When things get steamy…in your engine bay

‘Smoke? Is that smoke? Oh ffs, what’s going on here?’ my first words spoken rather loudly as I drove up my driveway last night and watched something white and ghost like attempt to snake it’s way out of my bonnet. It’s been a while since Stag hiccups, the last one being the stretched throttle cable a few months ago..

Thankfully it wasn’t smoke, it was steam but it’s still not a great feeling when you lift the lid and half your block has had a coolant related steam bath. And currently resembles some kind of rain forest…

While I snapped a few pictures, the video paints a far clearer picture of that fact that something spewed out coolant right onto some hot bits and turned a hot and dry area into a fine looking Turkish Bath. If they filled Turkish Bath’s full of green coolant that is.

Scuse the French words I dropped in frustration trying to find the source…

The unwanted shower

In the search for the leak I managed to find coolant everywhere. I can only assume it split a few ks before I hit home and finally dumped a lot of the green stuff when I finally came to a halt.

How did it manage to get this far back on the wagon? Is there anything that even holds coolant this far down? Did I drive through someone else’s puddle of coolant somehow?

What are you doing back here?

So now I had one dry and one green soaked side of the engine…and no idea where to start looking other than the obvious places. The helpful Nissan Stagea Owners and Enthusiasts Facebook page gave me a few places to look including the IACV (Oooh I know where that is! And no, dry as dry there), the turbo return line and to the oil cooler.

And after an hour of using a small flashlight to try and find the source in a very dark garage (I miss the old house, it at least had decent lighting in the garage..) I only manged to find it when I gave up looking directly and just squeezed every hose I could to see if any didn’t feel right. One heater hose just above the oil filter felt very ‘spongy’ and running my fingers along the hose I quickly discovered why:

stagea heater hose
So what’s going on here then?


Oh I see the problem now..

So off to buy another Stagea Heater Hose

Having a quick Google (after a hot shower to get all the gunk off) I discovered you can buy a full kit:

stagea heater hose

And you can see the exact replacement there….but getting it on it’s own didn’t seem an option. So I took the busted hose to my nearest Repco (and a big shout out to the very helpful guy at Repco Mermaid Beach) who tried to find a close approximate. He did discover one for a V6 Commodore that I could cut down but the openings were just a litter wider than the one I had. I don’t want this bastard to come off anytime soon so instead I opted for a length of the same diameter. 1 meter of half inch Gates Heater Hose for just $7.18 from Gates Australia after my RACQ discount and a bottle of coolant and away we went!

gates half inch hose (stagea heater hose)
It’s the Gates Snake!

It’s cutting time!

Firstly we cut it down the length of our new Stagea heater hose. I didn’t measure this but curved it around roughly and cut a little bit longer than the old one. This gives us room to trim if we need to and less chance of a kink at the curve we’re working with. I really don’t want to cause more problems with this fix now..

stagea heater hose

stagea heater hose
This looks long enough..

This is the first part it goes over which is easy to find just looking at it towards the front of the block.

The second one, that’s a little harder. Especially if you’re hunting around in the dark with just a small light… (if you look for the bolt and fastener on the left first that may help find it faster)

The curve obviously sticks out a little more than the original but still doesn’t hit the fuel filter. I’d suggest using better fasteners though because the original Japanese ones were pretty rubbish. They still hold fine but there’s not much wriggle room to get them on so I’d suggest some kind of worm gear fasteners instead (I had some around…where did I put them?)

stagea heater hose

The aftermath of the new Stagea heater hose

No leaks, no hissing, no unwanted coolant steam bath so far, no coolant in and on things I don’t want it to be. Filling it up with more coolant chewed through more than half a big bottle so it turns out I lost a lot more coolant in the first place than I thought.

Now to clean up the nasty mess it made…

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