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Discussion Starter #1
Hi - total newbie to dirt bikes here. Been lent a not-so-tip-top Honda XL250 Degree by a colleague, need to keep it up and running.

Problem no.1 (which you can't solve!) is I live in rural Cambodia - no mechanics here who I'd trust with anything beyond pumping the tyres. They just haven't ever worked on bikes bigger than 125 scooters. I can however pick up parts when I go to Phnom Penh. So any solutions to the issue below need to be SIMPLE enough for a novice!

Problem no.2 (which I hope you can help with)
The cooling system is in a bad way. Nothing in the overflow tank, can't even see any liquid in the radiator when I shine a light in. What I can see is that the elements inside are covered with brown ('rust'?) with similar stains on the outside of the radiator (Rubber O-ring on cap quite worn too). The hole from the rim to the breather tube is clogged up the same.
Of course the engine runs very hot very quickly!

So 2 questions:
i) Can this radiator be used/salvaged? If not, can you direct me to, or give me good SIMPLE step-by-step instructions for replacement?

ii) In the mean time can I fill up the cooling system with something so that it's safe to ride for the time being? e.g. just water? or coolant?

Appreciate your experience/thoughts on this!
 

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I think I'd clean out all the rust I could, fill with water to check for leaks and circulation.
Power washer could be useful.
 

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thanks catteeclan, glad you think all's not lost with this radiator. You mean fill just the radiator, or the whole cooling system with water? Remove radiator first I suppose?
Again, sorry for novice-level knowledge - any suggestions where to go for instructions etc.?

anyone else got thoughts?
 

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Can you get a pressure washer into the hoses/radiator and engine without taking apart? If so leave it all together. Once you're cleaned as much as possible fill with plain water and run it up, looking for leaks and making sure the water is running round the cooling system. If all's well drain and refill with a good coolant/antifreeze.
 

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thanks catteeclan, glad you think all's not lost with this radiator. You mean fill just the radiator, or the whole cooling system with water? Remove radiator first I suppose?
Again, sorry for novice-level knowledge - any suggestions where to go for instructions etc.?

anyone else got thoughts?
I don't mean to be rude but surely the mechanics in Cambodia know this much? If you want to do it yourself then great.

I didn't realise that an xl is water cooled, must be different to the 600.

The question I'd ask is why is the system already empty? If it's a leak then hopefully easy to fix with a new pipe or silicon sealant. If no leak then it could be the head gasket.

You suggest that it's been ridden without water as it heated up quickly, if so it could already be damaged inside due to heat. You won't know this until you get it running.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks Gilson - will see what I can do... I assume the effect would be obvious if radiator is already damaged inside - i.e. still running hot?

(Re cambodian mechanics, I should explain a 'mechanic' in the countryside here is a different thing to back home...! basically just a hut by the side of the road with some tools for replacing tyres/oil/bulbs etc on the small scooters that everyone has. For any different more complex bikes, you need to go to the city - putting the bike on a truck for 2 hours - where you're quite right there are some mechanics who can do what's necessary).
 
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