This Town Caravan Park in Kununurra is a great park. It is what caravan parks used to be like before they started squeezing more and more caravans into smaller and smaller spaces. Big spaces with a separate space for the car and all shaded by trees and palms. Vicki is in heaven, there are mangos just falling onto the ground everywhere. If she eats many more I may have to get the lomotil out of the first aid kit!
I was at the Nissan dealership when they opened at 7:00 Monday morning. The girl at the service? counter looked dumbfounded when I explained I had an overheating problem that I would like looked at. This request was apparently so strange that all she could do was point at another chap who may have been the service? manager. He promptly threw his hands in the air and said he had three weeks of work booked in and couldn’t possibly look at it! I did eventually get to speak to the workshop foreman who reckoned that it wasn’t the head gasket as with the engine running the top radiator hose did not go stiff. Mind you the mechanic at Home Valley Station thought it was the head gasket as there were bubbles in the radiator.
To cut a long story short I then hunted around town until I found the correct thermostat but then could not change it myself because I could not get at one of the housing bolts with the tools I carried. So with a recommendation from the caravan park manager I went and talked to Kununurra Diesel Services. Bring the car down Tuesday they said, they couldn’t guarantee that they could look at it that day but Wednesday they would certainly look at it. The first thing they would do was use a sniffer test on the radiator that detects the presence of hydrocarbons. If detected it would indicate a head gasket problem, if not detected almost certainly not a head gasket. At last someone who actually knew what they were doing and would not just take a guess.
Monday afternoon the cloud built up and it was obvious an electrical storm was on its way. About 4:00PM with great peels of thunder and some lightning the storm hit. Heavy rain and some wind for about half an hour and then it cleared away. It cooled down for a while but then the temperature and the humidity climbed back up.
Tuesday was very hot 42C. We have gone soft and have the air-conditioning running most of the time during the day and all night. The air conditioner in the van is not the most powerful but it lowers the temperature in the van by about 15C and that is despite the canvas of the pop top so it is pretty comfortable inside. We have definitely scrapped any plans we had to remove the air conditioner.
Wednesday midday and I have received a call from Kununurra Diesel Services about the car. The sniffer test is negative so that is a relief as it is now almost certain the head gasket is okay. The thermostat has been replaced as it showed signs of scraping and may not have been opening properly. They are also flushing the engine as there is some “gunk” build up. When I took the car in to be looked at they told me the extreme heat here at this time of the year shows up any small weakness in the cooling system and overheating was not an uncommon fault that they deal with, specially when towing.
We have been to town to get a few things, a walk of only a kilometre or so but the sweat is running off us so we will now take refuge in the caravan whilst we have lunch.
Will pick up the car this afternoon and hope that everything is now okay. Haven’t looked at the maps yet but we want to be in Darwin before the last Thursday of this month which is when the last Mindil Beach market is held before they close for the wet season.
I have updated both blogs, this and the dirtvan blog. I got a little bored so thought I would change things around. I have also added more widgets on the right side of this blog. Let me know what you think of the new appearance and functionality.
Kununurra – Wednesday 12 October 2011