low water alarm

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 14:40
ThreadID: 65972 Views:5837 Replies:16 FollowUps:41
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Hi all,

Willem's previous post reminded me that I need to install a low water alarm in my GUIV.
I do remember some previous posts in regards to them, and tried searching to find the best ones.
I recall numerous people on this site favoured one in particular, but can't remember which one.

Any help or mind jogging appreciated.
Once that's finalised I can move onto the next project.
Maybe an oil/air separator or changing my wheel studs............

Thanks in advance.
Brian

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Reply By: Patrol22 - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 14:49

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 14:49
I'll watch this with interest as I am trying to decide between the Enginesaver or the Redarc. The Enginesaver in an inline model that fits into the top radiator hose I believe and the Redarc fits into the top of the radiator. Decisions, decisions......
AnswerID: 349033

Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 15:45

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 15:45
Patrol22
I have the first one named, you do not have to drill holes in the radiator,

.
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Reply By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 15:52

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 15:52
I recently looked into these, but decided to go with the Engine Watchdog.
Much more useful in my view.
A low coolant alarm will only warn you of coolant loss, and nothing else.
The Engine Watchdog will warn you of this also, as the temp reading is 'updated' every 2 seconds, and the alarm will sound when the temp reaches the value that has been set into the unit (factory pre-set at 100, but is easily adjustable).
There are many other reasons for an overheating engine, the Engine Watchdog will warn you in these conditions, but a low coolant alarm will not.

It functions as a very useful digital temp gauge at all times....for example it shows me that the factory temp gauge shows 'normal' when the engine reaches 55 degrees, and does not move off the 'normal' mark until the engine temp has passed 100 degrees.

No affiliation etc.


Cheers
Glenn
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 17:18

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 17:18
Another vote for the Engine Watchdog, nothing would make me drill a hole in my radiator tank.
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Follow Up By: wilber - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:38

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:38
How does a temp gauge such as the watchdog warn you of "coolant loss" it only measures temp.
If your overheating is ever caused by coolant loss then a coolant loss alarm will warn you long before any temp gauge starts to rise,
Watchdogs have their uses but cannot replace a low coolant alarm.
They do not cause electrolysis (nowhere near enough current).....mixing coolants will often affect your rad.
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Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 22:01

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 22:01
I would suggest that low coolant alarms have their uses, but cannot replace an Engine Watchdog.

Cheers
Glenn
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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 22:26

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 22:26
wilber posted:
'How does a temp gauge such as the watchdog warn you of "coolant loss" it only measures temp'.

It Doesn't warn you of loss of coolant, only a rise in temp.
And that is exactly what happened to mine.
Temp gauge didn't move, but I had lost coolant. A low Coolant Alarm would of alerted me to the loss of coolant in the system up top.


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Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 22:57

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 22:57
Jon, an Engine Watchdog will warn you of the temperature rise as well.
Did you read the links?

Your mistake was relying on the factory temperature gauge.
Did you read my post above? My factory gauge sits on 'normal' through a range of 45 degrees.
The Engine Watchdog measures the temp in one degree increments, updated every 2 seconds, and sounds an alarm when the temp reaches a pre-set temperature.
It measures the actual temperature of the engine head or block, or wherever you attach the sensor, not the coolant temperature.

Cheers
Glenn
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 23:35

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 23:35
Glenn, Had a look at there site, and will order one on Monday,

Might even get the owner of my work to stock them they are a good idea.

Will work great in the hydraulic industries, mining and farming.

Cheers

Richard
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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 07:49

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 07:49
Glenn,
I did read the link.
What a low Coolant alarm does is alerts to a problem before the temperature rises and does damage. Loss of coolant can still give a temperature reading of normal.
This is just one example.
Eg; The radiator is punctured just before you turn your motor off. Over night the coolant leaks out, You go to start your car and an alarm sounds to indicate that the coolant is low. You investigate and find the reason for the leak. There is a puddle on the ground or you can see a cracked hose. If there are no visable leaks, you would have to presume it is internal, eg: head gasket, cracked or warped head. You don't start the motor.
Now with the Engine Watch, Same scenario, your unaware that coolant has leaked out. You start your motor and drive off, A few k's down the road your block heats up, your alarm goes off, your block has already reached a higher temperature than normal temperature.

