Have you ever had an amazing dream where the setting is dinner with Lewis Hamilton, Dale Earnhardt, and Rihanna? And everyone is having a great time talking about fast cars and tales about epic races when suddenly Rihanna leans in close and whispers in your ear “Let’s blow this joint” as she hands you the keys to her Bentley Bentayga. You realize it’s almost a triple entendre; as in she wants to smoke a joint therefore you should drive, she wants to leave this joint to go back to her place and blow…… then you wake up wrapped in a tangled mess of sweaty sheets, returning to your average life and a AAA receipt next to your bed from the night before when you needed to have the cheapest Range Rover in America towed back to your house because it was leaking toxic 50/50 coolant like the Fukushima nuclear reactor. Has this only happened to me before?
Yes after the sweetest dream of owning one of the sweetest luxury SUVs ever made I’ve finally run into my first mechanical issue and it was terrifying. I realized after two months of ownership there must be a slight leak somewhere in the coolant system because I had to top off the antifreeze 6 weeks after topping off all the fluids while getting an oil change the day I bought it. I initially thought well maybe the guys at Oil Can Henry forgot to top off the coolant, but you shouldn’t have to top off antifreeze more than once every 6 months. There weren’t any visible leaks at the time nor was there any steam so I thought everything was fine and I was just being a little paranoid, with this being a Range Rover and all. Boy, was I wrong.
Last night I decided to drive over to my friends house for dinner 30 miles away from where I live. Two blocks away from my friends house, I get a warning message from the dash saying I need to refill the coolant, no big deal I think to myself. As I pull into the driveway, my female companion notices a sweet smell coming from the vents. When I stop the car, steam begins to billow out of the engine compartment. My friend comes outside with a look of horror on her face, saying “ Uh, dude your car is leaking a shit ton of water.” And when I step out of the truck to take a look, she wasn’t kidding. It looked like a mini waterfall.
As I went into diagnosis mode, assuming the worse, I began to think of how many older women I would need to whore myself out to in order to pay for whatever astronomical repair cost I was looking at. Will they make me wear a thong? Christ, I thought to myself, next week I was planning on buying this 2006 BMW 545i after finally saving enough extra money and sending the Range Rover to a repair shop will almost certainly guarantee I won’t be able to buy that sweet sweet black on black with black rims BMW 5 series before someone else does.
I resolved to repair this coolant leak myself. I’m a pretty smart kid (At least that’s what my mom tells me. Shut up.). I’ve replaced the brakes and calipers on my older 1999 5 series and 2001 S500. I’ve done oil changes on both including a 2012 Toyota Corolla and 2007 Prius. And while that may not be worth shit in the massive database of knowledge a certified mechanic may have, I went to college for computer electronics engineering, I know how to logically follow a complicated set of instructions. I determined if I can properly diagnose the problem I’ll have an infinitesimal shot at fixing it myself. A shot worth taking in my book. So what was the problem?
I spent the next 2 hours scouring the internet and Range Rover forums for similar problems (kids today will never realize how much of a godsend the power of the collective knowledge of billions of opinions on the internet is). It didn’t take me long to find what I thought the problem was, based on the location of the leak, but I wanted to be absolutely sure before I started to disassemble the engine cover. After reading a few more articles with people having similar issues I decided go ahead and begin the process of the repair first thing in the morning.
After a great night of sleep I got prepped for a morning of engine work and although it was jarring to wake up and realize I have to fix the stupid cheapest Range Rover in America, I was in a great mood and optimistic about my chances of success.
I busted out my tools and dove headfirst into work.
I removed the engine cover, detached and slid out the interior cabin pollen filter ( I know fancy fancy).
After turning on my flashlight and literally within 15 minutes after popping the hood, I found the offending hose.
Now how a coolant hose managed to get a 1.5-inch tear in it is beyond me. (actually, I’m kinda worried I may need to check the head gaskets just to be safe, but the car has never overheated and it’s not like I’m billowing white smoke from the exhaust…. Paranoid? I dunno, maybe, but I think it’s good to be a little paranoid about these things.)
So now I need to track down a replacement hose, so far from online google searches (and a ton of annoying ad trackers) I don’t think the coolant hose will cost more than $40 with a range of prices, I found between $12 -$35. I have yet to call the Land Rover Dealership, but I have a feeling I should probably use a genuine part for this issue.
I’ll update you guys once I get the replacement part installed. The Cheapest Range Rover in America struck back, but I bitch slapped it back into being my tame off roading camping truck (I hope).
Stay tuned for my next series - When the past becomes present: Reliving my old BMW memories in my new 545i (If no one buys it before my direct deposit hits on Tuesday, why can’t I just be rich 😭😭😂😂😂😩😩😩😔😔).
P.S. Am I being paranoid about the Range Rover head gaskets? Let me know in the comments below.
Updated - I actually was too impatient for the part so I cut the hose 3 inches and reattached everything. I’ve driven 500 miles total this weekend through the woods with the shortened hose and it’s been running like a champ. I’m no longer using 50/50 mix so I dunno if that’s helping, but I’m surprised my mcgyver patchwork of just cutting the hose shorter is working, and not only working, killing it under pressure. I checked several times and there’s no bulging or stress. I beginning to wonder if I even need the official spare part I bought and has been sitting in my passenger seat just in case (😔 Who am I kidding of course I do). I’ll update again if my mcgyver setup fails or I acquiesce and install the official part out of crippling fear of causing hidden damage.