I was on my way to work this morning pushing 7k RPM in the fast lane when I see out of the corner of my eye the idiot lights illuminate. I immediately reach to turn off the engine as I realize I'm engulfed in a spray and steam cloud of engine coolant! I estimate the entire coolant system was emptied in no more than 1 second. I get off to the right shoulder and stop. It's still dark out and I can't see much from all the steam.
At first I thought I had overheated and blew the radiator since I usually partially block the radiator with cardboard (helps keep the engine warm in cold weather) and this year the piece I used was unintentionally larger than normal, blocking all but about an inch of the top of the radiator. I usually leave a little more than 2 inches exposed.
I woke up my wonderful girlfriend who was nice enough to come rescue me. I try to call her, she answers and I get out "I need you to come get me" before the phone drops the call. "Signal faded call lost" This repeats at least 6 or 7 more times. At this point I'm in full hostile rage with Sprint! WTF Sprint I have 4 out of 5 bars how the f is my signal fading and dropping the call!?!?!! Since late summer the service has gone to crap. Often at times like this when I really need to make a call it fails miserably. Sprint's excuse that this is caused by them working on the area towers to roll out 4g is becoming less believable after almost 4 months of crap service and no 4g. I'd switch in a heartbeat if they weren't so cheap. I guess you get what you pay for. Ok I'm done with that rant, back to the story.... I eventually over several broken phone calls get thru to her what the situation is and she is on her way. While waiting for her to come I started trying to see if I could figure out what went wrong. I removed the soaking cardboard from in front of the radiator, then start removing the plastic covers to the thermostat housing and coolant reservoir (which was still full). By this time I would say the sun was coming up but it was cold, dark, and drizzly but becoming barely light enough to start to see stuff. There is antifreeze EVERYWHERE! and I mean EVERYWHERE, front fender, on TOP of the head light, even some specks on the wind screen and all down the rest of the bike. I notice there appeared to be more down the right side of the bike so I start looking at the right side. Then I see the cheap plastic tee I used for my thermo-bob mod (see how-to section) has split in two. My first thought was, "well that's cheaper to fix than a radiator" then, "What the hell was I thinking that plastic was a good idea to use here?"
I began to ponder how I was going to limp home to fix this. I'm a half hour from home and the tee was hard to find the first time. It was a special order only item at the parts stores by my house. I was thinking worse case I could use a 3/4" splice on the radiator hose, plug the bypass hose with a bolt, and remove the thermostat so coolant would circulate allowing me to limp home. NAPA to the rescue! they were the only one of 4 nearby auto part stores that had the tee in stock. Yay!
Working on the side of I-75 in the drizzle with temps in the upper 30's and semi's whizzing by less then 10 feet away is NOT fun. Oh yeah it was very windy too. At least I was able to remove the old bits of plastic and install the new part with no major hassles. The moral of the story is that just because something cheap and plastic looks like it might work, spending the extra $25 dollars for something you know will work is well worth avoiding the risk of having an experience like this!
Being on the road, we learn something new all the time. Share the knowlege of your experiences.
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- Posts: 15
- Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:34 pm
- I ride: '99 Vulcan 500 LTD, '07 Suzuki VS800
- Location: Raleigh, NC
very few times in my life have I kicked myself for spending too much for something. Many are the times I have kicked myself for spending too little.
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