OT - Van Diagostic Time. Again! Overheated

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happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 2, 2012 - 03:54pm PT
So, I had just passed the exits for a town called Shamrock, TX off HWY 40, when I noticed the temp gauge was topping out. I watch my gauges as I drive, and hadn't noticed it running hot until then. I figure it happened quite quickly.

Luckily, I was at a good spot, and juuuust past an exit ramp with a frontage road back about 50 feet. And no traffic. I backed up and off the HWY/Ramp, and turned the van off. But first, I was worried, because I had heard people say to let it idle before turning off, which was not the way I had learned BITD.

Here are the details which may, or may not, provide clues to you Supermen and Taco Belles who might have some suggestions.

I did idle, as I quickly searched the owners manual, which said "Turn it off." Check. The temp did begin to lower with the van idling, but not very much.

I was amazed to find I DID have coolant in the back! I let the van sit for an hour, and was surprised there was just the littlest "tssst" when I did the initial cap turn. Actually - I was surprised that it was as cool to near-touch when I found the coolant after it was sitting maybe 15-20 minutes(I passed my hand over closed cap without touching expecting I would feel heat and there was just a faint heat).

The van cooled, and I checked the level. Down below the cores inside, at least. I put in the coolant I had, which was probably a half jug. It just covered the cores, but not up to the recommended level. Another 3/4 inch or so to be there.

I carefully went to the town, and the temp gauge rose steadily to just below it's usual running temp for the northeast. That worried me, since it had not seemed hot when I added coolant, but - the town was so near that I didn't have time(I am glad) to see if it was going to go further up.

I looked at hoses and don't see anything obvious. No blown rubber. The coolant did seem to have gone out the overflow tube because when I opened the hood initially and looked, the bottom of the tube was wet, and the metal below it too. Not dripping - just had some wetness.

The radiator was not steaming or smoking when I pulled over, nor making any funny noises. It did not creak or groan or anything after turn off either.

So...here I am in Shamrock, population Small. There is a NAPA, but when I asked at the gas station about mechanics, they didn't hop to it with suggestions. The lady was not very helpful, and I have to admit - there were some men customers too, and usually - well, usually people ask questions and at LEAST make SOME kind of suggestion in the line of trying to be helpful. I guess this was just an Off the Bog HWY place with travelers, but the workers weren't all that helpful.

One lady said "Give her So and So's number" which she did, and then she totally blew me off when I began to ask about the surrounding town(direction of downtown and such). There was two clerks, and it wasn't like they were swamped. The lady who helped me had been screwing around looking at someone's jewelry they were selling beforehand and had to be reminded there was a line of people... But NOW she's got people she's got to ring up! Grrr

Anyway - I am going to take it easy tonight, since there's nothing I can do anyway. Hair is being dyed(yay for getting the hair color ahead of time, and I am going to take a luxurious soak in the tub.

Tomorrow I suppose I am going to have to call this Mr/ So and So, since I guess my initial thought - that I had simply gotten a little low on coolant and it was damned hot and full sun, and that I was driving between 65-70 (75MPH speed limit - yikes!) - and that if I fill it back up I'm good to go, is not the best idea since I am going to be like 90 miles from Amarillo once I leave Lucky Shamrock.



So - whaddaya all think?
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Dec 2, 2012 - 04:03pm PT
Crimpergirl here on BN's computer


Yer gunna DIE!






Please forgive me. I'm immature and couldn't resist - plus someone had to do it. Hope someone more helpful can step up.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Dec 2, 2012 - 04:04pm PT
Over heated but coolant was still cool ?

start with a stuck thermostat.

Good luck and I hope you didn't cook your engine.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Dec 2, 2012 - 04:07pm PT
I have a 91 GMC van. I also had overheating issues. Especially when I was overloaded or loaded and driving into a headwind.
Turns out I needed a new radiator, and an aftermarket secondary cooling unit. It's a mighty big machine for the cooling system it was built with.

Best of luck!
wivanoff

Trad climber
CT
Dec 2, 2012 - 04:13pm PT
Hope it's just low on coolant and you'll be good to go. Why did it have coolant in the back and you did not know? You should mix coolant with H2O and not use just straight coolant, btw.

Was there any white smoke coming out the tailpipe?
Pull the oil dipstick and check that it's oil on the dipstick and not "mayonnaise".

Either or those might indicate a head gasket problem :(

Hopefully, it's just low coolant/very slow leak. But some possibilities in order of expense/time might be:

Thermostat stuck closed
Bad water pump (could the belt have broken?)
Clogged Radiator
Blown head gasket

Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 2, 2012 - 04:22pm PT
Like you said, it could have been low on coolant over time.
There may be a slow leak somewhere and leaking only when hot (pressurized) so you don't notice it until the coolant level is down.

Good chance of a sticky thermostat which fails to open fully.
Install a new thermostat and gasket. It's a cheap part, so just do it. If you take it to a shop, have them pressure test your cooling system. (They pump it up with air and see if the pressure bleeds down).

If doing it yourself, check for coolant leaking at radiator & heater hose connections. Check when it reaches operating temp and then after you shut it off. Look for coolant leaking from the water pump. Look for a telltale weep line of discoloration below the water pump, or a drip. Check that the radiator cap is holding pressure. Look for hardened or torn gasket.

If the new thermostat doesn't have a little hole for air to bleed out, then drill a couple small holes, 1/8" to 3/16". That keeps air pockets out of your engine block when you refill the radiator.
ELM !

climber
Near Boston
Dec 2, 2012 - 04:32pm PT
Ditto on the sticky thermostat.
Just check the oil too ...just to be sure you head gasket is ok. If there's an issue the oil will be a light tan color.
John M

climber
Dec 2, 2012 - 05:02pm PT
I am not a mechanic, but I have had a radiator cap get weak and slowly lose coolant through the overflow. Some Napas will pressure check the radiator cap for you. Its easy enough.

happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2012 - 05:04pm PT
The coolant was a jug I had bought soon after getting the van. A friend and I had gone over the basics and when we checked the level, it was within the range suggested in the manual, but on the lower side of it. I had forgotten I'd bought it and topped up the level. It was pre-mixed, so not full strength.

I am mad at myself for not checking the coolant level since starting in the trip. I did right before I left and it was fine, and just this MORNING I thought, as I was going to check the oil level "What about the radiator?" But, I had driven the van for a bit and so it was hot. I thought "Well, check it next time you cool out." I am terrified of getting hot spray and so I never would have done it until the next morning. Also, I hadn't stopped for long enough that I would have been comfortable opening it today.

So, I do not know if it was slowly losing fluid.

I haven't checked the oil since this, but will do it in a bit since I just got out of shower. Oil pressure gauge has been reading normal levels and did so after this overheat, but again, I only drove about a total of two miles since.


I didn't notice any smoke, but the van is a big guy and I can't really see his rear end when in the driver's seat. I didn't notice any odors from the tailpipe area when I was back getting the coolant, but don't know if there would be a smell associated with this. Didn't notice any of that "overheated" smell at the front either.

No blown hoses that I could see, and the belt is intact.

I won't be able to replace the thermostat myself. I could probably do it if I had someone coaching me and patiently watching while I took forever to do something easy, but on my own, I just don't feel confident.

I posted to my FB page about it first and Riley came on with some suggestion, similar as what you all are saying. Except he didn't start with Yer Gonna Die!!!


Oh - there's Teddy, up and at the door. He hasn't been feeling good the last two days at all. At all. Long story, but he's not been interested in eating and has very little wish to walk. I did buy some roat chicken and he ate a small amount, and now maybe he will take some more. I'd better go take him out, poor guy.

Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Dec 2, 2012 - 05:13pm PT
Do you have a multi-meter?
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 2, 2012 - 05:23pm PT
Happie..check out youtube for changing thermostats. It is generally REALLY easy. Have not done it in decades, but recall it being very simple on my old chevrolet.

happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2012 - 05:31pm PT
Damn, I knew I should have bought that multi-meter...


Will look at the videos but I'm not promising nothing!

I checked the oil and it is normal colored, and expected level. Phew on that one!
Michelle

Trad climber
Toshi's Station, picking up power converters.
Dec 2, 2012 - 05:40pm PT
no advice but good luck!

feel better Teddy!

briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Dec 2, 2012 - 05:42pm PT
Just keep driving with the now correct coolant level IMO. If it gets hot stop and head back to the town. It should get hot pretty quickly if something is actually wrong
Evel

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Dec 2, 2012 - 05:47pm PT
Get a new radiator cap. Too easy and a very common problem. And swapping out thermostats isn't that hard. As per Crimpie look at youtube.
Best of luck to you!
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Dec 2, 2012 - 05:51pm PT
I concur with those who suggested thermostadt.

I changed mine earlier this year, and the most expensive part of the job was replacing the coolant. The thermostadt itself was only seven dollars.

You got extra cooant already, so you're in.
John M

climber
Dec 2, 2012 - 05:52pm PT
which vehicle do you have now?

I still say start with radiator cap. Thermostats are easy to change depending on how easy they are to get to.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 2, 2012 - 06:08pm PT
Sounds like the van has a very small leak somewhere, and you let the coolant level get low. The leak could be as simple as a loose hose clamp. Best time to visually check for leaks is immediately after shutting it down when hot. Or have a shop pressure test the cooling system.

From your description, you don't have a radiator overflow tank/bottle.
(aka: coolant expansion or recovery tank).
At some point, you should install one. The aftermarket part is inexpensive; it's just a translucent plastic tank. I even rigged one on a Subaru powered dune buggy, using a gatorade bottle w/ hole drilled in the cap, and zip ties holding it to the frame. It's on its third season and others are copying the design. The overflow hose from the radiator spills expanded coolant into it as the ehgine heats up. When the engine cools, the extra coolant is sucked back into the radiator. This enable you to visually check the level at a glance, without removing the radiator cap.

You have an old van and don't do the preventative maintenance to keep it reliable. Either you have to get tools and learn how to use them or have your van regularly inspected and maintained if you want to avoid breakdowns on road trips.
No offense intended. Certainly I've had my share of vans and 4x4s with numerous mechanical problems. Hardly a trip goes by that I'm not repairing something, and I'm rather sure it's every Baja trip.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 2, 2012 - 06:18pm PT
Fact you are losing coolant.

Overheating could be due to just low coolant from a very slow leak such as worn out radiator cap. Once coolant gets low enough it may no longer circulate and can remain cool in the radiator while your engine block overheats. Based on the fact that you have low coolant I would not worry at all about the thermostat. Thermostats do not cause leaks.

Personally I would just fill er up and drive on. The one main thing you need to watch for is a heavy white exhaust. If you get that you have a serious problem such as a cracked head.

