This past Friday afternoon I get a the following call from my wife, "Eddie, the water temperature just hit 229 and there is smoke coming out from under the hood." I tell her to get off to a safe place on the side of the road and I'll be there shortly. Well, turns out she was in line picking up the kids, so it was easier said than done.
I get there expecting the worse (i.e. blown head gasket for something like that). Well, was I happy to find the problem could be solved with a Diet Coke bottle cap and about 1 1/2 gallons of water. The cap from the heater hose flush Tee must have melted, deformed and blew off under the pressure. After all, it was about 98*F or so and she had the AC blasting. The last time she looked at the temp gauge it read 209*F. I replaced the Tee with a brass splice.
So how is it she knew the temperature so accurately? I'll guarantee you it was not because of the stock gauge, what a joke
. After the head gaskets blew on the original engine (236k miles), I had realized that when the stock gauge read 210*F, it was as high as 230*F (or higher) by using an Auto-X-Ray scanner. When I installed the new engine, I also installed a digital temperature gauge with the sending unit in the passenger side cylinder head. The Nordskog Digital Temperature gauge P/N NRD-M9013A
is a very visual way to keep an eye on your temps. It also has a high temp recall button. And let's face it, our wives are not keeping an eye on the oil pressure and temperature gauges, especially when they have a bus full of kids (lol).
I told her when I installed the gauge, if the temperature ever exceeded 220*F she needed to let me know immediately and avoid driving until I had a chance to look it over. Up until this incident, the hottest it ever got was 218*F and that was sitting idling with AC full blast for about 20 minutes recently in July.
I just thought I would share this story for anyone thinking about "wife proofing" a daily driver. The gauge is not exactly the best looking option, but it gives me a high level of comfort.