Coolant change/top up

Last Updated on by Mark Embury

Aprilia Futura: Coolant change:

The guide below is based on one originally posted on Ken’s Falco site (no longer available).  The procedure is the same for the Falco as the Futura, although the RST has more body panels to remove before you can get at the radiators etc.

The Aprilia service manual calls for changing the engine coolant every two years, an easy – if messy, job.

Less than one gallon of mixed 50% water and 50% ethylene glycol antifreeze solution is required. When purchasing the coolant, look for a brand that does not include silicates (such as silicone-silicate) as a corrosion inhibitor. These materials have been known to cause premature water pump failure in some motorcycles and are worth avoiding. I’ve found that many “extended-life” brands of coolants such as Prestone Extended Life do not contain silicates. The stock coolant for the Futura is AGIP Permanent Plus Blue (Agip #ACPSL) .  The automotive coolants listed in the table below are options that should work.

 Pentofrost SF Extended LifePrestone Dex-Cool Extended LifePrestone Extended LifePeak Universal Extended LifeO'Reilly Dex-Cool CompatibleO'Reilly Universal Extended Life
ColorPurpleOrangeYellowYellowOrangeYellow
SilicatesNoNoNoNoNoNo
PhosphatesNoNoNoNoNoNo
NitritesNoNoNoNoNoNo

You can mix any color of ethylene glycol coolant in as a replacement, as the color is only cosmetic. There are other additives and coolant types that make their way into motorcycles. I have tried “Water Wetter” on the track where ethylene glycol is forbidden. I don’t know if it worked, but it seemed to do no harm. There are other formulations of coolant that others have used besides ethylene glycol. I have not had a need to try these. I personally would not use any “flush”, sealer, cleaner or anti-rust additives as these are likely to contain silicates to scour the system.

 

 

 

In order to access the engine drain bolt, removal of the lower cowl and middle-right (brake lever side) cowl is necessary. Take care in detaching the connector for the turn signal. It is a good idea to store the shoulder bolts in their original locations while you work as they are not all the same size. The drain bolt is behind the coolant overflow reservoir, which is held by one bolt then lifted out of place. The relief tube snakes around the bracket, but can be easily fished out and the reservoir will then hang out of the way. Click on image to view zoom of drain plugs.

 

Draining steps

  • With a catch pan, open the reservoir to drain as it is hangs upside down
  • Next, drain the coolant from each radiator. At the bottom of the radiator is a drain bolt with an aluminum crush washer. If you want a good flow, crack the filler neck on the right (brake lever) side of the gas tank. The cap on the filler neck contains a pressure relief that can be examined.
  • The lowest-most bolt on the water pump (behind the reservoir with two rubber hose connections) is the engine drain bolt. It is backed by a copper or aluminum crush washer. Remove this to finish draining the system.
  • Replace the engine drain bolt and torque to 8.7 ft-lbs (12 Nm). Replace the radiator bolts and torque to only 7.2 ft-lbs (10 Nm). The service manual recommends Loctite 572 (a thread sealant) on the radiator bolts. I used a generous amount of teflon tape instead.
  • Replace the coolant overflow reservoir, and route the relief hose up and around and down into the hold clamp under the reservoir.

 

To fill, a narrow-necked funnel is required to fit in the filler neck beside the gas tank. Fill the system close to the top, then “burp” it by squeezing the hoses at the bottom of the radiators. Top it off and close the cap down. Fill the reservoir until the coolant in the sight tube is at the max level. This system does not need to be bled, but after the first heat and cool cycle the level in the reservoir will need to be reset. Replace the bodywork, then wash the bike

 

 

Topping up coolant

Because of the top pipe, never top up the coolant while the bike is on the centre stand as the pipe is the highest point and will cause an air lock.Always fill the coolant with the bike on the sidestand.