Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm





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  1. #1
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    Default Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    A while back I had the hot water hose for the heater on my LC 80 Series blow on the N4 highway outside Middelburg in the middle of the night. I did not notice until the temp gauge hit the red and the motor started running a bit rough. Fortunately I was able to stop and make running repairs, and top up the coolant again once the engine cooled. No lasting damage...those old 4.2 diesels are tough.

    However I'm keen to fit some type of low coolant level sensor and audible alarm...is such a thing available in SA and are there any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
    Last edited by DarylB; 2017/03/02 at 07:12 AM.
    Series 80 'Cruiser GX Diesel 1996
    Previously: '98 Defender 110 HT TDi, Landy SIII S/W, Hilux D/C 4x4,
    Isuzu 2,3 4x4, Isuzu 2,0 4x4, Isuzu 1600 4x4, Chev Nomad, Cheetah beach buggy!

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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Yes.
    madman.co.za
    You can fit a coolant level detection and coolant temp sender...
    Last edited by Tracker; 2017/03/02 at 12:04 AM.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by DarylB View Post
    A while back I had the hot water hose for the heater on my LC 80 Series blow on the N4 highway outside Middelburg in the middle of the night. I did not notice until the temp gauge hit the Ted and the motor started running a bit rough. Fortunately I was able to stop and make running repairs, and top up the coolant again once the engine cooled. No lasting damage...those old 4.2 diesels are tough.

    However I'm keen to fit some type of low coolant level sensor and audible alarm...is such a thing available in SA and are there any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
    There are a number of sensors available. All pretty costly though.

    Been through this before here on the forum. The boffins came up with all kinds of complicated wiring diagrams that confused the hell out of me, so I made up my own one with the little knowledge I have on 12V wiring.

    The fact that you can do your own running repairs tells me that you should be handy enough to make up your own at a fraction of the cost of buying.

    All you need basically is a float switch. About R100. A water bottle from VW Golf from Goldwagen. +/- R150. A switch for inside the vehicle to turn it on or off so the alarm doesn't drive you crazy when it goes off. R30 Midas. Then a 5 pin relay to change the float switch to normally closed. A bit of wiring and bob's your auntie.

    I will look for the diagram I made for my set up and post it here.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    I'm going through this exercise right now after we lost our Micra engine when the Rad popped and the water ran out.

    Here is what I found.

    Bangood.com has VW sensor for just over R100 and a circuit for around R160 if I remember correctly.

    I have three cars to do this for and then the pickup for my Sani to go onto my Madman.

    I think I can get away with around 300 per vehicle.

    Level indicator in a overflow tank does not work. If your water exits the Rad without causing a vacuum, it does not take water from the overflow tank and does not warn you. You need the pickup in the highest pipe/point of your cooling system.
    David/Hillbilly - 1997 SFA Nissan Sani 2,7 TD - 5" lift on 33" tires - Dual Transfer with 4.1 gears

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  7. #5
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Here is the diagram.

    Could not find my original, so I knocked this one up quickly.
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by bfreesani View Post
    Level indicator in a overflow tank does not work. If your water exits the Rad without causing a vacuum, it does not take water from the overflow tank and does not warn you. You need the pickup in the highest pipe/point of your cooling system.
    This is 100% correct. Or you need to change the cooling system/overflow tank to an open system.
    It is not what you buy its what you build.

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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by bfreesani View Post
    I'm going through this exercise right now after we lost our Micra engine when the Rad popped and the water ran out.

    Here is what I found.

    Bangood.com has VW sensor for just over R100 and a circuit for around R160 if I remember correctly.

    I have three cars to do this for and then the pickup for my Sani to go onto my Madman.

    I think I can get away with around 300 per vehicle.

    Level indicator in a overflow tank does not work. If your water exits the Rad without causing a vacuum, it does not take water from the overflow tank and does not warn you. You need the pickup in the highest pipe/point of your cooling system.
    Would you mount the level switch by installing an adaptor into the pipe.....?
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiri View Post
    Would you mount the level switch by installing an adaptor into the pipe.....?
    Think that the probe type VW level sensor will work better in a pipe.
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    Last edited by grips; 2017/03/02 at 05:46 AM.
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Thanks Grips, I prefer that to the float type.
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Thanks Fixit, Grips and others who have assisted. Much appreciated. Looks like quite an easy and relatively quick fix.
    Series 80 'Cruiser GX Diesel 1996
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    Isuzu 2,3 4x4, Isuzu 2,0 4x4, Isuzu 1600 4x4, Chev Nomad, Cheetah beach buggy!

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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    I tried using the VW sensor. Cannot get it to work. Wish someone can work that trick, then I would certainly go that route.

