Friday, December 14, 2012
For want of a clamp
So there we were, motoring up the highway in the veggie van, not a care in the world. We'd had a good trip downstate. Suddenly, the heater starts blowing cold air. A quick glance in my side mirror showed a fine mist of antifreeze blowing out from my veggie tank compartment. Not good.
I take the next exit and pulled into an abandoned gas station. A coolant hose had slipped off a copper heating coil. It only took a few minutes to reattach the clamp, but a fair amount of antifreeze had leaked out. One of the problems with a custom veggie conversion is that I'm responsible for all the screw ups. I know the clamps have to be checked for tightness periodically, especially at first. For some reason, it slipped my mind.
Fortunately, I'd stopped before the van overheated. There was a Kmart just about a half mile down the road. I carefully drove it over with a steady eye on the temperature gage. It had enough antifreeze left to prevent overheating so we made it there just fine.
Never open the radiator cap on a hot engine. The van needed some time to cool off before adding more antifreeze. We walked to a nearby restaurant and had a nice long lunch. Afterwards, I bought some more antifreeze at the store.
After topping everything up and checking for leaks -and other maybe loose clamps, we drove the remaining 150 miles without incident. Live and learn . . . but I already knew this lesson and forgot about it. Duh!
At least there was no major harm done.