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Bush mechanics 2

The next little imaginary scenario I want to explore is just as intimidating and as important as electrical power, cooling.

Driving along and enjoying the fresh Karoo air and you notice the heat gauge is creeping alarmingly higher and higher. This can be something simple as a broken fan belt or something much more serious either way do not ignore this and hope it will go away. Pull over and investigate.  Most water pumps run off the fan belt and will stop working if you lose the belt for any reason, others like Mitsubishi run off the cambelt if you lose this one the engine will die and you are in a wee spot of bother with a very good chance of serious damage to the engine. Never take chances with a cambelt. If it is up for replacement do it sooner rather than later, the cost is a fraction of the possible expense of failure. 

The next point to look out for is a possible leak or burst pipe. If it is not a major leak you might see a stream of water squirting from the offending part such as a radiator or a water pipe.
A burst radiator hose is easy to replace just undo the clamps and remove the old one, replacing is just a reverse operation. Be careful with the cooling system as the normal operating pressure increases the boiling point of water and if you open it and the pressure drops suddenly you will be met with a column of superheated steam right in your face, not pleasant. Rather let the engine cool for a while, with the bonnet open, while you have something to drink yourself.
A burst heater pipe or similar is a bit more difficult as you would probably not have a spare handy, this is where the bush mechanics comes in handy. Remove the burst pipe and if the damage is close enough to the end and you have enough slack in the pipe simply cut off the damaged end and refit, if not, that tyre repair kit that you bought is going to come in very handy now. Clean the area with a bit of sandpaper to get a good bonding surface and select a patch of suitable size to cover the area. Apply some solution and stick the patch over the rupture. Reinforce the area by binding it with insulation tape wrapping it tightly around the pipe.
A leaky radiator is not a nice thing to repair in the bundu but not impossible. It is the same as eating an elephant, one bite at a time. Small leaks can easily be promised right by adding some chili powder or cayenne pepper to the radiator. It will leak to start off with but as the small flakes get pushed out the hole some of them become trapped and eventually the leak is stopped. Once back in civilization the system can be flushed and the radiator repaired properly. There is a myth about egg white doing the same but I do not trust it as the temperature needed for the egg to coagulate is higher and the particles can block the water channels, in a push mielie meal would do the same job but, it too, has bigger particles.
The core of the radiator is where the plumbing solder comes to its full use. Being a capillary type of solder it would naturally creep into any little crack and crevice as long as it is clean. Plumbing flux has a pretty strong acid in it and does a good job of preparing the metal as long as you have cleaned the paint and gunk off the area. You would need a bit more heat than a Bic lighter and a mini butane torch would b very handy as the heat can be controlled accurately otherwise the good old Cadac stove will work in a push. You will need to remove the radiator. Be careful as some newer vehicles have plastic header tanks and these can be damaged by heat creating more problems. If the damage is close to the header tank rather use epoxy to seal it and run without your radiator cap.
If you find that the leak reappears when the motor runs under pressure and you cannot get it to stop also remove the pressure cap on the radiator and make your way back to civilization cautiously. Keep an eye on the temp gauge and stop regularly to check water levels. An engine that overheats can pop a cylinder head gasket and create all sorts of unpleasant nasties so keep your eye on that temp gauge.  I am a big fan of aftermarket gauges as the factory fitted ones do not give accurate readings and tend to respond slower to variations.

If you find no obvious reason for the increase in temperature it could be that your thermostat is faulty. The simple remedy would be to whip it out and drive without one but this is not the case. The thermostat is not only there to get the motor to working temp. quickly but also to act as a restrictor in the cooling system and to slow down the flow of water in the radiator. Without this restriction, the water flows too fast through the radiator and does not cool adequately resulting in temp. rising unnecessarily.  Remove the thermostat and cut the center portion from the rest. Replace the outer half in the housing and refit. This would give you the required restriction and get you back. If you damage the gasket while removing it is a simple fix.  Any kind of cardboard like the side of a cereal box or the cover of a book can be used to make a new one. This can be sealed with a bit of grease or Vaseline or even some of the wife’s thick night creams. I do not like to use silicone gasket maker on aluminum and water as it tends to rapidly corrode the aluminum creating more problems down the line. 
A new gasket can be tapped out quite easily by taking the housing in the one hand and covering it with the cardboard. With the other hand take a small hammer or even the side of a large spanner and gently tap around the edges. The sharp corners of the housing will cut through the cardboard leaving a perfect copy in cardboard, voila, a new gasket. The secret lies in taking it gently, you don’t want to smash off corners on the housing so don’t hurry.
Making a gasket in the bundu is not as difficult as people think if your surfaces are nice and smooth and mates well you don’t need a very thick piece of cardboard and even a nice thick piece of paper will do the trick. These makeshift gaskets can be sealed with a variety of stuff. Good old Vaseline is good for most areas as is Bostic, avoid using silicone on any area where it can come in contact with petrol as it turns in to a grubby mess.
Another little setback that can spoil an outing is picking up a crack or leak in a sump or petrol tank after over-enthusiastically negotiating an obstacle, the last thing you need is to lose those precious fluids. A small tear or hole in a sump can be repaired without the need to drop the sump by cleaning the area with sandpaper and stuffing some Pratley putty in the dent and hole, once this has hardened clean the area around it and put a bandage or patch saturated with epoxy over it. This should see you back to civilization. A petrol leak is not so simple as petrol will seep through cracks that water cannot and will attack most sealants winning the battle hands down. The solution is as simple and old as the hills, normal bath soap. In the old days, the green sunlight soap was the best but as times progress we have to make do with normal bath soap. Rub as much soap into the crack or hole as you can and keep in place with a bit of epoxy on a patch. The secret is to work as clean as possible as any petrol left behind on the surface will form a capillary bridge and you will have to start again Any fabric can be used as a patch as it is only there to reinforce the epoxy. NEVER try to solder the tank with an open flame it is a BOM and will seriously hurt you. As a permanent fix get a professional to do the work. Welding and brazing fuel tanks are highly specialized and definitely not for anyone other than a specialist.
The secret to any situation is to remain calm and level headed. Let’s face it you are stuck and now it is up to you to turn this situation into another adventure. Work slow and meticulous even if it's just a temporary repair as this is your ticket back to civilization. Rushing in and a slap-happy job will only result in doing it again and maybe even more damage.