The loss of coolant alarm, alerts of a problem with the cooling system, The temperature alarm alerts you to a possible overheating problem. You can have loss of coolant a long time before there is a rise in temperature no matter how accurate a temperature gauge is..
A cooling system can keep an engine block at normal temperatures for awhile after there is a loss of some coolant.
Now, If the two different systems where together in one it would make a very reliable warning system.



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Follow Up By: wilber - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 09:17

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 09:17
Hairs & Fysh.
Bloody good post
Spot on.

A low coolant alarm will always warn you of coolant loss.
90% of overheats are caused by coolant loss. Early warning of coolant loss = no overheat.
The result of coolant loss without a coolant loss alarm is overheating which a high tem alarm "MAY" eventually pick up....Often too late.
Conclusion...! fit a low coolant alarm....then if funds allow fit a high temp alarm for the "extra protection"
Or get your hands on a "all in one" combo unit.
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Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 09:54

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 09:54
What you blokes seem to be missing is that the Engine Watchdog will pick up any movement in temperature. If you lose coolant the temperature will rise. The alarm will sound as soon as it reaches the temp value that you have set it to go off. Obviously you set it at a temp that is still 'safe' i.e. well before it overheats.

A minor coolant loss on a cool day will not (usually) cause overheating, so is not a major problem as long as it is rectified before it gets serious.

I would dispute the statement that "90% of overheats are caused by coolant loss".
I would suggest that perhaps 90% of coolant loss is caused by overheating.

Blocked radiator tubes are probably the main cause of overheating....a low coolant alarm will not warn of this.
Ditto for broken fan belts.
And if you use your 4WD offroad, then you stand a good chance of getting your radiator blocked up with mud, grass, bugs, and other debris.
A low coolant alarm will not warn you of this.
Or as happened to me a while back, driving around suburbia you pick up a plastic bag across the grill....in my case blocking about 80% of the radiator's airflow.
A low coolant alarm will not warn you of this.

A low coolant alarm is really just a modern day (audible) version of the old fashioned idiot light.

Enjoy your low coolant alarms fellas, I just hope you don't have any problems with the more common causes of overheating:-)


Cheers
Glenn
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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 11:16

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 11:16
Glen,
You can have coolant lose with out a sudden temperature rise.
which happened in my case. The gauge barely moved from it's 'normal' position. In my case it was late November, air temp about 37 degrees, my temp gauge showed just above normal, not unlike as if I had been towing the horse float up a range. I pulled into the shed and thought the old girl smelt hot and I noticed liquid coming out the exhaust. I popped the bonnet and noticed there wasn't any coolant in the reservoir, squeezed the top hose and it had no fluid in it.
I put 5 liters of water in it and drove the short trip to my local mechanic. Again the temp gauge did not show any great heat in the system.
On arriving at his work shop I checked the coolant level it was down a hell of a lot and the temp gauge showed normal.

As I have mentioned several times Glen, temperature in my case was not an issue with my problem. Loss of coolant was which in turn if driven for a longer period of time would of risen the temperature and done more damage to the motor.

I appreciate the fact that a plastic bag blocking air flow would cause higher temps, Bathurst a couple of years ago was a perfect example of this. Engine temp can rise substantially while sitting in traffic with the air con on and there is no air flow through the front, towing up a long range can also and as you have mentioned while 4wdriving getting all manner of rubbish and mud stuck to the front and blocking air flow.
Unfortunately Coolant lost is not detected until there is a substantial rise in temp.

I have fitted metal flywire behind the grill & bullbar in front of the Air con and radiator to stop insects/bugs, seeds/grasses and the like from clogging the radiator. This has helped a great deal in making the the cooling system work more efficient.
I would be happy to have installed a Low Coolant alarm first then as an Wilber mentioned when funds are available install an accurate temperature gauge.


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FollowupID: 617378

Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 11:59

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 11:59
OK Jon, I will say it just one more time, because it doesn't seem to be sinking in.

Your mistake was relying on the factory temperature gauge.
The Toyota factory gauge is a POS.
Mine shows 'normal' from 55 degrees to 100 degrees.
It does not give a true indication of the temperature conditions that your engine is operating under.
By the time the factory gauge shows that the temp is rising above normal, the actual temperature of the engine is already approaching dangerous territory.

Temperature WAS an issue with your problem....caused by the coolant loss, or a warped head....whichever came first.
The Engine Watchdog would have alerted you to this, just as well as a low coolant alarm would have.

