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Old 12-28-2015, 09:25 PM   #1
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1996 Itasca Sunrise F53 Super Duty

Hello All and Happy Holidays,

I'm not sure where to go with this but I'll start here. Maybe this is just a word of caution but I purchased a 1996 Itasca Sunrise just over a year ago that supposedly didn't need anything major. I apparently had "sucker' written on my forehead and we are now way past "buyer beware". I won't go into the laundry list of things that I've done so far but I did find something last week that totally caught me by surprise. While winterizing the "Magic Carpet Ride" last weekend, I pulled the insulation away from the hot water heater access under the kitchen sink for access to the bypass value. With the insulation removed I noticed a bulge in one of the engine heat exchanger hoses. I drained the engine coolant at the radiator and removed the hose from hot water heater. The hose appeared to be original and the bulge in the hose was caused by corrosion at the fitting. After removing the hose I found the aluminum fitting on water tank badly eaten away from corrosion. The hose would have blown soon and the thought of having this hose blow inside the RV spewing hot engine anti-freeze everyone is just scary.

I had enough of the original fitting left to install and clamp the new replacement hose and salvage what could have been a very bad situation. This prompted me to replace all the heater hoses at the hot water engine engine heat exchanger and at the rear auxiliary heater. What I don't know is what caused the fitting corrosion. What I do know is that the previous owner tried to stop a radiator leak on the OEM radiator using stop leak. I replaced the radiator, earlier this year and while I had the front end off I also replaced the water pump, thermostat and hoses.

Now I can get to the point.

When I went to replaced the thermostat I found the upper radiator hose bulging badly at the thermostat housing. When I pulled the thermostat housing the housing was so badly corroded that I had to replace it. The upper radiator hose at the bulging area was full of corrosive crap and would have blown soon. The fitting and hose at the water heater engine heat exchange was identical. I don't know if it was the stop leak, bad anti-freeze or actual electrolysis but DON'T forget to check the hoses at the hot water heater engine heat exchanger and the rear heater as part of your annual routine maintenance. I got lucky and found the problem before it failed but it could have just as easily been worse.

Best wishes to all for a fantastic 2016!

John
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Old 12-29-2015, 03:10 AM   #2
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Thanks John for the heads up. I would suspect the culprit to be additive put into the radiator causing the issue of corrosion.
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:24 AM   #3
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This is a common problem with 1980s VW vans. In the VWs, the cause is galvanic corrosion of dissimilar metals. It is mostly fixed by ensuring that the engine and transmission are adequately grounded to the chassis in locations that minimize current flow through the affected parts. Using the proper coolant and changing it at the right intervals is essential. I can't even guess where the engine-to-chassis grounds are supposed to be in this complex system, but I would be searching for them on the wire diagram and checking the installation for their presence and clean connections.



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