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The Three Dollar Overheating Auto Part Solution That No One Else Could Figure Out In Denver

Hi, there. I’m Saul here at Saul’s Autotek in Denver, Colorado. And today we’re going to talk about overheating concerns with your vehicle.

Now this Ford E-350 van that’s behind me came from Silverthorne up in the mountains at 11,000 feet, came through the Eisenhower Tunnel and down to us. They made a 60-mile drive with the vehicle overheating the entire way. Every five miles they had to stop, let it cool and add more coolant to it.

They’d taken it to a mechanic up in the high country who couldn’t find anything wrong with it. They looked for leaks all over the motor. They pressure tested the system. They could not find a problem. The owner thought it must be something internal. There might be a head gasket failure. The vehicles got a quarter-million miles. Maybe something serious is failing, and it’s time to do either a head gasket, or an engine replacement, which either one of which could be thousands of dollars.

However, when this vehicle came in, we found the problem and in short order. The technicians that had previously been looking at it didn’t do a bad job, but they didn’t look at the whole vehicle. They looked at the most typical components that fail. Radiator, water pump, hoses, on the engine itself, and there was nothing out of the ordinary.

However, we here at Saul’s Autotek went ahead and filled the system up with coolant. It holds seven gallons in this guy. And then we pressure tested it, and ran the vehicle for an extended period of time. When we did, we found a leak all the way back here. All the way in the back of the vehicle. We found a hose broken off, because this factory equipped vehicle had rear heat and rear air conditioning.

If you’ve got a vehicle and the kids in the back seat have that option to turn their knob and turn on the heater AC in the back, just like you’ve got a heater core up front in the dashboard and an AC cord in the dashboard, you’ve got one back here too. Now, the downside with this guy is most people aren’t going to check these components, and because they only get used very seldom. How often you use your heat? 20 to 30 times a year. How often do you use the heat in the rear? Maybe half of those times. There’s not a lot of circulation that goes back here.

Being the nature being in Colorado where we have extreme heating and cooling cycles in a very arid climate, the plastic componentry in belts and hoses breaks down very, very quickly. As a result, the hoses that run the entire length of the vehicle, which are made out of stainless steel, didn’t have any issues. Where they transferred to a plastic hose and go up into the floorboard of the vehicle up to that heater core is where they’d broke down and began to leak. So, when we pressure tested this system, we saw fluid coming out of the tail lamp at the back of the vehicle. We ripped up some of the carpet in the back. We found the hose, we found the leak, and to get it taken care of when they’d been told it could be an engine, it could be a heater court, it could be a substantial problem.

The problem was solved with one $3 part.

Now when this vehicle came in, the original quick disconnect fitting that pinches from one hose onto the other that allows it to connect from the metal pipe to that plastic, or rubber hose had been broken off. And instead of there being two retention clips, as you can see pressured from either side, one of those clips had been broken off. So, this retainer wasn’t staying fully seated and was allowing coolant to escape. The way these are designed is a pretty basic design. They use a spacer, two O rings, and a quick disconnect fitting. And this is designed intentionally so that if that heater core needed to be serviced, it can be removed from the vehicle without removing those eight feet of metal hoses underneath it.

However, this is a very common failure. And while the owner spent hours trying to get the vehicle to us, went to other facilities and was told it could be thousands of dollars, this $3 part fixed his problem and got him on the road.

If you’ve got a concern about your vehicle, if it’s overheating, if it’s leaking fluids, and you just want to make sure you’re getting the right diagnostic, and that you’re not just being told it’s the worst-case scenario, we’ve got your back. Now we know, because we’re car guys too that we want it to be the cheapest repair. And that most vehicle owners when their vehicles overheating assume it’s either a thermostat, a radiator cap, or a hose. The cheapest parts of the system. Unfortunately for this guy, everybody assumed it was the head gasket, or the engine, the most expensive parts of the system. The owner was ready to throw the vehicle away.

We got them repaired. We got them on the road with a $3 part. If you want a second opinion? You want to make sure yours gets taken care of properly, come and see us at Autotek. We don’t charge a diagnostic fee, because we want you to get the best service and we want you to make the best decision about your vehicle. How bad would the owner of this vehicle be if he got rid of this truck, because he thought it needed an engine. And it was three bucks to fix it. Come and see us at Saul’s Autotek. We’ll help make sure that you get the right repair the first time.

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About the Author

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman has been helping the residents of the Centennial State with their automotive needs for over ten years now. He finished his Associate Degree in Physics at the Community College of Denver. Saul is an active member of the Specialty Equipment Market Association and a board member of the Young Executives Network. He undergoes constant educational training through GMC, MOPAR, Ford, Snap-On, Borg-Warner, and Ozark Automotive, with an emphasis on diagnosis, repair, and improvement.

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