The bike in these photos is a year 2000 ZX-6R.
I am not a mechanic or a representative of any motorcycle or tool manufacturer or anything else official. This page is only my notes on doing this procedure myself. Although I believe what I have documented here is correct, I make no promises and you do this at your own risk.
Changing your antifreeze is one of the regular maintenance tasks specified in your service manual. (My manual says every 2 years or 24,000 Km.) Also, if you attend a track day, you may be required to replace your coolant with water to avoid spilling the slippery glycol on the track. The procedure is the same.
- Rear stand (recommended)
- Phillips screwdrivers
- Hex wrenches (metric)
- Socket set (metric)
- Container to catch old coolant
- Antifreeze of appropriate kind
- Distilled water — a couple of 4-litre jugs
Some difficulties could be:
- Under-tightening (so it falls out) or over-tightening (stripping threads) the water pump drain plug. That’s why a torque wrench is highly recommended.
- Handling spilled coolant. It’s slippery. It’s very poisonous. Worse, it has a sweet scent that can attract household pets to lap up a spill.
- Disposal of your used coolant. Your city may have regulations on how to do this.
- Danger of burns if you remove the radiator cap from a hot engine (don’t).
- Danger of leaving an air bubble trapped in the system, lowering cooling efficiency.
Remove the upper and lower fairings
You need to remove the lower fairing to access the drain point. Although it’s possible to reach the radiator fill point without removing the upper fairing (if you have a very long-necked funnel and small hands) it’s much easier to do this job if you also remove the upper fairing.
Drain the old coolant
I usually put a spare pail under the filler cap to catch drips, as liquid will spill out.
Warning: Coolant is very poisonous. The glycol makes it taste sweet, so if it’s spilled on the floor, your household pet may lick it up.
Flush the system
Add new coolant
Tighten the water pump drain plug properly now. It isn’t very tight (a soft metal screw, it will strip easily).
Mix coolant as specified on the jug. On mine, it calls for a 50-50 mix of coolant and distilled water. (If you’re setting up for a track day, you’ll be putting in pure distilled water, possibly mixed with “Water Wetter” if the organizers allow it.)