Seized coolant bleeder screw - 2000 Legend - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-28-2019, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Seized coolant bleeder screw - 2000 Legend

I recently had to replace my radiator. The old one had a pinhole leak that was admittedly my fault due to coolant system neglect. (Admittedly, this was the only system I failed to diligently maintain over the years... lesson learned... I am not the only 'idiot' to make this mistake.)

Once done with the radiator replacement, I followed the bleeding procedures only to find that my bleeder screw would not back out. I was gentle with my initial counter-clockwise attempts but certainly noticed a 'notched' feel as I turned it with my wrench as it refused to back out. I assumed this was probably due to the splines of the bushing turning within the housing so I stopped trying once i was certain it wasn't extracting. Doubting that this screw was so important and desperately wanting to capitalize on the rest of the riding season, I tried to get as much air out the system as possible and started test drives.... only to overflow 'excess' coolant time after time after time... maybe even one more time. I finally admitted to myself that I'm a novice mechanic at best and that air must still be trapped in the system.

So Question #1 is how far do I need to tip the bike (to the right mostly I assume based on radiator design) to absolutely ensure a good 'burp'?

And Question #2 is if the bleeder screw bushing is shot and/or bleeder screw seized, should I spend the full penalty on a new thermostat housing (which may or may not include the bleeder screw depending on pics) ($50 - $130) or roll the dice on a used thermostat housing which might possibly have an already seized bleeder screw (or preferably no screw at all?) ($20-$60)?

Follow-up question: Is the bleeder screw a commonly available hardware store item that I can easily get separately?

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-28-2019, 04:03 PM
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If me....I would continue to Back off on the screw until the threaded insert comes out. Then I would JB weld a new insert in.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-28-2019, 09:45 PM
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Take the thermostat housing apart and put penetrating oil on the screw from the inside. You can use JB Weld to re-secure the bushing if necessary, otherwise, ask the seller if the bushing is intact and the bleeder free. IIRC, the screw is drilled and so not a hardware store item, but you should be able to reuse the old one one way or the other.

All that said, I don't think you really need to get it free as long as it doesn't leak. The bleeder speeds the process, but you can get away without it. No real trick to "burping" things. You want to get all the air in the engine to the outlet pipe on the left of the head. You can run it with the cap off as long as it doesn't get very hot. Keep adding coolant, then when it starts to get hot put the cap on and make sure the recovery bottle is up to at least the minimum. With any luck, everything will bleed itself. Just be sure to keep the bottle to at least the minimum until the level stabilizes. Confirm the t-stat housing is full to the sealing surface when the engine cools.

John
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 07:29 AM
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If you plan to keep the bike, on a limited budget, vs your timely repair expectation....

Option 1) Remove the existing bleed fitting's housing and repair the seized bleed bolt. Lowest cost if you can re-use the bleed bolt. Nothing to lose.

Option 2) Purchase a used housing. Rolling the dice a little but most used parts vendors offer a return policy in case the bleed bolt is again seized. Worth a try.

Option 3) Purchase a vacuum coolant filler (assumes you have an air compressor). Frankly, the best method to fill automotive coolant systems, period. However, you would need to ensure that the tool you purchase has a sufficiently sized filler adaptor. See link below for an illustration of such a device.

https://www.amazon.com/OEMTOOLS-2444...gateway&sr=8-1

Option 4) Purchase a new housing. After replacement it's one less thing to worry about giving further trouble.

Weigh the above with the expenditure in the order 1-4 versus replacing an overheated engine or, at best, replacing the head gasket and the relative cost of the above.

The real key here is to do it once and do it as correctly as possible. Being too cheap can get very expensive

IMHO, there's nothing worse than the dread feeling that one's moved a bike away from a place one could repair it very well to a place that strands one on the side of the road with very limited repair capability.

Rob
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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First off, thanks to all for the input.
Yeah, it took me a while to get back in town and attack this problem... I did everything I could to eliminate possible air bubbles then here's what I found...

I decided to rig up a gasoline IV to attempt observing this problem in real time. After warming up and throughout many (6 or 7) "fan cycles" here's my findings...
Every time, at the low (cool) point of the cycle, I maintained coolant to the MIN mark only to end up overflowing at the high (hot) point. Coolant level during operation never went below say 1/2" below MIN, but whatever coolant I added in eventually got spit up out the overflow tube over and over. After letting the bike cool down, coolant was level with the housing fill cap and the level in the reservoir had dropped to a familiar 2" below MIN (otherwise known as basically empty.)

So my next step is the vacuum process suggested by Anvilrob. I previously never knew such a process existed. I am assuming that the water pump, thermostat, and sensor are good enough as the flow to radiator begins and maintains approx 180-190 F with IR thermometer & fan activates appropriately. So if it takes like a week for the vacuum device to arrive AND I have to drain the whole system yet again... I might as well disassemble the thermostat housing during downtime and free up that bleeder screw that I suspected was minimally important to resolving my issues.

