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Old 02-19-2013, 06:10 AM   #15
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Alpine Owners Club
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Location: Des Moines,Iowa
Posts: 219
Excellent information rb. I'll be giving Richard a call to order a core as soon as you verify the fit and quality.

I'll be keeping an eye on this thread and watching your progress.



2001 Alpine 36MDDS
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:49 PM   #16
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 50
Update #3 Comparing old and new cores- pictures

19. I ordered the new replacement ACME heater core from Richard Monday morning and it arrived this evening. His company is as follows:

Acme Air Parts,
Motorhome A/C & Heater Parts
Richard Brackenbury, Sales Manager
341 N 134st
Bonner Springs, Kansas 66012
Fax 866-302-2561

Pictures below illustrate the differences between our old OEM core on the left and our new Acme core on the right.

Our original OEM core is fabricated based on traditional radiator technology with 5-row radiator cooling tubes and a tank at each end. The ends that connect to the 5/8” heater hoses are short and one is installed in the tank at an off angle.

The new core on the right, which I understand were installed in the newest ACME units, are the ones found in the newest Alpine Coaches models. (Call Richard if you want to know if your coach has the new or old technology). I suspect these units will perform maintenance free for many years. The new unit is fabricated based on refrigeration condenser technology. Three rows of 3/8” copper tubing makes continuous loops covered with aluminum fins and all solder joints are at one end. The two ends that connect to the 5/8” heater hose are longer, very straight, and the solder joints are exceptionally clean. The craftsmanship is impressive period and silver solder, like what is used in refrigeration, may have been used instead of soft solder. I have no doubts this core will fit into our Acme cowling. Having grown up and worked in a family refrigeration business in my younger years, the three rows of copper tubing in aluminum fin core are sure to provide excellent heat generation and improved air flow, which I will verify when I test our installation.

A trip to have the new core checked out by our trusted radiator shop experts tomorrow morning and its ready for installation!! Check back for a final update concerning reinstallation tips, tests, and any applicable observations!!
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2003 Alpine Coach
2009 Jeep Wrangler 4-Dr Rubicon
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:44 AM   #17
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 50
20. I am back from meeting with ELP’s radiator expert Michael at Emmitt’s Radiator and having his guys test my new core. He indicated the OEM is a 3 row radiator heater core and is built to run at a maximum of 15 psi. He verified what I already knew that the new Acme heater core is built on refrigeration condenser technology, verified the solder joints were silver solder plus the unit is rated for running at 150 psi and tested my unit at 180 psi. He indicated that this core was well built, would perform far better than my OEM, and would last longer than I would own the coach…. just what I wanted to hear!
Next tasks include reassembly, start the engine, test operation, and submit a final post on iRV2 on this thread.
2003 Alpine Coach
2009 Jeep Wrangler 4-Dr Rubicon
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:44 AM   #18
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Great thread rbquinn. If or when my heater core fails this will be the thread that I will search for.
Jim & Elissa Edmonds
2003 34FDDS Alpine Banks 430hp #74869
Viola, Idaho 3rd Armored Cav & 3rd Infantry Division
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:47 AM   #19
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 50
Final update

21. REASSEMBLY- To seal the new core into the cowling and force all the air to travel through the core to pick up as many calories as possible, I applied a strip of AP/Armaflex Insulation tape on each edge of the core as well as in the concave end the inlet/outlets orginate. (AP/Armaflex can be purchased at Home Depot and has 1001 uses). The OME plastic end that fit the non-outlet tank fit the new core perfectly and installed it. Installing the back on the ACME unit and installing the 2” bolts on the bottom and 3” mid-bolts is a two person operation. I custom cut and installed AP/Armaflex pieces in the back of the drain area before installing the ACME unit. The drain, buttons up to the firewall once installed and some moisture is bound to enter the firewall as well as most of it going down the drain tube to drop on the ground. Now all moisture will go down the drain tube and there is no chance condensation can enter the firewall below the ACME unit. The bottom 2” bolts had rusted and bought replacement SS bolts, washer, and nylock nuts. I sealed the bolt heads and washers at re-installation with Permatex clear RTV Silicone to hopefully prevent condensation coming off the air conditioning core if it leaks onto the firewall from penetrating the firewall plywood via the bottom bolts.

22. Once the ACME unit has been re-installed with the bolts through the firewall; it was time to install new heater hoses between the heater control valve and new core inlet & outlet; install the top cowling screw with ¼” head, and re-install the one screw for the in the temperature control (it was time consuming to install it completely out of sight and by feel only. Gary Arnold indicated this was his greatest challenge) & tighten the other control screw. Testing is idling the coach engine until it fully warm while running the heater fan to verify it is functioning and there are no leaks. Hose clamps may need to be tightened if a leak is identified. Luckily I batted a 1000 this morning in this test with no leaks and all is good!!

a. I strongly recommend all coach owners have a 5/8” elbow with barbed ends for hose installation in their tool box to use in case of a leaking core or heater control valve. If you are in an emergency situation and losing antifreeze, (or before), note or mark which heater hose goes to the inlet of the Heater Control Valve for later reinstallation to the valve / new valve. (Our feed heater hose was marked with red tape and an aluminum band from the factory). To install the 5/8” elbow, simply remove the hoses via loosing hose clamps connected to the easy to get to side of the heater control valve and install the elbow. This will isolate the heater core and heater control valve, (likely leak sources). Check another post for my new thread (MAKING YOUR DASH AIR CONDITIONER PROVIDE COOLER AIR DURING HOT WEATHER) on improving the cooling of your dash air conditioning system during hot summers by installing two ¾” brass ball cut off-on valves in the heater hoses before the heater control valve for emergency leaks as well as improving the efficiently of your dash air conditioner.
b. In the event of a leaking core, I understand you can find my detailed and edited steps to repair/replace in the Alpine Coach Association Tech Library to Engineer Mike or search for this thread.
c. Changing the heater core is…. time consuming, getting into contorted positions, a good challenge for the mechanically inclined, well organized, and determined, is an exercise in patients and a costly repair if you hire professionals.
d. Test observations…. The heater core with its new design allows for greater air flow and excellent heat dispersion. It was uncomfortable to hold a hand close to an air outlet once the coach got up to operating temperature. Additionally you should know that all the air going to the heater core passes through refrigerated air conditioner evaporator core first. With the new design of the heater core, the air conditioning air flow in the summer will increase as well. I observed that all air going into the coach in heating mode (which heated the coach at an impressive rate) was pulled from the air from outside the coach by pulling the outside air from the bottom of the ACME unit. The air conditioning evaporator coils were clean and I may develop a filter system on the outside of the ACME to prevent dust, etc. from coming into the coach with the outside air. The air flow increase could pull more dust and trash into the coach and air conditioning coil. When the air conditioning is turned on the maximum settings the damper closes and the air inside the coach recirculates.
Safe Travels!!

2003 Alpine Coach
2009 Jeep Wrangler 4-Dr Rubicon
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dash, heater, removal

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