Engine coolant is not some sort of magical elixer....all it does is keep the engine temp down.
It is the temperature that does the damage, not the absence of coolant, although the absence of coolant will usually see a sharp rise in temperature.
The Engine Watchdog will monitor that temperature, and alert you when it reaches a pre-set temperature.

I better state again that I have absolutely no affiliation with the Engine Watchdog, just a satisfied customer. I'm starting to sound like a salesman for them:-)

The funny thing about coolant loss is that every time I've lost coolant over the years, I've been able to smell it first....before any gauges, lights or steam. And I'm a smoker, so my sense of smell is pretty ordinary.

Cheers
Glenn
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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:43

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:43
Glen,
I'm not disputing the fact that the The Engine Watchdog does not detect accurate temperature rises or how accurate it is. What I'm belting my head against is, that in the majority of cases coolant loss comes before temperatures rise.
And Yes, you are right there are other factors that can cause the temp to rise and a Low Coolant Alarm would not detect them, just as a temp monitor will not detect other factors, eg oil pressure drop.
Being around motors over many years I have learnt not to rely on gauges solely for information on how things are, as you have mentioned they are not accurate. You are also right about smell, it plays a big part, as does listening for noises. I was taught to watch my gauges like a Hawk. You are right factory gauges are not accurate, how ever if they operate constantly the same over and over they can give a fair idea of how things are. I don't need to know what the degrees of the coolant is to know how hot my motor is running. I just need to know if something is unusual. Same as my oil pressure gauge. If it behaves the same time after time, all is well. If I start it up and there is no pressure, I notice it and turn the motor off.
Both are just tools to help protect my investment.







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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 14:12

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 14:12
After a bit more looking, I found this, For those that are interested the EngineSaver it also comes with a Block Temperature monitor build in to it. Digital Readout.
Enginesaver as just release the The Tm-2 combo
Things We Should Know About Low Coolant Alarms And Block Temperature Sensors

Image Could Not Be Found


This will give all peace of mind, A Low Coolant Alarm with the advantage of having a very accurate Block temperature sensor.
The best of both worlds.

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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 14:20

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 14:20
Lets make a deal.

Thats just a Engine Watchdog and low coolant alarm combined.

not a bad idea thow...
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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 14:38

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 14:38
The best of both worlds Richard.
Can't bet that. Stops all the arguments.
It does both jobs. Peace of mind, hey?
About $300 delivered is pretty cheap insurance against, what would a rebuild cost?






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Follow Up By: wilber - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 04:50

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 04:50
Troopy....I have not missed any of your points which are on the whole correct.
However can I run a couple of scenarios past you ??
No 1a.
You park up your beloved overnight not knowing that you have developed a slow coolant leak from "wherever".
Next morning (filthy weather) you jump in to go to work, switch on and the coolant alarm lets you know you have lost coolant. You spot the leak, fix it, top up and go to work 15 mins late.
No 1b
You park up your beloved overnight not knowing that you have developed a slow coolant leak from "wherever"
Next morning (filthy weather) you jump in to go to work. Switch on and drive off. 10 mins later 3 miles from home and in the middle of nowhere your temp alarm goes off. You open bonnet (pouring rain) and notice the coolant has just about all gone. If you have a phone and signal you call assistance and get recovered. 2 hours late for work and get sacked.

2a. You are belting down the freeway and your top hose splits. Coolant alarm picks this up after about a half llitre of of coolant has been lost.(no increase in temp) Pull over .spot the leak , wrap a bit of tape round put a bit of water in from a puddle to shut the alarm off and drive carefully to home/garage.
2b You are belting down the freeway and your top hose splits. When about half your coolant has been lost the temp rises and the Temp alarm sounds. Pull over and spot the leak which by now is really spraying due to temp/pressure. Attempt to fix the leak, try and find 5 liters of water..wait for things to cool down. decide to drive carefully on and the same thing happens 2 miles down the road.

I know which alarm I would rather have as a first line of defence.
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Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 06:23

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 06:23
What a wonderful child-like imagination you must have wilber.
You could also add:
3a. Aliens descend on your beloved whilst you are sleeping, and suck all the coolant from your radiator through a straw.
or
3b. You pay the nice man for a new set of hoses because you seem to be having a friggen lot of coolant leaks.


This is all getting ridiculous.
That is all.


