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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hoping nothing catastrophic has happened and these two things are unrelated. Noticed the radiator hoses all collapsed today. No overheating but the fans were on in a traffic jam the other day and the needle was pretty close to the white line while I was stuck on the highway in stop and go for a while.

So today I immediately turned around aborting my cruise because there is a new clunking now at idle that just started the other day, right before I parked after a long ride. This was when I noticed the hoses all collapsed.

I can feel a sensation in the clutch lever as it is released in first gear, almost seems like the bike wants to stall starting out like I'm not giving it enough throttle and it did stall out on me at an intersection the other day which has never happened. Also now at idle noticed a rattle in the engine which can be normal but I don't usually have this much K-Rattle so parked untill the radiator issue is fixed.

Now if I only slightly pull the clutch lever in a little bit I feel a strange vibration in the lever itself like something internally shaking around in the transmission or IDK water pump chugging maybe also. I'm afraid of going too far unless I know what this could be for sure. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just found one of the hoses on top right side was on the verge of popping off, must not have been tight enough. I had a very slight leak recently that went away almost immediately, wrote it off as maybe an overflow or something from idleing for 5 min. Never happened again since. Maybe it sucked air into the system through that loose clamp that was barely hanging on.

I am currently burping it to try and see if I have an air bubble trapped.
 

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Just found one of the hoses on top right side was on the verge of popping off, must not have been tight enough. I had a very slight leak recently that went away almost immediately, wrote it off as maybe an overflow or something from idleing for 5 min. Never happened again since. Maybe it sucked air into the system through that loose clamp that was barely hanging on.

I am currently burping it to try and see if I have an air bubble trapped.
That won't account for the hose collapse. How old is it? Vacuum in the system (as it cools from hot temp) should draw coolant from overflow tank. Did you check that level? Also, if that noise and vibration is indeed new, I'd guess it's unrelated to the heating/radiator. I can't imagine water pump failed if you didn't get a overheat warning and coolant didn't run dry. What year? What mileage? Will help the pros to diagnose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
2003 71k

Hope I have not accidentally ruined my motor because it sounds like it is knocking at idle now. My bike has never sounded like this.

Coming home the other day I down shifted to 2nd and there was a shudder through the whole machine. I could feel it through the bars and pegs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Coolant in the radiators was low by almost 1L.
Just topped it off, the overflow had too much so took maybe 7oz out back down to the low line.

I am probably screwed big time right? Very worried right now, literally just put a Wilbers front shock in Tuesday and now it's the weekend and shes knocking, something is wrong here.


Temp guage has never once gone into the red zone or even touched the top white line, nor have I had any overheating lights come on but wouldn't surprise me if I have a cooked engine the way things have been going for me lately. Im an independent delivery driver, this economy is slowly putting me out of business as is and riding my bike is the only speck of a life I have left.

This is such a great motorcycle I would pull the motor and rebuild it myself if it took all summer and my last dime! If that is what it needs I will do just that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here is a link to a video of it running at idle. I can feel whatever this noise is with my feet through the concrete floor on the center stand and it has me pretty worried.
Only other thing that comes to mind is the clutch slipped on me that day for the second time ever in the last 40K miles. I bought with 25k and have been changing transmission oil way before the recommended interval nearly as often as the final drive oil.


Video:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok think I figured this noise out. Changed the transmission fluid, it was black and ran like water. I just changed it only 7k miles ago and there was a chunk of metal in the drain magnet which was chock full of particles. Pretty sure the transmission just sheared something, must have been from slamming the brakes in 5th a few too many times in emergency situations.. There's a lot of bad traffic most of the places I commute to are a living hell.

Guess I will be looking into a transmission job soon but for now I'll flush and drain clean fluid to hopefully get any left over debris out before they do any more damage than has probably already been done.
 

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If the red light on the dash never came on, you have not overheated the engine. I am puzzled about how the hose could collapse while the bike was hot. The noise sounded normal, I tell people never listen to your LT with your helmet off, it will scare you.
 

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Ok think I figured this noise out. Changed the transmission fluid, it was black and ran like water. I just changed it only 7k miles ago and there was a chunk of metal in the drain magnet which was chock full of particles. Pretty sure the transmission just sheared something, must have been from slamming the brakes in 5th a few too many times in emergency situations. There's a lot of bad traffic most of the places I commute to are a living hell.

Guess I will be looking into a transmission job soon but for now I'll flush and drain clean fluid to hopefully get any left over debris out before they do any more damage than has probably already been done.
It's important not to let your fears get away from you when "something" happens. John Zeiler, master of KLTs confirmed my guess that w/o overheat signal, there was nothing amiss, despite the "noise"--which is normal engine racket. One liter low, minus the too much extra you had to remove is not a disaster. "Chunk of metal" in the trans, however, is not normal. Small amount of shavings clinging to the magnet as the gears wear in is normal. Chunks is not. However, hard braking will not damage your trans. Gear oil doesn't need changing more often than service interval. Gear oil is thicker than engine oil, and should not thin out in normal operation, nor even if you break something inside. I suggest you get all the data together, post it here, and consult with the experts before you start fixing things. I put over 200k miles on KLTs in LA traffic. Bike works in traffic or desert. If indeed there's something broken in the trans, it will not improve w/ oil change, nor with continued riding. 1) Do you have a photo of the chunk? 2) Are you sure the trans oil was thinner than what it should be? 3) With coolant hoses secured, do they seem flimsy--easy to crush? 4) What year is your bike? There are years of experience here that can help you get to the bottom of things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It was the transmission making the terrifying noise, there was a decent sized shard of metal in the drain plug magnet when I drained the fluid. After changing the gear oil and riding a bit to get up to operating temperature the noise seems to have gone away completely.

