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Older readers may remember Oom Japie Bok, who featured on this page well over 10 years ago. His name refers to the fact that he nearly lost his manhood when one of his goats charged him from behind as he bent down to tie his shoelaces. Well, Oom Japie Bok is still around, but he’s now old enough for his manhood to have stopped bothering him.
Some years ago, he sold his farm and retired to a house on the outskirts of our town. He drives a five-year-old Opel Corsa that is normally serviced by his youngest son, Klein Japie, who is a mechanical-engineering student.
Oom Bok sometimes pops in for a chat, so when he turned up during coffee time a few weeks ago, I didn’t suspect it would turn into a business meeting. He was polite enough to finish his first rusk before lamenting that his Opel’s water pump failed for the second time in six months.
I expressed surprise and asked for more details. Oom Bok said that the first pump lasted nearly five years, but had to be replaced because rust-coloured water started to come out of the weep hole. Once the pump was off, it became clear that the impeller was badly worn. Klein Japie replaced the pump, but exactly the same symptoms reappeared a few days ago and this forced Oom Bok to turn to me.
Klein Japie impressed me. He not only managed to remove the cambelt, which was in the way, but he also replaced it correctly, otherwise it would not have lasted six months. That’s not bad going for an engineering student. They normally have hands full of thumbs when it comes to doing anything practical.
I asked Oom Bok to bring the car to us and gave the job to August. He solved the mystery at a glance. The radiator water was very dirty and devoid of any anti-freeze that contains chemicals that help to keep the water clean and neutral. Dirty water would be enough to destroy the seal and the pump.
In August’s opinion, the water had not been changed in years. I phoned Oom Bok, told him how we solved the mystery and August replaced the pump as well as the cambelt and tensioner as a precaution.
I asked Oom Bok to send Klein Japie to me for a bit of additional engineering knowledge. When he turned up, I asked him to put clean water and GM Longlife red anti-freeze in the radiator in the correct proportions. I also told him that one should always flush the radiator and replace the water plus anti-freeze after fitting a new pump.