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Spanking my 1.6Vti down the M4 after many miles of maximum (ahem!) motorway speeds (ahem!) I got the water temperature gauge climbing to max and the big STOP light up on the dash. As if by magic at the same time the slip road for a motorway service station appeared and I immediately pulled off.

Underside of bonnet sprayed with coolant and an empty expansion tank got me very worried. Let it cool, topped up with a bit over 2 litres of water and ran it up to normal temp at idle. No leaks apparent from anywhere, hoses nicely pressurised.

Drove a few more miles from the services to pull off at the next motorway junction and we have clouds of steam. Opened bonnet just in time to actually watch the coolant in the expansion tank boiling away.

After vehicle recovery back from Bath to London I refilled the system and ran it up to temp at idle. This time it didn't pressurise and I watched the coolant level climb in the expansion tank as it got hotter.

Coolant filler cap faulty. Cap replaced and now all is well. The filler cap is a pressure relief valve with a spring-loaded rubber washer. I dismantled the old one and found the rubber washer was rubbish - thin rubber and never really sealed properly as there was clear evidence of steam escape past it over some period of time. I never noticed any appreciable coolant loss however until it decided to loose it's seal as spectacularly as it did.
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