OT - Van Diagostic Time. Again! Overheated


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 121 - 140 of total 157 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
John M

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.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 12:57pm PT
I am at Silver Moon,
(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



Dec 7, 2012 - 01:04pm 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".

LOL ......
John M

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


Social climber
The internet
Dec 7, 2012 - 01:21pm PT
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?

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

Trad climber
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.

Gym climber
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!
John M

Dec 7, 2012 - 01:28pm 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

Dec 7, 2012 - 01:31pm 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.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 01:36pm 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.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 02:07pm 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.

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Dec 7, 2012 - 02:28pm PT
Terrie, glad to hear Teddy is doing better. Hopefully, the van is good to go.
John M

Dec 7, 2012 - 02:35pm PT
Live and learn Terri, we have all been there. Are you still going to have the thermostat changed?

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 7, 2012 - 02:45pm 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 - 02:54pm 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.

Social climber
The internet
Dec 7, 2012 - 03:06pm 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.

Social climber
A Sandy Area South of a Salty Lake
Dec 7, 2012 - 04:03pm 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?


Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 04:14pm 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.

Messages 121 - 140 of total 157 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews