- Mar 21, 2005
- Elderly County, Florida
Good morning fellow Bitogers and welcome to the on-going saga of what I will call "cool runnings." For those of you not in the know, the ever famous but somewhat tired "Bluesmobile," (1993 Ford Taurus GL, 3.0 V-6) has of late been suffering from cooling problems. The composite side of the radiator has developed a crack about two inches long just below the upper hose. As you might imagine, this would leak fluid like an incontinent old man at a beer hall on nickel night. Solution? Run with the cap loose on the radiator. All was well, or so I thought until I was informed that steam pockets might be developing in the head, thus over heating the engine. That would be bad. But I'm a hating to spend hard earned cash on the ole gal who days are numbered as it is. But what if? What if I added some kind of super-duper stop leak to the system. Haven't I seen somewhere all form and manner of leak stopper especially made for vehicle leaks? Yes, yes, I'm sure of it - but which one is the right one as there are hundreds, nay, thousands of products on the market. I find the internet is my friend as a quick google search weeds out the failures from those attesting and testifying to true success. Armed with said information, I head to the nearest parts store and purchase a produce that comes with rave reviews. Organic, it is, made from the shells of the good ole American Walnut. Ground into a powder and pressed into tabs, I buy a package for the bargain price of 3.99. The instructions offer two options. One, dissolve tablets in a gallon of hot water and pour said mixture in cooling system, (sounds complicated). Two, insert tablets directly into radiator and run car, (sounds easy enough). I choose option two. Thankfully, organic tablets are the exact size to fit into the filler hole of my ailing rad. "These are made just for me and mine" I reason as they fit perfectly. Long story short, I add, I fill, I crank car and wait with a glass of cool and refreshing ice tea while these magic pills do their job. I sit confidently in the front seat listening to the oldies station of the radio while I watch the temp gauge on the dash climb to normal, then to three quarters, then into unknown territory of "surface of the sun." This might be bad. I shut the car off and with ice tea in hand, journey to the front of the car. Something is hissing like a future mother-in-law who has just discovered said future son-in-law has proposed to her daughter. Investigation reveals the crack has opened more with steam spewing out like a broken boiler pipe on an old river boat. Time for deduction. Has all the water already spewed out of the cooling system that quickly? One sure way to tell - remove the radiator cap. Oh, I know what you're thinking. "NO! DON'T! STOP! DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!!" But I'm no fool. I understand pressure and heat and boiling water. So I gently turn the cap so release the pressure ready to run at any second. But nothing comes out. No steam, no pressure, no water, no nothing. Now I'm convinced - the miracle tabs did not do their job and all the water has already peed away. I remove the cap to see. With cap in hand, I see what looks like a brown wad of coffee grounds in the filler hole of my rad. "Well I'll" That's all I said. Suddenly, like "Old Faithful" hitting the half hour, my rad exploded with a mixture of boiling water and miracle tabs, blowing said mixture all over the right side of my upper body. I ran like a scaled GreeCguy. My right arm took got the worst of it with the worst part being my arm pit which in an odd and uncomfortable way still hurts. It makes me wonder if said mixture at said temperature at said point and location will produce the stop leak effect to the point I won't have to use under arm deodorant for the remainder of my days, (right arm pit only though which means I will be stinky only on the left). As I see it, there are manifold lessons here. 1. Cars, like women, sometimes PMS and attack when you least expect. 2. Sometimes good enough is indeed well enough. 3. Large amounts of "Johnny Walker" does kill the pain, (taken internally, one shot every 15 minutes till no pain is felt). And finally, yes, I'll be swapping out the radiator. Maybe while I'm at it, I'll buy one of those cute little air fresheners to hang from the mirror as kind of a dozen roses kind of thing.