Small coolant leak?

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  • Small coolant leak?

    So I seem to have a slight coolant leak. I have been smelling a faint odor of burning coolant for quite a while but have never seen any evidence of a leak.
    Noticed in the shop today a small puddle (quarter sized) on the right hand side of the bike. Can't really tell where it's coming from. I have every intention of pulling
    it apart but just wondered if there is a common issue I should be looking for once I get the shelter off? Hose clamp or failing hose maybe?

  • #2
    I would be looking for a failing water pump or one of those clamps.

    How many miles on the bike/
    GL1800 8A - TRIUMPH SCRAMBLER 900

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    • #3
      I would check all the clamps first

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JohnnieB View Post
        but just wondered if there is a common issue I should be looking for once I get the shelter off? Hose clamp or failing hose maybe?
        Wish we could help you....really...but without knowing what YEAR, and how many MILES are on your bike, we have no direction to go in with a "common issue".

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        • #5
          Check all hose clamps, pull the fuel tank, tighten clamps under fuel tank.

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          • #6
            fastfred, did you just suggest that he "pull the fuel tank" on a GL-1800....to check if there are any loose hose clamps, or leaking hoses?

            If you have not done this job before, it is not a minor task to "pull the fuel tank" on a 1800 Wing.

            There are many other places he can look at, for loose clamps, to find this coolant leak.

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            • #7
              I think the common issue with these hoses and clamps is there are about 32 to check and some are very difficult to get a tool onto them.
              GL1800 8A - TRIUMPH SCRAMBLER 900

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Clamper
                It's not hard to remove, just time consuming.
                I agree removing the tank ain't that hard...also after 42 years of being a owner/operator & a retired Teamster...I have found that a little coolant leak is normal during the cold winter months...we called it cold weather leak...I just added a little coolant to my truck & drove it...and this was what I used to make my living with, & never had a problem....but turning the fuel to it, was a different story...

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                • #9
                  My symptoms started just like yours. First a smell for a few weeks, then a couple small puddles and finally a torrent that grounded my travels. So I replaced the water pump on my 2004 with 108,000 miles. And while I was at it I also replaced my alternator, since it is necessary to remove it to get to the water pump. You may want to do a pressure test on your coolant system though before starting the procedure to see if you can pinpoint your leak. Pressurize the system to 20 psi and let sit. Remove the coolant bottle underneath which is quite easy so you can look up at the water pump and the 3 way connection in the back. If you want to completely remove the bottle, (probably not necessary for the pressure test) you will have to remove the radiator return line. However, removing the gas tank was no big deal. You almost get to the point where you are ready to take the gas tank out when just changing out the air filter. After removing the four retaining bolts, it will just take a little tugging to slightly lift, twist and pull. I was originally considering removing the battery box and battery, but that was not needed. There are several good write-ups how to remove the water pump, Google is your friend. Just don't remove the air box, it is unnecessary and adds to the difficulty (ask me how I know).

                  Evidence of water pump failure. Notice the weep hole drainage and the broader band of clean metal.


                  Location of water pump. This is the front "Y" connector. No evidence of leakage.


                  Looking up at water pump from below and a close up. Not shown is the rear "Y" clamp, which is right behind the pump (to the right of this picture). There was no evidence of leakage at the clamp. The circled residue on the pump indicates coolant and not as clear in the pictures but certainly when viewed first hand is the dark streak on the back of the motor indicating leakage.


                  So, one other question to consider is; when do you see the leak? If it leaks only after you stop the motor and it sits, it is quite possible your leak is either in the overflow tank (a cracked plastic bottle in the picture above) or a crack in the hose to the overflow tank (the thin hose snaking from upper right to just under the water pump in the second picture from the top). If you only have this type of leak it will not show up when you do your leak test, because the tester plug in the radiator will not allow fluid to go into the overflow reservoir. If you have this kind of problem, the best solution may be thorough examination.
                  Joe

                  '18 Goldwing Tour DCT, '04 GL1800A, '17 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, '14 BMW K1600 Exclusive, '11 KTM 990 Adventure Dakar (all countries in South, Central and North America), '14 KTM 500 Exc (for the dirt)

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                  • Kenichi
                    Kenichi commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Oh man great sharing the info and the pics all of us visual learners appreciate it!

                • #10
                  Excellent, and I mean really excellent pictures, and great info to know!!

                  Thanks Jfink!!

                  Rayjoe

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                  • #11
                    The bike is an 03 with around 90k on it. The only time I have noticed the odor is after the bike has been sitting for a few days. Smell it on the initial start and that is it.
                    It's really not a big deal to take it apart and look. Just thought I would spark some conversation!

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                    • #12
                      My 01 had a coolant smell after I changed coolant, turned out to be bad radiator cap

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                      • #13
                        just noticed a coolant smell today on first start up and most of todays ride (120miles) . I have a 01 and just turned 60k.

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                        • #14
                          I have had a very small coolant leak and odor forever. It is most noticeable when temps are over 100 and I've ridden hard all day, we've (mechanics) searched and searched but with no luck...I've given up and learned not to close the garage door right away after summer rides.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by m45mcdan View Post
                            I have had a very small coolant leak and odor forever. It is most noticeable when temps are over 100 and I've ridden hard all day, we've (mechanics) searched and searched but with no luck...I've given up and learned not to close the garage door right away after summer rides.
                            If you have had a problem with coolant loss and you have had it in to the "Mechanics" who cant discover where the leak is I would go to somewhere else and I would not pay the invoice.
                            GL1800 8A - TRIUMPH SCRAMBLER 900

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                            • #16
                              A few weeks ago my buddy and I both had anti freeze leaks. We rented a pressure tester from Autozone and began testing my bike. We started with 15 psi and no leaks or pressure lost. 16 psi no issues. 17 psi and I noticed a drop on top of the lower cowl just above the running light area. After tearing the front off the bike I found 1 loose clamp on the top left corner of the left radiator. Tightened the clamp and the pressure held all the way to 20 psi. (pictures below).

                              My buddy's bike, on the other hand, was a lot worst. His bike is an 03 that had set for about 5 years without starting. After digging into the books and some info from others we started digging into the bike. After doing mine we decided to check every clamp we could find as the pressure test was failing even at 16 psi. We found a total of 20 clamps on the coolant system. After pulling the fuel tank we found 12 of those [ATTACH=CONFIG]n41955[/ATTACH] clamps under the tank and under the water pump. They were ALL loose. When we were done the pressure held at 20 psi. All in all a lot of work for some loose clamps.

                              Wayne
                              Last edited by ET Rider; 02-05-2015, 12:08 PM. Reason: Spelling problems

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                              • Kenichi
                                Kenichi commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Man I hope the beers were cold after all that work!
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