Tuesday, April 12, 2011

iD10t Error - Take two

This is now the second time I have written this entry, thanks to a glitch in blogger. I guess the first draft sucked so bad blogger thought I needed to rewrite it. I just wish the next time blogger decides to erase a complete post it will not then follow it up with an auto save seconds later.

At some point in life part of being a man is admitting when you make a mistake. As I don't do this often (make mistakes :), not the admitting part) its hard to write about one that almost left me stranded in Southern Utah with a hefty repair bill.

My family and I were traveling to Arizona to pick up two of our kids who had been visiting their grandparents. The drive was going well despite the snow flurries and slow drivers, when just after Filmore at the top of the hill before descending into Beaver, a loud beeping noise started from my console and a warning message of "Engine overheated" was flashing on the console display. I quickly pulled over and brought the car to stop. I turned the engine off knowing full well that it may never start again.

After letting the engine cool off so I could inspect the damage, I got out and walked around the car. I noticed the right side of the car was sprayed with coolant, which is something you never want to see when you are out in the middle of nowhere. I lifted the hood and peered around hoping to see the cause of my overheating problems,  but I didn't notice any obvious signs of a leak. After inspecting the engine again, a little closer this time, I was able to spot the culprit. The lower radiator hose had come off of the radiator nipple. Once the hose came off it would have almost instantly expelled most of my engine coolant, thus causing the sudden overheating of the engine. Once again not something you want to see when you are in the middle of nowhere.
I reconnected the hose to the radiator, but I didn't have a pair of pliers with me (I usually do, but I had taken them out prior to this trip for another repair) so I was not able to put the clamp back on to hold it in place.  I decided to refill the radiator with the water from our cooler and hope I could make it to a gas station before it over heated again. (A good reason to always have a few simple tools in your car, and some extra water.)

We were able to pretty much coast into a Chevron station near historic cove fort. Lucky for us I was able to find a mechanics shop that put the clamp back on for me. We refiled the radiator with water (they didn't have the right kind of coolant for my car) and we were on our way. We were able to pick up our kids and make it back home with out any sort of problem.

I came up with three possible reasons why the hose came off in the first place:

1. Somehow there was enough pressure build up in the hose (possibly from a stuck thermostat) that it was able to blow the radiator hose off.
2. The clamp that held the radiator hose on was not installed properly
3. The clamp was never installed over the radiator nipple, but left lower on the hose where I found it after the hose blew off.

After some thinking about it I pretty much discounted theory #1 but assumed that it was probably #3. Earlier in the year I had replaced the water pump and the thermostat, and there was a very good chance that I forgot to re-install the clamp to hold the hose in place. As far as I can tell there was no permanent damage to the engine. I am man enough to admit I made a mistake and lucky that my iD10T error didn't end up costing me thousands of dollars.

So remember to check your hoses and verify they are properly installed and clamped down before you plan any long trips.

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