Open Roads Forum

Print  |  Close

Topic: Remove and Clean Rear Radiator, ever done it ?

Posted By: JCat on 06/04/09 11:22am

I have a rear radiator on my RV and it needs to be cleaned.

I have previously cleaned it as best I can from the hole in the floor, but this time I want to do a thorough job and remove it completely and have it steam cleaned.

Has anyone done this and how bad was it ?


JCat & PCat
2004 Mandalay 40D
CAT C7 350 HP


Posted By: Pacific John on 06/04/09 01:19pm

Freightliner estimates 7 hours for a diesel shop to remove and clean the intercooler and radiator, 2 hours to steam clean in-place.

I had mine steam cleaned by my local diesel shop a while back, but took Brett's advice from this forum and used Dawn degreasing dish detergent and water a couple of weeks ago. Dawn and water does a better job that the FCCC recommended procedure. Highly recommended.


Seeya Founder
smartcar dinghy



Posted By: DtBt on 06/04/09 01:24pm

I've replaced a rear radiator, albeit not the same model. I would avoid anything that risks damaging the radiator or CAC. I would suggest use of the simple green and hose method a few times in succession until it is clean. I did use a compressed air powered liquid sprayer to get the simple green deep into the CAC and radiator. Let it set for 20 minutes or so, start the engine and hose from engine side. I did get pretty wet working from the bottom but I found that I could clean better from there. All in all a PITA. That was one reason I opted for a side radiator this time.


Dennis and Barb
2005 Safari Panther Diamond IV
1999 Monaco Windsor 40 SS (sold)
2002 Chevy Avalanche toad



Posted By: Gale Hawkins on 06/04/09 01:46pm

Cheap high pressure washer I used on gen set.

I found this works well if you have hot water, soap and an air compressor. If used on a radiator I would use care to insure it was not at an angle when at full pressure.


Posted By: hershey on 06/04/09 01:56pm

Had it done to the tune of $1,700.00. Removed and radiator shop cleaned it inside and out and replaced.
Wish I had tried the Dawn or Simple Green process first but you learn as you go. I now use Simple green and power wash about twice a year to keep it well tuned.


hershey - albuquerque, nm
Someday Finally Got Here
My wife does all the driving - I just get to hold the steering wheel.
Face Book Group: All About RVing and We Fly RC's
Expedition - Chevy Equinox



Posted By: DSDP Don on 06/04/09 05:15pm

JCat....Use the Dawn or Simple Green in a garden sprayer. Soak the radiator from the engine cover in the bedroom, from underneath and from the rear. The wand on the garden sprayer gives you the ability to reach the difficult areas and adjust the spray.

I have an old piece of 1/2" x 5' long piece of conduit with a hose bib threaded onto one end. You take the other end and smash it flat with a hammer. It makes an inexpensive high volumn, low pressure sprayer. After letting the soap soak for about 20 minutes (don't wait too long, you don't want it to dry and get crusty) I rinse the engine side of the radiator with the home made pipe. Once the water runs clean, I fire up the coach and soak the radiator again, letting the fan pressure force the water thru. Just be careful of the fan blade!

Note: From my bedroom floor cover I can view the radiator and fan shroud. Each year when I clean the radiator, I can see papers, leaves and other debris trapped down inside the fan shroud at the base of the radiator. I CAREFULLY use one of the 2' long push button grippers (has the three fingers that come out and retract) to pull out the debris.


Don & Mary
2019 Newmar Dutch Star 4018 - All Electric
2016 GMC Canyon 4WD Crew Cab



Posted By: gunny357 on 06/04/09 05:34pm

From experience.............its very doubtful you can harm the fins with the water pressure from a city connection. Blast away with all the water pressure you got.

Now on the other hand.............You can ruin a radiator with a pressure washer in very short order.

You are looking at a pretty thick sandwich. From front to rear you have the charge air cooler, then the radiator, then the dash AC condensor, then the transmission oil cooler, then sometimes the hydraulic cooler. Not only do the individual components get dirty but sometimes you get stuff like napkins, candy wrappers, who knows what in between them too. Not bad replacing the radiator but its not going to be a job you can knock out in an hour. Be careful to not damage the relatively fragile other layers getting to the radiator.


Posted By: rcjays on 06/04/09 06:51pm

When you use Simple Green, how concentrated a mixture do you use. I bought a gallon of the concentrate and when mixed as directed it looks very weak. JDA


Posted By: jwmII on 06/04/09 07:31pm

I would refrain from removing the radiator or having it removed.
An unnecessary expense and a pita job. On the other hand cleaning the radiator in place on the coach (any coach with a rear mounted radiator)is also a pita job, but very doable and a lot more reasonable than the removal would be. When I had a rear radiator coach
I would plan a day for a real crappy job and just get in and do it.
Usually a couple times a year will suffice. There are several good ideas right here in this thread that if followed will yield good results.


jwmII


Posted By: JCat on 06/05/09 06:54am

Thanks guys, I'll stick to doing it myself and using the simple green.

I contacted Cat - $800 and up @ $120 an hour

F/L wanted $1500 and up @$125 an hour.


