Overheating Problems

OddSocks

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My old apache (1990 Mercedes 208D) Is having some terrible troubles with the heat here in Portugal. As it gets hotter there is a loud grinding/scraping horrible noise starts coming from somewhere on the drive train. Once it is cooled it runs smooth again. Anyone have any ideas what this might be. We spent hours sitting on the hard shoulders of motorways today as the engine got hotter and hotter climbing hills in the hot sunshine. It was a real struggle today! I have had to climb hills in 3rd gear at half revs as going up any faster or revving any higher has caused it to overheat and the noise is so scary!!!
 

Ed Excel

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Could be binding brakes. Have you tried rolling with the engine off and the vehicle out of gear?
 
May 19, 2013
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Hi check out your cooling fan on engine its a viscous type which only drives when hot it will spin freely when it's cool with a slight drag but smoothly no cluncts , when hot oil in unit will drive fan if it's worn out it will sound like a bag of nails olso fan will usually only work when engine needs it is up hills not on the flat even when the weather is hot
Hope this is of some help
 
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Could be timing chain or tensioner? If the oil gets too hot the oil pressure will drop and the tensioner moves away from the chain and causes a slapping sound, check oil level and if needed fill up with a heavier grade of oil,
 
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OddSocks

OddSocks

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Thanks guys! :)

We have been camped up over night and everything is cold again now. I am going to over the van with a fine tooth bomb and see if I can spot anything. Will test the fan and look at the tensioner on the timing chain etc as suggested.

I'm sure it isn't the breaks as it only happens when we are climbing hills in the hot weather. This is something we are going to have to avoid from now on. We will plan our journeys around weather reports, or drive early mornings or late evening etc only. Portugal won't get any less hilly, and it will only get warmer as we progress south!!!

Very worrying. Got no sleep at all last night this just playing on my mind!!!! We are soooo far from home and don't speak a word of the language!!!
 

buckby

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Could be propshaft bearing especially with the heat off the roads then when it cools it would be ok worth a look
 

tambo

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For peace of mind and to prevent any serious damage it may well be worth your time taking it in to a mechanic and have them give it a check over and a test drive

There's so many things that could be the problem .....you only have to see how many has been suggested here.

If you have poor mechanical knowledge and it's worrying you ....that's the best course of action
 
Apr 13, 2012
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Tambo is right.

Sounds like a problem that could leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere - I wouldn't travel very far until it's sorted.

If a bearing has gone it will create heat as well as noise - oils seals will fail or grease in bearings will melt - then it will fail completely

I would:
Check for play in water pump, alternator, loose fan belt
Take off the hub caps to check the wheel bearings - first sign would be melted grease - check the wheel that the tyre failed on in particular
Get under the van, check rear axle bearings - oil on inside of rear tyres - leaks from axle itself - propshaft - oil from rear of gearbox
Unlikely - but I would also check exhaust mounts - a loose exhaust - or loose baffles in a silencer - can make some strange noises
If I could not see any problem I might travel to the nearest town - carefully and seek help from a garage
I assume you have breakdown cover - ring the them - they would rather help than have to ship you back to the UK

Make sure you have food, water, gas and your phone charged - if you do get stranded at least it should be manageable


Keep us updated - if we can help we will - but it is difficult sorting mechanical problems over the internet


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Last edited:
Sep 16, 2010
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Good advice from all above.. But DONT just drive on and hope.. It could be dangerous mate.. The viscous fan sounds a good first thing to check, if it does seize it will "let go" and go through the radiator, so do get these things checked asap at a reasonably good looking garage.... Good luck.. Mitch..
 
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OddSocks

OddSocks

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HAVE YOU CHECKED THE DIFF OIL?
GEARBOX OIL ?

WHEEL BEARING ?
Had the diff anf gearbox oil replaced a couple of months ago before we set out. Should be OK, but don't know how to check any of this.

Could be propshaft bearing especially with the heat off the roads then when it cools it would be ok worth a look
I thought this too. The 'boot' over the shaft bearing is missing. There are two prop shafts, a short one from the gear box leading to a joint, then a longer one to the rear diff. I think it the join between the two that I suspect! No visual problems there though, no signs of wear or tear.

too keep it cooler going uphill i would suggest turning on the heater and fan,deflect the warm air where its most comfortable and open the windows?
Great idea! Hadn't thought of that! Will try it next time we are out.

