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Old 10-08-2011, 01:02 PM   #1
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Alpine Hydraulic Cooler Rupture

This is a corrected new title/thread to an earlier post today. I have just blown my Hydraulic Cooler housing on my 08 2-slide 36 Alpine with the redesigned horizontal radiator stack and am stranded in Flagstaff AZ, currently at Freightliner where they could see a crack in the HC metal housing where hydraulic fluid that power the brakes, steering and radiator fan was leaking out. This recent metal housing crack (not a weld, but the metal housing itself) and a pin-hole leak in an HC housing weld that occurred this past March appear to be caused by an over-pressurization of the HC. Engineer Mike reported a WRV/Dave Campy HC problem and upgrade kit 4 years ago. Any feedback on any or all three questions would be greatly appreciated:
1) How do I determine whether my 08 Alpine has been retrofitted with the upgrade Dave Campy was sending out four years ago?;
2) Where can I get a new or remanufactured:
2a) Horizontal stack HC for the '08 Alpines if my existing one can't be repaired and at what approx cost?;
2b) Pressure relief upgrade kit for the '08 Alpine horizontal stack HC's (65 psi pressure relief value, larger size fitting / hoses) and approx cost?

Thanks, ray

Ray & Marilyn Robinson
'08 Alpine FDDS 36'
Richland, WA
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:27 PM   #2
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Ray- you can see the Tee's for the bypass on front & rear of cooler. They'll be just above the fittings going into the cooler in each case, within 12" or so. I'm guessing its there and either the 65psi bypass fitting stuck or 65psi isn't low enough for the bypass, i.e. we need to rethink WRV's setup. The actual bypass valve is maybe 8" long (from memory) and hex shaped, maybe 1.75" diameter.

I don't see the bypass schematic on the Tech Library, so if you need the PDF for it (It ain't elegant or pretty) email me at EngineerMike at Vagabondwater dot com. The parts are generic ans hsould be available from good hydraulics suppliers like Pirtek.com and Hose & Fittings, Etc. at a dealer near you. The biggest pain is routing the large diameter hydraulic hoses & securing them. If you don't have the bypass, maybe I can do some on-frame measurements and get your hose maker in the ball park for lengths.

As to the cooler, you should have a sticker on the rear edge of the radiator stack w/the mfgr's contact info- AKG of Mebane, NC. Interestingly they show max working pressures for Oil- 150psi, Air- 33, Water- 15 (& WRV used a 16psi vented radiator cap).

Please keep us updated on progress. Obviously us 08/09 owners are interested in whether you have the bypass installed.
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:53 PM   #3
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EngineerMike, thanks for the feedback. Have some pics I'm sending you to see if any of my HC connections look familiar. Not obvious that I have same type bypass valve but do have a cylinder inserted in the large diameter tube interconnect between the entry and exit side of the Hydraulic Cooler. Also will check out AKG of Mebane, NC to check out availability of new, replacement HC.

Freightliner tech reported today that my setup did not match the descriptions of your Oct 2007 posts. He plans to insert a pressure gauge in the exit side of the HC to see what the downstream HC-to-hydraulic reservoir pressures are. If constricted or if I have a malfunctioning bypass valve with a low, e.g., 65 psi set point, he will start checking areas for causes of high pressure build-up such as hose blockage, incorrect bypass valve settings, malfunctioning bypass valve, etc. Will post problems found and tentative solutions.

Would appreciate getting your bypass valve schematic, no matter how crude. For those who have never seen your Oct 2007 posts on this same HC failure issue, your instruction about remaining calm "Should you experience a sudden drop in hydraulic pressure, please remain calmly in your seat and oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling" is very difficult to do when traveling 65 mph down the highway pulling a tow car.

I'm thinking pressure transducers monitoring the high pressure and low pressure lines with readouts convenient to the driver might be a real improvement to flying blind without being IFR equipped or rated! The idiot light "brake failure" is too little, too late. ray
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:33 AM   #4
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Ray-To me, it sounds like you have problem with the pressure relief bypass. The relief valve helps when the oil is cold to reduce pressure on the cooler. Mine blew at the time I bought it from the dealer. I don't think you will find one. I am sure a new one will have to be built. It took about 6-8 weeks to have it built. I installed the new cooler and new bypass and valve myself and had no problems in close to 2 years.


As far as the pressure relief valve, which was about $65.00, and the hose was 1''. To give me a little slack routing the hose, I used the lower cross bar on the on the hydraulic fan. I used heavy tie straps to put the relief valve in about the middle of the fan support. Then it was fairly easy to measure the hose to the tees on each end of the cooler and tie strap them.

AKG Thermal systems Inc.
919-563-4871 ask for Shiela
part#398.001.1000
My order # was CO-24091 on 2-16-2010
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:37 AM   #5
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Kraig, really apppreciate the info. It will be very helpful for my phone call tomorrow early AM with AKG in NC. Do you remember the cost of the HC? Also, did you build the pressure relief valve yourself or have it made? EngineerMike has a schematic of the PRV and indicated he would send it. I haven't been able to find any info on how the original PRV was built on the Alpine Club site or anywhere else.

Sounds like my options for now are to weld close the cracked "HC exit end" aluminum end plate, install repaired HC bolting back the stack of three horizontal cooling units, add pressure gauge to the exit end of the HC to allow checking for max pressure of 65 psi in the HC or exit line to the cold hydraulic oil reservoir, pressure test the HC which will also pressure test the bypass, PRV, and exit line checking for constrictions, find and add roughly 4.5 gallons of Chevron's Rando HDZ 46 (Chevron Rando HDZ 46 hydraulic fluid has replaced the OEM Rykon Premium 46), replace the Nelson P/N 84220-A hydraulic oil filter, pressure test for leaks and functionality of Hydra-Max Power Boost, pump, brakes, steering, and radiator fan and if all OK, I'm good to go until I can get AKG to build and ship me another HC in six to eight weeks and then repeat a significant amount of this same procedure. WOW, what a mess for a small crack in the end plate of a relatively simple hydraulic oil cooler!
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Old 10-09-2011, 02:53 PM   #6
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The bypass parts are all standard fittings, tho locating a replacement relief valve may take a wee bit of effort (see suppliers above). I'd consider replacing the valve on general principles unless the failure can be isolated elsewhere.

