Too Hot To Handle

Posted: Monday, May 24, 2010 at 10:46 am
By: Doug Lund
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Warning: To avoid serious burns, possible blindness and severe humiliation, do not open radiator cap when engine is hot.

Oh, come on..I thought to myself, they always present the worst case scenario in these automotive cautions. Like when’s the last time a battery actually exploded because somebody didn’t hook up the connections correctly?

Besides, I wasn’t unscrewing the actual radiator cap. It was the cap on the coolant reservoir.

 It was such a picture perfect Sunday afternoon that we decided to invite our friends to go for a ride and take advantage of the free state park entrance and fishing weekend with a trip to Lake Vermillion. The girls could sit in the shade and enjoy a glass of wine while Denny and I made a few casts in hopes of coaxing some hungry or curious fish into taking a big bite of our bait.

So we loaded up the trunk of “Big Red” with fishing gear, coolers, and folding chairs then headed west across town.

By the time we reached Marion Road and 12th I knew something wasn’t right with the car. First the air coming out of the vents went from cold to luke warm. Then the engine started to sputter and the temperature gauge shot up to hot faster than a sailor on shore leave.

I pulled in to the first gas station I saw and shut “Big Red” down.

“She’s been intermittently losing coolant though the overflow,” I said.. trying to assure my passengers that a fluid fill up was all that was needed and it was nothing to worry about.

I can be very convincing, I guess, because everybody bought it. Now, all I had to do was purchase a couple gallons of anti freeze..pour it into the radiator and we’d be on our way.

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised when, after one turn of the reservoir cap, there was a hissing gurgling sound coming from deep within the radiator’s belly.

One more careful turn and steam began escaping..

“Hold off, Doug, she’s awfully hot,” Denny warned. “Better let  ‘er vent for awhile.”

“It seems like we’re wasting a lot of this beautiful day just staring at an engine get rid of some built up tension,” I said while unscrewing another couple of threads to hurry things along.

Just one more turn.

I don’t know how many of you have been to Yellowstone National Park before but the eruption from my radiator at that moment was every bit as impressive as the famous “Old Faithful” geyser.

I’d heard about how people who suffer serious burns often don’t experience the pain right away so my first thought as I stood their drenched in scalding greenish liquid was..well, what an idiot I am..then wondering how long it would take for big blisters to start popping up on my right arm and face which caught the eruption full force..

By the time I’d dashed off to the men’s room to examine my condition, quite a crowd had gathered around my steaming vehicle to watch the show.

Well, as much as I deserved to be scarred for life for not heeding the warnings of my pal, Denny, as well as Ford Motor Company..I somehow managed to escape serious injury; just a little stinging sensation on the skin to remind me how foolish and how lucky I am.

So, now I have another appointment with the car doctor to figure out why it only overheats every once in a while.

I can tell you if it ever happens again though, I will require at least a two day cooling off period for both me and the car before I go near the radiator cap.

Oh, and if you’re ever tempted to ignore the “Caution Fan” sign under the hood. I would strongly recommend you don’t reach down there when the motor’s running.


p.s. I’m posting this on our new blog system which is designed to discourage all that garbage that shows up as spam in the comments section.

I hope you’ll continue to comment but bear with me until I get things figured out.


  1. Doug Lund says:

    Hello all..
    A word about our new system. In the transfer from the old one, the comments disappeared.
    If you’d care to comment on any blog from now on…and I certainly hope that you will…I’ll have to approve it.
    After that initial approval, the comments you make under that identification will pop up right away like the old days.
    Like I said..the idea is to rid ourselves of the spammers and their bogus commercials.

  2. tim wermers says:

    enjoy reading your blogs along with Steve’s also

  3. grouse says:

    This looks like a plot to stifle your readers so that we only say nice things about you. I’m pretty Shure (I hope to get paid for that plug from the microphone folks in the near future). that corporate is trying to discourage comments so that we don’t have the ability to comment unfavorably on plans to have a crawl in Spanish for our illegal alien friends. (O.K. that’s a joke). Regretfully, my humorous comments on bullhead fishing in a Lincoln without Iowa plates are now lost to the ages. Your readers will not long remember what we say or do here. But we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this blog

  4. Charlie Smith says:

    Not a plot, the folks who put the ads in blogs actually get paid to do so. So Doug (or the webmaster) now has the power over whether some high school dropout makes enough $ to buy a hamburger.

    Grouse, it may help blogs of the people, by the people, and for the people not to perish from the earth.

    Finally, IMHO, Ugg boots are the most ugly piece of footwear ever devised.

  5. Charlie Smith says:


    Sounds like you have a good friend in Denny (who tried to warn ya). Gotta learn to listen….

    Time to wiki “Heat of vaporization”, and learn why steam engines are so powerful.

  6. grouse says:

    Hello Charlie, I read your line in Hemmingsen’s blog this morning, and I’ve been laughing and chuckling all day! It was a masterpiece.

  7. Mark says:

    I love your and Steve’s blogs. I grew up with you guys on the news and I love your stories. Keep em coming. I am a little concerned about Hemmingsen, he’s not as prolific as he was. The joys of retirement I hope?

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