Radiator Flush and Coolant replacement - Speed Triple

rnexussix's picture

Summer is here. So I decided to replace the coolant and while at it flush the radiator and the cooling system on my Triumph Speed Triple 1050 motorcycle. Before I started, I prepared:

1) gallon of distiller water
2) Ethylene glycol based radiator antifreeze coolant fluid
3) Water wetter (fluorescent pink)
3) Radiator flush liquid.

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After making sure that the engine is COLD (didn't feel like burning my self with the hot coolant or SUPERHEATED steam), I began with loosening the hose clamp on the hose that runs from radiator to the water pump (left side of the motorcycle).

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After loosening the screw on the clamp I slid the clamp back away from the water pump.

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With clamp off, I simply "wiggled" the hose off the connector and it slid off without much effort. The old coolant started to drain immediatly in to the container I previously placed  below.

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Once the flow of the coolant subsided I removed the small screw which secures the radiator cap.

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With securing screw removed, I removed the radiator cap, which caused more coolant to flow from the disconnected hose.

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Next I loosened and removed the radiator bleeding screw (on the right side, top of the radiator. As that screw came off even more coolant spewed out of the bottom hose.

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Once all of the old coolant was drained, I reconnected the hose to the water pump outlet and refilled the radiator with a mix of Prestone Radiator Flush solution and distilled water and replaced the radiator cap and the radiator bleed screw.

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Then I took this this opportunity clean the plastic overflow bottle.  After filling it with a mix of water and radiator flush solution, I used tooth brush to scrub the sediment off the walls, bottom and the corners of the coolant overflow bottle.

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Once I finished the scrabbling with tooth brush I removed the dirty (REALLY DIRTY) solution with the big plastic syringe with a tube attached to it and repeated the fill, scrub. remove routine two more times (until the water coming from the overflow bottle was nice and clear).

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With overflow bottle cleaned I filled it  with a clean solution of distilled water and the radiator flush fluid. Then made sure the water pump hose was securely attached and the radiator full with the bleed screw and the radiator cap in place I fired up the engine and the let it idle for 10 minutes after it warmed up to the normal working temp range.

About 13 minutes later I shut down the engine and allowed it to cool (about 45 minutes). Then I went through draining the the radiator flush solution (exactly the same sequence as at the start of the how-to and refilling the the cooling system with pure distilled water. Then I repeated the warm up / cool down cycle and drained the distilled water again.

Replaced the hose and the clamp again and  refilled the motorcycle through the radiator cap opening as well as the overflow container  (to the MIN mark) with a mix of 450ml of ethylene glycol anti-freeze, 3oz of Water wetter and the rest distilled water.  This time I MADE SURE that the coolant shows up in both radiator refill and the bleed screw hole while holding the bike totally vertical  on the rear stand (making sure there is no air caught in the cooling system).

Started the engine and allowed it to idle for 10 minutes, noting air bubbles coming out from the hose in the overflow bottle. The level of the coolant in the overflow bottle went up due to liquid expending as the engine temperature rose.

Once I stopped the engine and it started to cool, I could see the liquid level in the overflow bottle drop as it was getting sucked back in to cooling system where it was contracting due to cool down. I repeated the start stop cycle to verify that no more air bubbles are coming up and added a little more distilled water in to the overflow bottle as some of the original liquid replaced the air bubble which got expelled previously. It is worth noting that Speed Triples are notorious for liking a MINIMUM level of coolant in the overflow bottle. Any more above this marker and you will end up with a small puddle of coolant liquid puked underneath your bike.

Working engine temp on my Speed Triple.

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After taking the motorcycle for a 20 minutes ride I notices a small leak from the radiator cap. I guess taking it off and putting the cap back on several times  wore out the the old rubber seals (the cap looked pretty old, probably the original).  Called a local Triumph dealer and was able to pick one up, same day. Triumph part number is T2108005. Got lucky here. Usually have to wait for spare parts for 7 to 10 business days.

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