Cheers
Glenn
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Follow Up By: wilber - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 06:34

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 06:34
I thought it was quite amusing !! amusing but to the point !! sorry if it didn't appeal to your sense of humour. Didn't mean to offend.
(I didn't really think the driver would get sacked) (just a good bollicking)
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Follow Up By: wilber - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 06:43

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 06:43
The point I was trying to get across was the amount of inconveince that can be avoided by getting EARLY warning.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:54

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:54
Richard that combined system that Hairs & Fysh has displayed is actually available.
Contact David at Low Coolant Alarms and he will provide that details.
I just ordered one combined unit and saved a few dollars as well.

Give you the peace of mind that you have both bases covered in the one unit.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:28

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:28
Thanks John,
But I've already got a Engine Watchdog haven't got around to fitting it yet only been a month, boy I'm slack..

Cheers

Richard
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:39

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:39
Slack yeah LOL :-)

I thought the picture that was posted above was a photo shop mock up and was done a s a bit of fun within the post.

I just got off the phone to David Jones from Engine Saver and found out they do produce a combination unit with the Low Coolant Alarm and the Engine Watchdog combined.
I was just going to order both separately so the combination unit will be easier to install.

Cheers


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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 16:47

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 16:47
I too have an enginesaver and also the temp warning thingy and as has been said they both serve a purpose and the two in one unit would be the way to go.
I'm also aware of the electrolysis problem that the low water alarm can introduce if there is not a good earth connection close by that isn't likely to become the sacrificial anode.
The Humvee has a plastic reservoir for the cooling system and I fitted the probe in one side and an earth connection in the opposite side about 150mm away from each other. Before fitting the earth connection the alarm would sound at a low level until the coolant warmed up which made me aware that there was current flowing where it shouldn't be. The factory fitted unit on later models also has the probe and ground connection in approximately the same locations so I figured that these would solve any problems. The Redarc unit uses AC so should not cause any electrolysis problems.
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Reply By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 17:15

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 17:15
Hi Brian,
Is this what you after Engine Saver - Low Coolant Alarms
Their about $190.00, Cheaper than a new motor :)


AnswerID: 349049

Follow Up By: Member - Brian H (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 17:48

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 17:48
I have the Engine Saver and am quite happy with it. It gave me warning of low water on a trip a couple of years ago and on investigation I found a slow leak from one of the hoses, I had not tightened up one of the hoses up.

Rated highly in my book and VERY simple to install and the owner is easy to talk to as well.

Thanks
Brian
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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 18:04

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 18:04
Hmm, I wish I had one installed a couple of years ago. I warped a head on the old girl, Temp gauge still showed normal operating temperature.
Problem was there was no Coolant, Bugger.
$190.00 is pretty cheap against $2500 for machining and rebuilding the top end.


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Reply By: briann532 - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 18:02

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 18:02
O.K. now I've got some thinking to do.
I knew of the 2 types, one I've now identified as the "engine saver" and the other was a type that required a probe to be inserted into the top radiaotor hose.

I wasn't sure of which was the best way to go.
Now I've heard these replies I am even further away from a decision.
By all counts the engine saver seems to be a great product.
I don't think I'll go near redacr as I dont really want to drill my radiator. I also wouldn't have a clue how to do so in a plastic radiator without it leaking......

However after reading about the engine watchdog, I think I will probably go for this one.

I'll keep an eye on this thread for any more replies, but thanks very much to everyone for your helpful input.

Brian
AnswerID: 349056

Reply By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 18:33

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 18:33
We run a Aqualert and Watchdog TM2.You need to drill a hole in the top tank for the Aqualert but ours has been installed for 3yrs now and never leaked a drop.
Have only driven the vehicle once since the TM2 was fitted, $149 off ebay with free postage.
AnswerID: 349060

Reply By: Falco80 - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 20:01

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 20:01
I had an "Engine saver low water alarm" in my petrol 80 series a while back. It worked well for about a year until the cable snapped where it connected to the probe. Not sure if it was just from vibration or not. That probe was situated just in the top radiator hose connection. If i was to use one again i would much rather have a dedicated hole in the top tank of the radiator.
I now use a "TM2 Engine Watchdog" and think they are great. It's very easy to see the engine block temp rise and fall depending what type of driving you are doing. Audible alarm function makes it that much sweeter. Damn stock Toyota temp gauges are useless IMHO.
AnswerID: 349071

Reply By: troopyman - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 20:48

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 20:48
http://www.enginewatchdog.com/tm2.html
AnswerID: 349076

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:19

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:19
The problem with temperature sensors in the top hose is that if you get a hole in the radiator, the water will get so low that won't reach the temeprature sensor to heat it up.

