How To: $12 Coolant Pressure Tester


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Thread: How To: $12 Coolant Pressure Tester

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    How To: $12 Coolant Pressure Tester

    How To: $12 Coolant Pressure Tester

    For when you've swapped the engine or messed with the radiator and know you have a leak.

    Need:
    Radiator Overflow Tubing - $2
    Cheap Bicycle Tire Pump (one w/ a cone adapter) - $10 @ Walmart

    How To:
    0) Remove the tank
    1) Disconnect the overflow hose from you radiator cap
    2) Mount the new tube
    3) Connect the pump to your tube
    4) Unbolt the thermostat housing (not technically necessary but it makes it easier to see/check the hoses)
    5) Spray the area with soapy water
    6) Pump and watch for active bubbling

    Images with notes below:


    The disconnected hose is the actual overflow hose. It's a pain in the ass to re-route so just spend the extra $2 and save yourself the trouble. Note that the thermostat housing unit is unbolted from it's frame bracket and that there is a new hose clamp behind it. That's where my leak was and that's the simplest way to fix it. FYI the soapy water trick really really works.


    Detail shot of the hookup and the hose area.


    Detail shot of the cone adapter - in case you're like me and had never seen one before.

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    MR VTX's Avatar
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    Brilliant. I've been trying to figure out how to pressurize my system without forking over $80+ dollars for one of those kits. Thank you!!!

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    where was the internet... in 1977...... had a similar thing. for goldwings.. but using a bicycle Hand pump...

    Well Done...

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    I was trying yesterday to take my old radiator cap and turn it into a pressure tester using a tire valve stem...this is much easier and simpler.

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    Nice. How high did you get the pressure to before you found the leak?

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    if memory is STILL good. (not likely) is 12 PSI... what the cap should be rated at.. it might be in the service manual..

    most small leaks can be detected at 4psi...

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    I'm only going to a max of 15 psi. I'll be using this tonight on my bike...gotta get a pump with cone adapter today while I'm out.

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    Good idea! Don't need it now but will in the future, Thanks!

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    SPARKY5151 is offline Senior Member California Riders Group
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    Yes, I wouldn't go over 15 psi when testing as that is about the max pressure that I have ever seen a cap rated for. In fact I would probably start at 7 psi check for leaks and only then raise pressure to 15 psi if you still haven't found the leak!!

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    So I did a preliminary test last night, pressurizing the system to about 15 psi. I definitely have a leak, and I think it is the actual filler neck...reason being I just bought a new radiator cap and had it tested at AutoZone, and it held pressure fine. I can hear air escaping, and if I press down on one side of the cap, it gets a little louder. It was late and I was tired, so I didn't use soapy water. I will do that next to pinpoint where the air is escaping from. It could also be the hose I was using, because I forgot to clamp it down before running the test. Ooops.

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