Otherwise stop from time to time leave the engine running pop the hood and see if you can find the leak. If you don't seee anything turn off the engine and see if you can find the leak. But dont put your hand in there while running... bad stuff can happen lol.

Get back to us once you have filled up and let her run a bit. If you can't find the leak and you don't overheat anymore stop worrying and drive on but keep a couple jugs handy.

The big risk of this advice would be blowing a hose completely out in the middle of nowhere and having to get a ride for a replacement.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 2, 2012 - 06:31pm PT
It's possible the lost coolant is just what blew out the overflow. You do not necessarily have a leak just because it's low. You do want to get under there and look for leaks, though.

Thermostat problems have probably destroyed more engines than all other problems combined. Get that thing replaced. Don't skimp on the new one, either, ie, don't go to AutoZone. A better thermostat will stay open when it fails, has a pressure relief, lasts 100x longer than a piss cheap one, etc. It's like 5-10 extra bucks, no brainer. Thermostats only last 50-100k miles, less in the northland. They are indeed generally easy to replace, but most should keep in mind that nothing is easy to replace in that style of van.

Also consider a cooling system flush with some type of cleaner.

Definitely check the oil. Sell the thing asap if the oil looks milky or if you find too much brown slime in the coolant - either way.

Good luck,



climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 2, 2012 - 06:32pm PT
Good points by JLP. Indeed I was incorrect to say that thermostats do not cause leaks.

bobinc

Trad climber
Portland, Or
Dec 2, 2012 - 06:36pm PT
I think I'm buying some Climb Addict chalkbags tomorrow...
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2012 - 07:09pm PT
I am looking at a thermostat video and though it doesn't look hard to do - it does look like something I don't think I can do alone. I just haven't got any experience with this stuff. I have been happy that I can change the headlights and tail light bulbs that have gone out. I just worry when it comes to the engine that I will do something wrong.

If I take the van out tomorrow and top it up with coolant, and drive in the local area - how long before a failed thermostat shows it's likely the problem?

I am not wanting to go too far from the town just filling up and having spare coolant because there is nothing between here and Amarillo - 90 plus miles away.

The radiator cap itself looks fine. Clean, no rust, seats evenly and seems to "clamp down" when turning past the point of the radiator spout.

Re: Overflow - Correct, the van doesn't have one.
WBraun

climber
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:13pm PT
Screw all these lightweights here.

When in doubt run it out ......

:-)
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:21pm PT
Screw all these lightweights here.

When in doubt run it out ......

:-)

ya- i think ur good - run that shit!!
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:23pm PT
Filling with coolant won't fix a stuck thermostat.

You can even just temporarily remove the thermostat and run without it for a while.

The other more unlikely and a lot more serious problem is if the impeller on the water pump has failed. That's almost always accompanied by horrible noises and water leaking from the water pump shaft though.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2012 - 07:28pm PT
There have been no horrible noises. Man - last year when the alternator went in the old van, now THAT was some horrible noise! I had no idea - thought the battery just got discharged with a bad alternator. Never ever want to experience that one again...

briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
Filling with coolant won't fix a stuck thermostat.

But, filling it and running it to see what happens to the temperature will show us something. If it its stuck, it will get hot, you turn off your car, you fix it. If you fill it up and it runs fine...BOOM back on the road!
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:35pm PT
When my thermostat went, one of the symptoms was that the engine wasn't getting hot, at least according to the guage in the dash it wasn't.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:42pm PT
how long before a failed thermostat shows it's likely the problem?
When you start driving, the temp gauge will come up to operating temperature and just keep getting hotter, assuming the thermostat is stuck closed. The problem with diagnosing that way is that thermostats often fail either intermittently or only partially open. So, it could work fine for a day or a week and then fail to work properly. That's why if there is the slightest question about its condition, it should be replaced.
+1 for purchasing the best quality part available.

Chaz, yes a thermostat can get stuck in the fully open position. The engine does not get up to normal operating temperature in cold weather.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:45pm PT
Yep.

Fill it up and let it idle for a good 15 min or so.

If the temp keeps climbing, or doesn't climb at all, you got a stuck thermostat.

Pick up a 5 gal container, fill it with water and bring it along just in case.

If you do find yourself in BFE with a leak that isn't just massive, (like a blown hose) loosen the radiator cap so the system is NOT pressurized and just keep adding water every 20 mi or so till you reach civilization.

If the system isn't pressurized even duck tape on a bad hose might get you to town.

For what a thermostat costs and the peace of mind involved with an older van, I'd just go ahead and replace it.


You should really have a spare set of radiator hoses, a couple of extra clamps and a roll of duck tape in the back somewhere.

What I used to do was replace the hoses every couple of years and then throw the old ones under the back seat for emergency replacements along with a couple of screw type hose clamps. (not the OEM spring or bolt clamp types)
pud

climber
Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:47pm PT
Go to the nearest internet climbing forum. Get a lot of advice on possible causes, remedies and cures.

Search youtube and get really distracted watching 'fail' videos for a few hours, then take it to the nearest garage and have them fix it.

Good luck!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:49pm PT
keep in mind you can diagnose the thermostat fairly easily, depending on where it's located in the cooling system. Usually they're fairly accessible, with a simple gasket for a seal, and 2 or 3, maybe 4 bolts to remove.

You can remove the thermostat, note which side goes which way, as there are usually two different possibilities, 180 degrees different, and reconnect the system without thermostat, sometimes with the same gasket or some blue silicon sealant, and drive the car. If you don't overheat like before - get a new thermostat, install it in the correct orientation, and it should fix the problem. There might be a problem with this simple method in later model vehicles.

The thermostat is there to help the motor warm up faster, especially in cold weather. It opens and allows water to circulate at around 180 degrees, which is optimum temp for engine performance. If it sticks - no water circulation, no water circulation - no cooling.

happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2012 - 07:49pm PT
hahah Pud, calls it.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 2, 2012 - 08:10pm PT
To actually answer your latest question - you could safely drive across the country with your stuck thermostat - possibly in 100 yard chunks.

Drive slow, stay off the highway, watch the temp, pull over when it's even the slightest above normal, allow to cool, repeat. The temp gage will be a little "late", so watch the rate of rise closely.

Overheating the engine will absolutely effect every part in your motor, to some degree. You have no doubt already caused some damage. Too much and every gasket in the motor starts to leak, every piece of metal warps, oil becomes charcoal and clogs every passage, etc, etc - the engine becomes scrap - keep that in mind as you ponder how hot to push things. If you are close to normal on the temp gage with the coolant full, you should be reasonably safe.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Dec 2, 2012 - 10:15pm PT
A slow loss of coolant which is not appearing externally on the engine, in the oil, or as white smoke billowing out the tail pipe could be a small head gasket leak. Warm up the engine and let it idle and watch the tailpipe to see if it spits moisture. All cars will spit as they warm up because water condenses in the exhaust system when it cools, that is why mufflers rust out.

If you have an internall leak such as a head gasket, you could try a stop leak product, like Bars Leak, you might want to do that before you head off to BFE
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2012 - 01:09am PT
Thanks for the information.

The head gasket issue - I am wondering if some of you don't realize this van is not the same one I had before. Are head gasket leaks that common, from a car overheating?

The old van was amazing that it had kept running as smoothly as it did right up to the day it was hauled away for scrap, but this van, though a 1990, had only 65K miles on it when I bought it.

The first people who owned it seemed ti have done all the careful maintenance, and they drove it only for vacations travel. They were the first owner, and sold it about 3 years ago to the people I bought it from. Those people didn't do anything, but also didn't put much mileage on it. Only 3L in the time they had it and again, vacation travel.

Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 3, 2012 - 02:46am PT
It took a while to figure out that it is a new (to you) van. Searched some of your old posts to refresh my memory on your old mechanical problems and saw a photo of the current replacement van.
Are head gasket leaks that common, from a car overheating?
Cast iron blocks and heads are not particularly susceptible to blown head gaskets. Your Ford has a cast iron truck engine (either a 300 cid straight 6 cyl, small-block V8 302 or 351 cid, or a gas guzzling big-block 460 cid). I've owned all of them, and to my knowledge, none are prone to heads warping or cracking. Cast iron engines will often/usually withstand a boilover if shut down immediately. That's one advantage to good old American heavy metal.

If you had a more modern vehicle or an import, the chances are very high that the aluminum head(s) will warp during an overheat. That creates gaps between the the block and head (where the head gasket sits). Combustion gasses, oil, and coolant flow and mix where they shouldn't. Always an expensive and labor intensive fix. The computer on some newer vehicles will shut the engine down or go into a low rpm "limp to the side of the road" mode when the coolant overheats.

We are all hoping that your van has a minor leak, like a loose hose clamp, and no head gasket failure. Best of luck to you.
Tobia

Social climber
Denial
Dec 3, 2012 - 04:07am PT
No advice to add; but I thought a quick review of the thread was in order.
I vote juan m & pud to be named as the official taco "Click and Clack, Tappet Brothers and masters of Car Talk.

juan is awarded for his advice, especially checking the weep hole on the water pump (pump problems are sometimes unheard due to the rest of the engine noise) and pud for his wit and also correct assessment of the other problem at hand.
Credit: ęCarTalk
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 3, 2012 - 09:06am PT
Cast iron blocks and heads are not particularly susceptible to blown head gaskets.
They still warp, for sure, at some point, it's all a matter of degree. Having something more than a dummy light (esp a broken one) to monitor things certainly helps the situation. A "bad" overheat would be when the engine stalls - damage for sure to some degree no matter how large and heavy and old your engine is. Yes, the newer Al heads, especially with cams in the head, don't fare as well.
locker

Social climber
Douchebag Central
Dec 3, 2012 - 09:17am PT


Not to worry Happie!!!...


Your Van's being repaired as I write this...





















































...


Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Dec 3, 2012 - 09:30am PT
Stuck thermostat. Easy repair. Do not idle the engine with no coolant in it. If you hear a pinging noise it means you ran the engine with no coolant and bent the valves, lifters and other important parts connected to the heads. That's how one of my old cars died in Death Valley, when the radiator plug blew out. The fix for that, supposedly is to carve a potato into shape which apparently swells up with the hot radiator water. But it doesnt seem like you have a leak.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2012 - 09:39am PT
When it rains, it pours.

According to all that's been said - it looks like the overheat may have been low fluid level. I filled it up with coolant. It took about 2/3 jug between yesterday and today, maybe even a full jug, which seems a lot to me.

So I drove it around town back and forth, but not on highway or at that speed, for at least 20 minutes before stopping and turning engine off. The temp moved pretty quickly up to the middle of gauge. Not immediately upon starting. But within a few minutes it started to raise, and then steadily went to the middle. It's a lot hotter and sunnier here than I have been at, so I don't know if that is the way it would normally raise.

