Charlies ZXR400, Keeping Cool

When I started stripping the ZXR400 I started compiling a list of what I needed to replace. Bar the faring that is smashed to hell, the radiator and oil cooler were at the top. A clogged up mews of shite that went throughout the intricate grills of these integral parts of the bike.

Fortunately I had the foresight to keep hold of these items and as my costs escalate beyond the worth of the bike I am looking at where I can save on some costs. The decision made I would try to get these cooling systems back to some form of glory.


The first thing I did was set up a water bath, spray both offending items with 3-IN–ONE Heavy Duty Cleaner and Degreaser, wait for them to foam up nicely – submerge and leave for 24hrs. On return the water was black, emptied and replaced. More 3-IN-ONE, submerge etc. This I repeated for about a fortnight before I could see something amazing happen. As I pulled the Radiator out of its watery resting place is had cleaned up to a point that you could see ‘Kawasaki’ written in Blue across the grill. I was stunned.

Thus the cooler and radiator were clean enough for a little man handling. With a very precise pick I managed to remove most of the small grit like stone that had wedged itself into the grill over the past 19 years. You have to be so careful, and even more patient with this but it has been worth every painstaking hour.


A final run down with Gunk and the radiator is ready to be returned to its original place. The protective grill however will need a little attention as having had the same cleaning treatment is looking somewhat tired and scruffy. Now I have been to all of this trouble with the rad, the covers need a re-spraying themselves which I will get on with once I have all of the parts together that need this treatment.

I had obviously removed the fan prior to this mammoth soaking. This again cleaned up really well with the use of a bit of Muc Off and bog standard kitchen cloth.

On the short term though I am pretty happy that the rad and cooler will be fit for purpose, it certainly looks like it but will only know when I have the old girl running again. But to think I almost binned these without second thought is almost criminal!


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