A mate of mine showed me what happened to a novice T3 Owner who drove her newly acquired T3 after the main drive belt and the power steering belt both broke.
The flashing coolant light soon came on after the temp rose quickly whilst freeway driving with said broken belts.
She kept driving until steam started coming out of the back of the van and it lost power.
This is what the plastic expansion bottle looked like after basically being melted by the heat created:
The bottom has pulled apart like stretchy chewing gum and the sensor hole has been pushed out like a pregnant ladies belly button - totally destroyed the motor - the oil was like water from the extreme heat.
So a red light flashing on the dash means stop?
I thought it was disco time. What were those crazy Germans thinking
Yes, it seems the flashing lights and needle pointing to the death mark mean nothing to certain people.
They are 30 year old vans and cant be driven and ignored like you just bought a brand new Japanese car.
It seems better instruction needs to be provided to buyers to help stop them killing these poor old things prematurely.
Weird thing was my 2wd did basically the same thing with the A/C belt blowing up and taking out the main drive belt and power steering belt, along with the oil dip stick, the small upper coolant line and gouging a slight hole in the oil filler along with pushing it almost to toughing the exhaust shield.
I still have to fix the oil filler metal arm section as it makes getting access to the oil cap extremely difficult.
I had a warning light instantly come up which was the alt light (which she would have also seen as her alt belt broke) plus the abnormally loud bang that occurred when the belts broke.
I’m just amazed she kept on driving with all the warning lights on and temp gauge pointing straight up until it lost power and steam was pouring out?
This also happened to me about a year ago. Heard nothing but looked down and the red light was flashing and the temp gauge was pegged hard to max. When I pulled over there was steam from the engine bay.
The point I am trying to make is that I can see how this can happen unless you pay close attention to the dash lights and temp gauge. VW missed a tick with no audiable alarm. I am rebuilding my dash as we speak and have got the Gowesty alarm on order.
You really need to keep an eye on these gauges.
I do this in modern cars to like my wife’s Golf and tell my daughter to do the same as you never know when something might happen.
However, 30 year old vans need a regular close on the gauges and add more gauges if you can.
Same thing happened when my mate’s missus was driving. She thought it would be alright to drive home with the light flashing. Didn’t make it.
Years ago I found out the hard way that the original steel inserts in the plastic coolant pipes rot, so that the hose clamps have nothing solid to support them. Result - driving up a mountainside in G gear with seven tourists on board, glanced at the temp gauge - the needle was dropping - realised that a coolant leak had emptied the radiator below the temp. gauge sender. Lucky I noticed it.
We were only a few yards from the top, so while the tourists enjoyed the view I found the leak, slipped a second hose clamp on it, topped up the coolant and made it back home.
I fabricated a new steel insert for the plastic pipe which was still in good nick ten years later when I replaced the plastic pipes. Seems like the genuine coolant really does stop corrosion! (Pity the previous owner hadn’t used it).
The GoWesty coolant alarm is the best insurance I could imagine, and the cheapest!
Yes I like the idea of the alarm but I am so paranoid I watch the gauges very regularly whilst driving - even more so on hot days or in traffic.
They are not easy to watch when you are on a windy narrow rocky steep trail though so an alarm would be very handy then.
One of the main reasons I bought the alarm was for when I am not driving the van