But it stayed at the middle, and went down slightly when idling and not moving.


I guess I will be cautious and see what happens.


Now part 2. I stopped and noticed one of my tires needs changing - the belst are showing in a section. I feel So damned stupid right now for not even noticing this wear, though I did know the van needed alignment and ignored it thinking "welll, I will have to get it don in CA."

So, I am pulled over in a shady spot, but this town is not crawling with local and pedestrian traffic(meaning guys who will help).

I figured I would start to get ready and someone would see a girl pulling a spare tire out, getting the wheel chocked, a tire laying in front of the van.

A guy even drove in to the business next door and looked at me and ignored, and the man working in the business also saw me, looked and turned back inside(which is okay - people have reasons they cannot or will not immediately help).

So I thought "well - let's see what I can do!" And I got the key to unlock the tire cap and I cannot budge it. WD40 did not make it any more possible for me. I worry there is some trick I don't get, because it doesn't feel like it is seating as evenly and solidly as I would expect.

So....I am going to look up where I can go to get it changed, and take a little time at it hoping someone who is interested in helping might stop in the interim.

This is not a big deal on the scale, and I should be really grateful the problems I am having didn't happen a week ago when I was broke.

But Teddy is very sick. My friend Sonya called and has offered to help front money for his vet trip and work. But he has been not good for two days now, and so I know it isn't just a bump in the road as it has been in the past when he was feeling down.


The vet visit is at 2pm, 20 miles away, so I guess I had better get a move on.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Dec 3, 2012 - 12:43pm PT
You should not be traveling without AAA coverage, the 200 mile towing package. If you made it from NY to TX without adding fluid then it is a very slow leak. If the temp rises then stops rising it sounds like the thermstat is good. Keep the radiator topped off
Jeremy

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 3, 2012 - 12:45pm PT
Sweet Lord...enough already...
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 3, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
As long as your temp guage stays approx mid up and down a little you are PROBABLY good to go.. check your fluids daily and keep close eye on things.

My guess still is a slow leak somewhere. Hopefully you find it and it's something simple. Unfortunately slow leaks sometimes become blown hoses or worse at an inconvenient time.

Good luck.

Oh and check to see your fan is working. It should cut on occasionally.. double check that k.

If by any chance you get within a couple hundred miles of Reno pm me through this forum ahead of time.. be glad to take a look at things for ya and replace your thermostat just to be safe.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Dec 3, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
Maybe the problem is your van is OK but the village you are at SUCKS !

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 3, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
You can even just temporarily remove the thermostat and run without it for a while.

If you can get to the Thermostat to remove it, you might as well replace it. It's not so easy in a van. I have a Ford Econoline E250 and the book says it takes over an hour for a qualified mechanic to replace the thermostat. I'm kinda screwed in my van suddenly because after an overheating problem they couldn't get the thermostat out due to severely corroded bolts so they just disabled it so my flow is open all the time now.

Also good to replace the cap. It's cheap and sometimes that's it, but the thermostat is the kingpin of tons of stupid car problems that can lead to disaster

If it's the head gasket (and it could be) that sucks because it's very expensive to repair. If you, like me, have a vehicle that's not worth a thousand or two or more to fix, you can try what's worked for me in two cars so far, an acura legend and a subaru legacy wagon, Steel seal

It's $100 of magic sauce that mechanic distain but totally fixed the two head gasket issues and they ran for years afterwards, before they overheated in 15 minutes. It's a no brainer for any non-mechanic to use

https://secure.steelseal.com/index.php/t14

a non-mechanic dirtbag's friend

peace

karl
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 3, 2012 - 01:30pm PT
HG
A lots of times when you're losing water is because it's steaming out..
Those old systems need to be "burped". When the engine and radiator are not COMPLETELY
full. The engine will have trapped air. Which gets hotter then the engine actually is.
Corresponding with the tempature gauge to rise rapidly. Once uv driven enough to warm the engine, turn the heater ON. The water in the heater core circulates with the engine water. A lot of times this wil cause ur radiator level to go down. Top it off. Problem solved!
Everytime your car heats up U should IMEDIATLY turn the heater on. FWIW

GOOD LUCK!
Sorry to hear about Teddy...
You know I lost Jake a few months ago.
BB
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 3, 2012 - 01:33pm PT
There are cheaper leak fixers than Karl's. But if it is the head gasket
then $100 is cheap. Hard to believe it only leaked 2/3 gal from NY to whereever
you are now. You need to get that thermostat out now and get a new one in.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Dec 3, 2012 - 02:10pm PT
Good luck with Teddy....so sorry he is sick..
Hope he is ok....
He is a good puo
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2012 - 02:19pm PT
Well, it was running good but just started to get hot again.

After the last post I made, I drove a 55-60mph for about 20 miles and it stayed at the middle. Then continued on another 40 miles, at 55-60. Had been watching it and it was staying in middle, but then began to rise.

The manual says that the level CAN get up into the higher range of the section marked "normal," but if it passes that line and goes by the H, trouble. As it was staying at just about above the the "a" in normal, or at about 70% towards the top of the normal section, I kept going to the town, about 2 miles. Sitting in the shade now.

I am thinking I will fill up the fluid if low, and try to get to Amarillo, which is about 60 miles away, with two towns and a rest area spaced in between. I would think that a leak has developed. Will replace the cap, but if looks are any clue, this one seems in very good condition.


The tire - it was a good thing I did go to have the tire guys change it, because the lugnuts for the regular rims didn't fit when he put the spare tire on. Interesting, because when I looked at the van, the spare was not inside. The lady said it was in the garage, and when I picked the van up, they had put it in the van. But my friend noticed that the spare tire was a 225/15 when the ones on van are 275.

One of the van's 275/15's became damaged and so I bought a set of used tires and put the still good 275 on the spare tire rim and through out the 225 tire. At any rate - the place in Shamrock had no new or used tires in the size, and so I am without a spare until I get to Amarillo and find a used one, hopefully. Plus I guess I need the lug nuts that will work. I had no idea this could even be an issue. FYI - the guy at the shop had to use all his might to get that wheel lock to loosen. So, I don't feel too bad I couldn't do it. At the time I was mad at myself for giving up so easily.

I am exhausted emotionally. Teddy went to the vet and he got some medicines for stomach and antibiotics under the assumption that he ate something gross which is causing the distress. The vet felt it was not an obstruction in his bowel, which was one possibility.

Now to see if he perks up and wants food. If he isn't improved by Wednesday, then they need to do tests to see what is wrong.

happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2012 - 02:55pm PT
Okay - cooled and checked. It was not really low by much. Maybe a little less than when I added to it, but covering the cores.

I filled to about 1/8 inch from where the neck comes out of radiator, so should be able to easily tell if some is used, but wouldn't know if it is leaking or going out that 0overflow hose.

The sun is down and it is much cooler if that wil make a differnece. I am so tired. Not going to try for Amarillo until tomorrow morning, but will look for fiusr suitable stop for night place along the way.
locker

Social climber
Douchebag Central
Dec 3, 2012 - 03:10pm PT

Your determination is cool...

Hard core...

You'll be fine...
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 3, 2012 - 03:27pm PT
If the van overheated, your thermostat was damaged. Get it replaced, or destroy your engine. Simple as that.

No idea what other cooling system related problems you have or what the root cause of the overheating is, though suggest you get that fixed as well.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Dec 3, 2012 - 05:45pm PT
She is a hard core adventurist and traveler - not knowing where her head will rest next, if her dog is ok, or even when her next meal with come..
Hard core...like the ol wagon train travelers...
Except they couldnt Hitch...
Something many or you "reservation climbers" could learn a thing or two from..

Happy watch the gap betwen Amarillo and Albaquerque - there is a long stretch with nothing- I went flying through Amarillo last year rocking out to tunes and by the time I looked at the gas gage I was in the middle of nowhere....LOL ...I ran out only 5 miles from a gas station and a trucker picked me up immediately and drove me in....but I was lucky. The gas station manager told me ha has had people come in who walked all night long.....LOL....

Amarillo is nice - my kids and I just went through there last week...

happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2012 - 05:56pm PT
That seems like good advice. I did get to Amarillo and was surprised at how quick moving and non-congested the HWY 60/40 corridor was. It would be very easy to think "I'll stop soon" and then be out of town. I ended up on the west side myself, coming from northeast, and will have to backtrack to do what I need to do tomorrow.

I did see a tire guy back up the road, quite a bit but still in the city, and hopefully I can get that taken care of early and ask them about people to check the van issue out.

The temp stayed at middle way the entire portion of this, but yeah - the next section until Albequerque is pretty bleak. Last year I left Oklahoma through Hollis(if ever I have seen a god-forsaken town, that was one). And there was no thing, not even a sign that anyone lived up a gravel road over the horizon - for a long, long, way.

I screwed up that one bad by deciding not to stop in what turned out to be THE one town along the way. At dusk, no less. Because I had gotten an uncomfortable feeling and thought "well, maybe the other side of town." Which, there really wasn't one of. I don't know how many miles I went down that road with seeing maybe three or four semis and that was it, but I was up way past my bedtime that night, and ended up at this tourist trap restaurant/gift shop in the middle of nowhere, like 30 or 60 miles south of Albequerque.


edit: And as for hard core adventurer, I don't know if a person who can't even change their tire can qualify there... But, I was very nice to the tire guys, and even gave him a little jolly. He told me the lug nits didn't fit, and he'd see if they had some to use for the spare rim. He pulled out a box of add and end ones and found one or two, but gave up. They also got some other customers, so had to do that.

So, I say as he is finishing putting the tire in and puts the empty rim in the van, "So you didn't find enough lugnuts, then?" He goes, "No, I got no nuts."

I don't think he realized the double entendre, but I thought Oh, what the hell, these guys have been very nice" and said "Well, you got nits, but not the kind I need right now." He smiled and said in a sorta Texan voice, "Yeah, those ones won't work for this job."

And then he charged me, for switching out the spare to the regular rim and putting it on the van, $15. Maybe that's what things cost in Texas small towns, but it seemed a pretty good deal to me. So I gave him a twenty and then said "Keep the rest as a tip. I really appreciate you;re helping me so quickly and being so nice." And he was genuinely appreciative of that unexpected tip. I think that was the first time I ever saw someone have that look. I t was pretty clear that a $5 cash extra for him that day made a difference in SOME way.
T R

climber
Ca.
Dec 3, 2012 - 06:09pm PT
What year is the van? Where is the coolant leak; you keep adding coolant. Maybe the head gasket is a little blown and coolant is going into the crankcase. Pull the oil dipstick and look/smell for coolant. Is the oil dipstick higher than normal? Does the van have any loss of power.
Kinda sounds like a radiator; BUT that doesn't explain the loss of coolant.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2012 - 06:56pm PT
It is a 1990 Ford Econoline, E250 van.

