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Tech Corner

Technical Q and A for classic motorcycle maintenance and repair.

Problem Checking Coolant Level

Motorcycle Classics tech expert Keith Fellenstein

Cool runnings

Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with “Keith’s Garage” as the subject.

Q: I have a problem when checking the cooling level in my coolant tank. I suppose when the bike was new the tank was more or less clear and any color of coolant could be readily seen. Over the years, the plastic has degraded to the point where the coolant is nearly impossible to see. In order to check the coolant level, I have to get down on all fours to view the tank and shake the bike so the coolant can be seen moving. At 70 years of age, this is hard to do. I could simply install a new tank if one is available, but is there anti-freeze out there that is not yellow in color? Any suggestions? — George W. Miller, Jr./via email

A: I have this same problem with a number of plastic containers, from coolant tanks to batteries, and there is no easy fix that I can see. What I do that helps me to see the level is find a way to shine a strong light from behind or beneath the container and let that illuminate the fluid level enough to see. If there is no way to get a flashlight behind the tank, maybe one of those thin, flexible lights can be snaked up behind the tank. Good luck! MC