Go Back   iRV2 Forums > THE OWNER'S CORNER FORUMS > Alpine Coach Owner's Forum
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-27-2011, 08:02 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Birddog Pilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 288
Coolant radiator and charge air cooler failures

I believe we might hold the dubious distinction of having more than the normal number of radiator failures. In July of 2009 our 2006, FDTS, 36’ suffered a failure of the aluminum coolant radiator. After hearing many good reports from our Alpine group, Guarantee R.V., and other-brand coach owners the decision was made to go with the steel and brass replacement from Mac’s in Portland, OR. The Mac’s unit is a direct replacement and it is repairable; while often the repair of an aluminum radiator is not always successful. The Mac’s replacement had such glowing reports that it appeared to be the “Bulletproof” solution to eliminating future problems. This has proven to be not necessarily so.

After returning from a two-month trip in November a telltale puddle of coolant was discovered on the driveway. Cummins Cal Pacific, El Cajon, CA is my primary local repair facility and they took over from here. I might add that Cummins did not do the aluminum unit removal and Mac’s replacement; this was done by R.V. Specialists in San Diego – I would not recommend them for any coach work. I will answer PM’s if anyone desires details.

As long as Cummins was pulling the radiator package I had suspicions of a charge air cooler leak as well. Last year while in Corburg, OR having some work done by Cummins NW I had them run a CAC leak-down check, which proved to be just within authorized limits. With the CAC pressurized to 30 pounds the maximum leak-down is no more than 7 pounds in 15 seconds; my cooler was leaking well over 20 pounds. It’s amazing that the engine was able to perform as well as it did with no noticeable power loss while producing a steady 7.8 mpg towing a 2008 Liberty. This particular CAC is the unit with replaceable end-cap gaskets. I would strongly advise anyone with this type of radiator to have a leak-down check performed; the cost of the repair is not excessive. Should I have opted for the Canadian manufactured Dura-Lite? Well, I don’t really know. After a couple years I will probably do another check of the CAC and if it looks like these gaskets are going to be a continuing problem I’ll probably go with the Dura-Lite, it has an excellent reputation.

Both the coolant radiator and charge air cooler were repaired locally here in the San Diego area; with the removal and replacement performed in excellent fashion by Cummins Cal Pacific. The apparent failure of the coolant radiator was attributed to a very thin bead of solder on one end tank seam. This fault of manufacture by Mac’s is definitely not typical as I have not heard of anyone else having problems with their replacements. Just in case, I had the other tank removed and it too was re-soldered. Incidentally, the warranty from Mac’s is two years; we missed it by four months.
Aw shucks…

American Guardian, our extended warranty company came through beautifully in handling the claim, we had absolutely no problems. This wasn’t the case when the insurer worked with R.V. Specialists on the first radiator replacement. I have personal opinions regarding that situation.
__________________

__________________
Dick
2006 Alpine 36' FDTS
Birddog Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-27-2011, 09:57 PM   #2
iRV2 Marketing
 
DriVer's Avatar
 
Winnebago Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Coastal Campers
Carolina Campers
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Conway, SC
Posts: 23,304
Blog Entries: 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birddog Pilot View Post
American Guardian, our extended warranty company came through beautifully in handling the claim, we had absolutely no problems. This wasn’t the case when the insurer worked with R.V. Specialists on the first radiator replacement. I have personal opinions regarding that situation.
Dick, Thanks for sharing your story with us.
__________________

__________________
03 Adventurer 38G, Workhorse W22
F&R Track Bars, Safety+ , Ultrapower, Taylor Extremes, SGII
TST 507, Blue Ox, SMI, Koni FSD, CrossFire
RV/MH Hall of Fame - Lifetime Member
DriVer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2011, 06:26 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Birddog Pilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 288
One item I forgot to mention on the radiator failures was the mileage at the failure points. The initial failure of the WRV, OEM aluminum coolant radiator was at 13,840. Interestingly, Mac’s replacement had almost the same mileage at failure, 13,381. The charge air cooler went 27,221 to the failure of the gaskets.
__________________
Dick
2006 Alpine 36' FDTS
Birddog Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2012, 09:42 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 2,226
Do you know if the lower radiator supports have the rubber bushings on it? If not then not having them contributed to its failure. If you need to know more about how they look, installation, do searches here for "radiator lower support brackets" and it should pop up. I also have a word document I copied off here, and I could send it to you if you need it. I also have one more set of the bushings, with the washers I will have at the Quartzsite rally for sale.
__________________
Monty & Janet - 2007 Alpine APEX 40 MDTS
S/N - 75715 - Retired - Master Certified RV Tech
Old Rv'er is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2012, 05:38 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Birddog Pilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 288
Monte,

I do appreciate your kind offer, but yes, I do have the improved rubber bushing setup on the lower radiator tabs. In fact Dale 777 gave me credit for some of the ideas involved in this modification; check topic “Radiator leak,” post #18 for Dale’s pictures. Radiator leak
Actually I cannot take credit for the idea, as I first saw this vibration isolation mod while having other maintenance done at Guaranty back in 2009. I had already done the aluminum-to-Mac’s radiator replacement here in San Diego and was not at all pleased with the metal to metal attachment on the lower brackets. Another Alpine was at Guaranty for a Mac’s replacement and they had used these rubber bushings as a means to isolate vibration. In fact, Guaranty’s maintenance supervisor said this was a modification they had been doing for some time on Alpines and Country Coaches and considered this standard procedure to help reduce vibration caused metal fatigue.

