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Author Topic: Radiator Failure  (Read 6466 times)

Jim Godward

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Radiator Failure
« on: December 08, 2010, 12:27:13 AM »
The radiator on our 2001 DSDP failed on our way home from Thanksgiving due to corrosion of the aluminum.  It has survived 10 years minus a few days and was working up till the time the low water indication showed up on the dash panel. 
 
We were towed about 40 miles by Coachnet, excellent service from the tow company out of Ellensburg WA.  The shop was the Cat Dealer in Yakima WA, NC Machinery.  They did a great job of getting us out in just 3 days with a new core, copper and brass like in the old days.  I will be posting a review later in the service group.
 
I said the failure was caused by corrosion as most of the wavy fins were gone in the area of failure and also several other areas.  I believe it was caused by the road treatments used in removing ice and snow from the roads.  If I am right then the radiator should be cleaned as soon as possible after driving on such roads in addition to the annual cleaning.  To do it right will require removing or at least placing the CAC and any other condenser out of the way, no small job in and of itself.
 
This also means that if you have driven in rain on roads that are treated in the winter, a rinse should be done then as the salts are there all year long.  Iím not sure that this would require the same level of disassembly though.
 
The alternative is to be prepared for a radiator replacement in the time range of 8 to 12 or so years, non-scientific wild guess.
 
In this case it was about $3500 for the replacement, labor, fluids, etc. plus about $700 for the tow.  The warranty, service contract, paid almost $3,000 and I paid about $500.  The service contract will also pick up about $375 in hotel and meals.  Coachnet picked up the tow.
 
Just my experience and thoughts on this.
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 09:21:44 AM »
I've seen several stories similar to yours lately. It seems as though those aluminum radiators are reaching the end of their service life.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

billwild

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 03:40:40 PM »
My Goodness is it me or does 8-12 years seem premature for an expensive part like a diesel  pusher radiator to expire. I would expect more. Perhaps in the warmer states like Florida and Arizona and Texas, that is the expected life.


Bill

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 03:52:20 PM »
     Jim, I posted my new radiator and CAC in June.  Another 10 year milestone, and poof.  No tow, but the rad, CAC & labour came to around $4,000 Canadian, and no extended service contract.  I'd say, it likely was driving on salt covered roads that did me in too.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Bob Flight

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 05:50:43 PM »
I replaced the copper & brass radiator in our RV.  The Spartan Chassis has the side radiator and it was about 8 years old.  I found that the fins had corroded away in an area about 6" diameter in the forward lower corner.  All 3 rows of tubes were free to wiggle.  I was surprised I did not see a leak, although the coolant reservior was going down.

I feel that our contributing factors were a lower radiator shield that had detached in the middle thus acting as a scoop to collect all road dirt directly from the rear tires towards the radiator side.  Add to that the gasket between the fan shroud and radiator failed.  Those two failures provided a direct route for dirt to settle in next to the fins and allow excellerated corrosion to take place.  I pulled at bunch of dirt & leaves out of that area.

Time & Costs- It took me 6 hours to get the old radiator out & another 6 hours to get the new radiator back in.  The old one could not be recored due to the plastic end tanks.  The new one can be recored.  The radiator was $700, the coolant & supplies $200.  After I got off the floor, I realized that from a size/weight stand point, the cost is proportional to car radiators.  The radiator was 50# and when in its mounting frame, over 100#.  The seals & shields where reinstalled and reinforced.

All of the radiator work was done after finding the corrosion damage while replacing the entire exhaust that had rusted holes.  The exhaust was another big ticket set of parts.

Bob Flight, Rochester, NY- '02 Travel Supreme

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 05:56:11 PM »
From what I read, the failing radiators were 100% aluminum, a weight (and maybe cost?) saving idea that turned out to have a relatively short life span. External road salts and stone dings take their toll readily.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Dick Zeiter

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2010, 06:40:53 AM »
I have had my radiator replaced twice from aluminum rot. Once at 78600 miles and again at 108126 miles. Now have 139599. Had it in for coolant change yesterday and they (Cummins) noticed the fins were "crispy". They think it is leaves and debris that collects between the charge cooler and the radiator.

I was shown how to remove a cover at the bottom to gain access for air or water flushing the core. I did not know copper/brass was still used in radiators.
Dick, Char and our Shih Tzu. Muffin
Toledo Ohio
2000 Newmar Dutch Star (160K miles)
Retired from part time bluegrass vending
but still working at a garage door company.
Now using motorhome less frequently.

Bob Flight

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2010, 07:06:27 AM »
My research found many radiators of the copper & brass (C&B) and ALUM failing.  The failure type seems dependent on the location in the RV.  Many that have ALUM are replacing it with C&B so that it can be recored.  Recoring is about 1/2 the cost of new.  I also found that keeping the PH within range is critical to ALUM radiators.  Use your coolant test strips for the car & RV.  The ALUM is subject to attach when the PH is out of spec.

