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February 22nd, 2010, 02:23 PM   #1
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Potential Engine Damage?

Hello Fellow Husaberg Owners,

My name is Brett, I live in Southern California and am new to this site; I need your collective advice. I am on my second Husaberg, a 2006 FE 650 which has to be one of the trickest on the planet. The former owner and fellow Husaberg fanatic actually won the Adelanto Grand Prix on this bike 4 years ago and it has been sitting nearly ever since in a pristine state. Prior to this, I came off an almost as trick 2004 FE 550 and I have to say there is nothing I don't love about these bikes; I have become spoiled.

With that said, I was out last weekend for the first time on the new 650 and wouldn't you know it, I had "an incident." My friend Tony who was riding a 2006 FE 550 and I "rubbed handlebars" at about 40 MPH, but luckily, neither of us went down. Figuring everything was cool, we rode another 1.5 to 2 miles and then stopped for a break. It was then we noticed that during the bar banging, Tony's footpeg had hit my skid plate, caving it in during the process, which in turn severed my lower radiator hose, subsequently dumping all of my coolant. Needless to say, the bike was extremely hot, but did not appear to have any damage other than it smelled really bad.

As it was a 40 mile ride back to camp, we McGivered it back together by bending back the skid plate, cutting and reattaching the radiator hose and, when the bike was fully cooled down (hot engines don't like cold liquid of course) we put water from our Camelbaks into radiator. My aforementioned friend and former owner of my 650 rode the bike back to camp so that he could listen to the motor. He claims that the bike did not want to take more than half throttle, however, I didn't see any smoke or smell anything after we made the fix. He seemed convinced that the whole motor would need to come out and that at the very least, would need the top end rebuilt and the head gasget repaired.

In light of the fact that I just spent a fair amount of money on the bike, I wasn't too thrilled about the idea of going to these extremes,not to mention spending a bunch of money, especially since the bike wasn't ridden that far following the incident. I took it to a very reputable mechanic who knows Husaberg's intimately and got his assessment. They went through the bike very thoroughly, but not to the extent of removing the top end, splitting cases or anything that extreme. The bike seems very responsive, starts right up (first kick), idles like a dream, isn't making any funny noises and flat out runs like a scalded ape just as it did before the overheating.

Here are the questions:

1. Following my test ride yesterday which was around the very large block for several laps, the bike was puking radiator fluid. Not a lot, but maybe enough to be concerned. It appears to be running from the overflow hose and subsequently onto the rear tire, fender, followed by a little dripping. When the bike cooled down and I removed the radiator cap, no fluid was visible. What may have caused this, does that sound normal and what should I check?

2. Given what happened to the bike and the overheating, should I have concern that there is more internal damage even though everything sounds and feels great as I mentioned earlier? If so, what is the potential extent of damage and suggested measures to take from here? I should also mention that no water was found in my oil (i.e. no foamy white stuff indicating a blown head gasget).

I really appreciate all of your feedback and look forward to your responses.

Thanks for your help.

Brett E. (aka Husurdaddy)
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February 22nd, 2010, 03:10 PM   #2
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Re: Potential Engine Damage?

Hi there Brett,

If I understand your story correctly immediately after the ride, your friend stated that it didn't want to rev but the dealer and you both witnessed full power from the bike.

If this is correct and the dealer did the expected checks after something like this(compression test, oil change and check for contaminants, etc.), I would say to enjoy the bike. I can completely understand your reservations but to be completely honest, if it's running well now, I would take it out and ride it. It's unfortunate that you weren't the one to ride it on the way back after the mishap, since you had the most recent knowledge of how it was running prior to the problem and would have been the best to compare, but you'll know if something's wrong on the next ride after you get over your initial "OMG It's gonna die!!" phase of the ride

As for the coolant, it sounds to me like it might have been a simple case of overfilling the reservoir. Check for more burping on the next ride. After your problem, my biggest concern would have been coolant getting in the oil. If that's not happening, I would count myself lucky after a severe overheat.

Welcome to the site and I hope you get tons of hours out of your new ride!

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February 22nd, 2010, 04:56 PM   #3
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Re: Potential Engine Damage?

Hey Brett,
Just something simple you mght want to check. I had got my 650 a little hot few months back on some
tight rocky trail (John Bull Trail) and it spewed a little out of the overflow. When I checked the under the cap later the rubber seal seal had come partially off and would have overflowed much easier the next ride if not fixed. The cap was 2 years old and I decided to just go with a new one. I think 20 bucks. Hasn't overflowed since.

