OT - Van Diagostic Time. Again! Overheated

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happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 10:26am 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 - 10:51am PT
Juan Maderita

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

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:52am 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 - 11:07am 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 - 11:10am 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 - 11:29am 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 - 11:37am 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 - 11:43am 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 - 12:26pm 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 - 12:32pm 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 - 12:43pm 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 - 12:53pm 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 - 12:57pm 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 - 12:59pm 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 - 01:04pm 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 - 01:16pm 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 - 01:21pm 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 - 01:22pm 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 - 01:23pm 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 - 01:23pm 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!
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