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Old 01-27-2016, 11:23 PM   #15
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Chose the coach on many other aspects, then the side radiator location is a nice to have but not a deal killer.

Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 01-28-2016, 12:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by two-niner View Post
Winnebago has a proven horse in this race with a rear radiator (Cummins 450hp).

If you think side radiators are so good, go to the Entegra section and read "Radiator Fairy struck again". It's about a half hour read and much is repetitive, especially note the comments about the PRICE Spartan charges for side radiator work. Case closed!
... and what do they charge for rear radiator work? The placement of the radiator will effect the time certain jobs take. Some jobs will take longer in one configuration than the other and vice versa. The level of access granted by the coach builder will effect this too. Some rear radiator coaches may require taking apart the bed just to access the top of the engine. Then you'd be crying about the cost to service a rear radiator coach.

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Old 01-28-2016, 04:54 AM   #17
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When we shopped for a used coach we looked for a side radiator as I do see the appeal of being able to see the back of the engine. We found a coach with maintenance records, gently used and very clean for a good price with a rear radiator so that is what we bought.
When the cat technician came to do the inspection he commented how he preferred rear radiators because the side radiator puts a lot of torque on the fittings and causes leaks. The side radiator is difficult to remove and replace. He said he hasn't seen the leakage issue with rear radiators. I asked about cleaning the rear radiator and he said it is easy, they have a special tool for that. It wouldn't stop me from buying a side radiator in the future, but it is a factor
2005 Discovery 39s Cat C7 330hp, AF1 brakes,
2013 Silverado Crew Cab Toad, Blue Ox Towbar
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:11 AM   #18
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We have a Gillig bus chassis with side radiator that was on my must have list. I like to tinker and look around with the side radiator there is a lot to see.

1998 36ft Country Coach Magna #5499
Gillig chassis with a Detroit series 40
2002 F250 CC 7.3 PSD
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:26 AM   #19
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For those of you that have those BIG engines, YES there isn't much room leftover even though you have a side radiator.

Engine compartments are only so big. So the bigger the engine the less space you have to access it and work on the beast.

As you can see in my engine compartment photo, with a smaller Cummins ISC 350HP there is plenty of room to work on it from the rear, sides or the bottom. Very seldom has a tech had to go inside the bedroom to do any type of service.

So there is a price to pay for all of that power.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:10 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by two-niner View Post
Winnebago has a proven horse in this race with a rear radiator (Cummins 450hp).

If you think side radiators are so good, go to the Entegra section and read "Radiator Fairy struck again". It's about a half hour read and much is repetitive, especially note the comments about the PRICE Spartan charges for side radiator work. Case closed!
I don't know where you got your license to practice law, but one coach with side radiator issues hardly makes an open and shut case against them as there are plenty of other brands and models that have no issues.
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:29 AM   #21
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My coach is another that has a Cummins ISL450 and a rear radiator. Our previous coach had a side radiator, and a friend and I had replaced the serpentine belt on it ourselves, so I had some concerns, but other factors drove the decision to purchase this one. I had a dealer for another brand authoritatively tell me that there was no way a rear radiator could adequately cool the engine on this coach, but after 24,000 miles with lots of summer mountain driving, he was as full of BS as I thought.

While it may be true that most "high end" DPs have side radiators, I think that's partly due to the fact that they tend to be 42 to 45-footers with tag axles. With the increased length and carrying capacity, it's easier to sacrifice the space and extra weight of a side radiator configuraion.
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Old 01-28-2016, 08:32 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
Chose the coach on many other aspects, then the side radiator location is a nice to have but not a deal killer.
Agree. I would put a side radiator on the "like to have list" not the "have to have list."
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Old 01-28-2016, 08:34 AM   #23
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I would dispute that Spartan is better than Freightliner as a chassis brand, but Freightliner builds a broader variety of chassis, including some low-end models that some coach builder use to achieve low prices. Spartan doesn't have any low end chassis models, so a coach riding on a Spartan is comparable to the higher end Freightliners. Many fine coaches are built on the better grades of Freightliners, but there are some clunkers too. The coach builders who use Spartan exclusively are generally in the upper price tier, so mostly building a little better all around..

As far as quality goes, Spartan has their share of issues like any other. For example, there is a steering gear recall covering several years, and ongoing non-recall problems with the bulkhead wiring connectors, suspension height control arms, and other miscellaneous things. I'm not knocking Spartan, but the popular conception of them in the RV world is, I think, a myth.
Gary Brinck
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Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:16 AM   #24
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"Is it worth limiting my choice of coaches due to the type of chassis and side radiator? "

No it is not essential.

However I did so 14 years ago this month.

I wanted a Bus Chassis, not a Truck Chassis.

I also got a side radiator and do most of my own service now.

Still have the rig and enjoy it.
1995 CC Magna #5280
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Old 01-28-2016, 11:25 AM   #25
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Our 36 Foretravel has a side radiator. The engine access is like Mike Brez and DR4Film-Richard above. And, to access the top of the engine you simply go into the bedroom and lift the bed. Sometimes we remove the pillows before lifting the bed.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:36 PM   #26
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The independent front suspension will give you a better ride. The side radiator seems to be the preferred setup but the downsides to a rear radiator are minimal and it's probably a pay now or pay later financial comparison. I'm very happy with the Freightliner Chassis and Cummins 340 hp engine.
2012 Sportscoach Cross Country 385 DS Freightliner XCR w/ Cummins ISB 6.7L 340 hp
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:32 PM   #27
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I love my Spartan Mountain Master Chassis with the side Radiator. I do a lot of my own service. I've replaced the alternator, air filter, coolant change, V and serpentine belts and it's easier to do my own oil changes. It also makes it easier to inspect your cooling and hydraulic hoses. Once in a while I have to remove the panel in the bedroom to access something or inspect it but not very often. To top it all off my engine and trans run very cool. I'm not knocking the rear radiator just pointing out the advantages. The independent front suspension makes for a stable smooth ride and easy one finger steering even on rough roads. Even though I purchased my coach used Newmar and Spartan have treated me like family when ever I've had to call them for technical help. Good luck but don't make this a deal breaker. Buy what works as for as floor plans and what the DW wants. The latter is the most important.


Craig & Carolyn Roberts Apple Valley, CA
2006 Newmar 3910 KSDP 400 ISL Cummins Spartan Mountian Master Chassis
Toad: 2017 GMC Canyon 4X4 Crewcab
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