Radiator woes

Joined
Sep 15, 2000
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#1
I have just prepped my 1992 KDX200 for my next HS and noticed that the LHS radiator was wet. I warmed the bike up and a very small amount of steam comes out from the core. It seems a poor design when all of the weight of the bike is transmitted through the rad shroud onto the radiator in the event of a fall. Is this the same with later - perimeter frame designs ? Has anyone successfully had a radiator repaired ? Now I have made a bracket for each side that bolts to the frame and takes the load when the bike is on its side. I would like to know if anyone else has had this problem and what their solutions are.
 

MADisher

Grand Data Poohbah
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#2
A lot of bikes are like that. KTM's I think are worse. It's another aftermarket opportunity for a better radiator cover up front and one that protects it better in the event of a fall.
 
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#3
I went to great pains to build a guard of stainless tubing to keep the left side rad. from being crushed from a fall. It looked great but when a good sized tree caught the shroud (and bars) it pulled the outer layer of the rad where the shroud attaches away from the core :( . It didn't leak but it sure was a bummer after my efforts to protect it.
 

MADisher

Grand Data Poohbah
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#4
Yes, my bud put these expensive braces that kind of wrapped the outside of the radiator on his KTM. Man they looked sweet. The ver next ride he stuck a branch (about two inches in diameter) right through the radiator... He now has the front guards, and these braces. I'm pretty sure the stick he shoved through the radiator would have gone through his guards too. Somethings, you can only do so much and hope for the best :)

Dats riddin...
 
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#5
But can you repair them?

Yeah sure, but only sometimes. Proprietary car rad-fix-in-a-can solutions should be avoided as they will ruin the efficiency of the cooling system.

Take the rad off c/w hoses & put a bung in one hose & throw in a bucket of water blow into the other side with a pump clamped into the other hose, or your mouth if you are desperate or a compressor but has to be regulated to a lowish pressure.

This will locate the leaks. It may be possible to get them ally welded by a GOOD welder. Some tradies just love working on thin walled ally, some don’t- pick carefully.

The other option is epoxy. You have to be careful with this but you can effect a permanent repair. The key is clean it up properly. Open the hole enough so that the epoxy can be pushed through & form a 2 sided mushroom so it can’t fall out.

Devcon is great for this but normal Araldite can hack the temperature.

What can happen is the shrouds rub thru the fronts of the rad causing pin prick holes, but usually it’s the result of a fall & it rips the ally.

Good luck & retest your fix. Common sense will tell you if it is irreparable but I’ve seen real twisted ones brought back from the dead with a few fins removed from around the area & a sea of epoxy & it seemed to hold on for good.
 
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#6
Thanks for the feedback, looks like poor design on the part of the manufacturers and one that would be cheap and easy to rectify, sure you can't protect from a branch piercing from the front but I guess at least you can be thankful it was the rad and not your leg, however a low speed get off shouldn't result in a leaky rad. Thanks for the fixing advice David I will test the rad as you suggest and seek an expert opinion if it looks bad. I hate to think what a new rad would cost.