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Chump award for 2020. Gold medal.

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Old Mar 27th, 2020, 00:42   #1
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Location: Dornie, near Isle of Skye
Default Chump award for 2020. Gold medal.

When you get a "new" set of wheels, most of us immediately break open their piggy banks and run up a long invoice at the spare parts factory, to get all those annoying little/medium/big/or sometimes huge shortcomings sorted out within the next week or so. It's only human nature.

The excitement usually gets a bit calmer when you keep finding other little secrets lurking in the machinery, or your partner decides that some food on the table, not to mention dinner conversation, might be a higher priority than your new pet obsession.

I got my "new" '71 maroon 164, who hasn't been assigned a name yet, but I'm working on it, home a few weeks back, and thanked the stars that I and the BH hadn't tried to drive it up the about 600m from near London to near the Isle of Skye. I've already described the debacle on the M25 after only 10 miles, but once in the driveway I found a few other little items that would almost certainly have left us on the side of the road on our way.

Heater hoses ready to explode if looked at sideways, even assuming the rad hoses didn't beat them to it, probably topped the bill. I'm still waiting on one of the "correct" new heater hoses which I sincerely hope is on the road from Denmark, but seems to be taking a social isolation break in South Africa en route. So I've just looped a bit of heater hose and bypassed the heater altogether. No warmth for the toes, but no sudden head gasket meltdown either.

Then I turned to one of the nice easy jobs, relating to the motor taking about 3 weeks to warm up properly, which meant the choke was working overtime.

New thermostat, new thermostat housing (because it's shiny, unlike the old one), and very importantly the correct rubber seal, arrived from Brookhouse at amazing speed, to make sure everything will work properly. Also new rad hoses and clips, a few litres of coolant concentrate and finally some distilled water from my local hardware. Even a nice new flexible screwdriver with 7mm socket from the same local hardware to unscrew and tighten the clips. Wish I'd got one years ago, or at least before I'd fought with the heater hose clamps behind the engine with a selection of flat blade screwdrivers that couldn't get access.

So where is this story heading? Wait for it...

After swilling out a tankerload of crap-loaded coolant (several times), all new items were assembled and fresh coolant added. Quick run to ensure everything is OK.. Seems fine, no overheating, no apparent airlocks, no apparent loss of coolant anywhere.

I'd very carefully noted that the old housing with thermostat stuck in, seemed to have the rubber seal fitted BELOW the thermostat, so that's where the new one went. I was very puzzled as to how the thermostat would actually then seal to its housing, and had never to my knowledge seen a rubber seal rather than a paper gasket used. All my experience of this job on other ancient cars seemed to be, the thermostat itself sitting down into a shallow recess in the head, paper gasket above, then housing on top to hold everything in place. Simple.

Apparently it was the reverse order in Volvos, but I trusted that Swedish engineers knew how things would work better than I do.

So the next morning why on earth was there coolant seeping out onto the head, obviously coming from the junction, and why was the rad level now so low?

Obviously I'd made an amateur level blunder. Not my first time, and it would appear, not to be my last. So to try to find out which order the thermostat and seal were meant to be fitted I carefully searched the manuals, googled but found nothing useful, checked this forum in case somebody else had had a similar problem, and finally studied the parts catalogue images where I found to my embarrassment that the illustrations showed the seal sitting ABOVE the thermostat.

This still seemed pretty stupid to me, but I carefully pulled it all apart and put them in the "correct" order. Fired up, and of course, had an immediate leak to deal with. By this time I thought I'd almost certainly killed the seal, so I ordered a new one, and cursed the ridiculous idea of the Swedes to make such a stupid, unsealable arrangement.

New seal from Brookhouse arrived, it seemed, almost before I'd finished placing the order for it (talk about speedy service). Pulled everything apart again, and looked in vain for the reason why the damn thing was designed so badly....

....and suddenly a very large and embarrassing light bulb flashed on.

The bloody seal fits AROUND the thermostat edge, with it sitting snugly in the groove in the seal that I'd totally missed seeing (twice), so it is beautifully sealed both above and below. No wonder nobody had bothered saying anything except "fit the seal". It's bloody obvious how it fits! To everybody but me.

My apologies to Swedish technology came a few minutes after I'd knocked a hole in the garden wall with my forehead, and booked a session at the local Alzheimers clinic.

The waiting room was full of middle aged classic car buffs, with bruised foreheads and Volvo keyrings.

Actually, that's a lie. Only myself fitted that description.
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Old Mar 27th, 2020, 04:26   #2
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Last Online: Today 03:40
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Weeting

Hey, dont kick ya self too hard, i did sommat similar with my V70 oil filter, I didnt pay any mind as o where the seal ring sat so when it came to fitting new, i just lobbed on the seal ring assuming it would fit in the last ring, snug, nope, not so, it sits in the ring before the last ring. When i removed it again and took off the ring, i showed my passing neighbour and asked him where he thought it should fit, he guessed the same as me, but then his excuse was, he owns a 2008 focus, had to give him that lol
Regards, Bashy
06 (56) V70 Geartronic 2.4 D5 185bhp 161k, 17", full leather, auto dimming mirror and auto wipers is the best it can do - I have added limo black and rear camera and parking sensors
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