It’s time to make your bike cool Fresh fluid and a bit of ra­di­a­tor care will keep your bike’s tem­per­a­ture in its sweet spot

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment -

1Body­work off

Re­move any body­work ob­scur­ing the key parts of the cool­ing sys­tem. You’ll need clear ac­cess to the filler cap – usu­ally un­der fair­ing pan­els or in­fills, some­times un­der the fuel tank. You’ll also need ac­cess to the drain plug – if there isn’t one, you’ll need to be able to pull a coolant hose off from the low­est point in the sys­tem. Some cool­ing sys­tems have bleed screws – you’ll need ac­cess to these too.

2Out with the old

Re­move your drain plug, or un­screw the hose clip on your low­est coolant pipe. Do this be­fore re­mov­ing the ra­di­a­tor cap and it won’t sud­denly gush out ev­ery­where. Make sure your drain con­tainer is larger than the sys­tem ca­pac­ity and is rea­son­ably wide so you can catch it all. Care­fully lean the bike from side to side to tease it out from ev­ery last nook and cranny, but take care not to get it on your bike’s brakes or tyres.

3Empty your header

Your cool­ing sys­tem has a header tank that won’t drain with the rest of the coolant. Re­move the tube that feeds it to drain it out, and flush with wa­ter. Of­ten, these will be clogged with limescale and other nas­ties from years of sit­ting with fluid in. A baby’s bot­tle brush will clear light de­posits, or you can re­move the bot­tle from the bike and put it through the dish­washer for a deeper clean.

4Clean-up op­er­a­tion

Re­fit the drain plug (or hose), and clean the area fully. If youõve taken fair­ings off, com­bine it with a proper scrub. Itõs a good op­por­tu­nity to clean the ra­di­a­tor fins too. Re­move the ra­di­a­tor and use your favourite bike cleaner to soak the dirt, a soft brush to care­fully scrub, and rinse the core through from be­hind only Ð that way you wonõt force dirt in harder.

6Fill ’er up

Coolant comes ei­ther ready-mixed, or as con­cen­trate. Con­cen­trate should be mixed to the ra­tio spec­i­fied by the bike man­u­fac­turer. Only use dis­tilled wa­ter for mix­ing Ð it costs so lit­tle itõs not worth mess­ing with the old method of boil­ing wa­ter to re­move nas­ties. Top the sys­tem up slowly through a fun­nel, squeez­ing hoses as you go to bring air bub­bles to the top.

8Run it up

You may still have air pock­ets in the sys­tem and the eas­i­est way to purge them is by run­ning the bike at low rpm for 30 sec­onds. Start the bike. If the ra­di­a­tor cap is on the right­hand side of the bike, do it on the side­stand with the cap off, and if it burps air up or the level drops, top it up care­fully. Switch off the bike, screw on the cap and re­fit any kind of lock­ing screw or re­tainer.

5Straighten up

Radiators work best when air can flow freely, but the fins are del­i­cate alu­minium and eas­ily flat­tened, re­duc­ing the ef­fi­ciency of the cool­ing sys­tem over time. But you can per­form a lit­tle light restora­tion. A set of tweez­ers can help straighten beaten-up fins. Donõt use a screw­driver Ð itõs easy to poke it in too far, and its ta­per will bend the fins out the op­po­site way.

7Bleed out

For cool­ing sys­tems with bleed points you will need to first fill the sys­tem as much as you can. Then undo the low­est bleed screw slowly Ð it should start hiss­ing as coolant drains down with grav­ity, forc­ing the air out. When coolant starts to drib­ble through the bolt, lock it off and wipe up the spillage. Top up the fluid and squeeze hoses in be­tween to en­sure a thor­ough fill­ing.

9Fin­ish­ing touch

Fill the header tank us­ing the same coolant you used for the bike Ð but only go to the lower mark on the tank, ex­actly. This way, youõll see if the level rises or low­ers in time Ð ei­ther in­di­cates a prob­lem in the sys­tem. Bub­bling, froth­ing or an oily paste/film in­di­cates a se­ri­ous fault. Check for small leaks or weeps that have de­vel­oped in test­ing. Re­fit body­work and trim.

Aprilia Tuono Colours Red, grey and black. Dealer £3000 Pri­vate good £2200 Pri­vate av­er­age £1800 This one 2003 model, 22,713 miles. Dealer sale, £2999 Aprilia Tuono Colours Sil­ver and red, red and black and Flu­oro red Dealer £3300 Pri­vate good £2500 Pri­vate av­er­age £2100 This one 2004 model, 16,295 miles. Pri­vate sale, £2999 Aprilia Tuono Colours Sil­ver and red, matt black and black and red. Dealer £3800 Pri­vate good £3200 Pri­vate av­er­age £2800 This one 2006 model, 18,024 sale, £3899

Your bike’s coolant loses its ef­fi­ciency over time so change it reg­u­larly to keep things run­ning cool

Whether owned by a youth or not, care is needed when buy­ing a scoot

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