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Old 10-12-2009, 02:16 AM   #1
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Coolant Usage

All:

Is it normal to use 2 gallons of coolant (ES Compleat) in one year and 15k miles? I cannot find any leaks, but who knows what happens when running down the road.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:22 AM   #2
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No it is not install a catch can, Walmart sells a radiator overflow tank for less than $10, some just use a gallon jug. I like the reservoir mounted above the radiator tank. If it is just loosing it because of heat expansion you will see fluid in the tank when the engine is hot. Which means you have been overfilling your tank. If you don't see fluid in the tank and still keep needing to add fluid you have some other problem.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:02 AM   #3
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Adding an overflow tank and replacing the radiator cap [14-16lbs--I forget] might do the trick. Believe the rule is that you should see coolant in the reserve tank sight glass when the engine is warm/running and not when its cold--dont over-fill. I double clamped all the coolant 3/4 inch hose connections on our 2003--the connection on the back of the engine [under the trap door between bed and closet], and the distro tee on the front fire wall can/are problematic for leaks.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
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could be just the radiator cap needs replacing. Overflow tank is a good comfort, which you can check when pulling over for a break.
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:15 PM   #5
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Take- another thought: coolant hoses usually have a T-band type hose clamp (heavy duty w/a 7/16 nut on a long threaded T-shaped rod to draw the band tight). Could be one of yours is fairly but not quite tight enough. I had a slow drip of coolant on the ground after 10,000 miles; the loose band was on a short coupler between a hard pipe & the radiator, and a close look showed it had leaked a bit under pressure on the upper side. A few turns on the band nut & leak quit.

You might want to go thru your hose connections & check each one.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:38 PM   #6
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Hmmm, I guess I have added 3/4 gallon in he 1.5 years we have owned the coach, and carry two gallons spare with us all the time. It never occurred to me to check the hoses, great idea. I will add that to my maintenance pre departure schedule of things to do.
Assuming Old Scout is correct, an overflow tank would be a good idea, and I usually add coolant when it’s cold, and bring it up to the middle of the sight glass. If that is wrong, no wonder I am always adding coolant. I will check it next time we are out.

The bad part of this type of sight gauge is that coolant hangs in that place and it’s hard to tell when you have put in enough of it.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:22 PM   #7
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Add me to the list of those who added too much fluid based on the sight glass when cold, per previous posts. Every time we stopped at a rest stop or for the day the overflow would spit out some coolant on the ground. the After we changed the radiator in April of 2008, I quit adding coolant unless the sight glass was not full when the engine was running and warm. When the coach is cold I look to make sure it doesn't show coolant except for the small amount that hangs in the glass. Since I've been doing this we haven't added any coolant (a year and a half and about 10,000 miles, and the coolant stays the same. Also, none goes out the overflow on the ground when stopped with the engine warm and shut down. And the engine temp stays where it should.

So I think they should label the sight glass the "warm coolant level", not the "cold coolant level" and that would solve this problem and not require catching the overflow.
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:06 AM   #8
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The reason I ask is that last year the engine temp light and alarm came on. I added 2 gallons of coolant and all was fine again. After that happened I changed over to the Compleat ES.

Now a year later, the engine overheated when climbing the 38 into Big Bear. Granted, I was allowing a bit too much lugging at first and it was 115 degrees at the bottom of the hill.

Yesterday, I checked the sight glass, cold, and saw only the usual hanging amount. I added two gallons and now it fills half the sight glass.

If using the sight glass while cold and the excess is indeed blowing out, that would account for the bulk of my loss. However, it seems I may using another gallon over the year.

Meanwhile, I'll check all the clamps I can find. I'll also check for leaks immediately after shutdown. I'll also do a better job of checking the level when hot.
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:47 AM   #9
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TP - It is not I to tell you how to check your coach, but the day after you get someplace, sometime during that day do the checks: oil, coolant level, Transmission Fluid, Hydraulic Level, both of them, the HWH reservoir and the big one in the engine bay. Doing it this way, you can add when all are cool, and you will take the necessary time, unlike right before a trip when in a hurry, you "think, well it was ok last time".
If however, you are traveling every day, then after the coach is set up for the evening, check the coolant and oil at least. The HWH res, will show low if any jacks, slides, smartbays, etc are out or down, so check this one with everything stowed in/up.

If the day after is not good then do it within the time you are parked at the park, but don’t wait until just ready to leave, trust me you will put it off.

Now if you do it and have not moved, it won’t need to be checked again prior to your departure. Most engine manuals say to check the oil after shutdown within 20-30 minutes, and this is also a good time, as the engine is warm. But the difference is not large, and if you are down a half quart, cold, you are down about 5/16 of a quart warm. The difference is not major.

The genset should also be checked and I believe you use yours a lot, so every few days in that case would be prudent.

I also use ES Complete as well, it already has the additive and was made with distilled water and coolant, which is the best it can be. Lots of minerals in the water will eventually destroy a radiator.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:44 AM   #10
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Thanks for the pointers Monty. Actually I use the coach as an excuse to escape work (self-employed) and have plenty of time to check the fluid levels. The problem is with the coolant needing to be hot to check levels. While I have time to putz around the coach (parked in my construction yard), I don't take it out for a spin.

When I do take it out, it's on it's way to camp and when I arrive, I'm setting up. By the time everything is done, I'm in the camping mode and the engine is soon cold. I just need to leave myself a note to check the coolant on arrival, then staple it to my forehead.
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:13 AM   #11
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Yeah, I always checked it cold before reading this post. Now I know better and will check it the next time I bring it home, right after I put it in the Driveway.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:56 PM   #12
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Before breaking camp, I've found it is a good idea to include a hands-&-knees look under the coach any time I have the benefit of a slab parking spot. Easy to spot leaks in whatever type of fluid under the rear end of the coach for engine oil, tranny fluid, hydraulic oil, coolant, Beefeaters, etc., and under each jack & the HWH compartment for HWH oil. Any wet spot gets a closer look.

When I hear a new noise or see a new spot, I have to remind myself of the old Chinese Proverb- "Its not nothing."
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:49 PM   #13
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Good Idea, usually sometime while camping I will check all the fluids, now I will add crawing under it as well to verify no major leaks. Thank you for the advice.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:39 PM   #14
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After a couple of ur, uh, unfortunate incidents, I developed a habit of doing a complete walkaround inspection of the coach and toad at every single stop just before departing. I also stoop down to look under the coach at both front and rear jacks and while looking underneath, I glance at any thing visible under the coach to look for issues. I do this no matter how brief the stop - rest stop, potty break, lunch break, fuel-up, camping, etc. I know this habit has prevented any further er, uh, you know incidents.
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