Not long before we started planning this trip I had to replace the radiator with a new one and also used that opportunity to service the fan clutch and thermostat. So all we needed in order to have a near new cooling system was new hoses and a new expansion bottle.

And as we had to buy some parts to fix the car after the crash anyway, I thought it was a good idea to save on freight and include some extra items in my order with PartSouq.com (a Dubai based online car parts shop). Parts in Dubai are often a lot cheaper than in Australia but, unless you bundle and get a lot of them at once, freight costs would make it too expensive.

On a lazy Saturday morning, Michaela and I went about installing the new parts to the car. Given I was already familiar with the procedures, it took us no longer than 1 hour to have it all done.

wife-helping-car

Adding a Low Coolant Alarm

People often take those valuable piece of equipment for granted thinking they will be able to see on the dashboard when the car is overheating. The issue however is that most temperature sensors installed to our cars measure the coolant temperature. And if there is a major leak and your coolant is gone, your engine might be cooked before you notice anything. So once we were going to replace the expansion bottle anyway we decided to add one of those little buggers to our cooling system.

If there is one thing that is likely to kill a Delica prematurely is an overlooked cooling system or an unpredictable coolant leak. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to stop the later from happening and being immediately warned if it happens is key. And that’s what the low coolant alarm does. It beeps inside the cabin as soon as the coolant level goes below the sensor level.

new-vs-old-expansion-bottle-delica

We found hundreds of options available online but were lucky enough to score something a lot more reliable and got a Low Coolant Alarm LCA1224 from Redarc. Different from the cheap copies it uses AC – alternating current – rather than DC – direct current. Running DC current through your cooling system will inevitably accelerate the corrosion process within your engine.

The issue with running DC through water is that it generates hydrolysis and corrosion. And trust me, you don’t want the internal parts of your engine and cooling system rusting.

Tip: Always keep any used parts as a backup!

new-vs-old-parts-delica

Most of the maintenance we do to our car is purely preventative. That means while trying to ensure a reliable car for our trip we end up replacing a whole lot of parts we could be using for thousands of kilometres otherwise. What do we do to them? Well, some are worth keeping as spares, others not.

Room inside the car is very limited and carrying with us big or heavy parts that we might not even need during our trip would be insane. But some of them are worth taking as spares, usually if they are small and light enough to fit in the car or if having them could avoid a huge headache in case of a breakdown.

old-radiator-hose-delica

We decided the expansion bottle would take too much room to take as a spare with us, and the new one should last a lot more than 3 years (the duration of our trip). As for the hoses, the longer one can be cut and replace the shorter should we need it. But the opposite is not true. So the longer hose made it to our spare parts box while the others… well… the others ended up in the bin.

After this quick and easy preventative maintenance we feel a lot more confident and comfortable to head off on the road trip of our lifetimes, knowing if we start to overheat or need a spare part we’re more than prepared.

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