I do not know where the leak is, or if there IS a leak. It may be that when I filled it this morning, I could have put in a bit more than I did. It didn't really seem lower than the recommended level when it ran hot this afternoon.

The oil is normal. Same amount as was in before the overheat(I had checked it that morning). It doesn't smell like coolant. The power seems fine. I haven't pushed it, like to kick down a gear for a hill, or to pass anyone, but the regular driving is normal as usual.


Thanks to everyone for the help and suggestions. I guess I do need to have someone take a look at it, and will do so tomorrow.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Dec 3, 2012 - 08:11pm PT
For changing tires there is a reduction gear lug wrench which will allow anyone to change a tire. I have never tried it but it seems like a good idea, especially for the ladies who travel alone, or even some guys (gym climbers:)

http://www.amazon.com/WWT-Group-L-202E-Lugnut-Wrench/dp/B0000719WC

Credit: Jon Beck
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 3, 2012 - 08:35pm PT
I filled to about 1/8 inch from where the neck comes out of radiator, so should be able to easily tell if some is used, but wouldn't know if it is leaking or going out that overflow hose.

You are overfilling the radiator. As the engine warms up, coolant will start spitting out from the overflow tube. After the engine cools and you pull the radiator cap, the coolant level should be about 3/4" to 1" (guessing) below the bottom of the neck. That is normal. If you expect it to be full, then you will believe your system has a leak and keep adding fluid. Guaranteed, it will "use" a quart of coolant every time you drive it!

If you add an aftermarket overflow tank, then the radiator will be completely full when cold. Repeating myself here: get one, even if you have to use a Gatorade bottle and zip ties.

BLUEBLOCR wrote about trapped air in the block. That's why you want a small hole(s) in your new thermostat. And, as he recommends, run the heater for a couple minutes to get the trapped air out of the heater core and hoses.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 3, 2012 - 08:58pm PT
And I got the key to unlock the tire cap and I cannot budge it. WD40 did not make it any more possible for me. I worry there is some trick I don't get, because it doesn't feel like it is seating as evenly and solidly as I would expect.
What's a "tire cap"?

FYI - the guy at the shop had to use all his might to get that wheel lock to loosen.
What's a "wheel lock"? Do you mean a "locking lug nut"?

If having difficulty removing locking lug nuts, try over-torqueing the adjacent lug nuts; the nuts on either side of the locking lug nut. It's a little trick I learned working on repos, when we never had the key. Then I'd beat an impact socket over the top of it with a hammer. The locking nut will spin off with less resistance. Buy regular lug nuts and throw the PITA locking lug nuts away. More people get stranded by not having the key when it is needed or from the key having insufficient grip strength to handle the torque needed for removal.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Dec 3, 2012 - 09:04pm PT
If having difficulty removing locking lug nuts, try over-torqueing the adjacent lug nuts; the nuts on either side of the locking lug nut. It's a little trick I learned working on repos, when we never had the key. Then I'd beat an impact socket over the top of it with a hammer. The locking nut will spin off with less resistance. Buy regular lug nuts and throw the PITA locking lug nuts away. More people get stranded by not having the key when it is needed or from the key having insufficient grip strength to handle the torque needed for removal.

This is classic.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Dec 3, 2012 - 09:10pm PT
the van needed alignment and ignored it thinking "welll, I will have to get it don in CA."

Yeah, alignment will wear down your tires.

Consider the Firestone lifetime alignment. It's good at any Firestone (hold onto your paperwork). Sometimes they do a "less than ideal" job, but it's better than nothing :-). (I have no financial interest in Firestone).


Regarding the spare tire: Sounds like you need a rim that fits your lug pattern.

The tire width isn't as big a deal... The total diameter of the tire is a combination of the width and the wall height -- thin tires can have the same total diameter as regular tires because they are taller. Most spares are much thinner than the full-size tires, and many are smaller diameter.

Yeah, you shouldn't drive long-distance on one wrong-sized tire, but it's a spare. You're not supposed to drive long distance on it anyway.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Dec 4, 2012 - 02:05am PT
hey there say, happigrrl, oh no... i been so worried about teddy since i been reading your story here...

finally got to just sit down and go through it...
:O

man oh man, you sure have had a mess, :O and man oh man,
these taco guys sure know a lot!

they are wonderful!


am still praying for you to be safe... and get there in good time...
thankful that you have had safe spots to be stuck at... whewww...

you are sure able to hang in there, that's for sure, without
getting so ovewhelmed that YOU have your flat: as to spirit getting down...


god bless... keep on getting taco help...
prayers for teddy...
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 4, 2012 - 07:38am PT
You are overfilling the radiator...level should be about 3/4" to 1" (guessing) below the bottom of the neck...you will believe your system has a leak and keep adding fluid. Guaranteed, it will "use" a quart of coolant every time you drive it!

I only filled it like that this last time because I wanted to have a good gauge as to where the level was at next time I looked. Otherwise I put it to the 3/4 from neck(my van had the owner's manual, which was very helpful and I did read cover to cover right away. I learned some things for this van that went different to ideas I have had about cars from over the years).

A quart of coolant each time? REALLY?

What's a "tire cap"?
Probably the wrong term. The wheels have a lock on a metal plate about 6 inches diameter in the center of the rim, and you insert a tool that looks like a socket wrench end and has a T-like end to help turn it. Same concept as a locking lug nut but not on a plate instead of nut.


I agree that Juan Madiera's Repo Man tip is a classic example of what makes Supertopo the best damned niche topic(Climbing, in case anyone wonders) discussion board in the world. But that tip would be a good one to know if you came across a person with a flat who didn't have the key.

Consider the Firestone lifetime alignment.

I know I do need to get the alignment or I will just eat tires. This one showed me the error of my ways. Will look into the Firestone thing.

Regarding the spare tire: Sounds like you need a rim that fits your lug pattern.

I will ask the tire guys what the deal is. The rim fit onto the lug nuts when the guy put it on yesterday. When he went to put on the nuts, he said "These nuts won't work on this rime." I was surprised about that, but thought it must be that the regular rims are fancy and have fancy long nuts with a covered end, and the spare in a very basic rim, that there might be some issue with the length of the post exposed. That the spare might have a longer length exposed and the nut unable to turn down tight to the rim.



So, back to the coolant issue. After the last post from JLP, I fear I would be taking an unnecessary risk to continue on without having that looked at. The next big town is Albequerque, 300 miles west. In between, very small to towns by name only.

I know that I cannot change the thermostat by myself. Like I said - with a person with a clue watching, yeah I could. But I don't have that. So I am going to ask the tire guys for recommendations and see if I can get the van looked at today.


Teddy is touch and go. I hope he will eat later today because I wonder if some of his weakness isn't due to not eating since Friday night. That is probably wishful thinking, unfortunately.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 4, 2012 - 08:30am PT
I'm really sorry to hear Teddy is ailing. I hope he feels better very soon. Do you think it's the plastic bag eating thing? Did that clear up? Thinking of you two.

And I'm glad to hear you'll get the thermostat thing taken care of there. Delaying action will only create more mechanical (and other) problems and be FAR more costly in the long (and in this case, short) run.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Dec 4, 2012 - 09:11am PT
If you are going to Albq, you could have Jeremys Mom look at it for you.































(completely unhelpful post, but it does bump this and anytime you can fit Jeremys Mom into a post, well it should be done.)
locker

Social climber
Douchebag Central
Dec 4, 2012 - 09:20am PT

"But, I was very nice to the tire guys, and even gave him a little jolly"...






I'm too tired this morning to work that one...

But BOI oh BOI it's a doozy!!!...

LOL!!!....

Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 4, 2012 - 09:21am PT
Ha! Locker - I saw it earlier and thought all sorts of very immature and pesky posts (a specialty of mine). Alas, I was working and too tired to be a pest. :) Still, I got a chuckle out of it too.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 4, 2012 - 09:58am PT
That was meant to get a few laughs out of people (unless "a jolly" means a LOT more than just giving some guy, who you both know it ain't going there, a feeling of at least being recognized as a man.


Teddy saw the vet yesterday and she did not feel there was an obstruction in his abdomen from the symptoms (not tense in the abdomen, able to keep down water, and also a rectal exam). She said he is passing whatever is in him through, though there was a bit of duty which was hard...within reach. But to know for sure would be x-rays or a Laparoscopy, which would be the next step if that avenue would be pursued. I know it is a multi-thousand dollar operation if there were an obstruction and I hope people will not say cruel things at this time when I say I would not go that route. I love Teddy beyond anything and he has been as much a therapy dog for me as a regular dog.

She gave him injections which reduce vomit potential, and he hasn't vomited since. I gave him the first pill version this morning. He also got antibiotic injection yesterday, and his first pill this morning. He got most of those pills in him. I covered them with salmon oil to make the spit out more difficult and he luckily started chewing them as he attempted to get rid of them.

I put out food for him a while ago and he did come look at it twice, so that is a good sign. But he hasn't eaten any. Maybe he will later today, or after the next set of pills.

If I had to say what is going on, I would guess that Teddy is having Kidney failure, or a better situation would be that he has Diabetes. He was not drinking massive amounts of water though in the recent past though, which is a symptom in both those. Another for Diabetes is big appetite, while still losing weight. The vet said another possibility is Pancreatitis, which can happen when dogs eat strange things. Teddy would eat anything and though I tried to limit his ability to do so, he was always tricky about getting at the things to late for me to do anything.

So, yeah. I am having a tough time right now.


neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Dec 4, 2012 - 12:46pm PT
hey there say, happigrrl...

i was wondering too, if there is some kind of fumes that may be bothering teddy... dogs etc, are suseptable to that...

but after reading that the vet took care of him already, they
got the situation handled, i see..

will still be praying for teddy...

JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 4, 2012 - 12:54pm PT
One more thought:

Pets are attracted to the taste of antifreeze...

http://www.2ndchance.info/antifreeze.htm

eKat

Trad climber
BackInTheDitch BackInTheDirt BackInTheDay
Dec 4, 2012 - 01:10pm PT
One more thought:

Pets are attracted to the taste of antifreeze...

http://www.2ndchance.info/antifreeze.htm

GOOD DEDUCTION!

Happ. . . think about that and how Teddy's feeling.

?

OXOXO
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 4, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
I know that antifreeze is poison for dogs(or any living being), but am glad it is mentioned because that is something a lot of people do not realize(also that dogs are interested in it's taste which makes it even worse).

