Our Mountain Yacht has a playdate with BeBe from our English friends Jess and David (who took the picture above) and the HX60 from Margreth and Hans (NL). We have a great night with cheese fondue and tapas and the next morning we receive a tip from Hans: ‘tighten the coolant clamps under the dashboard, as I had to do it during -17 C.’
It turned out that on a very cold winterday Hans walked up to his HX and the coolant was dripping from the cabin. After opening the door the whole floor was drenched in coolant and Hans had to find the source of this problem. It turned out that the clamps of the coolant hoses (heater) under the dashboard were not screwed tight, creating the leakage during the cold.
As our main object is venturing into cold environments we think it is a good idea to check our clamps as well. I ask Hans to help me with this job. Margreth and Hans just returned from their UK trip and will be going to Morocco in a short while, so the timeframe is short. We make an appointment at the industrial hall of Hans where I can park our Mountain Yacht inside. As it is an 1,5 hour drive I have an early start.
It is good to see Hans again and we start with a coffee or two and Hans starts explaining: ‘there are six hose clamps behind the dashboard, and three are almost impossible to reach’. Hans tells me what parts I should remove, hands me some tools and starts preparing his own HX for Morocco.
First I remove the cover of the fuse box. The second step is removing the ash tray and the venting grille in the middle of the dashboard. After that I remove all the screws that hold the middle of the dash and carefully pull the dash upwards. You need to cut some tie wraps that hold the venting cables. Last step is strapping the dashboard to the turret to keep it in the upwards position.
To be able to reach the clamps the heater air hoses need to go, the large one in the front and the small one behind that on top. After careful examination I can see three clamps and I start to tighten the first.
Surprise, surprise, the clamp is not tight at all, I can give it a lot of swirls before really tight. The second clamp: same story. I can see the third clamp but it is difficult to get a tool on it, I ask Hans to help me and he can manage it, clearly a better mechanic than I am.
I ask Hans if he is sure that there are really six clamps as I can only spot four. Hans points out number five but at that moment Margreth is coming in with lunch, croissants and fresh rolls with nice toppings. Just the right moment as I start to get hangry of these terrible clamps.
After lunch I search for number five again and after some long attempts I get a spanner on the clamp. Movement is only a few centimeters so it takes about 12 minutes to tighten this clamp.
On to the last one, this one is tucked away behind all sorts of cables and other stuff. I am trying to get three different kind of tools 7 mm on the clamp, but I just cannot manage. Luckily Hans comes to the rescue, again. Its takes us another 15 minutes to tighten the last one under the dash.
Rebuilding the dashboard is a simple job now I know how it goes. When I am ready Hans tells me that we are not done yet!
From the engine to the back of the cab is the actual cooling system. There are another 10 – 15 clamps (sorry, did not count them) that should be checked as well. I hoist the cab and we start checking all the coolant hoses and tighten them as well.
Much needed I have to say, every single clamp needs too many swirls (in my opinion) before really tight. The good part is that they are all within easy reach, unlike the ones under the dashboard.
After the dash-job I bought two tools: a flexible clamp screwdriver 7 mm and the most important one: a 7 mm spanner with ratchet and a flexible head. This would have made our job a lot easier to reach the ‘impossible’ clamps.
While I was at it I bought another one for Hans, to thank him for his help and moral support!
Sweating or leaking coolant seems to be a common problem on the HX as David also had some leaking in France. All the clamps that I touched were not tight at all, just like on the HX of Margreth and Hans. So a big thank you Hans for pointing out this problem and his hospitality and help getting ours fixed.
To the HX owners (and probably all expedition truck owners) that venture in winter conditions: it might be worth checking all the (coolant) clamps before your trip, after all: Winter is coming!