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Classic Series Land Rover: Overheating Problems - Part 2

Overheating problems Part 1 (opens in a new window) focusses upon general aspects of a Series Land Rover overheating. Here we are focussing upon the specific situations of either steam issuing from under the bonnet, or a definate smell of overheating. These situations call for the vehicle to be stopped immediately, the engine switched off and the cause investigated.

If steam is the issue, CAREFULLY raise the bonnet and check where the steam is coming from. It may be a damaged heater hose leaking onto the exhaust. In that case you could wait for the engine to cool and then use gaffer tape and tie-wire to seal over the leak. If the tube is badly cracked and may break, seal it as described but then add some flexible material (even a live twig will do) to act as a splint and tape and tie this over the seal.

If the radiator is producing steam from the overflow or cap, it may be that the cylinderhead gasket is damaged or it could be resticted circulation. Let the engine cool for 15minutes before CAREFULLY removing the radiator cap to top up the coolant. If water is in short supply, then any non-alcoholic drink can be used in the radiator if necessary, but do not add carbonated drinks as an air lock may develop.

If the overheating is not severe but coolant is being lost then there are a number of possible causes:
*Check for damp patches on hoses, near hose joints or near the seams of the radiator. Switching off the engine and observing carefully, can aid in locating the cause. Epoxy resin mixture may seal a leaking radiator if it is drained below the leak and the area carefully dried and cleaned.
*Check that the radiator cap is sealing correctly. Later Series Land Rovers are fitted with a radiator overflow bottle; if this becomes empty then the cooling system will lose water.
*Check if water is dripping from behind the radiator fan. This can result from perished rubber seals in the water pump; a pump overhaul kit is really the only remedy for this. But check that it is not just a damaged thermostat housing gasket instead.
*If you see water stain marks on the side of the engine it may be coming from corrosion pin-holes in the engine core plugs. Series I’s are prone to this due to their age but they also have an ‘Otter plate’ at the rear of the engine that supports the choke temperature control. This is prone to corrosion. Epoxy resin mixture can temporarily cure these problems, but the radiator needs to be drained below the level of the core plugs before attempting a repair. Core plugs come in different outside diameters. They are not difficult to replace once you have removed them.

Slow loss of coolant during a long journey can be handled by occasional topping up, but allow 15 minutes for the radiator to cool before trying to remove the cap.

Avoid allowing the engine to run hot for long periods of time as you risk damaging water and oil seals that will cause you more problems.

In some countries a radiator sealant is available that has the consistency and appearance of porridge, using this may temporarily fix the leak but subsequently restrict coolant flow.


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Fascinating facts
(No.130)

Front seat headrests became available for later SIII vehicles

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