Adventures in Antifreeze
This pertains to changing the coolant in my 2014 DL650 but I assume it would apply to the 1000 as well.
I put off changing my coolant after watching Dr. VStromís YouTube video on the subject with all of the squeezing, rocking, rolling, wax on, wax off etc. to get all of the trapped air out of the system. While contemplating my fate I became curious to see if you can use a vacuum method (used on cars that are difficult to get the air out of) to fill the system. I rigged up the following system which you may wish to try (or perfect). Italic text is what I wished I had done.
1. I drained the coolant using the conventional method.
2. I rigged up a fill line that attached to the drain port using a rubber inflating tip (used to inflate air mattresses, etc.) with a length of hose attached.
3. I screwed the tip into the port (using some Teflon tape or goo or something to prevent leaks around the threads).
4. Put the hose in a container of coolant (find a 2 liter container so you can put in the entire amount needed- so you donít have to stop and change containers or add more).
5. Disconnect the overflow vent line from the top of the overflow tank (donít forget to empty the tank first). Attach your vacuum pump to this port on the tank (leave the tank cap in place). If you have a real vacuum pump you may want to use a brake bleed bottle in line to catch any coolant pulled out of the system.
6. Now for the trick- you canít evacuate the system with the radiator cap in place so you have to remove the cap and rig it to keep the vacuum relief (metal disk on the very bottom of the cap) on the cap open during this procedure. Take a piece of wire, pry open the disk and wrap the (very short) piece of wire around the disk to keep it from closing (make sure the wire is secure so it doesnít fall off!) and then replace the cap.
7. Take a hemostat (or something) and clamp off the hose going into the coolant. Turn on the vacuum pump and pull a vacuum on the system (will your coolant tank implode? Mine didnít but YMMV).
8. When youíve reached maximum vacuum unclamp the hose into the coolant. The vacuum will suck the coolant into the system (very quickly). (I left the vacuum pump on but in theory you wouldnít need to and you donít with automotive systems).
9. Continue the process until the coolant level comes up into the tank and reaches the fill line (more or less). Then clamp off the coolant fill line again to stop the flow.
10. Now you have to replace the drain plug. Since the radiator cap is ďopenĒ you need to clamp off the overflow line at the radiator to prevent air entering the system (and allowing the coolant to run out). Remove the coolant hose/ tip and re-install the drain plug.
11. With the overflow hose still clamped off, remove the radiator cap, remove the wire and replace the radiator cap.
12. Remove the hose clamp and re-install the overflow tank vent line. Volia!
OK- I didnít do this exactly as I outlined above. When the process was finished, I found that I had put in about 1.6 l (vs. 1.8 normal) of coolant (200 ml short). I put the gas tank back on and rode the bike for about 10 miles. After the bike cooled off, I clamped off the overflow line (to keep the coolant from coming out of the overflow tank, took off the cap (fortunately this can be done without removing the tank). I was able to put in the remaining 200 ml with a piece of hose and a funnel. Even though I wasnít totally successful I didnít have to squeeze, rock, multiple attempts to get the air out.
At this point you may say ďjeez thatís complicatedĒ but it saves a lot of work if you can use it.
Questions or suggested improvements are welcome.