I wish this whole process was simpler but that's also how I felt about old attempts at bleeding my Legend's brakes... the solution to that problem ultimately ended up being a vacuum hack. Fingers crossed that vacuum can help again. Will post a follow-up.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyre_kyre View Post
Every time, at the low (cool) point of the cycle, I maintained coolant to the MIN mark only to end up overflowing at the high (hot) point. Coolant level during operation never went below say 1/2" below MIN, but whatever coolant I added in eventually got spit up out the overflow tube over and over. After letting the bike cool down, coolant was level with the housing fill cap and the level in the reservoir had dropped to a familiar 2" below MIN (otherwise known as basically empty.)
OK, something doesn't make sense here. If you start with the bike cold, the system full to the fill cap, and the reservoir at the min mark, it should never go lower. As the bike heats up, a small amount of coolant will be forced into the reservoir due to coolant expansion caused by the increase in temperature. It should not expand enough to push anything out the overflow unless the coolant is boiling. Have you confirmed the pressure cap is working? Were you able to get the bleeder screw working?

John
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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I did see vapors rising from the reservoir fill cap... does that mean boiling?
I do not know how to test a pressure cap for proper operation besides it not leaking.
I haven't got the bleeder screw working as I have not drained the system yet. I still don't know what's so important about it that can't be done by removing the pressure cap. Both points are at relatively the same height and the air within the bleeder screw bushing can't cause this much trouble, right?

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 07:33 AM
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The bleeder screw allows you to vent air after the system begins to pressurize. Fix it and eliminate that air as a possible issue.

The pressure cap needs to hold pressure. Just because it isn't leaking on the floor doesn't mean it isn't leaking into the recovery bottle. If the system cannot pressurize you can have localized boiling inside the engine. Do the rubber hoses get hard from pressure? Most cooling system pressure testers can test the cap.

If I were you I'd drain the system (two drain points), flush it out, refill with fresh coolant, and then start testing things. The only thing you might try first is a leak-down test of the cylinders to see if air is getting into the cooling system. Pressurize each cylinder and hold it for a few minutes to see if air makes its way up into the thermostat housing.

Vapors do not mean boiling. However, if you're pushing enough coolant out the pressure cap to overflow the recovery tank, something is going on. A properly functioning system will never blow coolant out the overflow. If it does either it's overheating or it's being over-pressurized from within.

Did the bike overheat before you replaced the radiator? If so, the thermostat, fan switch, and/or head gasket could all have been affected. Have you tested the fan switch and thermostat?

John
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1975 T150V, 1968 BSA Thunderbolt, x2004 Thunderbird Sport

Last edited by WSC; 09-09-2019 at 07:45 AM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Well... I extracted the bleeder bolt and bushing using the drill chuck on a shopsmith, separated the two in the vice, and put the bushing back into the housing using original jb weld. The good news.... I finally got to operate that bleeder properly. The bad news.... I only got to use it maybe three times before the bushing started spinning in place just like before. The jb weld was certainly cured. I was gentle with tightening. Even added a tiny bit of anti-seize to the bolt. The repair just did not want to hold but while it did work I noticed no air being bled out from it.

This time, however, I did refill the coolant with the suggested vacuum refill system. I'm not sure whether that made a difference or not. I can say that the system did maintain the vacuum before refilling so no leaks in that regard.

After many more trial and error attempts, I still end up having the same general problem of starting with coolant at or just above MIN and purging after full warm-up only to settle about 1/2" below MIN after full cool-down. (that's actually an improvement.)

I monitored temps at the hoses and radiator with IR thermometer and typically got a 150-180 degree range once thermostat opened. Highest temps at the main hose on the engine head or sometimes the midpoint of the radiator.

The sensor looked clean but I don't know how to check it & thermostat looked clean but I don't know how to prove it besides my temperature readings. The pressure cap? Well, same deal. Pressurizing cylinders? I guess I have to start considering. Bike never overheated before replacing radiator. I do wonder if I'm seeing air bubbles in the reservoir tank before the fan kicks on but it's not easy to see in there. Air from the cylinders is a little more than I'm equipped for... although I will try almost anything to a avoid the repair shops.... including repeatedly banging my head against the wall.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyre_kyre View Post
I still end up having the same general problem of starting with coolant at or just above MIN and purging after full warm-up only to settle about 1/2" below MIN after full cool-down.
Does this happen the first time after you fill it, or every time you run it? If the first time only, it's perfectly normal. That's how the system purges the last bit of air. If it happens every time, there are only two possibilities: it's leaking or it's burning it in the combustion chamber. Leaks end up on the ground or in the oil pan.

John
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