AnswerID: 349082

Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:33

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:33
Errr...isn't that the whole point of the low water alarm?

Cheers
Glenn
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:47

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:47
People are referring to them as "low water alarms" but then talking about temperature sensors in the top radiator hose.

If you get a hole in the radiator the water will keep circulating and keep cooling - until it drops so low that it can't go out the top radiator hose - the water trapped in the engine will now start to overheat - but it's nowhere near the temperature sensor in the top hose - so you won't get an alarm.

If an overtemperature alarm is to protect against all possible sources of overheating, it needs to be near the source of the heat - the cylinder heads.
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FollowupID: 617312

Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:58

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 21:58
Either you are on drugs, or I am :-)
YOU are the only one talking about temperature sensors in the top radiator hose.

Cheers
Glenn
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FollowupID: 617313

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:10

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:10
Mike DID,
Believe me, the low water alarm will sound off as soon as the water level drops by about 1" (well in my rig anyway).
Ive related this story before......... Last year, after servicing my radiator, I started the engine, let it idle and then drove off. When I went around a left hand corner, the alarm and red LED came on for a few seconds. The top radiator hose is on the passenger's side of my rig. As soon as I straightened up the alarm stopped. When I got home I checked the level and it was about 1" down from the top. So, what happened is that when i went around the corner, the coolant all went to the driver's side and the sensor probe in the top hose, was momentarily exposed (ie: not covered by coolant). When I straightened up the alarm ceased, because the probe was again covered.

So, as far as I'm concerned, the alarm is by far the best way of knowing if/when you've lost some coolant.

The other alarm would be very worthwhile as well, but you can't really say that one is better then the other because they perform different (if not somewhat "similar") functions.

It is for this reason that I have an oil temp gauge as well as an aftermarket water temp gauge and a low water alarm.
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FollowupID: 617369

Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 11:52

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 11:52
Roachie
Your spot on , I have had the same experience, and as someone else said about plastic bage and crap blocking the radiator.... well water expands , it either goes out onto the road or into the expansion bottle, and when that happens the sensor will be exposed and go off , just as you also explained .

.
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Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:04

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:04
"well water expands , it either goes out onto the road or into the expansion bottle, and when that happens the sensor will be exposed and go off , just as you also explained"

Not necessarily Doug....the coolant expands and flows to the expansion bottle, but the radiator is still full.
I doubt that the low coolant alarm would go off until the temp was seriously high, and the coolant had boiled away.

Cheers
Glenn
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:12

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:12
Troopy Bloke
I don't want an heated debate here, but if you don't have one of what I'm talking about and experienced it's value as I have on 2 occasions then you should not make statements about the product , I know from my own experience just how they work ,

.
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Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:22

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:22
Well you know it all Doug, even if you are occasionally wrong.
Far be it for me to question your superior knowledge:-)


Cheers
Glenn
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:35

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:35
Glenn
No I don't know it all, and I usually try to only answer Posts that happens to be something I have owned or still do, experienced, and or been too, or reserched into on the internet .... and sometimes that information can be distorted too. So as for LWA's I own one, I installed it myself , and I know how, when and why it works , Case Closed .

.
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 08:01

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 08:01
To clarify the "argument" for those that don't seem to understand the two sensors being discussed.
An Enginesaver Low Water alarm is just that, regardless of where it is fitted in the cooling system (obviously should be as high as possible) it uses the coolant to conduct a very small current of electricity to ground/earth. If there is no coolant present around the probe it sounds an alarm. Very simple in operation and there are a variety of ways of installing them as both screw in and under hose probes are available.
The TM2 Engine Watchdog is purely a temperature sensor which is bolted to anything which you wish to measure the temperature of. It automatically updates every two seconds and sounds and audible alarm when an preset operator adjustable temperature is reached.
You can use it to measure the temp of engines, gearboxes (auto & manual), diffs, axles, whatever you wish to measure the temperature of. Doubt whether it would cope with exhaust temps as it isn't designed for that.
I have both fitted as they perform different functions.
IMHO the factory temp sensors/gauges fitted to most vehicles are next to useless, Toyota ones especially, as unless the coolant is touching the sender then they show nothing. So if you lose a hose and all coolant then the gauge will give no indication hence the need for a low water alarm. I suspect that many other vehicles gauges work the same way.
I also can't see that the tiny current introduced into the coolant by an Enginesaver would cause any electrolysis unless there were other things out of kilter. Like mixed or incorrect coolant or wrong coolant concentrations. Wrong types of coolant for your particular engine can also cause problems as well as using "hard" water which Oz has plenty of ;-))
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AnswerID: 349114

