Sunday, 1 May 2016

Keeping up the Charade (Getting Hot Headed)

In this episode
- Overheated engine on the highway
- temperature high
- bubbling radiator
- steaming engine

It was her first long distance ride. We were travelling fully loaded, 225km up North to Teronoh, where my brother studied. The car was loaded with his luggage and mine, and my dad joined us for the trip. So yes, it was asking a lot from the car, but she started off fine. We dropped Marc off at UTP, and significantly lighter, set off 133 km South for Tanjung Malim where I studied.

Along the way, we noticed the temperature gauge moving up.

Temperature gauge looks like this

and from what I've learned from mechanics and Youtube, a normal temperature is supposed to stay constant at centre or below centre towards the cool end marked C.

In our case, it was on a gradual rise, *steadily increasing with every kilometre. This is a bad thing, because it tells you that something is wrong with your cooling system.  When we get hot, we drink water, and this cools all body systems.
Likewise, cars also get heated and have to cool down using water, or coolant.

We stopped by at a petrol station and proceeded to pour water all over the engine, because it was steaming. The radiator, after we had refilled it, started to *bubble, as soon as we turned on the engine.

WARNING: never open or touch radiator cap right after turning engine off. Allow it to cool down for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Soon the temperature dropped again and we decided it was safe enough to continue our journey. Big mistake.
after about 5km, the temperature started spiking up and we pulled over.

We had turned off the air conditioning, thinking that the fewer things running the better.

Father called his mechanic at home who advised to turn on the air conditioning as the fan would also help cool down the engine, as we turned around and made our way back to the petrol station.

Normally this is done by the radiator fan, which looks like this

Ours *wasn't running, when we turned on the engine. So there's the first problem.

There was a foreman there, who informed us that in all likelihood our head gasket was damaged, since the radiator was bubbling.

This is a head gasket. It looks like a pretty cool diskette
link to gasket anatomy click here

A gasket head (to my understanding) is sandwiched between the cylinder heads and the engine block. If there is a hole or crack in your head gasket, then your coolant is going to get mixed up with your engine oil, which means nothing is getting cooled, and your engine overheats. Lol if I'm wrong, please clarify.

So anyway, that needed some mending, but it didn't need to be replaced, because the crack could be repaired.
In the end, the car was not fit to drive back. Father's mechanic, came all the way and fixed up the car temporarily with another fan, and we took his car instead (also a charade) to Tanjung Malim.

But it was a scary experience, so to avoid these problems, always monitor radiator water/coolant levels (I use water) and stop the car at the first sign of heating. You do not want to end up with a blown gasket.

Obvious signs to look out for
* Temperature rising. A fever is never good.
* Your fan not running
* Radiator bubbling is also a warning sign that your cooling system is faulty

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