Question about Honda VT 500 C Shadow Motorcycles

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I have 1985 Honda 500 with thermostat problems. On long rides the temperature gradually rises and the fan will not come on, even when I am idling. I have removed and replaced two thermostats, Honda original parts, and both were stuck open. When reset and placed in boiling water each worked perfectly. I suspect something is making them open past their heat range. On short rides, no problem, the fan cycles when it gets to hot, and the temps stay where they should. The radiator is clean with no obstructions and the head gasket doesn't seem to be leaking. I had a gas check done. We burped the radiator, flushed it several times, and replaced the radiator cap. An infrared thermometer shows a riding temp of around 210 at the top of the radiator and about 105 at the bottom. My mechanic is stumped but suspects the water pump is impaired although we can see some circulation. I'm hoping its bad thermostats because the water pump is a bear to get to. Thoughts or advice? I have already spent more than the bike is worth because it is such a fun ride.

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I have a friend that had similar problems with a CX500. He just left out the thermostat. It took longer to warm up on cold days but never made a noticeable difference in performance. All shadows tend to run on the hot side anyway. I would just leave out the thermostat. You can also purchase antifreeze modifiers like "ICE" to help your machine run cooler. Products like this are used in racing with water instead of antifreeze. But they also improve the cooling properties of antifreeze.

Posted on Sep 03, 2010

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I have a 97 Honda shadow spirit. I have change the thermostat and the fan switch. And the temperature light still is coming on? Water pump is working! Help please


Hi, Lisa you have to isolate the problem is the engine actually overheating or is it a false alarm and just a grounded bulb in the temperature light circuit, normal engine oil temperature is 180-230 degrees, are you low on engine oil, does the cooling system need bleeding and the usual suspects are:
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I have a 91 Honda CBR250rr. It is getting really hot and steaming on long trips. I think my thermostat might be broken or the fan is blowing the wrong way. I have enough oil I have enough coolant and...


the fan is pluged in to wiring harness should not be a problem,the thermostat could be a problem when it kicks your fan in if at all if your bike is on the move continulasly it should not need the fan running unless the outside temprature is extreme,if you are doing stop start city riding then this can cause a lot of bikes to overheat,first test is to get the bike up to operating temp and without riding it and as the temprature is rising listen for when or if the fan starts if it doesnt then it could be your thermostat,if that is right it would pay to take it to the dealer and get them to check it out for you as too many times boiling is decreasing engine life by a lot . cheers hopes this helps

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1 Answer

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A lot of shadows run high on the gauge. I would be concerned if the fan never turned on when in the red /or if the fan ran constantly. You may just have a gauge that reads really high. I ride a Goldwing and totally ignore my gas gauge(it reads empty for half a tank)and my temp gauge many times does not come on at all. My fan does work, but it never kicks in, therefore i am not overheating. Both items are annoying but not worth fixing since they only back up other systems and are mostly there for looks. There are some antifreeze modifiers like "ICE" that are used in racing where antifreeze is not allowed. One of these may help lower a potentially high temperature. But may not be necessary.

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1 Answer

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1 Answer

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