Sorry Barclaybasher forgot to quote your post. Thanks - I will check out as many of those things as I can!

We are in Figueiró dos Vinhos, very central. I am camping at a great little site run by an English couple. Getting lots of help and advice from them. I will have the van booked in to the local mechanics as soon as I can.

We drove it down to town today and back and had no problems, but it does get hot quick on the hills still. The fan is running normally, it is always on if the engine is running as far as I can tell. It turns smoothly with only a little friction when the engine is cold. Oil and coolant are both fine.

2 months ago before we left the UK we had a full service and MOT. All oils and liquids. Checked all the breaks and disks out, basically everything we could think of to check before going on a long journey.

I think it might be either prop shafts or gear box. I can't find a dip stick for the gear box oil though?

Also - this is not a chain driven engine like some have said. It is the Mercedes 208D with the 601 engine. It has the "poly v-belt" according to the book, and I have checked it out and it looks to be in good order, but I can only see a little bit of it from under the van.

Thanks everyone! :)
 
Apr 13, 2012
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Hi

Glad you are OK and maybe getting things sorted.

I don't know your base vehicle but most gearboxes and axles do not have dipsticks, you normally fill through the side until the oil overflows out the same hole.

Keep us updated (y)(y)

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Tootles

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Viscous fan's suffer badly with age. We had exactly the same thing with a Jeep Cherokee. At your first real opportunity, get the damned thing off and into the nearest skip, and replace with a pair of Kenlowe fans. You get a complete kit, ready to fit for your model. Ring them if you cant see yours. (y)(y)

http://www.rimmerbros.co.uk/ItemList--Kenlowe--m-4494
 
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OddSocks

OddSocks

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Viscous fan's suffer badly with age. We had exactly the same thing with a Jeep Cherokee. At your first real opportunity, get the damned thing off and into the nearest skip, and replace with a pair of Kenlowe fans. You get a complete kit, ready to fit for your model. Ring them if you cant see yours. (y)(y)

http://www.rimmerbros.co.uk/ItemList--Kenlowe--m-4494
Thanks Tootles - probly won't be back in the UK for a month or two yet. Will get her into the nearest decent mechanic as soon as I can and get the fan and everything else looked at.

Will post an update once I have some progress.
 

Al-Di

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theres a good mechanic in Fig, at the garage opposite the internet cafe, he fixed my disco a couple of years back and was cheap,

are you house hunting by any chance,??

Alan +Diane
 
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OddSocks

OddSocks

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theres a good mechanic in Fig, at the garage opposite the internet cafe, he fixed my disco a couple of years back and was cheap,

are you house hunting by any chance,??

Alan +Diane
Hi!

Yes we are house hunting. Have a lot to look at - currently focusing on the Miranda Do Corvo area. Love it there.

We have just looked at a couple in Figueiró dos Vinhos but nothing too exciting yet.

We will be in the Miranda Do Corvo aire in a few days time for a few days while the agent drives us around the properties we have shortlisted! :)

By Fig do you mean Figueiró dos Vinhos lol? I saw a garage there when we drove though yesterday. Not sure where the internet cafe is though? It is on a cross roads as you drive in to town???
 

Wildman

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one thing to look out for is heat, a dodgy bearing will get hot, you say a shoud is missing from a prop shaft, well the grease will be missing as well to me it seems the obvious place to start. Heater/blower on full blast will help cool the engine, make sure rad is not blocked maybe fit a larger one or additional fan. wheels will get hot if a brake is binding or bearing shot, a quick touch to prevent getting burnt will maybe find it. oil seals on a vehicle of that age are prone to fail especially if it has just sat around most of its life. Double check fluid levels every day.
Was the brake fluid completely changed or just topped up. It does not last forever, rubber hoses to the brakes fail on the inside where you cannot see and cause brakes to bind, again the wheel hub will get hot. Good luck with the house hunting and I hope you get the bus sorted soon. Whatever happens don't just plod on. Park up until it's sorted. Good luck mate.
 
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