I still believe rubber bushings of any sort are a good idea. I also agree with the diagnosis of the repair facility that the failure of my Mac’s replacement radiator was caused by nothing more than a fabrication error of “too small a bead of solder on a seam.” Hopefully my coolant radiator problem has been resolved with the repair of one tank, and the inspection of the other tank and core.
__________________
Dick
2006 Alpine 36' FDTS
Birddog Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2012, 01:08 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 2,226
BD - Yes weak welds can fail over time, and it could happen to anyone. Is Mac's involved in any way on the repair? If not, you might give them a call and see if there is any compensation on the failure. Hope this all works out.
__________________
Monty & Janet - 2007 Alpine APEX 40 MDTS
S/N - 75715 - Retired - Master Certified RV Tech
Old Rv'er is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2012, 02:10 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Birddog Pilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 288
Monte,

Unfortunately Mac's warranty is for two years and the failure occured at two years and 4 months. Fairly typical of warranties, right? BYW, I just had a big screen Sony go at one month and four days after the two-year warranty had expired. It almost appears the manufactures have their products pretty well dialed-in for a predictable failure mode.
__________________
Dick
2006 Alpine 36' FDTS
Birddog Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2012, 11:41 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 2,226
BDP - Call them anyway, they want good customer relations and most likely will try to help if they can. Ask to speak with either the owner or shop forman, I'm almost sure you will get some kind of help. Sony will be the same, but dealing with them will be harder since there are layers of folks, so you want to speak to a supervisor in the warranty department, and hopefully your unit is registered.

The BH give me grief every time we get something and I take the time to register the product, but when that same product has problems, then I have a record of it and usually get somekind of resolution.

FWIW - had the Shurflo water pump fail, and it was still under the warranty so I called the place I purchased it from, and they went over backwards to send me a new one and get the old one back.

Don't wait, try and see what happens, Mac's wants other businsss here, and if there is a bad report, we might go someplace else. Let us know.
__________________
Monty & Janet - 2007 Alpine APEX 40 MDTS
S/N - 75715 - Retired - Master Certified RV Tech
Old Rv'er is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2012, 05:15 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Birddog Pilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 288
Monte,
I'll give Mac's a try. When I talked with them prior to the repair I did not speak with anyone of authority. The person basically said, "The warranty is for two years, and sorry, that's too bad."
__________________
Dick
2006 Alpine 36' FDTS
Birddog Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2012, 05:46 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Birddog Pilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 288
Monte,

I just got off the phone with Mac's shop foreman, Brad -- negative results. He said if I had called him in the first place he would have worked with me. He went on to say that my radiator is the first they have heard about that has failed in the hundreds (?) they have manufactured. Hmmm, hundreds of radiators without a single failure, that’s a very good record, wouldn’t you say? Well, now they have one failure on record. I told him I had talked with one of his phone-answering-persons and was told that the warranty was for two years and sorry about that. I also suggested to Brad that he might have a meeting with his personnel and advise them if a customer calls and tells them one of their radiators has failed, right after the expiration of the warranty, to have the person talk directly with him. I guess I should have been more forceful in the beginning of this process if I expected any assistance. Next time…
__________________
Dick
2006 Alpine 36' FDTS
Birddog Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2012, 11:33 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 2,226
Dick I’m sorry about that, he still should have done something, but now I know they don't stand behind their products if the warranty is just a little over, I will look and see what other choices I have if the need ever arises.

FWIW - I would use them, but take the coach apart myself to save the labor charges. I am getting to be a pretty good diesel mechanic, having changed the starter on one coach and my alternator on mine. The radiator/CAC would be heavy work, but the alpine is one of the easier coaches to remove that stuff from. FWIW2 - Next time I have to change the coolant on the engine, I'm doing that job myself as well. I then could just take the used stuff to the recycling center, and I don't think I would be charged for it.

Maybe Sony will work out better.
__________________
Monty & Janet - 2007 Alpine APEX 40 MDTS
S/N - 75715 - Retired - Master Certified RV Tech
Old Rv'er is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 01:46 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Auburn, CA, Havasu, AZ & Mulege, BCS
Posts: 5,217
Heard from one Alpiner who hired a local "truck" mechanic to do the radiator R&R because they were where they were when the radiator cracked, and the local truck shop was up to their eye balls, so they said to call this one-man mechanic. Mechanic had 1.5 arms, one arm missing below the elbow iirc, and did the removal on the ground (not on a lift). He needed a hand (no pun intended) when the last bolts came out, but otherwise did it all solo. DIY is just like staying off welfare, 98% attitude.
Now, where did I leave my food stamps?
__________________
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
EngineerMike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 07:45 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Summer Rowlett TX (Why?)/Winter Palm Springs CA Two Springs RV Resort http://www.twospringsrv.com/
Posts: 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by EngineerMike View Post
Heard from one Alpiner who hired a local "truck" mechanic to do the radiator R&R because they were where they were when the radiator cracked, and the local truck shop was up to their eye balls, so they said to call this one-man mechanic. Mechanic had 1.5 arms, one arm missing below the elbow iirc, and did the removal on the ground (not on a lift). He needed a hand (no pun intended) when the last bolts came out, but otherwise did it all solo. DIY is just like staying off welfare, 98% attitude.
Now, where did I leave my food stamps?
Heck, our radiator R&R was done by a woman mechanic in Phoenix. Did a great job!
__________________
Basil & Sue Shannon
Former Apex owner (Gary & Renee have it now)
Was Traveling Circus (2 clowns/Sage the Wonder Dog) Tent rotted. Circus folded.
Basil Shannon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2012, 08:40 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Auburn, CA, Havasu, AZ & Mulege, BCS
Posts: 5,217
for radiator replacement option see this thread
__________________

__________________
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
EngineerMike is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
radiator



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.