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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.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. Sometimes we forget the most routine things.

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    1. It's the little things that can sneak up and bite you.

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  2. Life is an adventure with many bumps in the road, but it sounds like you have your bases covered - well done.

    Back in 1979, I was living with my Aunt and Cousin in San Diego CA. His truck had a bad coolant system and you couldn't drive over 100 miles before it began to overheat. So you were forced to stop and let it cool down for around an hour - pita. Or was it ?

    Because with the enforced breaks, we had time to study the surroundings a lot more closer rather than just driving through. Though it took more time to reach our destination, we enjoyed the trip quite a bit because of that inconvenience.

    That taught me early on that the vacation starts when you close the gate and drive away from home. You just never know what you will come across.

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    1. That's a good attitude. The more I travel, the less I worry about schedules.

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  3. Glad you and Mom are ok! :)

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    1. No problems Jess. I built it, so I can repair it.

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  4. Knowing what needs done and getting it done are sometimes too far appart.

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  5. Guess it's a good thing to know your vehicle and be ready for the unexpected.

    Glad it all worked out OK!

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    1. I'm still kicking myself for not doing a regular clamp check, like I used to do on my other vehicles.

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  6. If it makes you feel any better, after my car was almost totaled from a bear running into it (yes you read that right), after picking up the car and driving about 5 miles from dealership, all kinds of alarms went off. We called them and they towed it back. Turns out a clamp on the radiator was loose, and when the engine got warm, it popped off. So even the pros can make that mistake.

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  7. I didn't even blink about the bear thing. Almost happened to me a few times. Of course, all we have is those little black bears. We were clobbered by a moose running into our van years ago, and that wasn't any fun.

    I do feel a bit better. It's a simple enough mistake to make.

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