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Old 04-04-2013, 11:36 PM   #1
thekinghimself OP
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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What's coming out of my radiator?????

What's coming out of my radiator?????



Well, my 2004 KTM has thrown me some interesting mechanical curve-balls since I bought it used in 2007 with 9000 miles.
Now it has 76k and on its 2nd clutch basket and enough water pumps that I've lost count. :)


What a great machine though! Still the best motorcycle I've ever had the pleasure to ride.

Recently I noticed the overflow tank for the radiator had some black specks in it. There were enough granular black specks that I decided to drain the coolant. I wish I had taken a picture. Nice green antifreeze with a good amount of granular black debris floating around in it.

Oh geez, I thought, water pump #4 or #5? Whatever, I can swap that thing out in a half day if my wife leaves the house long enough to sneak the parts into the oven :)

Anyway, I ordered another water pump rebuild kit from KTM twins, and buttoned the bike up again and filled the radiator with water in the meantime.

While waiting for the kit, I rode it for a week or so, and today decided to drain the water out of the radiator to look for more black specs.

Here's what came out:



It looks a little yellow in the picture, but it essentially looks as white as milk.

What do you think is going on here? No more black specs, just water turned to a white milky substance.

I'm guessing the black specs are from either the impeller or maybe head gasket material? Maybe from rubber coolant hoses breaking down?? FYI, I replaced the head gaskets at 12k, including the new washers and torque the heads regularly. Every valve adjust I remove and drain the radiator just to make it easier, so I keep a pretty close eye on the fluids as well. I’ve seen black specks on the radiator cap before, but not so much in the coolant.


Now the water turned to milk???....

I know water/coolant leaking into oil gets kind of milky, but I don't think oil leaking into water (and whatever coolant was left in the radiator would turn white. (Btw. my oil and oil filter are fine, and show now signs of water)

I'm going to change out the pump anyway (it's probably part of the problem), but what do we figure is going on here?

Any guesses???

As always, thanks for your input. - Jeff
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:33 AM   #2
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Looks like LA city water?
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:59 AM   #3
PeterW
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The white is almost certainly oil. Head or base gasket leak maybe ?, that's just guesswork, I don't know that motor well enough to be sure.

If you aren't seeing water in the oil though, head is the only likely region. (The oil has to be getting into the water under pressure to not have cross-flow)

Pete
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:12 AM   #4
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Looks like someone poured coffee into the radiator. My guess is you have very hard water where you live: that looks like hard water turbidity and radiator dirt. Might be oil but it doesn't look gooey; it looks thoroughly mixed with the water which oil won't do. The black specs are probably the rubber coolant hoses deteriorating. How dirty is the overflow tank?

Get the hardened CJ WP kit, save the hassle & some money. Give those hoses a close look; take one off and rub the inside to see what comes loose. Might be time to replace them.

Be sure to let us know what you find.
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:19 AM   #5
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Could be oil and water mixed - I recognize that from working on old outboards with leaking propeller seals. I would change out the water and see if the problem comes back.

If you have any doubts about the water quality where you live you can use battery water - it's essentially just distilled water so that's fine. Mix it 50/50 with ethylene glycol.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:47 AM   #6
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My bike is a 2004 as well, and I changed out the original hoses this year (34K miles). One of the hoses was soft and swollen and ready to burst. The insides of the hoses were clearly decayed. Your black specks are very likely decayed rubber from the hoses. I went with the Moose Racing Samco silicone hoses, but they are horribly expensive.




The hoses do not fit perfectly and require a little cutting to make work. But so far I like the change.

