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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.

MAY 2022  -  "Bluebells galore" !.


Each year at this time my wife and I like to visit a local National Trust property Greys Court near Henley. The parkland surrounding the house also contains woodland which is a mass of bluebells during May. By the time we get to visit its often mid May and by then the bluebells are past their peak but still give a blue carpet to the woods. This year we managed to visit just before May and they were at their peak, a vibrant blue absolutely stunning and their sent filled the air. Its a shame they don't last that long but are well worth a visit if one can. They came into bloom a little early this year perhaps a result of climate change. It has been such a dry spring in my part of the UK that the veg plot is still just bare earth, too dry for seeds to germinate. The seeds I have planted are in pots which once growing on will hopefully be planted out in the plot.

The other task has been to finish off the Ferguson TED restoration, well get a bit nearer to completing it !. Once working on the tractor it became apparent that the throttle rod from the carburettor to the governor lever was missing. These parts are not available new and looking on the likes of Ebay second-hand ones go for quite a sum. Luckily I managed to buy a new throttle rod for a MF 35 for about £5 but was far too short so set about extending it with some threaded rod and a clevis yoke. The finished rod seems OK but I made it adjustable in length so it might need adjusting once the tractor is running.

The original carburettor was rather worn although it probably would still have worked I fitted a new one from Agriline, this was purchased some years ago before the prices went up !. So not long to go now before hopefully the TED20 is up and running.

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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New carburettor and throttle rod fitted to the TED20  ............................... Bluebells at Greys Court near Henley (National Trust)