Faulty Radiator Cap Lets Fluid Fly

DN Staff

November 27, 2013

2 Min Read
Faulty Radiator Cap Lets Fluid Fly

When our first grandchild was due, we traded our campervan for a dual-cab Toyota Hilux so we could tow a caravan (you can't put child seats in a campervan). Part of the deal when we bought it (second-hand) included parts-and-labor insurance on the main engine components, and fixed-price servicing for some years. I had to travel further to work so my wife used the Hilux for short trips and I drove our two-door Mazda.

One day my wife noticed that the engine temperature was high, so we took it in for a service. The shop cleaned a few leaves out of the radiator grill and sent us home. That didn't fix the problem, so back to the shop we went. They replaced the thermostat. Then we had to go back to have the water pump replaced. Next is was the radiator. We thought we were all set, but we ended up back again, and this time we were told that the cylinder head was warped. They kept the Hilux for a week while they machined the head and re-installed it. Part of that was not covered by the insurance.

Shortly after, we were in the process of buying a new house. I had to see solicitors to sort out details, and on the way there the Hilux began to seriously overheat. We couldn't stop or we could have lost the house, so we kept going with one eye on the temp gauge. Afterward, we drove straight to the service bay and said as nicely as possible, "Fix it!" The mechanic said that it the problem must be the gauge, and then he removed the radiator cap, at which point antifreeze sprayed everywhere.

The cap turned out to be faulty. When they replaced it with a new one, the problem went away. I think the cap was drawing air instead of fluid from the overflow tank. I checked the level in the tank when cold and it seemed to be constant. My big mistake was to take the maintenance agreement instead of doing it myself.

The Hilux has been fine since -- about eight years.

Tell us your experiences with Monkey-designed products. Send stories to Lauren Muskett for Made by Monkeys.

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