24 August 2006

A Radiator and a Soda Can

I now belong to the “dumb stuff happening” car club… Here’s my story: At the beginning of July, we had our annual Old Town nighttime car show in downtown Wichita. We normally have close to 1,000 cars in the event and they close down the whole downtown area.

Well, it was a typical July day – near 100 degrees when we started out for downtown – and we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. My poor old ’40 Ford coupe started to get hot, as normal, and when we finally got in and parked, she had decided she had enough and proceeded to dump most of her antifreeze on the ground. Little embarrassing… I just explained to all the spectators that she was simply marking her spot. It was about 4 p.m. so I knew she would be fine to drive home later that night, as long as we filled the radiator up again.

Then came the time to leave; it was after 11 p.m. So I told some of the guys to bring their coolers over and we would fill the radiator up with ice chest water – what I thought was a good idea. I removed the radiator cap, started her up, and the first guy tipped up his cooler and quite a bit of water from it poured into the radiator.

She still wasn’t quite full, so the second guy says, “Hey, I’ve got some water in mine.” He then lifts up his cooler while I was holding back the ice, when all of a sudden, something explodes. Now we’re covered in a combination of antifreeze and water. It ended up that a full beverage can had fallen out of the cooler and landed between the fan and radiator, destroying both. The impact from the can had bent the fan blades and cut a perfect 8-inch circle right though the center of the radiator.

I think I learned my lesson! If you’re going to use water from a cooler, check to make sure it’s only got ice in it first!

– Jack Marinelli


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