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Old 12-21-2015, 02:15 PM   #1
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Question Radiator/Antifreeze - 2004 Nemar Dutch Star - 41' - 370 Cummings Diesel

Where exactly and how do you check the Antifreeze Level on this particular engine?
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Old 12-21-2015, 02:58 PM   #2
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Purchase Fleetguard test strips from your Cummins dealer or most any truck shop, to test freeze protection level, phosphates, etc. Follow instructions to dip in radiator solution, being careful to time accurately. Fluid source is overflow reservoir usually located in plain view in engine compartment or side radiator chassis (look for radiator cap). I usually use a small vise grip type pliers to hold strip while I dip down into fluid.
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Old 12-21-2015, 03:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corvetteman View Post
Where exactly and how do you check the Antifreeze Level on this particular engine?
You will have a White Plastic Overflow Tank to the right with Min/Max markings. Simply maintain the level per the marks. No need to remove the pressure cap on the Black Metal Expansion Tank.
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Old 12-22-2015, 07:23 AM   #4
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Thanks to JLDHelms along with Dennis & Carol.

Very good information. There wouldn't be too many situations any worse than getting a cracked engine!
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:16 AM   #5
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FYI, mine does not have the plastic overflow tank, only an expansion tank but I guess the bottom line is don't open any thing related to radiator except when cold and then very slowly. Any tank that can be accessed will be OK to test from although the instructions will list antifreeze locations that are less desirable.
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:51 AM   #6
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Hi Corvetteman,
Antifreeze level is checked at the expansion tank. Some have a sight glass (on your coach may be useless due to age). Some have a see through plastic tank. Mine has the metal tank and useless sight glass. The sight glass provides a guide as to how much of the expansion tank should be full of antifreeze. What I do is:
1. remove the radiator cap
2. get something long, skinny and stiff
3. Insert the #2 item into the tank and measure the level of the antifreeze
4. Gut feel says 1/2 the tank should have antifreeze

I use a metal coat hanger or a long plastic white wire tie to do the measuring.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:37 AM   #7
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Corvetteman, just a couple of thoughts in regard to checking antifreeze. The freeze protection level is only one component of your radiator fluid that you shelf be concerned abut. Just to be safe (particularly if you are not the original owner from new), check the phosphate level I mentioned. Low phosphates permit a condition called "Cavatation" which will cause as much or more damage than freezing. Use the Fleetguard test strip to check freeze protection level and phosphates. The antifreeze level in my 2005 MADP (Cummins ISC400 on Spartan chassis) is sight glass at about the 80% level of the expansion tank. Hope this helps. Jim
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:03 AM   #8
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Great information!
I had mine checked by Spartan in Charlotte this October since we just bought our MH. All was good. I expect to test myself in the future.
When I use the test strips, what should I look for. Numbers or color. Is there a chart that comes with the strips?
Thanks for the info.
All enjoy the holidays!
Cheers.

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Old 12-25-2015, 05:10 PM   #9
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The strips look very similar to litmus strips. Be very careful to time the insertion into the fluid and wait the directed amount before reading the shade. You can be on the low normal or high normal and still be OK. The instructions are pretty clear and guide you as to what you are looking for in regards to phosphates. Your call on freeze protection level ( zero or below unless you live in extremely cold climates). Have a good one. Jim
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Old 12-25-2015, 05:16 PM   #10
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On our '02 DSDP I drained some coolant out the petcock on the lower radiator tank.That way I got some that was in use and not just in the expansion tank that might not have the same levels as what was in use. But, in all probability it doesn't matter as the charts/test strips aren't that accurate. Just be sure the test strips you buy are current. I've found expired ones on the rack at Cummins Northwest in Portland OR.
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Old 12-25-2015, 05:31 PM   #11
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We bought our coach used in late 2008. I took it to Cummins for a complete service and they checked the coolant and said it was OK.

I have a water filter on my engine that has the SCA additives to keep the coolant conditioned. I used the test strips but after ~ 5 years I started to wonder if I was reading the strips right because based on the colors on the strips I thought it was OK

To be on the safe side I went ahead and ordered a sample kit from JG Lubrication. The are on the Allison transmission forum and support IRV2.

I got the kit, took a sample and sent it in. It came back that my coolant was essentially like new with no action required. The most important aspects of the coolant are PH, Freeze Point, Nitrates/SCA levels, and if there are signs of engine failure. The kit cost ~$35, a lot cheaper then replacement of coolant, which I had gotten a quote for from Cummins prior to the test >>> $600 for a complete flush and new coolant.

To be safe, besides the annual strip tests I'd recommend a coolant sample test every 3-4 years.
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