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So, ever since my bike had its 600-mile service, it's had a coolant leak. I checked hoses, etc., and did tighten up the hose clamps on the hoses going out to the radiator. This helped, temporarily, but a slight leak continues. There used to be coolant visible dripping from the spark plug drain holes, now it just smells like coolant when the bike warms up.

I think it's one of two things - a warped head, or a bad gasket on the junction where the radiator hoses enter the head. Seeing as how this mysteriously appeared right after a service was performed, I'm thinking its the latter.

Can somebody familiar with this verify what I'm thinking, and if I'm right about it being the latter, clarify exactly where the gasket that goes bad is located?
 

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Maybe they did not properly lube the coolant tube o-rings where they push through the valve cover into the head. Or forgot to tighten down the bolts that hold the tubes down. If you have a leak there it will drip out the plug well drain holes like you describe. I don't think that it would be a warped head.

To get a good look down at the coolant tubes you're going to have to pull the fuel tank. If you plan on actually extrating the tubes then the coolant is going to have to be drained too. There is a tab on each tube with a bolt that holds them down against the valve cover. Check these bolts first and if one or both are loose then try tightening it and seeing if that fixes the problem.

Extracting the tubes to check the o-ring is easy. Once the coolant is drained and the hold down bolts are removed the tubes can simply be pulled out. But before you do this MAKE SURE that you clean any crap out of the spark plug wells with compressed air, bubblegum on a stick, whatever it takes. Then with the tube out check the o-ring to see it's condition and if it is lubed. And while it's out you may as well clean a re-lube it anyway. Carefully take the o-ring off the tube and clean it with a clean rag. I like to lube up the o-ring before putting it back on and use Dow Corning #111 but you can probably find something suitable at your local auto parts store. Wipe excess lube off the tube below the o-ring and re-install everything.

I'm assuming that you know how to remove the fuel tank and drain the coolant. If not we definitely need stickies for these.

Oh and there are pretty good diagrams on the Kawasaki web site under parts for each bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mad Matt said:
Maybe they did not properly lube the coolant tube o-rings where they push through the valve cover into the head. Or forgot to tighten down the bolts that hold the tubes down. If you have a leak there it will drip out the plug well drain holes like you describe. I don't think that it would be a warped head.

To get a good look down at the coolant tubes you're going to have to pull the fuel tank. If you plan on actually extrating the tubes then the coolant is going to have to be drained too. There is a tab on each tube with a bolt that holds them down against the valve cover. Check these bolts first and if one or both are loose then try tightening it and seeing if that fixes the problem.

Extracting the tubes to check the o-ring is easy. Once the coolant is drained and the hold down bolts are removed the tubes can simply be pulled out. But before you do this MAKE SURE that you clean any crap out of the spark plug wells with compressed air, bubblegum on a stick, whatever it takes. Then with the tube out check the o-ring to see it's condition and if it is lubed. And while it's out you may as well clean a re-lube it anyway. Carefully take the o-ring off the tube and clean it with a clean rag. I like to lube up the o-ring before putting it back on and use Dow Corning #111 but you can probably find something suitable at your local auto parts store. Wipe excess lube off the tube below the o-ring and re-install everything.

I'm assuming that you know how to remove the fuel tank and drain the coolant. If not we definitely need stickies for these.

Oh and there are pretty good diagrams on the Kawasaki web site under parts for each bike.
Great... I was just a little frustrated with the problem (did I mention I had it to the dealer since, and they claimed they re-torqued the spark plugs, and everthing was fine? Grr.)

I didn't want to go to the trouble of draining the coolant only to not correct it, yet again. I'll try this out as soon as I can, and document tank removal and coolant draining for the site while I'm at it.

Thanks!
 

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Matt nailed it those coolant tubes are a PIA. Every time they are removed the hole they came from anf the O rings themselves and the groove in the pipes needs to be wire brushed , before re assembly. Torqueing the plugs is a poor joke.
FOG
 

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Check with other bike owners in the area & see if this dealer (or certain mechanics) tend to need more repairs later. I swear there are a few dishonest folks out there that operate in a manner to get repeat business... if you know what I mean.
 

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I don't like using any sort of silicone on o-ring connections. They are hard enough to remove without being glued in place.

I agree with FOG that the most important thing is to clean up the tube and the bore.

Also a light coat of brake fluid on the orings will cause them to swell slightly and seal better. And, yes, I've been told by lots of armchair engineers about the horrors of this method - but this is the factory recommended procedure for installing the water pipes on International V8 engines. Never had one leak.
 

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Damn! this has just happened to me as well. I will be taking it back to the dealers tomorrow for them to fix it. Obviously if you do the work yourself you'll need to be very careful with the re-assembly.
 

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I think I'm suffering from the same problem. I got the bike out and noticed a coolant leak coming from the spark plug hole. The bike just sat there all winter while its in a garage it does get below freezing. I'll have to test my coolant to see what mixture they last used when I had the 600 service done.
I didn't have any leaks all last year.

This is the sparkplug vent/drain hole?

 

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yes toni. if doing yourself, pull tank, you'll see coolant hoses pointing down toward cylinder head and spark plug area. the hoses then slip over tubes (and are clamped) which plug into the head and seal with o-rings, secured by screws or bolts.

i advise all with this condition to check clamps first (are they just loose?)
" hoses second (cracked or split?)
" o-rings on tubes third (replace)


i'd also suggest , if you do your own maintenence to *always* keep a set of orings on hand. ;)

good luck, duc 8)
 

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lol Make sure you drain your coolant before pulling those hoses or you'll have a lovely mess :)
 

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??? that was addressed in reply # 1 of the thread by Mad Matt. ;D

and furthermore:
Administrator said:
There used to be coolant visible dripping from the spark plug drain holes, now it just smells like coolant when the bike warms up.
administrator, is it possible that its just residual at this point? perhaps the dealer (understandably so) didn't take the time to rinse the area with water. what you're smelling may be a pooled area burning away. you should rinse with water (on a cold bike only). see if smell disappates. just realized, this is an ancient thread... ;D
 

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Administrator's problem is over a year and a half old. That's why I clarified.
 

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Hey all, sorry to bring up an old topic that's already been brought up. :)

I found this leak on my bike too, and I'm wondering what size those O-rings are? I didn't take mine apart yet since it's a very slow leak, and I'll probably have to order the o-rings in... If anyone has a name, or part number, or size, or anything that can help, can you please post it?

Thanks a lot!
 

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Thanks for the link, but I don't know what I'm looking for on the diagram, as I haven't had the tank off yet... I thought I found them, part number 670 (7mm o-ring) but the "hose" they are hooked to is 39193 and 39193A and the description says Pipe, Oil LH, and RH. But the correct hoses would be coolant hoses, so I'm thinking these are the wrong ones...

39062C and 39062D say HOSE-COOLING,THERMO-HEAD,LH and HOSE-COOLING,THERMO-HEAD,RH, which sounds more like it, but I don't see any o-rings on the diagram anywhere near them, just hose clamps. ???

So can one of you more experienced guys take a look at the diagram please, and let me know what I'm actually looking for? The bike is a '02... I can't get at the bike until the weekend, so I can't take a look for myself, and I figured if someone can help me out, I can order the o-rings and have them here so I can use the weekend to fix this, instead of wait until the next one...

And also, what kind of lube would I use on those o-rings, I saw the brake fluid idea, but I've always been told no on that, so I'm sort of looking for something else. Any recommendations of something that can easily be found?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. :)
 
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