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Old 05-06-2012, 02:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2012 Ninja 650 Coolant Problems

Hello all. I picked up my new 650 about 2 weeks ago now and have been riding it around just fine until a couple of days ago. It was real hot here in NC and I was stuck in rush hour traffic when my engine heat light started to come on. It would be on as I was stopped in traffic and would turn off after I pulled away and the engine had some air cooldown. Every time I would stop for more than a minute, though, that light would come on again. It even got to a point where the temperature light would turn off and the check engine light would come on. Then they would alternate between the two. I got it home as soon as I could and set her down in the garage for about 3 hours to let the engine cool. I then proceeded to check my coolant level and it was way below the low line (we're talking only up about a half inch from the bottom of the reserve tank). I took it to the dealer (after filling it with water like they said) and they told me that it could have overflowed into the release valve and let it all out. They said there may be a problem with my engine fan. Now I have to bring it in on Monday and they're going to hold it for about 3-4 days to check my system. My first question is: how likely is it that these guys didn't fill my coolant up all the way when I bought my bike and are trying to cover their asses. My second would be: how much damage could this have done to my engine if it was overheating that much. Like I said, my check engine light would even come on, so I'm really scared that there could be serious engine damage. Any help or suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated.

TL;DR: My bike has a coolant issue. How much damage can this do, and why would this happen on a brand new bike?
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Someone like Rob can give you a good answer. This is why I like a temp gauge, so you can see it coming. You may be OK if the engine sounds good and didn't knock, smoke or seize. I would have them change the oil since it got over-heated as well or do it myself and go to synthetic for the hot weather. The oil probably broke down with the heat. When I picked up my bike, they provided me with a checklist that included checking and adding oil, radiator fluid, brake fluid and it was signed by the mechanic. I think you will be OK. An air bubble in the system can keep the radiator from circulating fluid and that is common from not bleeding the system, but your problem was not that. I bet they didn't put the right amount in to begin with.

I had the oil changed on my Prius the other day. As I was driving home, the car started smoking. They had not put the oil cap back on. I have found screw drivers and other tools, disconnected hoses, other problems over the years. Yes, they probably didn't have the right amount of fluid in the radiator, or the wrong fluid. Some new guy there I bet.
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've never had that problem with my '12. And I live in georgia
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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you'd surely notice coolant jetting out through the overflow tube, so I'm guessing the system didn't have sufficient amount of coolant?
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes poor setup. That would be my guess.

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Old 05-07-2012, 09:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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if no coolant was coming out of the overflow tank, most likely it was under filled.

but if coolant was coming out the overflow while you were stuck in traffic, and didnt notice, you might have a diff issue.

did you notice/hear the fan switching on when you were stuck in traffic?
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Take it back mate; it isn't right!
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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New bikes with unpolished bearings (that's what break in does) are going to get hot in that kind of traffic. Chances are that some of your coolant just got expelled.

Ideally you should have stopped the engine, given it time for a proper cooldown and checked the coolant before riding on.

If the fan circuit is OK just put it down to a new motor in extreme conditions; it's really unlikely to be the dealer's fault, although mistakes do happen once in a while.

Oil change is a good idea, but avoid fully synthetic until the end of the break in.

You've notified the dealer, the bike's under warranty, so I wouldn't worry too much.

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Old 05-08-2012, 03:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You kept riding even after the check engine light came on??? Don't tell the dealership- they could deny a warranty claim based on that fact.

The radiator on the 2012 EX650 is bigger than on the previous models so you really shouldn't have experienced an over-heat unless, as has been mentioned earlier, you have a defective cooling fan, thermostat, or the dealer failed to properly fill your cooling system. But since you say that there was still coolant in the overflow reservoir, albeit below the low line, it's more likely that the cooling system was properly filled but you lost some coolant due to the overheat.

Hopefully no serious damage, but hard to know for sure without doing, at the bare minimum a compression test.

Good luck! Next time you get a check engine light, ffs STOP your engine!
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I've never had the light come on even in the recent 42C heat waves in Bangkok.....
Seems like your dealership didn't properly bleed the cooling system when filling it, hence the reason your expansion tank is now low.
As Tony said get a compression test done ASAP
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