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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is your opinion of using only distilled water as coolant? I realize it offers no freeze protection, but that is not an issue where I live. Since I had problems with overheating several months ago, I never did put actual coolant back in, and the bike has run fine. Yesterday I went for a nearly 400 mile ride (it was very cloudy) and for the first time ever, it ran with the temp gauge at 4 bars most of the morning, until the ambient temperature began to go up around noon. it has always run at 6 bars before, even in the winter. Distilled water is dirt cheap, and could be changed very often. It has no minerals in to to cause rust/corrosion.


The cooling systems on newer cars runs at temperatures above 212 degrees, and plain water will boil at those temperatures. That did not seem to be an issue with the Goldwing though. Mine does not have a thermostat.
 

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Distilled water only is what is required in all race vehicles on the tracks, they also remove the thermostats to increase flow of the coolant too.

Works very well indeed, provided you understand that it will take an extra minute or two to warm up and it never freezes, if it ever does your engine is history.
 

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Coolant is both an anti-freeze and anti-boil agent. If you are racing, running water and water-wetter is do-able. Not good for Phoenix city driving with stoplights.

A properly fettled cooling system runs best with the proper fluids. Being in Phoenix doesn't make you an exception to this statement.
 

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Distilled water only is what is required in all race vehicles on the tracks, they also remove the thermostats to increase flow of the coolant too.

Works very well indeed, provided you understand that it will take an extra minute or two to warm up and it never freezes, if it ever does your engine is history.
The REASON for water on the track has nothing to do with its efficiency as a coolant. It has to do with preventing accidents in the event of an uncontrolled release on the track.

Proper fluids still remain the best for daily driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I use a coolant called "Engine Ice" in my drag racer, it is NHRA legal. But it costs more than regular coolant. The boiling issue was my biggest concern, it doesn't freeze here. Another benefit to just water, is if you somehow get it into the oil from a leaking head gasket or other source, it will not do nearly the damage that glycol and oil mixed together will do.
 

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Raising the boiling point of coolant makes the engine run more efficient.

The hotter the vapor the more complete it burns = better fuel mileage.
:readit:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is true, and is part of the reason newer cars are designed to run hotter. But I suspect the biggest reason is emissions. I don't really care on the Goldwing, it gets about 35 mpg, under all conditions, and has since I have owned it. It's small tank (for a 35 mpg vehicle) make frequent gas stops my biggest issue with long trips. My car gets about 30 mph highway, and will go almost 500 miles on one tank. But then there's my Yamaha Vino 125. 70 mpg, one gallon tank. You have to carry extra gas to get anywhere.

Anyway I was just wondering about this, since it seems to run just fine on water only, in the middle of July in Phoenix, AZ. I was expecting it to overheat.
 

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It is possible that you ran good and cool with water alone, especially since it was pretty cool (for us anyway) the last few days, but that's a dangerous game you're playing. The glycol raises the boiling point. No glycol means 212, period. If you reach that, you now have steam or worse, super heated water that will flash boil if anything gives way a little. I have seen engines where the water goes to steam and the temp gauge can't read it until it's too late. For me, all my vehicles get coolant, especially in phoenix. You can get away with that stiff in southern California, but not so much in he!! Arizona.
 

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A good non silicate coolant at 50\50 with distilled water is best. Yes it raises the boiling point but so does the pressurized closed cooling system of the bike. That's why it's important to have a the proper radiator cap on any vehicle.
 

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Just put in the proper coolant mixture...why fool around doing it any other way? The only good thing that can come of using pure water is an interesting discussion, but the possible negative impact could be very costly.
 

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I agree with oldwing99,also,the thermostat helps maintain a more consistant temperature for the engine, which I think makes water cooled some better than air cooled.
 

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Antifreeze also has corrosion inhibitors that straight water obvious does not. It also helps lubricate the pump and seals much more than straight water.
 

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Yet another point to add antifreeze to the cooling system.
It lubricates the water pump. Plain water can't do that for very long.

Long time ago when I worked at Allis Chalmers engine division and we mixed a clear liquid to the metal cuttings water where it turned that water milky white. It cooled and lub'd the cutting tools AND was environmentally friendly.
I tried it in my Gremlin, it worked more than just fine. At operating temps, that coolant mix was cooler to the touch (dash temp gauge was lower) and was slippery between the fingers.
Anyone work in a shop that uses this stuff? I'd like more.
:waving:

 

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Antifreeze also has corrosion inhibitors that straight water obvious does not. It also helps lubricate the pump and seals much more than straight water.
These two fells said what I was looking for. Lubrication, corrosion protection, lower freezing point, and higher boiling point are all reasons for not using just water.
Not all parts within your cooling system are immune from the bad effects of just water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok, I'll go back to coolant. I only had the water in there because I had a major overheating problem a few months ago (not coolant related) and didn't want to waste expensive coolant. I never got around to putting coolant back in, and rode over 1,000 trouble free miles with water. I will leave the thermostat out. There is only one temperature around here, and it is hot. Most liquid cooling systems are marginal for AZ, including cars. Even without the thermostat the engine will be completely warmed up in 2 minutes.
 

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Keep the stat, it's purpose is to remove heat from the engine. If you remove it the water doesn't stay in the engine long enough to remove heat. This can lead to eddying and developing hot spots. Also as the others said coolant raises boiling point, reduces corrosion and lubes pump. Every car/truck I have bought from AZ the heater core fails within 2 years due to running straight water.
 

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Keep the stat, it's purpose is to remove heat from the engine. If you remove it the water doesn't stay in the engine long enough to remove heat. This can lead to eddying and developing hot spots. Also as the others said coolant raises boiling point, reduces corrosion and lubes pump. Every car/truck I have bought from AZ the heater core fails within 2 years due to running straight water.
Actually the core failures are more the result of using hose water instead of distilled... another huge problem and common misconseption out here.

Engines run best at a given temp Jerry. Without the stat you have no control of it being at that temp. During thr summer your theory works, but coming from someone who spent the last two winters with a car with no stat, you're not doing your bike any favors when it cools down in about 2 or 3 months. Fuel injection ain't carbs, getting up to temp matters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have 2 old cars, one 40 years old, one 50 years old. Neither have thermostats, and neither have chokes (neither have heaters either) Both are jetted slightly rich. I have never had any problems with them starting and warming up in the winter over the past 10-12 years I've had them. The Goldwing is fuel injected, so it will start when it is cold. I have found on pretty much every liquid cooled bike I've ever had that even when you let them warm up in the garage, the temp gauge goes back to the far left when you take off in near freezing temperatures, and that is with a thermostat. When I took the thermostat out, I only took part of it out. I removed the disc, plunger, and spring, and put the frame back in, to cause a restriction in the coolant passage like it was designed to have.

IMO, both chokes and thermostats are hard on engine on cold startup. Chokes cause a rich mixture, which washes oil off the cylinder walls. Thermostats can cause the engine to warm up to fast, which can result in thermal shock and engine damage. In a liquid cooled engine, I believe it is important to maintain constant coolant flow through the engine to help eliminate hot spots.

Also, last winter, the Goldwing was the only bike I have ever owned where the engine temperature gauge still showed 6 bars, and the fan came on, even in near freezing weather, with coolant and a thermostat in it. I would prefer it run a little cooler than that.

I will put the coolant back in it, but I'm going to wait on the thermostat to see what happens.
 
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