Changing your Coolant on a GS/GS Dakar (1st Draft)

by Kristian #562 06/08/02
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
Last updated 22 Feb 2003 by Spakur

Checking the Coolant

Solutions, in order of easier to hardest?

  1. Shake the handlebars until you see the fluid wobble
  2. Shine a torch in from the front
  3. Shine a torch in from the back
  4. Use Red Coolant (Non Nitrite, Non Silicate)
  5. Take off the cover every time.

Changing the Coolant

Recommended Coolant Interval: Every 2 Years.

Changing coolant at 600m service. This is a quote from the "Chilton Motorcycle Handbook": "One of the common mis-understandings about cooling systems is that the coolant can be ignored. You know, I can see some in the tank, so it must be fine. Well, WRONG! Coolant MUST BE CHANGED REGULARLY. It is not sufficient to just have the system full. As coolant ages, it loses its ability to resist boiling and conduct heat. But, more importantly, it also loses it anti-corrosion properties, and this will allow the build up of scale and residue in the cooling system. this build up will reduce the cooling system's ability to do its job and could eventually render the system useless. To prevent this oxidation of the aluminium cooling passages you should replace your engine coolant AT LEAST once every 2 years." from Spakur.

Reference Diagram: See the Water Pump Diagram. The item marked ‘2” is the Coolant Drain Screw. Here is a photo of the Drain Screw Location (Lower of the three screws, marked RED).

Reference Quantities:



This job is just plain easier if you remove the LHS "faux" tank. It only takes 5 minutes to remove the LHS Faux-tank. (This task also lines up with other service items such as checking valve adjustment, re-torqueing engine fasteners, checking the battery  and cleaning the fuel tap and tank etc.). The advantage is you can easily access the Burp tank (Coolant Reservoir) for refilling.

You CAN ALSO do it without removing the tank. If you choose not to remove the Tank, make sure you pop off the Reservoir Tank Cap by reaching in under the fairing and prising the rubber cap off. It just pops off. Also unscrew the Radiator Cap to allow the Coolant to escape without having to fight against a vacuum. You can JUST undo the Radiator cap by reaching under the front fairing, beneath the headlight. It’s on the LHS of the bike. For refilling, you will need a funnel or tube that can fit through the "grill" in the fairing.




 Time :


Warning.! Initially install Coolant with the Bike COLD. At normal running temperature, Coolant is HOT.!

  1. Remove the Seat and the LHS "Faux Tank" Fairing. See the detailed description if you’ve never done it.

  2. The Radiator Cap will now be exposed. Remove the Radiator Cap & Clean it and the Cap Seat. This will allow you to drain the coolant without fighting against a vacuum.

  3. Remove the Reservoir Tank Cap (In the Green Square) also.

  4. On the attached Water Pump Diagram remove Bolt (1), the lowest of the three bolts that hold on the Water Pump Cover. It has a copper crush washer attached to it. Have a bucket ready to collect the coolant. Put the bike onto its side-stand to get out all the coolant.

  5. I flushed out the radiator with a hose, running water through it for a while, but not under too high pressure. Clean the Reservoir Tank too.

  6. Replace the Bolt (1) and if possible use a new Crush Washer, they’re Cheap, but at a pinch you can re-use the old one. Torque to Spec. Use Loctite 243.

  7. Fill the Radiator & Reservoir with NEW Coolant. If you didn't take the Panel off you can fill the Radiator via. the Burp Tank (Reservoir), provided the Radiator Cap is Undone. Note: You have to fill the radiator SLOWLY to avoid trapping air, and give the air that does get trapped time to escape. You can help this along a bit by repeatedly squeezing the rubber hoses that go into the water pump impeller-cover area. See also Bleed Notes & Troubleshooting below.

  8. Replace the Radiator Cap.! Replace the Reservoir Cap.!

  9. Run the Engine and Check the Reservoir Level. Refill if necessary.

  10. Replace the Side Cover Panel.

Bleed Notes & Troubleshooting.

That’s it. If you do not use Non-Silicate Coolant you MAY end up doing the water pump replacement sooner than you should. Not proven, but the GS Water Pump has failed too, it's not just a Classic problem.



What are the Symptoms of a failing Coolant Temperature Sensor and where is it?

The Coolant Temperature Sensor is Here:

To remove, detach Plug from Sensor, then use a log socket to undo.
Torque is 15Nm for reinstallation.

Hard Starting When Cold