Posted By: Sully2 on 06/05/09 07:31am

rcjays wrote:

When you use Simple Green, how concentrated a mixture do you use. I bought a gallon of the concentrate and when mixed as directed it looks very weak. JDA


All depends on what you want to clean. Ive used it from 1:30 mix all the way to 1:1 mix.


presently.....Coachless!...
2002 Jeep Liberty
2016 Ford Escape



Posted By: Gary Franks on 06/05/09 08:25am

My radiator was clogged so bad that I was overheating on level ground. I took the rig to a Freightliner service center in Salt Lake City. I backed the rig into their steam cleaning booth. Their booth has much better equipment than I would be able to get on my own. Their booth had a floor pit so the service technician was able to walk under my coach and get to the hard-to-reach places. I never needed to open up the hatch under my bed to attack the radiator from above. After less than a half-hour, I drove the motorhome out of the booth and took it for a test drive in 85 degree weather climbing a 9% grade (yes, 9%) -- the temp guage never moved off of 'normal'. Nearly two years later now and it's still clean (I think).

All that for about a half-hour of shop time.

My theory is that in all of my previous attempts to clean the radiator myself, I was simply pushing the dirt deeper into the radiator (but the outside looked clean). The next time that I need to take the rig in for service, I'll have them clean the radiator again, just as a preventative measure.


'05 Fleetwood Bounder Diesel 39Z | Datastorm F2 Satellite Internet | Toad1: '03 Lincoln Town Car | Toad2: '08 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited 4WD


Posted By: mscamping on 06/05/09 10:57am

If I were going to go to all of that trouble, I wouldn't clean and put the old one back, I'd put a new one in.. It took two and three guys to get ours out and put a new in, about 8 hours.. They had to lift it up from the bedroom til the bottom cleared the hole at the back and then lift it out threw the hole..One guy up and two guys down.. They had to cut and reweld stuff at the opening to get clearence.. Labor was as much as the radiator.. Is it aluminum or copper and steel?? We had to replace our aluminum radiator because it was coming apart.. I would find another way to clean it in the motorh..Just our thoughts..


2003 Holiday Rambler Neptune 36 PBD - ISB 300 Cummins- Allison MH2000 5 speed
2013 Equinox w/Blue Ox Aventa II & SMI Stay-n-Play Duo
FMCA 331658 HRRVC 105155 Chapter - 57- Good Sam Life Member - Coach Net - 3/4 timers
Mike & Sharon


Posted By: zmotorsports on 06/05/09 11:42am

I replaced a radiator on an 03 Monterey last year and it was not an easy or fun job. I would highly recommend doing everything possible before even considering removing the radiator just for cleaning. I know the radiator is very expensive also so if it comes down to having to remove it I would think seriously about installing a new one due to the amount of time for R&R rather than just cleaning and reinstalling. With my luck it would start to leak or develop a major problem just after spending all that time and labor $$$$ having it removed, cleaned and reinstalled. Mike.


2003 Monaco Dynasty/ 26' Haulmark Edge trailer
2011 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon



Posted By: Gale Hawkins on 06/05/09 12:41pm

Good advice on replacing/recoring when removed for any reason. At least send it to a radiator shop with required experience on your line of radiator.

We even did this with our 15 year old P30. Being small it was only $450 to recore but ZERO net labor since it was out to gain access to front of engine.


Posted By: Yaj on 06/06/09 11:58am

Just clean it in place


Posted By: SGTJOE on 06/06/09 12:45pm

My 2001 Tradewinds has the Freightliner Chassis with a 3126 CAT and was on a Service Bulletin for a short oil blow by tube that clogged the rear radiator. FL in Salt Lake City pulled the radiator and everything else off and cleaned it almost good enough to eat on. They added the extended blow by tube and I added more to it so that it hangs off the ground by 1-2 inches. Parts 30.00, labor at FL 756.00. This happened in July 2005, today no clogging and I use the Dawn dish soap and water hose once a year.

I would not tackle the radiator and everything else back there to remove and clean it, JMHO.

Oh, BTW, the thingee hanging down from the rear of my MH has become a great conversation piece. Get lots of comments and even well meant concerns.


2001 Trade Winds 7390
Toad 03 Grand Am



Posted By: SGTJOE on 06/06/09 12:56pm

Gary Franks wrote:

My radiator was clogged so bad that I was overheating on level ground. I took the rig to a Freightliner service center in Salt Lake City. I backed the rig into their steam cleaning booth. Their booth has much better equipment than I would be able to get on my own. Their booth had a floor pit so the service technician was able to walk under my coach and get to the hard-to-reach places. I never needed to open up the hatch under my bed to attack the radiator from above. After less than a half-hour, I drove the motorhome out of the booth and took it for a test drive in 85 degree weather climbing a 9% grade (yes, 9%) -- the temp guage never moved off of 'normal'. Nearly two years later now and it's still clean (I think).

All that for about a half-hour of shop time.

My theory is that in all of my previous attempts to clean the radiator myself, I was simply pushing the dirt deeper into the radiator (but the outside looked clean). The next time that I need to take the rig in for service, I'll have them clean the radiator again, just as a preventative measure.


Gary, Was that 9% grade Parleys on I-80 to Park City? If so, that was one heck of a job done by FL of Salt Lake.


Posted By: jlb77399 on 06/07/09 08:38am

Hi,

There are two different Simple Green formulas. The original, is corrosive to aluminum. The Simple Green Extreme is not. Both will clean the charge air cooler, which is what gets coated with oil and stuff. I use it full strength in a pump up garden sprayer, sprayed on the engine side, thru the fan, start engine for 5 seconds or so to blow it into the fins, let it soak and rinse VERY thoroughly.

Or you can use Dawn dish soap, mixed strong and do the same way.

If you have the CAT engine, make sure the slober tube is extended as mentioned earlier.

Jim


Fulltimming since 12/00, Safari 3540, 300 CAT, CRV Toad.


Print  |  Close