Most likely it was that piece of metal getting churned in the mix so as a precaution and to prolong the inevitable I will drain the fresh fluid after it has worked through the transmission and washed any other debris/shards to the bottom drain magnet. Just to be sure there are no chunks left bouncing around my gearbox and any remaining shards or flakes get dumped before trying to go another 5-6K. That is when I usually change FD and gear oil anyways, guess it was just time to do it and for good reason yikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
After tightening the hose clamp, topping off and burping the system all is normal there now thankfully no more collapsed hoses. I will post a pic of the shard in a few, I still have it in a rag.

So if my transmission took a "HIT" can it "walk it off" or has this set in motion a catastrophic transmission failure?? This does not look at all like a piece of a bearing that went bad, then again I may end up eating those words if I have to tear it all apart... and I will if that is what it takes because this bike is the best machine ever made IMHO. Totally worth all of the hard work any day, best motorcycle ever made :)
 

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The most likely cause of radiator hose collapse is a bad radiator cap. These caps are valves both directions. The outgoing valve is generally spring loaded to allow the system to build pressure. 14-15 psi is fairly common. The incoming valve generally opens with very little pressure as this is how the system pulls coolant back from the overflow tank when the engine cools down. If this valve is stuck, the hot coolant will come out of the radiator under pressure into the overflow tank, but can’t be pulled back as the engine cools. This will form a vacuum in the system collapsing the hoses. A clogged radiator will also collapse one hose, generally the lower hose as the suction from the water pump being unable to pull coolant from the radiator will collapse that hose while the engine is running.

That chunk of metal is almost certainly bad news. From what you describe, my first thought would be the input shaft bearing in the transmission.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Any guesses how long before I need a tow truck? I really do love my bike so if this means a transmission out job guess I'm getting a new clutch if I have to go that far for a couple gears may as well. I ride this motorcycle 15-25K mi./year. Will it last me through the season or would it be better to tear it down ASAP for the sake of less ruined transmission parts?

Either way most likely buying another one down the road of a similar year anyways, eventually this bike will become the ultimate challenge of my mechanical knowhow and surely test my abilities which was why I bought it in the first place. To learn how to do this stuff myself is fascinating although the only reason I am so interested in learning this all is so I can use it to maintain the ride because it is literally what I live for.

Riding motorcycles is the most fun I have ever had and literally saved my life from severe depression, curing me of the curse that plagued my mind for over 20 years. Turns out I just needed something productive to spend time on that I enjoy doing and my driving career plus wrenching on/riding motorcycles actually cured my disease. I will do whatever it takes to keep her going strong past 300k mi. should there come a day :D
 

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You may be better off trying to find a replacement transmission. If that piece of metal has gone through your gears while riding , and by your description of the shuddering sounds like it has, then you will have a lot of damage to the teeth on the gears.
I get what you are saying about the bike saving you. I feel the same some days. I used to suffer from depression as well but I got over it long before I got back on bikes.
The thing with riding a bike is that it forces you to be IN THE MOMENT. You tend not to wander off in thought to other things, you are fixed in the moment with the feel of the bike beneath you and the sights and smells around you. You can't tell this to people who don't ride though.
 

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Any guesses how long before I need a tow truck? I really do love my bike so if this means a transmission out job guess I'm getting a new clutch if I have to go that far for a couple gears may as well. I ride this motorcycle 15-25K mi./year. Will it last me through the season or would it be better to tear it down ASAP for the sake of less ruined transmission parts?

Either way most likely buying another one down the road of a similar year anyways, eventually this bike will become the ultimate challenge of my mechanical knowhow and surely test my abilities which was why I bought it in the first place. To learn how to do this stuff myself is fascinating although the only reason I am so interested in learning this all is so I can use it to maintain the ride because it is literally what I live for.

Riding motorcycles is the most fun I have ever had and literally saved my life from severe depression, curing me of the curse that plagued my mind for over 20 years. Turns out I just needed something productive to spend time on that I enjoy doing and my driving career plus wrenching on/riding motorcycles actually cured my disease. I will do whatever it takes to keep her going strong past 300k mi. should there come a day :D
I can’t tell you what you should do, but I can tell you what I would do. I would tear it down before riding it again for two reasons:
1. Big parts coming out of a gearbox can also jam the gears causing a sudden stoppage. Granted it is very rare, but having the transmission lock up while leaned over in a curve is not my idea of a good time.
2. I’m a cheap son of a gun and the idea of turning a $200 repair into a $1,000 repair is not appealing to me. That is one of the main reasons I bought a second bike after owning the LT for a few years. The LT just has too much downtime for maintenance and repair. 2-3 weeks for a valve adjustment as I never have the buckets I need on-hand, 5 weeks for FD repair and 6 weeks for clutch repair. Yes, I’ve been through all of these during the 15 years I’ve owned my LT - twice for the valve adjustments. Having the KLR makes me les inclined to run the LT past where I should as I can still get my riding “fix” while the LT is in pieces in the garage. 😁
 
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I do not recognize the big chunk, but the silvery stuff is from a bearing. The input shaft front bearing is the weakest one. Normally in 2nd gear you can hear a whine under load pretty well, that is what drove me into mine. Best not to ride it.
 
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