I keep the jug in a spot he cannot get to for SURE and am always careful to it wash off if even the smallest dribble gets on the outside.

I got a referral to a guy who can look at the van, but haven't called yet as I was just so overwhelmed earlier, after writing about Teddy, that I could barely function. I will make the call soon.

He got a little walk and peed just now, and was stronger at the start. But he tired easily, which of course I understand. I am careful to try to get him a little work to keep moving, but not push him at all. He looked at the food again, but not a nibble yet. He does seem to be less uncomfortable than yesterday, middle night and early this morning and that is good. But when he goes to his water, the intake is bordering on too much. Bordering, but he is also not going to it regularly, so may be that he is taking more during the fewer times he drinks. Also, I guess it would really be the amount he would drink at a time if he was in good shape, and I am being hypervigilent, so maybe there is nothing to worry about with that.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 4, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
My understanding is that in recent years, most or all automotive antifreeze has an added bittering agent. Too many pets, children (and spouses or ex-spouses) were dying.

There were Federal bills which never passed. Not sure currently, but it may be up to individual State legislation. Does anyone know the details?

Happy, when you asked "Really?" to my comment about losing a quart of coolant, I suppose that I didn't make it clear with my quotation marks around "use." To be clear, if you overfill the radiator to 1/8" below the neck, then as the engine warms, approximately 1 quart of coolant will expand and be ejected out the overflow tube and onto the road. So, you would lose a quart of coolant each time you overfill the radiator.

Hope your Teddy is getting well.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 4, 2012 - 02:51pm PT
So, you would lose a quart of coolant each time you overfill the radiator.
This is not correct. As the coolant gets hot and expands, it goes into the reservoir, changing it from the "Cool" fluid level to the "Hot" level. When the engine cools, it will draw the coolant back into the radiator/cooling system. This assumes no leaks and a working radiator cap. There should in fact be no air in the system - just coolant. That would be a sign of a problem. A correctly functioning system will purge itself of air, through the cap and into the overflow, then draw in coolant from the reservoir until the air is displaced.
eKat

Trad climber
BackInTheDitch BackInTheDirt BackInTheDay
Dec 4, 2012 - 02:53pm PT
Happ. . . I wasn't thinking about Teddy licking the jug of the stuff, I was more thinking of the possibility of him licking it off the ground where you park.

?

Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Dec 4, 2012 - 02:56pm PT
This is not correct. As the coolant gets hot and expands, it goes into the reservoir, changing it from the "Cool" fluid level to the "Hot" level. When the engine cools, it will draw the coolant back into the radiator/cooling system.

Normally that would be true, but as stated up thread, there is no reservoir, just a radiator.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Dec 4, 2012 - 03:18pm PT
hey there say, happiegirrrl... not sure if this can ease your mind,
but STILL keep checking teddy, but:

read the medication warnings and notations:

some will say that your pet will be more thristy than usualy...

some will say this is normal...
some will say, appetitite will either increase or decrease, as well...

hard stuff to go through when 'babies' are sick..
and one the road, as we all know, how much worse...

hugs and best wishes and more prayers...
also, keep an eye out, on who helps you too, as--some folks can
have bad intentions, as well...

keep in touch with folks by phone, etc, as you do all this...




man oh man, will you HEAR A GEAT CHEER AND sighs of relief! when
you reach the finish line,:O :)
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 4, 2012 - 03:23pm PT
I hate to ask, but how old is Teddy? Wish him and you well. Having a sick pet is no bueno.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 4, 2012 - 04:15pm PT
EKat - Teddy wouldn't get the opportunity to lick something like that up. He is on a leash "in public" at almost all times, and he is never out of my direct sight.

He does snag food on walks - usually it is hidden in the grass and Teddy knows how to maneuver his way over and because of the retractable leash, he is like a frog with a foot long tongue - zzzzziiiipppp! And the food is in his mouth. Licking up a fluid wouldn't happen. Of course there is always the possibility, but on the "maybe this" list, I don't believe it is probable. But since I did tell the vet he got "something" unidentified on the night before he became ill, I guess it could be under the UFO(Unidentified Food Object) category which is already a possibility.

edit: Crimpergirl, Teddy is 12, 13 on January 1st. I went through almost this whole year saying he was 13, but his given birthday(because we don't have actual date) is January 1st, 2000
eKat

Trad climber
BackInTheDitch BackInTheDirt BackInTheDay
Dec 4, 2012 - 04:31pm PT
Oh, Happ. . . I'm glad Teddy hasn't had a chance to get into that stuff.

SO HAPPY FOR THAT!

I really hope you figure out how to get him back up to speed. . . poor little guy. . . everytime I see a photo of him I was to squeeeeeeze him and give him MAJOR DOG LOVE!

GOOD LUCK!

ox
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 5, 2012 - 12:27pm PT
Here is the updates:

Teddy saw the vet this morning and now we must wait to see how he responds to fluids and antibiotics. The main issue is there is something going on with his kidneys, but at this time we need to wait to find out what level the problem is at. The doctor says he also has in infection, and that his potassium level is very low(probably due to the vomiting). He is on IV fluids and staying tonight at the vets.

As for the van, my friend Kate suggested that since I had said the people at the vet office seemed to be very caring and careful, that maybe they might have a good mechanic suggestion. The front desk woman called the vet who had just seen Teddy - on lunch - to ask him if he had any ideas, and he gave the name of the guy he knows. When I called and mentioned the referral, the mechanic knew instantly. So either this vet has a lot of car troubles, or they are both just two good guys who know each other well.

I will go to the mechanic after I finish at the vet tomorrow. That feels very uncomfortable right now because this is all excruciatingly exhausting and I don't know what will happen at the vet office.

I am going to explain what happened with the van and see what he has to say.
Abend

Social climber
Dec 5, 2012 - 01:37pm PT
That was a good call on Kate's part regarding the mechanic. Sending healing vibes to you and Teddy.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Dec 5, 2012 - 02:14pm PT
hey there say, happiegrrl... still praying and hoping...

has the vet said anything about this being harder on teddy, due to age, etc...

or, since dogs are not like humans, and usually in better shape, can they handle this stuff better...

it seems that one good night of rest at the vet, with all the help he is
getting would do him a great step forward to getting well...

god bless to you, and renewed hopes of good mechanic being around...
:)
locker

Social climber
State of KUMBAYA!!!
Dec 5, 2012 - 02:15pm PT

Good luck with it all Terrie...

Especially with your pooch...

Hope the little critter feels better SOON!!!...

SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Dec 5, 2012 - 02:20pm PT
Oh Teddie, little fluff of love, heal up!

Susan


Thinking of you Terrie!
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 5, 2012 - 02:46pm PT
One thing the Vet said was that his very low potassium might be responsible for him feeling so poorly. I am torn to believe that was making him seem a lot worse, and would be remedied with the IV treatment, and not going into denial that tomorrow may be a very tough day.

Thanks for the kind words and thoughts. I am so tired it is hard to get much done in a day. I finished two chalkbags and still have another to go for an order I said would be in tomorrow's mail(they will be okay if a day late in sending, so I am not going to push it). And I called for the van appointment, but other than that I don't have much energy available.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 6, 2012 - 07:29am PT
Update: Good news.

Teddy isn't out of the woods, but all but one of his levels has returned to a normal range(yesterday there were some very serious elevations and too low's). I will pick him up at 11.

He is still incredibly week, and when I went to visit him I thought today was the day to say good bye. That may still come, because he has got to start eating again, which he hasn't yet. The doctor checked for Pancreatitis, which is very bad, and he does not have it. He will continue with antibiotics.

Teddy would have died from this had it not been for the insistence of Kate and Sonya that I take him in to the Vet, and their help in paying this bill. I don't have words to properly express all that is going on with that.


As for the van, I am taking it for a look-at once I get Teddy. Hopefully he will find nothing serious.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 6, 2012 - 08:14am PT
He is still incredibly week, and when I went to visit him I thought today was the day to say good bye. That may still come, because he has got to start eating again, which he hasn't yet.

Medical Marijuana? Really, kinda serious

locker

Social climber
State of KUMBAYA!!!
Dec 6, 2012 - 08:20am PT

Don't give your dog Medical Weed...

NOT a good idea!!!...

10b4me

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Dec 6, 2012 - 08:23am PT
Best of luck to Teddy, and you too Terrie
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 6, 2012 - 10:36am PT
For those who are more interested in the van - I got the green light to proceed. They listened to the story, checked the level, checked the temp gauge and drove it, and said they see no reason it isn't good to go. He told me that the higher elevation here will make an engine run hotter than it would in NY, which can explain why it does rest at the halfway mark when it would have been about 1/4 to 1/3 in NY. I mentioned the "get that thermostat out" suggestions and he didn't seem to think it would need to be done.

Of course I am still nervous, especially since this section of road is a long one until another sizable town. But there are several rest stops along it, as well as a few small towns. I am just going to have to take a deep breath and trust it will be okay.


Now, Teddy

Locker, no need to worry, I would never give Teddy pot. Jeepers Karl!

When I went to pick him up from the vet, his eyes were bright and he was supporting himself in the vet tech's arms. Big difference than the morning, but he was still asleep when I saw him then and they woke him up for me(which I wouldn't have done, but how would they have known).

Still clearly weak thought, but as I was on the way to mechanic I got lost and stopped somewhere for directions. When I got back to the van, I said "Let me look in on Teddy" and opened the side door, to be surprised by him laying right there with his feet folded over the side where the step-down in the door is.

I wondered if he was scared or wanted to pee, so I took him out and he started quickly limping(from the IV owie) over to potty spots. He got to a grassy opne and lifted his leg, and balanced on his own, and - yup, he had to pee! Quite a bit.

Then I put him in the van and he went right to the food dish and was like "Ummm, hello!" He drank a good drink of water as I was getting some food out and was very happy to see that food and ate it at once.

I could only give him a small amount, since he's been not eating, but he would have taken more. I will give him more in a few hours.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Dec 6, 2012 - 10:58am PT
Good news - that is what I figured concerning the van - I wouldn't worry if I were you

Still worried about Teddy though...
t*r

Mountain climber
where the wild things are
Dec 6, 2012 - 10:59am PT
was wondering about your van! good news. now you can let it go and focus on your pup...

sending up a prayer for teddy!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 6, 2012 - 11:20am PT
Question for those more knowledgeable... Would the difference in elevation between upstate NY (quick search shows high point there at 2300 ft ish) and near Amarillo (elev 3600 ish) really matter that much? Does that elevation explanation make sense in this case? What happens during the rest of the travel if it does? Curious.

