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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. VStrom’s 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 don’t have to stop and change containers or add more).
5. Disconnect the overflow vent line from the top of the overflow tank (don’t 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 can’t 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 doesn’t 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 didn’t but YMMV).
8. When you’ve 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 wouldn’t need to and you don’t 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 “open” 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t totally successful I didn’t have to squeeze, rock, multiple attempts to get the air out.
At this point you may say “jeez that’s complicated” but it saves a lot of work if you can use it.
Questions or suggested improvements are welcome.
 

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I changed the coolant in my 2014 650 last year and had no trouble with air trapped in the system. So it can be done conventionally without a lot of fuss. It’s been over 10,000 miles so I guess I got it right. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t read all the horror stories and was ignorant of the problems.


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Ditto. No problem with air in the system of my 2014 Wee. I just filled it up and with the radiator cap off, started up and gently rev'd it till the gauge hit three bars then let it cool and then topped it off, closed the cap and connected and filled the reservoir. The next few rides I took it on some twisties for the lean effect which seemed to burp a few bubbles since after it cooled I did have to top off the reservoir but not a lot. Level hasn't moved since.
 

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Another simple way to make sure rad is filled all the way:

1. With engine off, fill rad to full.
2. With rad cap off, turn on engine and add coolant while engine is running.
3. When rad is full, turn off engine and place cap on rad.
4. Fill overflow container to correct level.
5. Ride.
 

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As long as we're on coolant...

...can we please get the word around about (lack of) silicates in coolants?

If I have one more shop owner, or supposed professional motorcycle mechanic, try to lecture me about the silicates allegedly present in e.g. Zerex Asian, and how they are "bad" for motorcycle engines...well, I'm going to have cross words with him.

Yeah sure buddy, and I need to change my full synthetic oil every 3000 miles. :/
 

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Another simple way to make sure rad is filled all the way:

1. With engine off, fill rad to full.
2. With rad cap off, turn on engine and add coolant while engine is running.
3. When rad is full, turn off engine and place cap on rad.
4. Fill overflow container to correct level.
5. Ride.
One more step:
6. Check coolant reservoir level and adjust as/ if needed.

Worked without problems and without adding more coolant on my V2 (2014).
 

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As long as we're on coolant...

...can we please get the word around about (lack of) silicates in coolants?

If I have one more shop owner, or supposed professional motorcycle mechanic, try to lecture me about the silicates allegedly present in e.g. Zerex Asian, and how they are "bad" for motorcycle engines...well, I'm going to have cross words with him.

Yeah sure buddy, and I need to change my full synthetic oil every 3000 miles. :/
I do not know about Zerex, but Honda automotive brand of coolant is CLEARLY labeled as non-silicate. I use it.
 

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Bike , car , truck etc for years I've been adding anti-freeze this way with no problems : after draining out the old anti-freeze I open the rad cap and plastic fill cap - I start the engine up and add the anti freeze the rad burps a couple of times while I'm adding the fluid then I squeeze the hose a couple of times check the level in the side plastic fill cap when the level is good I put the rad cap back on while the engine is still running - leave the engine running a little longer checking the side plastic fill cap and temp Gage - if all looks good take it for a short ride and check the levels and temps again when I get back. That's it for me
 

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Golly, when I had the valves checked at 80K miles I caught the drained coolant and poured it back in when we finished and topped it off with clean water. still going strong at 100060 miles.
I'm so remiss in appropriate maint!
 

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Bike , car , truck etc for years I've been adding anti-freeze this way with no problems : after draining out the old anti-freeze I open the rad cap and plastic fill cap - I start the engine up and add the anti freeze the rad burps a couple of times while I'm adding the fluid then I squeeze the hose a couple of times check the level in the side plastic fill cap when the level is good I put the rad cap back on while the engine is still running - leave the engine running a little longer checking the side plastic fill cap and temp Gage - if all looks good take it for a short ride and check the levels and temps again when I get back. That's it for me
Sure sounds easier than the service manual's "rock bike back and forth while tapping on thermostat housing" method.

This is impossible for me to do safely, single-handed, and I have doubts about the practicality, even with a helper.
 

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I do not know about Zerex, but Honda automotive brand of coolant is CLEARLY labeled as non-silicate. I use it.
Zerex (a Valvoline brand) offers two varieties of "Asian" coolant.

One is red/pink, the other blue/violet. No difference apart from color, which apparently is part of manufacturer's spec for some Asian vehicle makes.

Both are silicate-free (they're OAT-type), so perfectly peachy for all kinds of engines, from Toyotas to our Vstroms.

I like 'em because you can usually get them at auto parts stores, and they're priced lower than the vehicle-manufacturer-branded equivalents.
 

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I've never figured out why so many people believe that motorcycle engines are made from Mysterious Magical Ming Metal and mere "car" antifreeze will cause your engine to immediately crumble into dust.
 

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My Experience

I was wondering about the basic Prestone Antifreeze available at the local Wally World and whether it would be Silicate Free and safe for the bike. Sent an email to Prestone Customer Service asking that very question. Here's their response below.


Prestone Information <[email protected]>
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 2:31 PM
to me

Good Afternoon Harry,

Yes, the Prestone Extended Life 50/50 Prediluted Antifreeze/Coolant in the yellow jug is silicate-free and recommended for use in your motorcycle. Please let me know if you require anything further.

Sincerely,
Aaron Jones
Prestone Consumer Relations Representative
Phone: 203-731-8191
 

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I've never figured out why so many people believe that motorcycle engines are made from Mysterious Magical Ming Metal and mere "car" antifreeze will cause your engine to immediately crumble into dust.
One local independent shop talked themselves out of any further business this way. They foisted a totally unnecessary coolant flush on me when I had the Vstrom in for a valve clearance check.

You guessed it, these so-called "professionals" insisted that "car coolant" would somehow "damage" my engine.

Of course, the owner was unable to state any specifics, when asked.
 

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Honda Goldwings a while back had an issue with the "wrong" coolant. They specified a coolant and suggested there could be problems not using that coolant.
Car engines are made of alunimum, I think, but what differences could there be?
Other than oil type for the clutches because the transmission shares that lubricant and a shear factor occurs isn't an engine an engine?
 

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Honda Goldwings a while back had an issue with the "wrong" coolant. They specified a coolant and suggested there could be problems not using that coolant.
Car engines are made of alunimum, I think, but what differences could there be?
Other than oil type for the clutches because the transmission shares that lubricant and a shear factor occurs isn't an engine an engine?
The usual story is that once upon a time, motorcycle water pumps - specifically the mechanical seals - had a problem with coolant containing silicates as a corrosion inhibitor.

Not sure why that didn't apply to cars as well. A coolant pump is a coolant pump, isn't it? Don't know the answer to that.

The question of silicates or not is almost a non-issue today. Car-world started moving away from silicates and toward OAT (Organic Acid Technology or Organic Additive Technology, depending on who you ask) as corrosion inhibitors in coolant, as early as the 1990's. Today, there are plenty of "car" coolants that don't contain silicates and are otherwise perfectly suitable for use in motorcycles.
 
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