Water Coolant Loss
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Steel Seal Review - V8 P38 Range Rover
As the owner of a V8 P38 Range Rover I am used to living with a car that, if all seems well, it is still likely to go wrong soon. Although I’d had a new engine fitted and an LPG conversion done about 2 years - 25,000 miles - ago I’d got used to the fact that the engine had a tendency to “eat” coolant –
though I’ve never found a leak.
However, after a recent incident when the car overheated and had to be recovered by the RAC, I discovered that the coolant loss might be rather more serious as the RAC man (a Land Rover enthusiast) decided after a short test run, to do a hydrocarbon test and confirmed that although the engine seemed fine there was some HC presence in the coolant, implying the head was starting to go.
Fearing the £1000 plus worst, I discussed the matter with the company would replaced the engine and they suggested that some form of sealant such as Irontite would be worth a try. However others were sceptical asking if I wanted the heating system to work – and besides, Irontite is a 3 to 4 day process which, because I was on a short holiday, would have left me with a problem as to how to get home!
Further research resulted in Steel Seal being mentioned by a local Land Rover specialist recommended by friends. I looked up details on the internet and was – I have to admit – rather sceptical, but having located a stockist in Norwich with the relevant stock at a good price – I went for it and asked the garage where the Range Rover had ended out, and who had replaced thermostat to get the system working, to put it in following the “one shot” directions.
The day after I tentatively brought the car, towing a caravan, back from Norfolk to Hertfordshire – noting that the temperature of the system seemed fine. After the car had cooled I checked the coolant level and topped up with about three quarters of a litre of coolant. In fairness I’d not checked it on departure as I “assumed” the garage would have done this – though in hindsight I’m not sure that would have been the case as it was a “rushed” job.
Now a month and about 1500 miles later I find the coolant is still at the same level – also looking round the engine compartment I note that on the passenger side around both the cylinder bank and the plenum there is a splattering white residue, similar to that around the coolant header tank. I suspect this is Steel Seal residue ... implying that there were issues on that side!
I am still surprised that something so simple seems to have been so effective. Certainly I would recommend that anyone who thinks they might have problems with internal coolant loss or thinks the head may be showing signs of failure should give Steel Seal the benefit of the doubt. I also think it was worth following the instructions and using three bottles for my 4.5 litre engine, despite the price, as it has clearly worked and has continued to work.
I’m not so naive as to think that I’ve solved the problem full stop, but I’ll keep monitoring the coolant levels and if there is a sign of recurrence of coolant loss I’ll have no hesitation in using Steel Seal again. After all £100 is significantly less than £1000 – or the number of hours I’d need to devote to stripping, cleaning and reseating the head on my truck!
Mr M Medforth