The long hex cylinder in the photo you emailed me is the relief valve.
Here is Ray's photo of the crack, its a tiny vertical rip on the right side of the small diagonal dings:


After the Rando HDZ experiment yielded pretty much nothing, and especially since you are intending to replace the cooler, I'd go w/cheap & available hydro fluid. I'd even go cheap when replacing the fluid w/new cooler. The brake improvement lies elsewhere (see Meritor Braking Improvment thread).

For the pressure gauge to be fully functional, I'd say extend a line & mount it where the driver can see it.
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Old 10-10-2011, 02:18 AM   #7
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I don't know the cost of the HC since the dealer ordered it, paid for it, and I installed it. Granted it was included in the cost of the coach. What he did was put on a cooler from another Alpine and put in Dexron PS fluid. It was driven 2500 miles no problem. The dealer did ship me a new pressure relief hose and valve witch was only 3/4"s, too small diameter. I went with 1" hose and valve. I will try to find you the part number tomorrow AM and call you. I agree with Mike about replacing the valve.
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:54 AM   #8
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I installed 1" tees both ends of cooler and used 1" hose. I called Hydra Power Systems 503 777 3361 and explained what I wanted to do. They said I needed 1" hydraulic bypass check valve DMICCVH65-1000N CHECK VALVE 65PSI 1 NPT. I have had no problems.
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:25 AM   #9
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Kraig, super! HydraPower is located in Portland, OR within 200 miles of my home. I talked to an associate of Sheila at AKG Thermal Systems a few minutes ago and was handed off to Tom who said that AKG of America made the hydraulic coolers (and probably the entire horizontal stack of three coolers on the '08/'09 coaches). Tom recommended I call AKG of America directly at 919-563-4286 and ask for Michael Canaday. Left message since Michael was not in.

BTW, the HC part number on AKG Thermal Systems' books is 3928.001.1000 and Tom said that the only part number I needed in talking to Michael Canaday was #3928. Tom said these were special builds for Western RV and could take up to 12 weeks to have one made. HydraPower is an authorized distributor of AKG as well, as are Pacific Fluid Systems @ 503-222-3295 in Portland OR and Womack Machine @ 480-831-9448 in Phoenix AZ.

Due to the long lead time on building an HC, I'm trying to track down who might have picked up the last few HC's from WRV since there were some incompleted chassis as part of the bankruptcy sale. ray
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:13 PM   #10
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Joe Elwell was at the auction and did pick up some parts and does know people that bought other parts. Sometimes he is hard get ahold of. 503 551 9799 or jjelwell@msn.com
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:03 PM   #11
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Kraig, thanks so much. John Burri at HydraPower in Portland OR went out of his way to locate a a new 65 psi pressure relief value (DMIC CVH65-1000N CHECK VALVE 65 PSI 1 NPT or also a HYDAC or other rod-type 1" 65 psi pressure release valve equivalent) in Phoenix (Hydraulic Controls Inc 602-278-6088 / Mike). Haven't caught up with Joe relative to an existing HC spare part somewhere. ray
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Old 10-10-2011, 03:26 PM   #12
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Ray- you can bench test your (E) bypass valve w/an arbor press or similar means if you can figure the leverage ratio. Valve should open at 0.785 x 1"sq. x 65psi = 51 lbs, and should open 0.785/(3.14159 x 1) = 0.25" min at that weight for full flow.

IIWMI'd clean it, test it, and carry it as a spare if it works, discard if not. Bench test the new one same way before assembly. if using different than a 1" valve, modify above equations accordingly.
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:32 PM   #13
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Thanks, Mike, great bench test method for the PRT!

Have two new potential issues:
1) What's an acceptable Hydraulic Fluid to use as a new fill-up for brakes, steering, fan? Is 10W-40, the old Alpine standby the best alternative when WRV's OEM Rando HDZ 46 is not readily available?

2) I may have some pump damage and I followed the threads from several years ago and just talked to the national dealer (Bearing & Fluids 562-921-3335 "Dick") for the Sauer Danfoss pump that I believe is in my rig #5501 3576 5160 160 (will confirm later today) -- and learned that they would need to get it from England $511.65 std delivery of 14 - 16 weeks. The only parts England stocks for this pump is a "seal kit". Any one know of an alternative U.S. made pump?? I noticed in one post an India company had bought out Sauer-Danfoss but haven't been able to find a better US dealer than Bearing & Fluid.
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:24 PM   #14
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The oil WRV used was 15-40 deteregent engine oil. While it must work, I have no idea why they thought it was the right oil. Maybe they thought the multiweight would be a liittle thinner when it was cold and be easier on the HC. That may have been before they use the bypass hose. I had dump trucks and equipment for 40 years and never used detergent oil in hydraulic pumps because it will foam. I did use a non detergent 20 wt engine oil sometimes. I did talk to a factory rep for Meritor and he didn't agree using 15-40 detergent engine oil in the hydraulic system. In my opinion you could use most any hydraulic oil as long as it wasn't too heavy. I had Dextron in mine while I was waiting for a new HC. It is a little light, but worked fine.
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brake failure, hydraulic cooler, hydraulic leak, over-pressurize hc, steering failure



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