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Old 09-30-2014, 01:12 PM   #1
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Confused on Coolant leak..

OK... I am no certified mechanic, but I have been around the motorized vehicles long enough to know a little.

We have a 2001 Damon with a 350, 8.1 Cummins. The motor has 55,000 and runs very strong.

On our last couple of trips it would just sporadically leak out Coolant. and lots of it. 2 gallons over an 800 mile trip one time

We live in the Mountains of NC so most of our trips start with some hard pulls. Going back a few trips. Wasn't leaking when we started. Got it up to 230 on the gauge one time...I actually pulled over and let it idle till it cooled back down to 185. No leakage when I was pulled over. Stopped for fuel a couple hours later and everything checked ok. And then while we was 800 miles from home, while I was re-fueling, it was pouring out from under the bottom of the Radiator. While keeping a good eye on the gauge, I got it on to the camp site that evening. Wasn't leaking a drop when I got there. I let it cool off over night... added coolant and then restarted it. No leaks. Didnt leak again till half way back home several days later. Same cycle, sometimes it leaks, sometimes it doesn't

I have checked hose I can find... I have done everything except take it to the Dealer who basically said they would pull out the radiator and start with a new one. So this is easily a 2000 repair in their eyes.

It is basically filling up the fan shroud and then leaking out from all differnt angles after the shroud gets a lot in there.

My question(s)...
1) is there some sort of pop off valve, or maybe a pressure relief valve on one of these that I am un aware of? I know small vehicles dont have anything like this, but I also know heavy machinery in some plants have pop off valves in their heating and cooling systems.
2) is this a common way for a cracked radiator to act? I was always under the assumption if a radiator was bad, then it would leak all the time. LOL

I have had a mechanic over here 3 or 4 times in the past 6 months, and it never seems to leak until I am 200 miles from home. LOL

Thanks in advance for the help
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:40 PM   #2
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On our 06 Discovery on a Freightliner chassis there is a surge tank mounted on top of the radiator. The tank is white plastic and over time gets brittle and cracks. I have heard others say about the same thing as you are saying and in the Discoveries case it was the surge tank. Leaks sometimes and not others. See if you have a plastic surge tank and carefully inspect it for cracks.
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by true520 View Post
OK... I am no certified mechanic, but I have been around the motorized vehicles long enough to know a little.
We have a 2001 Damon with a 350, 8.1 Cummins. The motor has 55,000 and runs very strong.
On our last couple of trips it would just sporadically leak out Coolant. and lots of it. 2 gallons over an 800 mile trip one time
It is basically filling up the fan shroud and then leaking out from all differnt angles after the shroud gets a lot in there.

My question(s)...
1) is there some sort of pop off valve, or maybe a pressure relief valve on one of these that I am un aware of?
Thanks in advance for the help
true520
You may already know this.

Most, (all?) radiator caps are a type of "pop off valve"... (they are designed to relieve the pressure in the cooling system at the pressure specified on the cap).
Radiator caps are available in different pressures.
Perhaps yours is wrong for your particular coach?..
Or it may have failed?
Mel
'96 Safari, 250HP 3126 Cat, (13 PSI radiator cap)
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mel s View Post
true520
You may already know this.

Most, (all?) radiator caps are a type of "pop off valve"... (they are designed to relieve the pressure in the cooling system at the pressure specified on the cap).
Radiator caps are available in different pressures.
Perhaps yours is wrong for your particular coach?..
Or it may have failed?
Mel
'96 Safari, 250HP 3126 Cat, (13 PSI radiator cap)

I inspected the Over flow bottle and there is no leakage there... And, it is located at the back opening of the motor home, so it isnt anywhere close to where the fluid is puddling up.
I didnt think about the cap, and it could be failing on me. That would push it into the over flow too.

SOOOoo, I will be go out there and make sure the over flow bottle doesnt have an over fill hose running down somewhere I can not see.

I have a "mechanic friend" who has also offered to come over tomorrow and check over everything over too. He mentioned putting a pressure test to the system, but of course this system may be bigger than he is expecting.

Thanks again,
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:23 PM   #5
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ditto on the cap, we replace them every 3 years on our Diesel delivery trucks. A pressure test on your system is the first step I would take. You can also test the cap to see if it working properly
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:32 AM   #6
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Well, no luck with our Findings.

A system pressure test revealed a leaking core. Ugggh

I called my local RV shop. They said a new radiator was 2642 plus tax.

I have a local guy who says he can get it out so I will take it to a heavy equipment radiator repair shop and see if they can repair it.

Getting it out will be a big job on its own tho. It is a side mount.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:40 AM   #7
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It'll be a big job, but not as bad as some rear rad units , where you either remove or CUT, the rear fiberglass cap to get at things.
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Old 10-03-2014, 03:03 PM   #8
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Be happy it's a side mount.
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:13 PM   #9
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Not worth repairing, I replaced my rear rad on a freightliner for $670.
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Old 10-03-2014, 05:05 PM   #10
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It cold be your water pump. I've had them only leak when I stop and shut off the motor, or at least you really tell it was leaking. Most water pumps have a hole in the bottom of them so when your seal blows it leaks through the hole. I would look at the bottom side of your water pump and see of there is any residue coming from that hole.
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Old 10-03-2014, 07:40 PM   #11
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I think I would be happy that I found the radiator leak before more bad happened. Bet it is not as bad a job as you think. Let us know.
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Old 10-04-2014, 09:23 AM   #12
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Check and see if it's an aluminum radiator if it is and you have it replace/rebuilt make sure they don't do aluminum again. Mine cost $4300 parts and labor and we got to spend a week parked in front of a garage door of the shop while we waited for it to get back from the rebuild place. Do it now before you head down the road again.

good luck
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Old 10-04-2014, 11:31 PM   #13
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We got the radiator out today. It took two of us 4 hours steady working to get it out. We spent a good hour trying to figure out how to get the side fiber glass panel off with out moving the rear fiber glad panel.

Then, we just ended up jacking it way up on the left side and taking it out the bottom. LoL

The radiator was completely rotten. I could push a Pencil thru the bottom part of the core in several places.
I carried it to a radiator shop in a neighboring county and they ordered me a
New one for 935.
Surprisingly the turbo inner cooler and transmission coolers looked very well tho.

So paying my neighborhood mechanic and all the parts will cost me around 1500.
Which is 1/3 what the local RV place quoted.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:51 AM   #14
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Glad you got her out and inspected! Hope the new one goes in as easy.
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