There’s a certain attitude one must take when owning old cars. Certain parts that were on the back of your mind give up the ghost without much warning. The Previa has done an admirable job of getting there whenever called upon, but on one unusually mild November day, it gave its last getting there and sadly, wasn’t up to getting back.
I had loaded up the van with bikes and bike racers to go to Plymouth, about 135 miles away. The trip was mostly smooth and quiet highway sailing, and it was decided that the Previa is more a barge than a skiff.
Shortly after rolling into the parking lot, I parked, turned off the engine, and a hiss and pop came from the front, followed by a splash and an expanding pool of sickly brown under the front of the van.
While the previous owner was handy, it’s become clear in my time with the van that he wasn’t averse to short-term budget hacks. Among other things, the cooling system was full of some amount of possibly 17 year old coolant, some other coolant of unknown origin, rust, scale, radiator leak stopper, and bits of rubber. The radiator was apparently the weakest link, since after safely getting us to the race, it self-destructed.
The wounded Previa was sent home on a flatbed (really happy I had AAA Plus for that) and waited for me until I got back.
When I got back home, I put the van up on jackstands, took off the shroud under the front of the van, and looked for a possible blown off hose. No such luck, the radiator was gone. I drained the rest of the hoses (more sickly brown) and pulled it out. A big rusty spot on the front told the whole story.
I found the new radiator on Amazon for surprisingly cheap, and placed the order for it.
To be continued next week…