Dolly’s or general land rover series temperature gauge is not accurate, but the needle is showing broad indication whether the temperature is OK or not, so I do not really pay attention when the needle is showing slightly high or low than normal (by normal I mean is the needle not above letter “N” ). But few days ago, I find something is not right… the gauge is showing consistently on the high side of letter “N” and few times above “N”.
I remember a friend said to me long time ago… if the gauge showing normal.. it may be to good to be true.. so check it regularly (like once a week)… if the gauge showing not normal condition… Don’t be denial… it is absolutely “a must” to check the whole system…
But this time I do not follow his advise… I think it just normal for land rover gauge to behave abnormal like this… So I continue using it until one day…. the temperature gauge showing fast increase from cold to normal and then higher than “N”.
And worst, I just realize in the mid of heavy traffic, stopping here will certainly cause a massive traffic jam. So I continue driving until found an exit to the slow line and find the first building and parked there… by this time the needle is close to touching red.
There are few tricks to open the radiator cap when its hot, but I do not advise anyone to open it while it hot, unless you know what you doing… it can cause major burn injury if you do that. the safest option is to turn off the engine, leave it there to cool down for may be an hour or more.
I do not have one hour, so I need to make it run the soonest, first I carefully open the water expansion cap (water is boiling in there), and then start open the radiator cap by turning it bit by bit… to reduce the pressure inside radiator.. (I can hear the water is boiling hot inside). I am using a thick news paper for protection and redirecting the hot water in case water bursting from the radiator or expansion tank (after make sure that no one near me of course).
Very thick water steam comes out from radiator cap (not yet fully open), I leave it at that until the steam disappear, mean while I bought two 1.5 liter mineral water from nearby stall. Finally I turn on the engine and open the radiator cap fully (very carefully) and start pouring it.. very slowly… very-very slowly…until the gauge now back to slightly below “N”. (Never pour the cold water at once, do it slowly otherwise there will be a good chance damaging the cylinder head and a lot safer too… )
And then with quick check what went wrong, I found that the radiator is leaking, fortunately not big, so armed with another 2 bottle of 1.5L mineral water I continue driving … if the traffic permit, I stop and topping up the radiator until I safely arrived somewhere I need to be… sweating bullet.. :D
Now I have two options curing this problem… I can change the radiator with brand new as the radiator is having the same age as the car… or I can mend / patch it… brand new radiator is US$ 180, while patching it will cost me US$15 which include cleaning inside the radiator… no brainer I choose the cheaper one… but I promise my self to save for new radiator int he future.. :)
So here is Dolly’s radiator under repair…