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Discussion Starter #1
Little background. Trying to get some good old fashioned forum help for this issue. Started recently overheating while riding. Ambient temperatures not extreme (70-85°F only). Radiator fans are working properly. Radiator is clean. Installed a new thermostat and took it for a ride. Seemed to work fine for about 5-10 miles (coolant temps reading 180°F or lower). Then, coolant temps started to rise above 200°F. This while cruising along at 70mph in top gear (around 5300RPM). Virtually no load on the engine (flat Michigan ground). Started seeing coolant temps above 230°F. Only way I could get them to start dropping closer to 200°F was to downshift and get the RPM’s up (7000-8000). Temps would go back down closer to 200°F which is still hotter than normal. Coolant boiling over out of the overflow when parked right after this. I originally replaced the thermostat due to the exact same issues. Obviously that wasn’t the problem but it was worth a try.

I rebuilt this engine about 5 years ago. Cooling system has only ever had distilled water+water wetter or Engine Ice. When I say rebuilt, I mean completely. Split cases, new crankshaft, new plane bearings, piston rings, all new valves in #3 cylinder, new piston in #3, machine shop checked the head and cylinders for spec, the whole deal. Machine shop balanced all 4 piston/connecting rod assemblies. Very meticulous. All parts were washed several times in a parts washer. All OEM Yamaha parts used only. All gaskets, followed the service manual to the letter, etc. Bike has ran perfect since then for about 3,000 miles. 500-700 miles of that is track days at top third of advanced level (just to give an idea-it’s been taken care of very well but also ridden hard).

Engine Ice came out of bike looking exactly like it does in the brand new container (yesterday, when doing the thermostat replacement). No debris, sludge, discoloring, etc. Normal street riding and this bike has always run coolant temps around 170-180°F until this problem.

All that being said, the above facts point me to a water pump that is not pumping coolant like it should. Maybe still circulating but at a severely reduced rate. I’m waiting to take the bike apart until I do more research, see some opinions here, etc. I have all the tools and knowledge to take the thing apart and repair it myself. Also have the heated/air conditioned shop to do it in. Colder temps are coming fast here so this may ultimately be a winter project but I’d like to start getting in front of it soon.

What say ye?
 

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No leaks or loss of coolant? Did the overheating become an issue gradually, or start suddenly?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No leaks anywhere. Only loss of coolant was when it was boiling out of the overflow in the reservoir as a result of the overheating.

Started noticing the issue on a ride. Couple days before that it was completely fine (was paying attention to the temperature on a couple hour long ride). Can’t say if it was gradually over a day or two or if it was a sudden thing. I noticed the abnormally high temperature but wasn’t necessarily paying that close attention to it for the last couple hundred miles.

Coolant level was full before the trip (couple days before the issue started). I checked the bike out pretty well before I left.
 

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Try this:
1. Fill up the radiator. Either coolant or distilled water... doesn't matter
2. Fill up the overflow the one near the rear wheel. If the container is stained and opaque like mine is then fill it until water seeps out.
3. Ride the bike. Keep an eye on engine temps and take special notice if/when your fan clicks on. You probably want to ride around an hour or so. Go home. Put a piece of paper, or something that will run/stain if wet under the oil pan. This is to check for weeping or other leaks that may evaporate during the night.
4. The next day check the paper. If no leaks, ride the bike for another hour.
5. After the bike cools again, pop open the radiator and see how much coolant is in there (I check by measuring how much more water is needed to fill it).

Explanation:

The only time I have had water/coolant boil out of the bike is when the level was (unbeknowst to me) extremely low, which allowed the engine temperatures to get way too high.
There are only two things that would prevent water from being pumped through the system that I can think of:
a. A blown seal in the water/oil pump which would cause coolant to go out of the weep hole in the bottom of the oil pan
b. A leak in the system. If it is one of the hoses inside the bike then the leak could be evaporating on hot surfaces before it reaches the ground

The water pump shares the same shaft/housing as the oil pump... and if the oil pump wasn't working then you'd have some truly serious troubles indeed.

I have ridden my bike for periods not realizing that either the coolant level wasn't topped off, or the overflow reservoir was empty (which will exacerbate coolant loss). Now I make sure to check the level every week or two during the hot months (which is basically April through November here in Atlanta) and keep an eye on the operating temps during the cool months as an indicator as to when i need to check again.
 

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Had the same problem with my 04 R1. It was the radiator cap. Normally a radiator cap keeps the hot coolant in the radiator and only activates (by pushing on the spring to allow coolant to go to the overflow) when it overheats. The spring on the cap (being old as it was) lost it's tension so at about 180 deg. the cap activated and a whole lota coolant to the overflow. I think almost half of the coolant went. So as the bike is running on half the coolant, it'll overheat in no time at all.
I tried a friend's radiator cap and it fixed the problem.
You can try that and see if it works...

Hope it does...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Great suggestions. Appreciate them. Radiator cap definitely would be an easy thing to do. I stupidly didn’t order one when I ordered the thermostat.