Follow Up By: briann532 - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 19:30

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 19:30
Peter,

Thanks for this clarification........
Boy did I open up a can of worms!!!
I'm a bit scared to put another post up,
I really was only after the names of the 2 low water alarms and a few opinions of people who had them, so I could choose the best one.............................

I am however extremely grateful that this post became so informative.
Our club is running a training weekend in a months time and I'm sure this will make a great campfire discussion.

I feel much better informed now and will definatley be installing both or that combo unit being discussed.
This forum certainly lets me know exactly how little I know even after 13 years of 4wd'ing.

Thanks Peter and all the others for your wealth of knowledge
Brian
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FollowupID: 617482

Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 15:59

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 15:59
What people are forgetting is that if you lose coolant, sure the temp gauge won't register an increase because it is a fluid measuring sensor, not air, but the engine temperature will obviously still rise which means that the Engine Watchdog will pick it up.
Also an engine will overheat for many reasons other than loss of coolant, which makes the Engine Watchdog the most valuable of the 2 systems.

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FollowupID: 621586

Reply By: zacc - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:04

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:04
ok what i would like to know about the watch dog . you are driving along then stop to do whatever , switch off the motor . at this point the engine coolant is not flowing so you will get a slight build up of heat . when you start will the alarm go off ?
AnswerID: 349140

Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:14

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:14
Yes it will, if the temp rises to the pre-set temp.
This will only happen if your engine is already very hot, and close to the pre-set temp, and only for a few seconds, as the coolant cools very quickly when the water pump starts circulating. Mine did just that once, the alarm sounded for only 2 seconds until the temp dropped below the pre-set temp...the Engine watchdog refreshes every 2 seconds.
If you leave the engine switched off for a few minutes this wont happen.

Cheers
Glenn
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FollowupID: 617370

Follow Up By: ross - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:28

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:28
I installed an Engine Watchdog the other day and the engine temp only rises 1-2 degrees when engine stops.
The operating instructions recommend setting the alarm at 5-10 degrees higher than the highest "normal" reading after driving around for few days watching the temp gauge.
The 1HZ in the landcruiser gets to about 92c and then drops to low 80s for the remainder of the journey.
I was surprised to see it gets hotter on the freeway than crawling through thick sand in low range on a hot day.
Driving around the suburbs seems to generate the least heat
I have the sensor fitted to the uppermost stud on the upper coolant outlet from the cyl head

I plan to fit the low coolant buzzer also,I can see good arguements for both devices.

When I suffered catastrophic coolant loss on my Volvo,I had extremely high readings on the factory gauge.
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FollowupID: 617395

Reply By: wilber - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:16

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:16
If your "norma"l hard working max temp is 'say' 95 degrees you would set the alarm to go off at about 100/105 degrees.
If you stop when at 95...and restart 10 mins later the temp will have gone up but not hopefully not by enough to set off the alarm.If it did you could make it alarm a couple of degrees higher or as soon as you start the temp would drop and cancel the alarm..
Really the answer is ...it could go off but not likely. It's not a problem .
AnswerID: 349145

Reply By: OzTroopy - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 14:50

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 14:50
Ummmmm .... Im confused .....

Isnt the coolant loss sensor system for detecting the loss of coolant ..... ?????

And isnt the temperature sensor for detecting changes in temperature ..... ?????

Having spoken to to the manufacturer of the engine saver Ive determined its a "wet" sensor ... No liquid at the sensor equals an alarm and therefore should give a brief safety factor that allows the alert driver time to shut down the engine BEFORE high temps occur.