The white is oil/water mixed. In theory it could be from the water pump shaft. But my shaft I removed just recently was WAY gone, and I did not see anything like your symptoms. My removed pump shaft:


It's more likely a head gasket. But I would think that this would put pressure on your coolant system and cause blow-by out of the coolant system. Did you see any signs of excess pressurization in your coolant? If not, you would expect that pressurized oil is getting in your coolant and coolant is getting in your oil. I would change the shaft (CJDesigns hardened shaft) and then run it a little while. Do a coolant check to see what you have, and then do an oil change to see if you can find any signs of coolant in the oil. Then you should know what is going on.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:31 AM   #7
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I'm just finishing up a head gasket job. The only tell tale I had was when running at high speeds(100mph+) for long sustained periods. The cooling system would over pressurize and puke all over my leg. I had no milky coolant, but i did have a blackish grey oily sludge stuck to the walls of the over flow bottle. The bike ran fine no loss of power. I took the heads and cylinders to a machine shop to get checked for flat. They resurfaced them, one had a definite low spot. I wish i had a leak down tester to save me work and some cash for the extra parts.

I am perplexed with your milky coolant!?!?!?!?!
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue&Yellow View Post
Could be oil and water mixed - I recognize that from working on old outboards with leaking propeller seals. I would change out the water and see if the problem comes back.

If you have any doubts about the water quality where you live you can use battery water - it's essentially just distilled water so that's fine. Mix it 50/50 with ethylene glycol.
Indeed, looks exactly like oil mixed with regular water. Seen allot of 90W that looked like plain milk.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekinghimself View Post
Oh geez, I thought, water pump #4 or #5? Whatever, I can swap that thing out in a half day if my wife leaves the house long enough to sneak the parts into the oven :)
Wait 'til she finds out you're draining milky oil into her plastic storage bins!
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:24 PM   #10
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Why dont you fill up with distilled water and go for a ride then dump the water to see what you get.
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:36 PM   #11
Katoom72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keener View Post
Why dont you fill up with distilled water and go for a ride then dump the water to see what you get.
^ I'd do this before doing anything else
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:44 AM   #12
thekinghimself OP
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Thanks everyone for all your responses!

After I took the pic and put up the post, I re-filled the cooling system with actual radiator fluid so I could actually see the level in the overflow tank and monitor what was going on. I've been running it for a few days now and it looks to me (I've been through a few water pumps in my time) that although too not bad, but its starting to go.

The overflow tank has less and less coolant each day. So I'm guessing a small leak through the shaft and seal.

My initial cause for concern were the black specs in the coolant, but I think both HeatXfer and Orangcicle are right. It's the rubber coolant hoses deteriorating.

The Samco Hoses are over $200 with shipping!

Checking with cheapcycleparts, the OEM hoses total to just $100ish. My OEMhoses lasted 8 years and 76K, so I think I'll save the dough and replace with stock.

Now the milky white fluid. I did let it set, and it did not separate. Nor was it greasy to the touch. We do have VERY HARD water here in LA, so I'm letting my concern go for now. I'm taking The Griz's advice and doing a flush with white viniger water and distilled water.

It makes sense to me that after 76K there would be deposits throughout the cooling system. Time for the flush, new hoses and water pump.

I don't see the CJ design;s water pump shaft on KTMtwins anymore. I did find it at dualsportwarehouse for $150. He makes great stuff. The cluch basket I put in 4 years ago shows no wear whatsoever. I absolutly recomend the basket upgrade if you find you are running through clutch baskets like I was.

Again, thanks for all your input and advice. As soon as I can I will post pics of my next coolant drain (hopefully and evening this week).

I know, Very exciting. :)
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:49 AM   #13
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Moose Racing private labels SAMCO Radiator hose kits. MSRP on the kit for the 950/990 is $198.00 comes with hose clamps too. You should be able to buy them for around $178

Moose Part# 1902-0504 and there are 6 available as of today.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekinghimself View Post
I don't see the CJ design;s water pump shaft on KTMtwins anymore. I did find it at dualsportwarehouse for $150. He makes great stuff. The cluch basket I put in 4 years ago shows no wear whatsoever. I absolutly recomend the basket upgrade if you find you are running through clutch baskets like I was.

:)
Great to hear the basket is giving you great results. If you have a hard time finding my stuff, feel free to email me.

Safe travels,
cj
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