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Old 05-23-2010, 05:02 PM   #1
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Now a Radiator Leak....

I just finished fixing the grey water leak where the "non-flex" flex hose conneted the the vent stack under the galley. Went to fuel up in advance of an upcoming two week vacation...low and behold....wet driveway under the radiator. I've checked the coolant level and it's down only a smiggin', running temp is about 180 degrees.

My question, if I've been bitten by the dreaded radiator failure bug, is it safe to take my vacation, monitoring the coolant level, and have it repaired when I return? Thought I had read in previous threads that some of you lived with the radiator leaking for some time before hospitalizing the coach.

As always, your wisdom will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-23-2010, 05:35 PM   #2
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My radiator began to leak at about the 4 year 25k mark. Drove it with the leak for several months and a few thousand miles. Never seemed to get much worse. Fortunately my extended warranty paid for the majority of the replacement. Unfortunately they required us to install a new radiator from the OEM. Hopefully this one will hold up a bit longer.

We did have the newer rubber grommets installed on the lower mounting flange. That is supposed to help with vibration...............we'll see.
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Old 05-23-2010, 05:40 PM   #3
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I drove mine about 4000 miles and probably only added a couple of quarts. I am not sure how far I had driven before I discovered the leak. I would take the trip and keep an eye on the coolant level. It might be a good idea to add a surge tank and just keep it 1/2 full. I got one at wally world for around $10.

According to the WRV staff I was the first Alpine to ever have a radiator problem. If you believe that I have a bridge for sale,
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:42 PM   #4
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Drove mine with the radiator core leak for about 3 yrs & 14K miles. Leak was not severe and occured when engine was shut off and allowed to cool down. Added coolant as needed (2-3 gal over 3 years). Replaced the leaker a couple of years ago, & 13K miles with the OEM (Radiator Specialties) replacement with no leaks to date. Onan Indiana did the work in 8 hrs and installed the additional rubber bushings for vibration damping. Also, went ahead at that time and changed coolant over to the Fleetguard ES Compleat.
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:49 AM   #5
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Thanks for sharing your experiences. I believe I'm going to vacation as planned, take a few long weekend trips over the summer and fall, bite the bullet and do the radiator replacement over the winter. All this assuming the leak does not get worse.

Thanks again for your input. What a great forum.
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:15 AM   #6
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Heard a lot of radiator stories. Nobody has reported a catastrophic failure that I'm aware of.

If you don't want to shell out a big sweaty wad of money on this, after vacation drop the fluid level below the leak and try some schmutz like Marine-Tex Flex Set. I mended a WRV water tank leak w/that stuff and it bonded like a champ. Couldn't hurt. Make the area as clean as possible where the crack is, then schmutz it up. Maybe you'll save a big sweaty wad of money.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:51 AM   #7
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In cars I have had good luck with a product called AlumAseal:

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I have used the powder in the tube and carry it in my vehicles.

A friend told me about this product many years ago. He had been off-roading in the Sierras and put a stick in his radiator. They pinched the tubes as best they could and put this product in and drove it home.
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:19 AM   #8
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You have to ask yourself. " I know it's leaking and has to be repaired. Do I want to do it at home or take a chance on doing on the road?"
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:17 AM   #9
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Two years ago (+ or - 25K miles), we first observed dripping from the radiator when we were in Newfoundland. We were told that we needed to get to Texas to have the radiator swapped out and to monitor it daily and add coolant until we could get there. We constantly monitored the coolant temperature and topped it off after every driving date (filled it in the A.M.) and it never overheated. After 2 or 3 months, the most 50-50 (water-antifreeze) added was + or - 6 cups, not much in a 10 gallon system. As was previously stated, no catastrophic failure occured.

It took 8 weeks to have our new radiator manufactured at that time.

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Old 05-29-2010, 02:42 AM   #10
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All - Just a reminder, you check the coolant level when the engine is at normal operating temperture. As the engine cools the level will drop below the sight gauge, and you think you need to add, when you do, and then it gets warm the extra will flow on the ground, and you might think you have a leak.

I check mine at least every other day when we travel, and al the end of each trip. Once I learned about the "warm" trick, I have not added more than a quart in the last year or so. I am not going to worry about that little amount, and just keep checking it. I try to check the genset more often as it's "out of sight" hence out of mind.
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:25 PM   #11
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Radiator Leak Update

Now I'm really confused.... After reading the much appreciated input from others who have experienced the well-know radiator leak, I decided to stock up on 50/50 coolant (4 gals to be safe) and head out on our two week vacation. Since most have experienced a slow leak, not catastrophic failure, I figured I could top off the coolant every day if necessary and stall the replacement until I returned. Now the mystery.....

I drove about 10 miles and stopped at my local deisel pump place to top off bfefore heading out. As before, as soon as I shut down, the "green stuff" began to puddle on the asphalt, directly under the radiator. I would guess I left about a cup full at the station. After about 150 miles of mostly Interstate driving, we stopped for lunch-NO LEAK. Another 175 miles and we stopped for the night-NO LEAK. Today it was the same story, 150 miles..stop for lunch...125 miles...stop for the night - NO LEAK!

Mind you, I'm not complaining, just confused. What would cause the leak to stop? Maybe it's the heat here in Florida....98 degrees at 6pm. This heat and humidity is enough to swell and weld anything!

Any ideas?
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:54 PM   #12
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As others might have mentioned (including myself) the coolant check is done with normal running temps. Like when you finish running the road for the day. My guess is you checked it cold, added coolant, and it ran out of the overflow tank when you shut down because it was too full. Now that is a guess on my part. Also, someone told me (although I cannot find it in the engine manual) cummins recommends a new radiator cap every two years regardless of miliage. So you also may have a weak cap. I am sure others will chime in.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:04 PM   #13
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Monty,
I definetly have/had a leak. I always check the coolant when the engine is still hot and I have added a coolant overflow container as some others have. The leak is from the radiator itself, puddling directly under the bottom, not from the overflow tube.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:34 PM   #14
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Jim, I know it's almost impossible to get inside the engine compartment on that side, but how about putting the coach up on some solid wooden blocks about 4-6 inches, then doing an inspection of the hoses and make sure they are tight. Based on your last post, this is the only thing that comes to mind, a lose hose which is seeping periodically. Leaks as you are aware are not some come and go situation, at least they have not been that way for me. This is a suggestion only.
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