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Sharing experience


Technical Tips & Tales

Antifreeze is cheap compared to .................?

With the colder weather and shorter days now is the time to put antifreeze in the cooling system or at the very least check the strength of the old solution and top up its concentration if necessary. Antifreeze does not last forever and should be renewed at the recommended intervals, if not then the engine may suffer from internal corrosion - modern antifreeze does not just prevent freezing but helps to fight corrosion as well. In the UK you are best to have a 50% solution of antifreeze to be on the safe side.  Another tip is to use distilled water if you can when making up an antifreeze solution as this will reduce limescale deposits in the engines water passageways - if you live in a hard water area just look in the kettle next time you make a cuppa to see what I mean !.
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To check the strength of antifreeze  the specific gravity can be measured with a antifreeze hydrometer ( not a battery one !!), this will determine if the solution has been diluted in the summer months by topping up the cooling system with just water and not a 50% antifreze / water mixture. If this is the case boost the concentration back up to the correct strength with concentrated antifreeze after draining some old coolant off. Don't forget old coolant is dangerous to the environment so must be disposed of legally.

When talking about antifreeze I am reminded of a colleague who back in the mid 1970's drove a Hillman Avenger. Now for those of you who don't know the Avenger was a car made by Hillman or Rootes Group as it was then and launched with much acclaim in 1970. Now my colleague had a maroon red Avenger of 1975 vintage and knocked up a fair few miles between business and pleasure. He maintained it himself (being an engineer) and fastidiously changed the engine oil, coolant and the other maintenance tasks as regularly as clockwork. The car was nearing the 100,000 mile mark when he broke down, the coolant was lost and so the engine overheated. Now the cause of the breakdown was actually the antifreeze. The Avenger had a cast iron engine and a cast iron cylinder head so my colleague had used an antifreeze suitable for cast iron. Unfortunately he failed to appreciate that the thermostat housing was made of aluminium and over the years had been corroding away from the inside due to the incorrect antifreeze being used until one day it became so weak and thin a hole appeared. So make sure you are using an antifreeze that is suitable for the materials your engine and cooling system is made from !.

If you neglect the antifreeze and the engine freezes you might be lucky and get away with just a core plug being pushed out (don't forget some core plugs are only accessible once the engine is removed) or more than likely on some engines the block ends up split - and so a few litres of antifreeze is cheap compared to .............

the expense of sorting out a cracked engine block !


Video Tip - getting the best from your tractor battery

Mike's Blog  

This is where I have a monthly rant, rave, reccomendation, reminiscence or simply just a report of whats been happening in my neck of the woods, what might be called the "Five R's" !. Its a monthly blog I'am afraid as when the sun shines I much prefer being outside doing things rather than sitting in front of a computer.

SEPTEMBER  2021  -  "Compressor & Hedgecutter" !.

September's blog is slightly belated as I have been busy with other commitments so taking advantage of a dull weekend to write this. 

This last year I have two pieces of kit which have really worked well and proved their worth. The first was a cordless hedge cutter which has performed better than anticipated for two seasons now. The cost was about £200 but that included two batteries and a charger in addition to the hedge cutter. Each battery gives 60 minutes of use and takes 60 minutes to recharge, so with two batteries I can keep cutting non-stop with one battery in use and the other on charge. I cut near on 200 metres of hedge each year and the cordless machine is well balanced, lightweight and with no cable to tangle up or cut through much easier to use. No more extension leads required and the performance of the kit really impressive, so all in a very good buy. When I do need to replace the hedge cutter I can just purchase a new base machine as my batteries and charger will, if I choose a compatable model fit the new machine.

The second was an air compressor, something I had long been looking at. I have in the past relied on a sturdy footpump and a PTO driven compressor for the back of the tractor. These work to a degree but can take some time to pump up a big tyre and don't provide enough air for fitting tyres back on the rim. just over £100 bought me an air compressor small enough to fit into the back of the car but with reasonable capacity. Once pumped up to 8 bar pressure (max limit), it does not seem to loose any pressure so I can drive to site knowing I have compressed air on tap even if no electricity is available. So handy to be able to open the back of the car and be able to inflate tyres easily. So another good buy which has made life easier, in fact my only regret is not buying one before.

Enough of my ramblings I hear you say, yes, OK I can take a hint, so until next month folks thats all for now, take care, stay safe, we can all do our bit to help and see you soon.



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Cordless hedge trimmer, batteries and charger  .........................................   Air compressor with air line attached