Our radiator was a common VOLVO truck radiator & stocked at the truck parts store. 
Bob Flight, Rochester, NY- '02 Travel Supreme

fleamarketeer

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2010, 05:31:46 AM »
The radiator on our 2001 DSDP failed on our way home from Thanksgiving due to corrosion of the aluminum.  It has survived 10 years minus a few days and was working up till the time the low water indication showed up on the dash panel. 
 
We were towed about 40 miles by Coachnet, excellent service from the tow company out of Ellensburg WA.  ........
........In this case it was about $3500 for the replacement, labor, fluids, etc. plus about $700 for the tow.  The warranty, service contract, paid almost $3,000 and I paid about $500.  The service contract will also pick up about $375 in hotel and meals.  Coachnet picked up the tow.
 

Jim,

Did Coachnet provide the tow or did you pay for it out of pocket and then later were reimbursed?

A lot of aluminum radiators seem to fail after about 12- 15 years.  I've replaced one in a truck and one in a van.  Being cheap I looked at junk yards for used radiators.  Those around the correct age were all crap.  I looked at older models that could be made to fit and found most of these radiators were "new".  I just pulled a radiator someone else had already replaced.

I don't imagine there are too many yards around with dozens of "DSDP"s sitting around but for Class C's or other vehicles it's something to keep in mind.

fleamarketeer

SargeW

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2010, 07:11:30 AM »
I have been towed with Coachnet twice. Zero out of pocket expense. Both times the service was flawless. Highly recommended. As for the radiator, the test strips are about $10 a bottle. Pretty cheap insurance.
Marty--
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Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
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Jim Godward

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2010, 11:24:57 AM »
Sarge,

Yes they are but it looked like the corrosion was mostly if not all from the outside.  Wash frequently especially if it is an Aluminum radiator and you drive in the winter.
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

SargeW

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2010, 02:51:40 PM »
Wow, corroded from the outside. That's some nasty salt at work there. I think you are right, a good regular washing is the answer. 
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
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parmm

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2010, 09:10:18 PM »
Don't you think the acid from insects have something to do with this?
1994 U225 Foretravel

Jim Godward

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2010, 10:23:08 PM »
Don't you think the acid from insects have something to do with this?

If it was a radiator in the front of the vehicle, I might agree, however this radiator is in the side rear on the driver's side.  It does pull air into the engine compartment but all we saw was dirt/dust on the radiator, AC evaporator and CAC.  It was still damp in the fins when we first looked, it had just come into the shop and the ice on it was melting.  The tow was through some slushy roads and the the MH was parked over night in freezing temperatures before we brought it into the shop.
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

rsalhus

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2010, 10:47:25 PM »
Quote
As for the radiator, the test strips are about $10 a bottle. Pretty cheap insurance.

I bought a bottle of test strips for my International truck a few years ago.  I only used a few of them the first year after I bought them, and it wasn't long before they were outdated.  They have, as I remember, a very short shelf life (like maybe a year?)
Rolf Salhus
Currently at:  Our home in Apple Valley, MN

Jim Godward

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2010, 11:16:38 PM »
I bought a bottle of test strips for my International truck a few years ago.  I only used a few of them the first year after I bought them, and it wasn't long before they were outdated.  They have, as I remember, a very short shelf life (like maybe a year?)

I find it easier to get a few from my Freightliner dealer when it is time to check.  Don't have to worry about shelf life that way.  I just changed to CAT ELC so am good for at least 3 years now!!  I would have used "Final Charge" but was at CAT dealer so ...!
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

wade17

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2017, 10:42:30 PM »
2001 holiday Ramler slight leak at times depends on the road conditions seems like uneven eg, some gas stations   looking to replace 2001 cummings 5.9L holiday rambler Embassador can anyone advise me please

SeilerBird

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2017, 11:00:14 PM »
2001 holiday Ramler slight leak at times depends on the road conditions seems like uneven eg, some gas stations   looking to replace 2001 cummings 5.9L holiday rambler Embassador can anyone advise me please
You need to start a new thread and state your problem clearer. And use punctuation so your post is readable please.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2017, 11:09:31 AM »
He has this same question in another, somewhat newer topic as well.  See http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,84176.msg984544.html#msg984544
Probably best to make replies there as well.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 11:13:35 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Tom

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2017, 08:18:05 PM »
Quote from: Gary RV_Wizard
Probably best to make replies there as well.

Not a good idea; We normally discourage duplicate posting, so I've locked the other (duplicate) topic.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Radiator Failure
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2017, 09:08:36 AM »
Yeah, but these are not quite duplicates - just two very similar topics started by different members.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

 

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