Nice day for a breakdown

So two weeks ago I bought a twenty two year old Volvo off Ebay. It's a cracking little car and in exceptional condition. I decided to take it out for a good run this afternoon and go clay pigeon shooting. What could possibly go wrong?


So an afternoons shooting turned into an afternoon sat by a motorway. It was a nice day for it though.

I was trucking along on the M55 when both my side windows steamed up instantly. There was steam coming out of the air vents. The temperature gauge didn't tell me there was a problem because the little bugger picked this day to pack in completely.

I pulled over and managed to get the expansion tank cap off with an old towel (never be without an old towel). I had three litres of water in the boot and that just about filled it up.

If your car is overheating, putting the heaters on full helps to keep the engine temperature down, although it makes for a unpleasant drive, particularly on the only day with any real sun this year. So before starting the engine, I put the heaters on full and turned the key. Huge amounts of steam came out the vents and all my windows steamed up. Time to call the AA.

If you buy as many crap cars off Ebay as I do, you make sure your AA membership is up to date.

The AA chap tuned up when I was fast asleep on the embankment and had a look over it. He said the heater matrix was leaking and I had to agree with him as there was a swimming pool in the front footwell with a family of American tourists swimming in it.

Bollocks! The heater matrix is a very difficult thing to replace.

He bypassed the matrix with a bit of pipe and refilled the water. I make it sound fast but it wasn't. The chap knew his stuff but moved with the urgency of a passport office clerk with a hangover. He was also as deaf as a post. When he tried filling the water, the wind blew and none of the water went down the hole.

I said, "Careful mate, you almost got some in then". He looked at me and said, "WHAT?"
I said, "IT'S WIIINDYYY!"

Once he'd finished up he said he would follow me to the shooting club as I was almost there, to make sure everything was ok. We got to the club and the damn thing was overheating again. I could see the clubhouse and hear the shots, it was so close, but no joy.

He fettled it again for ages but in the end he told me he thought it was head gasket failure and he would have to recover me.

Bollocks! I mean. Just. Bollocks.

I've had the bloody lemon for two weeks and already faced with the prospect of changing a heater matrix and now he tells me it needs a new head gasket. I can change one of those in a day, but not today. Only option - smelly bus to work for a week.

I actually didn't agree with him on this though, but I didn't say. If the HG has gone, it's gone today because there's no other evidence of it other than the over heating. Never the less, he took me home.

He had to set up all his towing equipment so I nipped in the club house and got us both a brew. Inquisitive bunch they are in there. I had to tell them I wanted to shoot but fate and Ebay cars decided otherwise.

So at four o'clock I got home after a wasted afternoon. But not a wasted AA membership. Thanks AA chap. You did me a big one.

Anyway, since I've been back I've flushed the cooling system and also repaired the cooling fan which I discovered wasn't working. I say fixed, what I really mean is fudged. The relay is knackered so I wired it direct to the battery with a switch under the bonnet which I'll have to flick on each time I drive it until I can get a replacement. I've had it running for an hour though and it seems fine.

I may as well take it to work on Monday. Why only waste sunny Saturday afternoons, why not a Monday morning.

What could possibly go wrong?

Anyway, enough about me. So how've you been?

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