Saturday, 9 February 2008

Smoking is bad

I thought it a good idea to take ‘t Kreng for a blast in the country today. As I had to go to the (not to) local music centre to have a small problem on my trumpet sorted, I decided to combine the two. As the car hadn't run since last year’s “Nachtrit”, she was rather reluctant to fire up. But in the end she coughed and spluttered into life. Whilst driving through the village I noticed that the coolant level warning light kept on flickering, actually it stayed on most of the time. A quick check showed that the coolant level indeed was a bit lowish. So back home for a refill and a quick leak check, which didn't turn up anything wrong, after which I hit the road again. At first the car vibrated a bit, due to flat spots on the tires, caused by its long inactivity, but they soon vanished.

Whilst driving past a petrol station I thought it a good idea to fill it up as the fuel gauge read rather low indeed. But whilst taking my purse out of the car I noticed a whiff of smoke coming from the extreme left hand side of the dashboard. But as soon as I switched of the battery with the cut out switch the smoke disappeared... As I still was rather close to home, I decided to return and take the Land Rover instead.

After I returned home a few hours later (with an again fully functional trumpet), it was time for a closer inspection of the wiring under the dashboard in the mentioned area. But there was absolutely nothing visible that could have caused the smoke I had seen. The only thing I did notice was a very faint and for me strange smell, a bit like coolant, but not really. Maybe the smoke had been a bit of coolant vapour coming out through the vent?

First thing to check was the coolant level, and it had dropped indeed. Not much but visible. Just to be sure I first checked in the engine bay for any signs of leaks but there were none. So a closer inspection of the heater was next on the list. Most obvious place to start looking is, of course, were the twin pipes from the engine enter the heater matrix. The pipes themselves were dry and there were no coolant traces visible. Only a little bit of moisture around one of the seals. There also was no sign of coolant in the tray underneath;

As this couldn't (in my opinion) be the cause for the amount of coolant lost I went over to the passenger side of the car. After removing the carpet I found this trace;

Clearly coolant. Also clear are the coolant traces and there was coolant in the tray on that side. So a rebuild of the heater seems to be next on the list. With the “Nacht van het Oosten” only 5 weeks away it looks like the DHC might be the car for the event ...

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