Glad Teddy is feeling better!
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Dec 6, 2012 - 11:50am PT
Question for those more knowledgeable... Would the difference in elevation between upstate NY (quick search shows high point there at 2300 ft ish) and near Amarillo (elev 3600 ish) really matter that much? Does that elevation explanation make sense in this case? What happens during the rest of the travel if it does? Curious.

Glad Teddy is feeling better!

doesnt make sense to me.

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Dec 6, 2012 - 12:25pm PT
In a non-turbo charged vehicle you will experience a loss of power at altitude. Less power means less heat generated by the engine. The vehicle will use a little less gas, however that savings is usually lost from driving up and down hills. The altitude is not really a big factor on the route happie is on.

At higher elevations the air is thinner so the cooling ability of the air is reduced somewhat. In a properly operating cooling system there should be ample excess cooling capacity to provide for this loss of cooling. However if the cooling system is compromised by partial blockage or lack of fluid it could lead to overheating.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 6, 2012 - 12:36pm PT
Thanks Hawkeye and Jon. It seemed an odd explanation to me, but I also recognize I know little about cars, and even less about contemporary cars.
Bob Thomas

Social climber
Canyon Country
Dec 6, 2012 - 12:36pm PT
Happy- Been in your place with both a sick dog and van. Teddy's symptoms could be signs of Cushings Disease. That is a totally treatable problem. It does present as a kidney problem, but that is really a secondary characteristic.
As to your van overheating I think it's been well covered here.

Good Luck
bob thomas
John M

climber
Dec 6, 2012 - 12:42pm PT
Question for those more knowledgeable... Would the difference in elevation between upstate NY (quick search shows high point there at 2300 ft ish) and near Amarillo (elev 3600 ish) really matter that much? Does that elevation explanation make sense in this case? What happens during the rest of the travel if it does? Curious.

This is my understanding. Maybe one of the regular mechanics can verify.

A rise in elevation means less dense air. Less dense air means the carb is getting less air which means the air/fuel mixture gets more fuel. This is called a richer fuel mixture. I don't' know if a richer fuel mixture can cause an engine to run hot. I know a leaner mixture can make it run hot. When you go down in elevation you get more air, which means your air fuel ratio becomes higher in air then fuel. This is called leaning, or a lean fuel mixture. That can cause it to run hot. Don't ask me why.. that part I don't know.. heh heh. This happens to older autos that were tuned for higher elevations like Denver.

Modern autos have sensors that detect this and can change the air fuel mixture to keep it within good operating ranges. I don't know about Terri's van. It could be too old for this technology.

One thing that does happen with higher elevations is that an engine will lose horsepower. EDIT ( this next part is total speculation.. take with major grain of salt ) This might be the cause of the hotter temperature as less horsepower means you have to push it harder to get the same performance. But that is just a guess. Hopefully one of the more experienced mechanics can explain this in simple terms for us noobs. haha..

....

To me it sounds like it has a slow leak, or it needs the addition of an overflow container. The first place I would start with a slow leak is the radiator cap. I would have that pressure tested. The testing device is simple and many napa auto parts stores have one.

...

One side note. In the olden days many shops had spark plug testers. Those things were notorious for being wrong. One of my shop teachers had one and he showed us how you could mess with it so that you could get a bad reading. That way the shop sold more spark plugs. So I have always wondered about those pressure testers on radiator caps. I never had the nerve to ask them to, but I wanted them to also test the new cap to show me that the tester worked. I do know that replacing a cap has fixed a loss of coolant for one of my autos. So I do have experience with one of them going bad. The spring gets weak.
locker

Social climber
State of KUMBAYA!!!
Dec 6, 2012 - 12:47pm PT


Probably already been posted...

But can't you head to Pep BOI's or wherever and have a presure test run (for free)???...

Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 6, 2012 - 12:49pm PT
Is 3000' considered elevation though? I could understand if she were at 15,000 feet but 3k?
locker

Social climber
State of KUMBAYA!!!
Dec 6, 2012 - 12:51pm PT
It shouldn't be for a fuel injected vehicle...

At least none of mine have EVER had an issue at that elevation...

Not even here, in Colorado in the Denver area has any of our vehicles had any issues...



EDITED:

At higher altitudes, used to stick a comb in the Butterfly when driving carburetored vehicles...
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Dec 6, 2012 - 01:03pm PT
A rise in elevation means less dense air. Less dense air means the carb is getting less air which means the air/fuel mixture gets more fuel.

we are talking a 1,300 foot change in elevation.

if she were worried about winning the grand prix perhaps there might be some adjustments to be made. in a 20 year old van? i dont see how ti can be a factor.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Dec 6, 2012 - 01:11pm PT
so just to satisfy my own curiousity:

Here is the pressure at altitude (ignoring atmoshpheric effects, temperature and humidity)

at Sea Level - 1 atmosphere (atm)
at 2,300 ft - 0.90 atm
at 3,600 ft - 0.85 atm
at 10,000 ft - 0.65 atm.

less pressure = less oxygen for combustion as someone noted above. some car manufactuerers do have adjustments say if you live in a high mountain area (i lived at 7,000 feet and had the mechanic do some adjusting).

so we are talking about a 5% difference here. for what its worth.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 6, 2012 - 01:11pm PT
The mechanic didn't find root cause for the original overheat. The altitude thing is BS. Regardless of the actual problem, I would still replace the thermostat and flush the coolant.

Glad to hear the dog is doing better. Sounds like he'll make it.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 6, 2012 - 01:18pm PT
First Teddy ;)

The first vet did mention possibility of Cushings Disease, which should be looked into when he is feeling better. I haven't yet looked up Cushings, but am glad to hear that it is treatable.

It seems Teddy had an infection, affecting a lot of his blood levels, and combined with the massive throwing ups he was doing, his potassium level tanked.

The vet gave copies of all the work, levels and secondary test levels, so I have that for a vet to look at later.

We are now at a rest stop and he ate a little more food. Weak, not getting up, but he did exert himself with his earlier pee walk, and also did a little when we were waiting on the van.

Re: Van

The mechanic didn't mean the overheat itself was caused by the elevation, but that might be why the temp gauge reads higher than I am used to back home. I know in my old van it ran hotter on the gauge in JT. The elevation of New Paltz is a whopping 240 feet, according to Google. That high point is probably one of the peaks in the Daks?

I might be remembering the number wrong, but when he came back from driving it, he said the temp was 178. He had a digital car thermometer thing. He said he would have thought it would have been closer to 190. But if that thing was a "break it so we can sell them stuff" the guy did it wrong, because there was no charge for this. I think the owner of the shop must have a had very sick dog himself that the doctor helped, or something.

Gauge has been steady at halfway point, but I have only driven little over 50 miles(highway).



locker

Social climber
State of KUMBAYA!!!
Dec 6, 2012 - 01:22pm PT


Can you maybe get more calories into the little pooch by adding something to his water or food???...

Protein powder mix???...

Eggwhite powder???...



JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 6, 2012 - 01:40pm PT
... that might be why the temp gauge reads higher than I am used to back home
No. What happens is that the paraffin wax that expands and pushes a piston to open your thermostat gets too hot and expands past the piston. Now your thermostat doesn't open as much as it used to - if at all in some cases. This is why you replace that thing when you overheat.

This absolutely WILL come back to you in the form of far more damaging and expensive problems - probably sooner than later. Get that thing replaced!

EDIT: Would not recommend changing the dog's diet, certainly not with human supplements...
richross

Trad climber
Dec 6, 2012 - 01:43pm PT
Glad Teddy is improving!

Bump for your great chalkbags.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1964523/Need-to-Sell-40-Chalkbags-To-Get-To-CA

Elvis Paisley sighting the other day.

neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Dec 6, 2012 - 02:04pm PT
hey there say, terrie! whewwww... hope the hard parts are over now, both van and teddy...

so very happy to hear teddy is getting better...
big bless-you's to kate and sonya...

friends just know they are equal terms of 'giving all they can'
and even when you can't, they know you would save their dogs/etc, as well, if you could... that knowing and deep connection is always there...


my friend in england paid patty ann's vet bill--i kept doing all i
could and now, after looking back to the picture of how she was--it is a wonder that i could even stand to look at her then, :O
or allow it, but: our vet's will not take you in unless you PREpay, :O
and that is usually in the hundreds, :O she saved us, out of desperate,and a few taco-folks here, helped with fleas pills, etc...

*wish the old days were here, where you'd get a bill, instead, :)



thank you kate and sonya!!! for all you did for happiegrrl...
:)


Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 7, 2012 - 02:14am PT
I got the green light to proceed. They listened to the story, checked the level, checked the temp gauge and drove it, and said they see no reason it isn't good to go.

Did I get this right - the mechanic did not pressure test your cooling system? WTF? If he didn't find a leak by visual inspection, or pressure test to rule out a leak, then he is putting you on the road at the risk of overheating and a ruined engine.

Ignore the posts on altitude, carburetors, air density, etc. Fairly sure that by 1990 all Econolines had EFI (electronic fuel injection). The sensors and computer maintain the optimal air:fuel ratio.

JLP is trying to give you sound advice. You are distracted by your pet's health, and that is completely understandable. But, if you don't start paying close attention, your van will die. It will cost more to fix the van than you paid for it.

The incident and symptoms you described indicate the probability of a leak. Find it ASAP and fix it. There is a very good chance that it's a simple leak. Most leaks can be fixed yourself with a screwdriver and $0 to $20 in parts.

1. Get your cooling system pressure tested. (In addition to testing the radiator cap). A special tool/radiator cap allows air to be pumped into the radiator. If it drops in pressure, a leak is indicated, and coolant will start dripping from somewhere it shouldn't.
Some parts stores might have a pressure tester for loan or rent. You could do it yourself.

2. Replace the thermostat with a quality/premium part. Make sure there is a small hole in the new thermostat for air to evacuate from the engine block. Some already have a notch manufactured into it for that purpose. A top-quality thermostat should still be under $15.

3. Install a coolant overflow bottle/expansion tank. For example:
http://www.partsgeek.com/catalog/1990/ford/f250/cooling_system/expansion_tank.html

4. Check your coolant:water ratio with a hydrometer. Every shop should have one. Better accuracy is with a refractometer, but not every shop will have one. A parts store might have a hydrometer for loan, or purchase one for $5. Your ratio is by now likely way off the ideal ratio. A 50/50 mix of ethylene glycol antifreeze is recommended for maximum boiling point and antifreeze protection. Exceeding 50% antifreeze will decrease cooling efficiency (poor heat transfer), making the vehicle run hot. Many people don't know that and think "more is better" until they learn the hard way.


