire system with the acid, thus reducing unnecessary "wear" in the clean channels.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 01:00 AM
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I have noticed weaker draining from the rear cylinder also, but not as dramatic as the OP. I had considered bringing the system up to pressure and removing that bolt to blow it clear, then sanity showed up.
Still, if the right protective equipment were used it might work. The problem is when working with steam, the result is always more exciting than expected.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 01:18 AM
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If it was me in this situation, I would run only pure water and a good amount of dawn. Run, drain, run, drain untill cleared out. Acids and chemicals are never good to use ever! It is hot out and no chance of freezing, so now is the time to do this. The cooling parts are kind of large to begin with, if they are 70%+ blocked, you have another hiden issue to deal with!
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