An actual - temp sensor .. in addition to whats already supplied in the vehicle ... will compliment the coolant loss sensor for those occasions where operating conditions cause higher temps and the untrustworthy factory fitted units let you down.
AnswerID: 349190

Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 15:50

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 15:50
Hi OzTroopy,
The low Coolant alarm detects the loss of coolant in the system.
Which can happen before the temperature rises. So you are right.
Temperature sensor detects the change in temperature of the engine block.
The problem is where the factory gauge are inaccurate. and give wrong readings of temp.
As Glenn said some times higher temps come from a broken fan belt, debris caught in the radiator which the Low Coolant sensor will not pick up, but the sensor attached to the block will pick up a change in the block temp. So a gadget that has both covered can only be a good thing.
So you are correct in what you have written.



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FollowupID: 617432

Reply By: Member - Richard H (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 16:39

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 16:39
I'm interested! Enginesaver seems to me to be the way to go

But...where to these things go?

Do you merely attach them to the outside of the radiator hose, or is there a need get intrusive?

AnswerID: 349217

Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 16:54

Sunday, Feb 15, 2009 at 16:54
Hi Richard,
This might help mate Motor Vehicle Installation

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FollowupID: 617440

Reply By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 02:05

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 02:05
Jeez sounds like a nurseryrime we used to play with the grandkids.

Why not just list the various points [good and bad] and leaeve it at that.

THEN let briann32 decide.
The rig

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AnswerID: 349319

Reply By: Luke2 - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 17:55

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 17:55
I looked into them both 12 months ago and went for the Watchdog and am happy with it. Less fuss to install, no risk of interfering with radiator hoses or tanks and getting leaks over time. The older my 89 Hilux gets the more temperamental the radiator hoses seem to become. Any excuse to leak where they fit over the spigots and they will! Watchdog is simple and robust.
Once you use one you get a good feel for the operating temp of the motor which is handy in very hot conditions (it shows up a lot more variance than the Toyota gauge). So you can back off a little and dave it from operating at high temps and stressing things more than they might like (the Toyota gauge doesn't allow you to do this because it only reacts when it gets REALLY hot and close to dangerous.
I also like how it gives a temp reading if I hop in to start her up after a break. I can straight away see the temp and know whether to let the glow plug do its thing or whether to just crank it over if it is still warm enough.
AnswerID: 349388

Follow Up By: That Troopy Bloke (SA) - Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 21:25

Monday, Feb 16, 2009 at 21:25
Quote - "Once you use one you get a good feel for the operating temp of the motor which is handy in very hot conditions (it shows up a lot more variance than the Toyota gauge). So you can back off a little and dave it from operating at high temps and stressing things more than they might like (the Toyota gauge doesn't allow you to do this because it only reacts when it gets REALLY hot and close to dangerous. "


Exactly what I've been saying all along Luke2.

Here's a story for you: I went for a drive today, a 200km round trip.
Temp here today was around 32 degrees, so not extreme.
I kept a close eye on my Engine Watchdog, as I've been having a few issues with the temp creeping up at times.
What I noticed was that the temp was rising sometimes (102 degrees), when I thought it shouldn't be, i.e. cruising along a flat road (no headwind) at 100km/h, then not dropping back when I reduce the speed.
At other times I was really getting up the thing, up to and well beyond the 110 km/h speed limit, up hill and down dale, and the temp stayed nice and cool, in the high 80's. I was expecting the temp to rise in these conditions, as that is what usually happens.
Then a bit further down the road, it would start getting hot again.
This would suggest to me that the thermostat is not functioning as it should anymore....it's an aftermarket one 90,000kms old.
Tomorrow I will get a new one from Mr Toyota. That will save me getting the sack for being late for work:-)
So the Engine Watchdog is telling me the story of what is going on under the bonnet, if I take the time to interpret the info it is giving me.

Now I don't know if any of you have experienced a thermostat that has failed and jammed shut. I have.
A few years ago my ex GF blew a hose in her Corolla coming home from work.
She rang me, and I went down there and fitted a new hose and re-filled the coolant. We took off for home, with me following close behind her. She only got about 1 or 2 km down the road before another hose let go....in spectacular fashion, big bang, big cloud of steam, even sprayed my car following behind with coolant.
It seemed obvious that the thermostat was stuck shut, so I removed it, and she continued on home without further incident.

Now a low coolant alarm would have sounded for sure, but the steam and green snot all over the windscreen would have given you an inkling, probably long before the alarm sounded.

The point I'm trying to make here is that the Watchdog has identified a faulty thermostat, and it can be replaced before it ever gets to the chance to fail like that Corolla one did.
A low coolant alarm would only alert you after the event.

Cheers
Glenn
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FollowupID: 617682

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