Do all of this soon. You might get away with driving if you check the coolant level every day, watch the temp gauge diligently, and carry extra coolant/water. It's still a moderate risk. A pinhole leak in a hose could be a sign that the hose will split open at any time. I carry tools, know how to fix or limp home in a Ford van with many broken parts, and I wouldn't leave town without fixing a leak or ruling out the possibility of a leak. It simply isn't worth the risk of ruining the engine, and in your case, total loss of the van and becoming stranded in BFE.

The suspected leak may be any number of things, most of them simple: Loose hose clamp, bad radiator cap, pinhole in a radiator or heater core, hole in a radiator hose, bypass hose, or heater hose, leaking water pump, bad gasket at thermostat housing or water pump, freeze plug leaking or rusting out, etc.

If no external leaks are detected, and you are still losing coolant, then there is the possibility of coolant being "burned" through the combustion cycle, due to a cracked block or head or a blown head gasket. If coolant leaks from a water jacket into the cylinders, it will exit the tailpipe as steam. There is a chemical test which will show carbon monoxide gas in the coolant. A smog/emissions "sniffer" will accomplish the same thing. The presence of CO indicates one of these major engine problems.

Finding an external leak is a good thing. You can find the problem and fix it. Not finding a leak sucks. The anxiety is still there - waiting for something to fail, watching the temp gauge, sniffing the air for the distinctive odor of antifreeze.

Should you discover a pinhole leak in the radiator or freeze plug, I've had good success with a product called AlumaSeal. The small tube of aluminum powder is under $5. I keep one in the repair kit on each of my 4x4's. Unlike some stop leak products in a bottle, it doesn't gunk up your system. Of course, I've used instant oatmeal in a pinch. I'm not a mechanic, but one learns these things if you travel Baja long enough and work on your own collection of vehicles. A pinhole leak in the radiator is likely indicative of a bigger failure down the road, but AlumaSeal might get you by for a few weeks or months while you raise the cash for a new radiator.

Oh, another thought: Do you have a rear heater? My 4x4 E350 Super Van (extended model) has a rear heater. There are hoses running the full length of the frame rail to the rear heater core. Inspect for leaks if so equipped.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 07:26am PT
Okay - I will do that today. I am in Santa Rosa, NM and there are several mechanics listed on Google map. Should be easy to find one who can do it.

Yes, it has a rear heater.
WBraun

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 07:51am PT
Juan Maderita

Excellent job with your analysis .......
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 7, 2012 - 07:52am PT
Nice post Juan. The altitude advice given by the mechanic was gibberish as I thought. And agreed, as stated upthread, that ignoring the problem will lead to greater and more expensive issues down the road. Glad Happie is going to get the test!
eKat

Trad climber
BackInTheDitch BackInTheDirt BackInTheDay
Dec 7, 2012 - 08:07am PT
Juan Maderita

Excellent job with your analysis .......

AGREED, indeed!

Thanks Juan. . . your posts are always well thought out and much appreciated.

:-)
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 7, 2012 - 08:10am PT
Insist they clearly explain to you why the van overheated a few days ago. Where did the coolant go, why? They need to show you a worn or damaged part or test the specific gravity of the coolant - period. No voodoo BS soft science explainations basically meant for them to be lazy and clueless and blow you off. You're the one who will be suffering on the side of the road, not them. Good luck. Finding good mechanics is hard. Try to get a referral. Maybe randomly call a few restaurants or hotels and ask for a good mechanic. You need some first level filter.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 7, 2012 - 08:29am PT
This ain't rocket science! The mechanic who spewed about the elevation was
on crack*. Here's the link to the CarTalk Mechanics' Files which are
recommendations from CarTalk listeners, which might only mean they are cute
or talk a good line, but at least they are recommendations:

CarTalk Mechanics Files

* You lose +/- 3% of your normally aspirated horsepower per 1000' so at
3600' you were running about 10% less than at home - NBD.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Dec 7, 2012 - 08:37am PT
For finding good mechanics, yelp has worked for me.

It's no guarantee, but ASE certification is something to look for.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Dec 7, 2012 - 08:43am PT
Juan pretty much covered it, I would add that you might want to have your radiator back flushed. sometimes when people do not run anti-freeze rust forms and can create a sediment which can collect in the radiator where the water flows into the tiny cooling orifices, eventually causing blockage and overheating. You can flush it with a water hose if the crud has not solidified, otherwise a chemical flush will be required.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:26am PT
I have read this whole amazing thread, and I am of the opinion that any rational person reading it would conclude that you should start walking for transportation!

Jeez.

This is a simple situation.

The story:

You found the van overheating. When you checked the radiator, you found it ONE GALLON down. You saw no leaks, but fluid in the outflow tube.

1. You have a leak. It is not normal to be a gallon down.
It explains the overheating.

2. the leak has not been fixed. You correctly added fluid, and it now does not overheat.

3. Normal position for the temp guage on most cars is in the middle. If that is where it is, it is normal.

4. You have eliminated that the primary problems were thermostat, water pump, head gasket. Only the last will cause loss of fluid, and generally there will be other obvious issues.

5. You have a leak. It is not fixed.

6. start with easy. Replace the radiator cap. less than 10 bucks.

6a. Drive 20 miles. Open hood with engine on, look for steam. If none, close hood.

7. Drive 100 miles. check radiator level cold. If it is essentially full, you have fixed the problem. double check by driving 200 miles, then rechecking.

8. I agree with replacing the thermostat, which can be damaged by overheating. BUT THAT WAS NOT THE PROBLEM. You can have the thermostat replaced at your convenience.

9. Thermostat is easy to replace. Two bolts, plus replacement of gasket (comes with it), and application of sealant. Easy.....if you are comfortable with such things. NOT...if you are not. I would suggest someone who is, or a professional, as you state your own comfort level.

10. Don't worry about carrying antifreeze for low radiator. In those settings, water is fine. Carry water....also can be used as emergency dog/human rehydration system.

11. Get lugnuts that fit. They are cheap.

Good luck!

JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:32am PT
You have a leak.
No. The overheating could have been caused by something other than low coolant, and the gallon was lost in the boilover.

You can have the thermostat replaced at your convenience.
No. It was damaged and needs replacing. It is likely to completely fail in the near future.

Don't worry about carrying antifreeze for low radiator.
No. The van is already running hot per the guage, possibly over the boiling point of water.

And more...

Your advice is horrible.

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:43am PT
Only put straight water in a radiator when anti-freeze is not available, excessive dilution of the anti-freeze will eventually cause corrosion and clogging of the cooling system. You have to maintain the 50-50 ration over the long term
John M

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:53am PT
Ken.. Terri is a NYC girl. Hasn't owned a vehicle before. She is learning. It can be overwhelming. She is living life a little too close to the edge financially for my taste, but that is her choice. She is trying to make a life where she can live on the road and still pay her bills. She is getting there, but is still a little short on funds and basic auto knowledge.

Personally I wished she would find a shade tree mechanic who could teach her how to change the thermostat. I believe this would give her more confidence. The problem is that she is on the road and finding someone you can trust is a bit hard. It sounds to me like she tried to do this, but this mechanic she was sent to gave her the lazy mans advice. I have nursed autos across the country on road trips myself on the "just keep it going for now" attitude, so I sort of understand. But these were autos I was willing to basically abandon. Autos where a full tuneup would be worth more then the vehicle. This is now Terris home for half the year, so she needs to learn more. I had forgotten that in an overheating, the thermostat can be damaged and only work part way. Its been that long since I had a thermostat go bad.

The thing with vans is that you often have to remove a lot of things to get to anything. This is one thing Terri hasn't learned enough about yet. How to remove various parts and put them back properly. A thermostat is easy to change, if you know how to remove and put back all the parts that could be in the way on a van.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 09:57am PT
I am at Silver Moon,
https://plus.google.com/114407796310903811948/about
(can't make it link - no idea why)

This is who the librarian recommended. Her brother is also a mechanic, but he is very small biz and backed way up, so this was her next suggestion. They are doing the pressure check on system and CO2 check.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:59am PT
9. Thermostat is easy to replace. Two bolts, plus replacement of gasket (comes with it), and application of sealant. Easy.....if you are comfortable with such things. NOT...if you are not. I would suggest someone who is, or a professional, as you state your own comfort level.

Replacing the themostat in a Ford 250 van is NOT easy. The book says it takes a qualified mechanic over an hour to do it because of where its buried in the van engine. It's not much less time to replace the whole radiator

and even then, I took mine in and they were unable to replace my thermostat in a RADIATOR SHOP! because the bolts were so corroded.

Not all themostat replacements are created equal

peace

karl
WBraun

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:04am PT
Hey

LOL ... I looked at the place on Google street view and the Garage had "BOZOS GARRAGE" signboard on top of the garage with the garage word misspelled as "GARRAGE".

LOL ......
John M

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:16am PT
LOL.. Sure Werner.

But can you see the top of Happi's van? It says.

Eat sh#t Werner

haha..
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:21am PT
GARRAGE
Okay - I looked. It says "GARAGE", but the last A does look like an R.

I didn't see any red flags. Hope it works out.

C02 test - good call - I hope they don't find any.

How is the DOG?
WBraun

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:22am PT
Huh? I thought it was just funny ....

Credit: WBraun

You're right the last A does look like a R
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 10:23am PT
Actually the librarian also suggested Bozo's, but I didn't see the listing, and this one did have several recommendations.

We are in a small Texas town, and the population is largely a native one. I won't hold it against an entrepreneur who had business sense but not good spelling.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:23am PT
LOL ... I looked at the place on Google street view and the Garage had "BOZOS GARRAGE" signboard on top of the garage with the garage word misspelled as "GARRAGE".

So I looked to see what kind of idiot would misspell GARAGE on a shop sign. But I don't know, because it's not misspelled. No LOL here (unless you think BOZOS is good for a few laughs).

Edit--I guess I'm not the only one with a strange interest in the BOZOS sign!
John M

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:28am PT
Hey Werner.. I thought you were just pulling Terri's leg. So I was just trying to mess with you back. Thats all. Didn't mean anything by it except trying to make a joke.

I forgeo about street view, and was thinking you had access to some satellite.. haha.. I know less about computers then Terri does about autos.
John M

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:31am PT
Its Texas. you will run into some strange senses of humor. But you will also find a lot of good people. they may not know sh#t..like me. But they are often willing to help.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 10:36am PT
Teddy: I can't recall where I left off, so wil just copy what I wrote to someone this morning.


He made his first poop last night - what a mess, and I have never been so happy to see it, clean up after it in my life.

He has been eating, though I can only give him small amounts at a time.

