Motorcycle Project: Replacing the Radiator on a SV650s

When my brother and I picked out his bike it definitely was not with intention of it becoming our project replace everything bike.

Intentions are not reality though. Reality is that we’ve put a used engine in and now had to replace the radiator. While the radiator was working one of the mounting brackets broke, which in turn caused the power cord to the fan to work loose and fall into the fan. Luckily we felt confident enough to do the radiator work.

That’s broken.



The radiator looking all shiny and new.

We got the radiator on Ebay and while it worked overall it did require several modifications to make it work.  Strangely enough we had trouble finding any instructions on how to do a radiator swap. Which since it’s an SV650 (one of the most common bikes in NorCal) I thought that was weird. However since my brother and father had swaped radiators in cars before we were confident that we could manage.  We did however use these instructions to help drain the coolant.  Which were pretty helpful.

This is where we started, draining the fluid from the radiator.

It ended up being a family project, which was awesome. I like spending time with my family and spending a few hours is with my Dad and brother in the garage is great. It is a little funny because it’s such a guy’s guy thing to do and we are all pretty far from your stereotypical guys. (At least I am with all the cooking and cleaning I do, oh and the crying during sad movies)


Dad and Brother working on Motorcycle.


While I would love to be the one who makes that step by step walk through on how to swap a radiator on a SV650, I did not take enough pictures. However, I will say that if you buy a radiator off ebay like this one be aware it doesn’t quite fit exactly, we had to file and drill new mounting points for a few things.

The pencil mark is where the hole should be… that’s close… but not good enough, we needed to drill another hole to get the horn mounting to fit.

We needed to file off the tab on most if not all of these, the originals were thinner, and so the tab needed to go to get things to fit.

Also making sure you save all the rubber mounting and metal tubes that go inside of them so your radiator goes back on and won’t vibrate too much. Excessive vibration can cause things to shake loose and cause things to go wrong. Like the fan wire falling into the fan.

You can see all the damage done to the fan and wires. Luckily we were able to get it back together again.

Well it took a few hours and a run to get some parts, we needed longer bolts for somethings since the thickness of the mounting points was different.

Overall it went smoothly and my brothers back to commuting on his bike with no issues so far. Though it’s winter and we’ll have to see how it does when it warms up, to see if the fan keeps functioning.

I was glad to be able to get it done, and also super glad to have the garage to do it in.


About MotoCynic

I started riding motorcycles in 2006, and there is no going back. I've ridden more than 100,000 miles, most of it on a Ducati Monster, and despite setbacks and murderous BMW's I'm loving every mile.
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3 Responses to Motorcycle Project: Replacing the Radiator on a SV650s

  1. Hey there, I’ve been checking out your posts and really like your content. I don’t have much experience with radiators beyond flushing them. Why did you have to replace the whole radiator instead of just the wire? I’ve been working on writing up some tutorials for maintenance and was going to do one about winterizing and flushing fluids; I’ll definitely point people your direction if they have questions about replacing their radiator.



  2. Pingback: Looking Back: 2016 Bucket List | Motorcycles and the Cynic

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