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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