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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by PATROLLICA View Post
    Yes.
    madman.co.za
    You can fit a coolant level detection and coolant temp sender...
    Quite an expensive setup - but if it works well, much cheaper than a cooked motor in the back o' beyond, and the repairs thereafter. And I guess the temperature sensor is probably also a bit more accurate than the stock item.
    Series 80 'Cruiser GX Diesel 1996
    Previously: '98 Defender 110 HT TDi, Landy SIII S/W, Hilux D/C 4x4,
    Isuzu 2,3 4x4, Isuzu 2,0 4x4, Isuzu 1600 4x4, Chev Nomad, Cheetah beach buggy!

  16. #13
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by grips View Post
    Think that the probe type VW level sensor will work better in a pipe.
    Where does that screw into?
    Series 80 'Cruiser GX Diesel 1996
    Previously: '98 Defender 110 HT TDi, Landy SIII S/W, Hilux D/C 4x4,
    Isuzu 2,3 4x4, Isuzu 2,0 4x4, Isuzu 1600 4x4, Chev Nomad, Cheetah beach buggy!

  17. #14
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Here is what I am looking at....

    http://www.banggood.com/12V-DC-Water...p-1111158.html

    or this one as I am not sure whats gong to work better.

    http://www.banggood.com/DIY-Water-Le...mds=mywishlist

    http://www.banggood.com/Expansion-Ta...mds=mywishlist

    It's a cheap check compared to the R2K we have just forked out to replace head gasket on the Nissan Micra. We are hopefully getting the car back tonight.

    I have not got any of the items above yet, but believe it should be easy enough to make a light come on on the dash when the water goes AWOL from the radiator.

    I would just like to figure a piece of steel pipe into the top radiator hose that can take the sensor. The madman can be set up to only react after a few seconds, on the other cars, I don't know if the hysteresis is going to drive the driver batty with false alarms.It may be that the probe/pickup needs to be mounted bit lower in the system. Maybe even on the radiator itself.
    David/Hillbilly - 1997 SFA Nissan Sani 2,7 TD - 5" lift on 33" tires - Dual Transfer with 4.1 gears

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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by DarylB View Post
    Where does that screw into?
    a nut on a steel pipe on the top rad hose

    a piece of exhaust pipe will work if it has the correct outside diam as the inside of the rad hose

    you cut a hole in the steel pipe for the sensor probe, weld the correct nut over the hole (CO2 will do) and screw the sensor into the nut with PTFE tape
    then you cut the top hose and install the section of steel pipe with two clamps

    sorted

    If the fluid level drops THAT far on the top hose, you're in trouble

    This is a similar and more elegant solution than the Madman "two bare wires" option


    If
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  20. #16
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by bfreesani View Post
    Maybe even on the radiator itself.
    Some of the new rads have a blind plug for this purpose but the friggin manufacturers like blown engines it seems
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  21. #17
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    Some of the new rads have a blind plug for this purpose but the friggin manufacturers like blown engines it seems
    Of course...they can then blame "user error" and scoop a fat repair bill!

    Thanks for all that.
    Series 80 'Cruiser GX Diesel 1996
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    Isuzu 2,3 4x4, Isuzu 2,0 4x4, Isuzu 1600 4x4, Chev Nomad, Cheetah beach buggy!

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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by DarylB View Post
    Of course...they can then blame "user error" and scoop a fat repair bill!

    Thanks for all that.
    ja and the new cars don't even have coolant temp gauges : WTF is the logic with THAT?
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  23. #19
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    ja and the new cars don't even have coolant temp gauges : WTF is the logic with THAT?
    Ja. Little lights that come on too late. Or not at all. My wife's Honda CRV has a tyre low pressure ⚠️ that comes on all the time when there's nothing wrong with the tyres. But the only time she ever had a flat - it did not come on at all! Honda say there's nothing wrong with it, and also that they can't disconnect it! Other than that though that Honda is a great car!
    Series 80 'Cruiser GX Diesel 1996
    Previously: '98 Defender 110 HT TDi, Landy SIII S/W, Hilux D/C 4x4,
    Isuzu 2,3 4x4, Isuzu 2,0 4x4, Isuzu 1600 4x4, Chev Nomad, Cheetah beach buggy!

  24. #20
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    Default Re: Low Coolant Level Sensor/Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    ja and the new cars don't even have coolant temp gauges : WTF is the logic with THAT?
    That is how my Step Daughter blew up her Nissan Micra. Engine light comes on and cuts the motor because the engine had already started mixing oil and water after it overheated to hell. The temp gauge pickup did eventually work, but was reading ambient temp in the pipe or what it was conducting from the casing, can you imagine what the actual temp was by that time.

    We skimmed the head as precaution and it all still looks ok. Cam went in no problem and turns easy, so hopefully nothing warped.

    Out of interest, Nissan turned out to be the cheapest on the head gasket compared to any other suppliers. With staff discount we got the gasket for R600, not sure what the public would pay for it. Alert spares only sold it in a kit at R2500.
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