...after I picked him up yetserday I was going to have the van looked at and got lost, so stopped to ask directions. When I went back to the van, I opened the side door to check Teddy. and he was at the door, laying down with his front legs folded and looking so damned cute. I didn't know if he had to go out, but yesp, he did. He started limping over to pee spots, and found a good one and peed like a beer drinker. Back to the van, he stuck his noe in his bowl and loooked at me like "And you didn't think ahead to have my food ready?" He gobbled up the small bits and would have taken more but I didn't want to ive too much after his stomach had been empty so long.

He ate small amounts more throughout the day, and today I will start to increase the amounts just a little, but try to feed more frequently as well.

**

This morning he stayed in bed and I didn't press, but finally I got out the dog food and that got him to raise up. He was happy to eat, and did with enthusiasm. I made sure his medicine was in the first mouthful just in case he lost interest. But when he ate that all in one bite he looked at me like "I need more than THAT!"

I gave him about double the amounts he got in a feeding yesterday, but it is still less that a full feeding (he normally gets fed 2 x a day).

Then he got his walk, and he is limping from where the IV was, which seems odd and I hope goes away soon. He gets tired fast and has to stop and wait. I think he may be pretty sore too.

he made a second poop this morning. Better consistency than last night, but I will want to get some cooked rice to add to his meal for the next feedings.

He's sitting by me here now, and has put his head up to look around a couple times. Slow but steady, it seems he is coming up.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 11:07am PT
Okay -

Radiator Cap.

I know - I KNOW!


They ran coolant system pressure check - ok
Head Gasket check - okay
CO2 - okay

Radiator cap - no pressure.

New cap installed at probably twice what it would have cost had I done it in the beginning. Like so many told me to.
10b4me

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Dec 7, 2012 - 11:28am PT
Terrie, glad to hear Teddy is doing better. Hopefully, the van is good to go.
John M

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 11:35am PT
Live and learn Terri, we have all been there. Are you still going to have the thermostat changed?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 7, 2012 - 11:45am PT
Sweet I'm 2 for 2 on the happiegirl van diagnostics challenges!

All those clunkers over the years were good education.

Still be a good idea to replace that thermostat when you get a chance. Sounds like it's a bit of a pain to do on those vans. But unnless you run into corroded bolts it shouldn't be to tough. Wouldn't pay to have it done. Find a friend who can show you how. Like I said if by any chance you get within a couple hundred miles of Reno I'll be glad to do it.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 7, 2012 - 11:54am PT
Great news. The bad radiator cap fully explains the overheating event and symptoms.
The van still needs #2, 3, & 4, referring to my previous post. No rush on installing an expansion tank, but by now you can see why having one is advantageous.
Good luck to you and your pooch as you head west.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 7, 2012 - 12:06pm PT
New cap installed at probably twice what it would have cost had I done it in the beginning.
This sounds like a better mechanic than the last one.

You've gotten away cheap, so far.

You still need a new thermostat!

I believe in following the OEM design intent 99.9% of the time, therefore I don't think you need an overflow tank unless it originally had one and it was removed.
hagerty

Social climber
A Sandy Area South of a Salty Lake
Dec 7, 2012 - 01:03pm PT
For all those saying how easy it is to replace the thermostat, recall that:
1. it's a 20 year old van, meaning there is the potential for lots of other gotchas - corroded/unmovable bolts, stripped threads, rounded bolt edges, etc. that HG doesn't know how to handle.

2. it's a van - you may have to remove 4 other things first just to get at the thermostat housing. One one of my old vehicles (not a van) I had to remove the fan to gain access to the bolts on the thermostat housing. To get access to the fan and the necessary clearance, I had to remove the radiator. To get at the radiator bolts, I had to remove the front grill. Suddenly an easy job is not so easy.

3. HG has a huge lack of auto repair/preventative maintenance knowledge (which she really needs to seriously address and remedy). Recall that she rejected the idea of the radiator cap being the culprit several times because it "looked fine" to her.

4. It's easy if you have the tools. Does HG have at least this?

happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 01:14pm PT
I have some of those tools, but not many. And though the van is old, it is in very good shape, so hopefully corroded parts aren't too bad(they sure were in the old van).

I do have the owners manual for this vehicle, and a generic Fix It book for the van. and it doesn't *look* that bad, but yeah, they say to follow a radiator hose back to the thermostat bolts and make no mention that I saw of having to remove stuff, but I am pretty sure that at least some stuff that is above there would have to come off.

It is the lack of confidence, the concern of strength needed when a bolt or scree won't give, and the concern as to finding a place to perform the job that isn't going to be a problem - safe enough that if I cannot do the work I can leave the van and get help, and remote enough that I won't get tooled, and clean enough that I won't be blowing dust and garbage into exposed openings.



Yes, I will get the thermostat replaced, but I am not doing it today.


Captain...or Skully

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
Hagerty made a solid, valid point. You need more mechanical knowledge if you're gonna be a Road warrior, Ms. Terrie.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Dec 7, 2012 - 01:19pm PT
I believe in following the OEM design intent 99.9% of the time, therefore I don't think you need an overflow tank unless it originally had one and it was removed.

Generally good advice, but the lack of an overflow reservoir has long been a problem on cars. I remember my father putting one on his new 1967 Malibu, chronic overheater.

I checked and the 1990 Econoline did not come with one. I would add one. Having it allows you to more easily monitor coolant levels, since you can just look at the reservoir, even while the engine is hot, to see if the vehicle is losing coolant. Another symptom you can glean from the overflow is a leak in the coolant system. If the system is not sealed it will not pull water back out of the reservoir as the engine cools down.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 7, 2012 - 01:28pm PT
Go buy the thermostat, gasket and another jug of coolant and just have it with you in case of emergency in a place (or time) where a decent part is not available. Suggest the next NAPA.

If you are going to J-Tree (?), eventually you are likely to meet someone who might be willing to barter belays or cooking for the work.

+1 for the fact that this could be really simple and done in 5 mins, or 1 frozen bolt could turn it into an epic.

Also - just to be clear - you said your guage is reading high. This means your thermostat has been damaged. There is no other likely cause.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Dec 7, 2012 - 02:58pm PT
Happie, it seems that our crew here on ST are glad to help out with advice. You can help make it easier for us. A suggestion for the next time you have mechanical problems:
1. Clearly identify the make, model, year, engine, transmission, EFI vs. carbureted, etc., in the original post.
2. Keep it to facts and on topic. Start a separate thread for personal issues.

Jeremy

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 7, 2012 - 03:25pm PT
Or stop posting threads that NEVER have anything to do with climbing....EVER.

Bandwith is tight in these parts.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Dec 7, 2012 - 04:08pm PT
hey there say, happiergirrrl... where are you pulling into, as your:
'i'm here! ' spot..?

hope that somewhere there will take you our for a VICTORY meal, :))

you SURE earned it! as to yourself and winning the ol'
'race to stay afloat' :)


getting my three cheers and more, ready for when you cross the
finish line--course, you MAY just want to go to SLEEP then...perhap
all our cheering would wake you up, ;)
we could keep it at a whisper, ;)


we are all rooting so deeply for you, as you know,
:)
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Dec 7, 2012 - 05:10pm PT
Glad to hear the problem has been fixed for now, and that your pup is doing better.

I'm not sure how much longer you will be traveling before you get to JT, but if you are coming through Vegas I'd be happy to change the thermostat out for you, if you haven't already taken care of it by then.

We will be taking a trip to Josh next month at some point, if you are there by then let's meet up.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 05:12pm PT
JLP - Noted, and thanks for all your help(eidt - Will pick up those items tomorrow before I continue on)

Juan Madiera - Thank you too. I do apologize for getting personal stuff mixed in. I know not everyone has time, nor desire, to wade through, and especially in something like this where good auto experience is a niche and you want to help with that area you specialize in.

Jeremy - I happen to be in your town tonight, if you live where your profile says. If you'd like we can meet, so I can tell you to bite me in person.
ruppell

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 05:24pm PT
Jeremy - I happen to be in your town tonight, if you live where your profile says. If you'd like we can meet, so I can tell you to bite me in person.


BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Classic.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 7, 2012 - 05:25pm PT
Jeremy, be a gentleman and meet Terrie (and Teddy) tonight, and buy her a drink (non-alcoholic). But none of that mudpile 'climbing' stuff, eh?
Captain...or Skully

climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 05:58pm PT
Yeah. Double dog Dare.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 7, 2012 - 06:17pm PT
Hey HG
NM Cool! Isnt it awesome to drive around and sightsee through states.
I wish I was down there right now I'd love to see some red dirt.
I'm awfully bored of the same ol pale tan dirt here. I'm in need of a road trip.
Anyway, if you can make it to Josh, I can fix ur van lickedy-split.
Jus send me a pm to let me know.
Best Wishes!
treez

Trad climber
99827
Dec 7, 2012 - 07:57pm PT
I'm a huge fan of the 77-91 Econoline.

Hopefully you are running the good old straight 6 300.

I can tell you for a fact that the thermostat goes at 5.6 in the parking lot of your choice with a leatherman and a rusty adjustable wrench.

Road tripping is so much better when your brights are operated with your bored left foot.
locker

Social climber
state of Kumbaya...
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:08pm PT


"I can tell you for a fact that the thermostat goes at 5.6 in the parking lot of your choice with a leatherman and a rusty adjustable wrench.

Road tripping is so much better when your brights are operated with your bored left foot."
...

A couple of good lines...

LOL!!!...

10b4me

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:40pm PT
Jeremy - I happen to be in your town tonight, if you live where your profile says. If you'd like we can meet, so I can tell you to bite me in person.


hahaha.

try and not be an ass Jeremy
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:58pm PT
Buy, I sure took a lot of criticism for correctly diagnosing the problem, and suggesting the cheapest solution, in conjunction with the mechanics who actually touched the car.

Don't know that I want to go through this again.

Terry, others who have suggested a little more knowlege of the beast being a good thing seems reasonable. It helps to have some concept of a problem, even if you are taking the beast to a pro.

One book you might consider:

http://www.amazon.com/Auto-Repair-Dummies-Deanna-Sclar/dp/076459902X

I don't know this particular one, but this series is aimed at the novice, and is written by a woman.

(by the way, I don't think you are a dummie, just a novice)

Good luck in your travels.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Dec 8, 2012 - 08:41am PT
All of those "general" repair books are a waste of paper.

Chilton and Haynes are only slightly better. However, what happens when you look and realize they didn't document your particular model and year? Suddenly the book has zero value. They're still too general.

The factory tech manual is the only way to go. They're super expensive for some vehicles (Subaru), not written as well as you'd like for others (Mercedes), but most are excellent and highly detailed. They are what the engineers at the factory use to tell the dealer about how to fix your vehicle.

The next best is alldatadiy.com. Of particular value here is the cost and labor estimates.
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