Saturday I drove, with the boys, an hour and a half south to a small town. Along the way, we pulled over for a bathroom break and I thought I smelled antifreeze. For those of you who do not know the smell, it is a sweet-smelling liquid. I figured it was another car at the gas station since I did not see any apparent leaking, steam or my temp going up on my gauges. So, I went on about my business.
When I got back to home base, I smelled anti-freeze again. This time, no other cars were around. I knew it had to be Ebony. So, I popped the hood and saw liquid sprayed over the top of the engine. The overflow reservoir was also extremely low. As I suspicioned, Ebony sprang a leak.
It was night-time and too dark to properly diagnose where the leak was coming from. Especially since liquid sprayed everywhere. I was not too worried though. I drove for over 3 hours and there was still some liquid in the overflow. So, it was a small leak that sprayed into the hood and came back down over the engine.
Overnight, much of the liquid dried. There were a few pools of liquid that remained. But, for the most part, they were gone. I dabbed up the rest with some paper towels and was ready to begin diagnosis.
I turned Ebony on and she began to hum like there were no problems. She continued to idle and no problems. So, I asked Mama Nomad to come outside and press on the accelerator so I could watch the engine. After a short period of time, I see this little stream of liquid flying into the air! Found it!
In one of my past adventures, as a very young man, I worked with my uncle as an assistant mechanic. So, I know the basics of how an engine works and what many of the parts are called. With this being said, I identified the problem as the thermostat housing (later confirmed to be called the Thermostat Housing Assembly). I thought it would have a gasket. Nope. It was a single piece unit.
So, I went to the auto parts store, with a bottle of water in case the leak got worse, and picked up some anti-freeze and a thermostat housing assembly. I headed back to home base, parked Ebony and waited for the engine to cool.
With a pair of pliers, a flat-head screw driver, a ratchet and lots of paper towels, I engaged in my repair. About an hour or so later, the repair was completed, all surrounding areas were dried off and the overflow reservoir was full. I started Ebony and called Mama Nomad to have her push on the accelerator to warm the engine back up while I watched for leaks. No leaks! I then jumped into Ebony and headed out to road test it. Came back. Popped the hood. No leaks!
Ebony was good as new and the engine has been winterized with anti-freeze at the same time. Since then, Mama Nomad drove for a few hours and when she returned I checked the engine area. No leaks! Dry as a bone. I call that a successful repair.
Life on the road with an automobile can be fun and exciting. But, when you are traveling with one vehicle, you really need to pay even more attention to the behaviors and scents of your vehicle. The three top scents you should know are the smell of burnt oil, anti-freeze and hot or burning rubber. Each of these are indicators that something may be wrong. Be safe in your travels to all of our readers.