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February 22nd, 2010, 09:12 PM   #4
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Re: Potential Engine Damage?

If you can't see coolant in the radiator after riding, and assuming it was filled and bled properly, then I'd want to know where it was going.

If the level went down because there was still air in it, then top it up and check again. Remember to use the bleed screw on the head near the spark plug and squeeze the hoses when filling to 'burp' the air out.

If the bike is level, you should be able to see coolant covering the tubes in the top tank of the radiator, if its on the sidestand, you won't see coolant. If you fill it, then it will pump out when riding as there is no recovery tank, and when cold there will be air space in the top of the radiator.

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February 23rd, 2010, 01:10 AM   #5
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Re: Potential Engine Damage?

myb take is a little different:

I'd rest it on the sidestand, top with coolant to the brim while running it and then I'd expect to see tiny bubbles appearing almost one at a time in the entrance way. This indicates either a blown headgasket or, given no water in the oil, a cracked liner.


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February 23rd, 2010, 07:54 AM   #6
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Re: Potential Engine Damage?

One of the things I used to do to see into engines without taking them apart was to pull plugs (or in the case of some diesels, injectors) and use at least a flashlight to see into the chamber. Now they have scopes for this. You can possibly see if there is any scoring on the cylinder walls or damage to the piston crown and maybe you can see if you have any valve damage.

That kind of overheating usually affects the cylinder/piston and the head, but not the crank or rod which are cooled with oil, so if there is no visible damage to the piston/cylinder/head, you are probably okay. Also look at the plug(s) as they may need to be replaced.

Beyond that, as already suggested, you may want to pull the head and replace the gasket/seals.
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February 23rd, 2010, 08:24 AM   #7
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Re: Potential Engine Damage?

My 2 cents.
Having overheated bergs more than a few times. They seem to be very resiliant to overheating damage as long as you dont ride them untill they stop.
Before you start tearing things apart or freaking out.
1) Fill the coolant and use the bleed screw in the head to remove any air in the system.
2) After bleeding the air fill the radiator to just 10mm over the top of the radiator core. Anymore will overfill the system and you will end up with boilover.
3) Take it for a short ride and see how it performs. Look/listen for any telltale signs of damage, white smoke from the exhaust after full warm up, burning coolant smell etc.. I doubt at this time you will be subjective in the listening part (all these bikes sound like broken dishwashers to me, even on there best days).

If all is well, try to diagnois the drivability issue if it still exsists. I would try replacing the spark plug and checking for oil in the air box or carb bellmouth.

Intall the fan kit if it does not already have one.
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February 23rd, 2010, 09:01 AM   #8
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Re: Potential Engine Damage?

Thanks to all of you who responded to my question about potential engine damage. It's really refreshing to see that Husaberg riders are such a close knit bunch of guys.

I see many consistent replies as to how to address my concern for cooling issues. I should have mentioned that when I took it in for service that the carbuerator was removed, fully cleaned, re-jetted to better accomodate the Akrapovic exhaust, oil changed and checked (no water in the oil),radiator hoses replaced and system filled with coolant, plug replaced, etc., etc.

My plan at this time is to:

1. Top off the radiator and insure there is no air trapped in the system. If you would please be so kind as to explain how to properly use the bleeder screw on the cylinder head, that would be great as I have never performed this service before. I will also refer to the manual for what good that might be worth.

2. As the bike sat for a long time and the radiator was subject to extreme heat, I will also replace the radiator cap for good measure.

If you can think of anything else I might try, again your sage advice is appreciated.

Thanks again and happy motoring!
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February 23rd, 2010, 12:07 PM   #9
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Re: Potential Engine Damage?

To use the bleed plug.
1)Fill the cooling system to the top.
2) Loosten the bleed screw, you may have to unscrew it almost all the way. Air will come out of the bleed screw threads. When clear coolant starts coming out, retighten the screw (not too tight).
3) Refill the radiator to 10mm over the top of the core.

Replacing the cap every year or so is always a good thing.

Again, if the bike does not have a fan kit, install one. It is one of the best investments you can make.
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February 23rd, 2010, 12:43 PM   #10
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Re: Potential Engine Damage?

When you replace your rad cap, you may want to go with the KTM 1.8 bar.
It holds the pressure a little better than the stock one.

part # 77335016000
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