Unfortunately winter came early this year here. Might not get to fixing this problem until next spring now. I will order a radiator cap though. Can’t hurt to have a new one...
 

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i think you r on the right track with the water pump. when your moving that fast in those temps it should be keeping it down especially at only 5300. for you to need to drop a gear and rev it up for it to cool down makes no sense unless it was circulating at a reduced rate. you can order a higher pressure rad cap from graves that keep the boiling point down if you want to try it, does;t hurt. also if you have your old thermostat you can test it which you should do anyways to diagnose if there was a problem with it in the first place. put it into a pot of water and a candy thermometer in it and warm it up i think they start to open somewhere around 170. maybe drain the coolant and pull the cover off the pump, try turning the impeller by hand and make sure the shaft is intact make sure there isn't much in n out movement. its hooked to the oil pump so if you have oil pressure then the chain should be intact. look for anything out of place and replace the seal if its all good
 

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Rad cap and pump are good suggestions for sure. Just out of interest, how are you sure the radiator is clean?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Rad cap and pump are good suggestions for sure. Just out of interest, how are you sure the radiator is clean?
It’s been flushed numerous times and the coolant looks brand new. I rebuilt the engine a few years ago and it only has a couple thousand miles on it since (which I realize doesn’t involve a new radiator). It’s only ever had Engine Ice and for a short time only water and water wetter. I suppose I’m as sure as I can be without knowing 100% if that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Also, this problem didn’t come on gradually. Everything was working perfectly and within a very short time I noticed all the issues. Went out one morning with normal temperatures and by 10:30-11:00am I noticed all the issues...
 

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Hello!
You helped me on a similar issue with my bike a few months ago, only it would only over heat when stopped. Replaced the thermostat and it fixed it however the first few days after I replaced it, the bike was fine but randomly did EXACTLY as you were describing. The issue was my fault, I didn't get the thermostat housing sealed complete so I lubed the o-ring and then squeezed the life outta the housing until it snapped into place... Have you checked the thermostat housing?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hello!
You helped me on a similar issue with my bike a few months ago, only it would only over heat when stopped. Replaced the thermostat and it fixed it however the first few days after I replaced it, the bike was fine but randomly did EXACTLY as you were describing. The issue was my fault, I didn't get the thermostat housing sealed complete so I lubed the o-ring and then squeezed the life outta the housing until it snapped into place... Have you checked the thermostat housing?
Indeed I did. I actually had a similar issue as you did when I replaced the thermostat. I can see exactly how that could happen because I did it, lol. However, I caught it before I ever took it for a ride. Fixed the issue before the test ride so that’s not it. Good suggestion though for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So, another small update. Had a warmer day and a few minutes yesterday to put a brand new radiator cap on after topping the radiator off with Engine Ice. Bundled up and took it for a ride.

Ambient temperature about 48°F so pretty cold. First 2-3 miles temps were as expected with the cold temperatures (158°F-167°F). Then they started to rise slowly. Normal back roads riding. Nothing hard. Just country roads with a stop sign here and there. 5-6 miles in and now it’s around 200°F. Stopped at a stop sign and let it idle for a minute or two and temps went up into the 230°F range. Fans were on at this point (they come on at 212°F or so like normal. Engine Ice dripping out the overflow a bit now. So, rode it back home. Higher RPM’s again the only way I could cool it down to the low 200°F range (keep in mind it’s now probably only 45°F outside).

So, brand new radiator cap does nothing. Still not a big deal as it probably should be replaced at this point anyway but still rather annoying.

Another thought. Exhaust smells exactly normal. Not sure if Engine Ice smells like regular antifreeze when it’s burning but aside from a poorly performing water pump, the only other thing I could see it being is a leaking head gasket and burning off coolant. This doesn’t seem likely givin all my observations so far though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hmmm could be the water pump. Do your fans normally come on at 212? Just curious?
I could be wrong on the fan on temperature. Might be on at 220 and off at 212. Either way I know that they come on and off at the factory set temps. That’s never need messed with.
 

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Did you burp the cooling system? Maybe after having the cap off and reinstalled you got some air in there?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Did you burp the cooling system? Maybe after having the cap off and reinstalled you got some air in there?
I really don’t know what that means. Not something I ever had to do. Even when filling the system after rebuilding the engine (when it was obviously completely empty). Is there a process to do this on a 2006?
 

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Basically fill the system (which you've already done), with the cap off start the engine and let it run for a bit. Keep an eye on the temp so it doesn't overheat, but if there's air in the system the coolant level will fall. If so, top it back off.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Basically fill the system (which you've already done), with the cap off start the engine and let it run for a bit. Keep an eye on the temp so it doesn't overheat, but if there's air in the system the coolant level will fall. If so, top it back off.
Ah yes. This is how I filled it initially. I understand now.

So yes, I did this a couple times recently actually.
 

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OK, then I'd venture to guess a blockage in the system that's slowing the flow of coolant or a failing water pump. I'm curious to see what you figure out. Good luck!
 
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