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Old 09-04-2014, 07:43 PM   #1
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DP side radiator

Looking to upgrade to DP soon, and doing the research I see side radiator mentioned sometimes. What is the significance of a side radiator. Greg
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:55 PM   #2
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Generally, side radiator coaches are at the higher end of the pecking order of DP's. The obvious advantage to the side radiator is the obvious ease of access to engine compartment..... belts, hoses, alternator, filters, etc. So, if you plan to do your own maintenance, you will appreciate that access. If you have to pay someone to do your stuff, you will/may pay less in labor since things like belt changes, alternator or fuel pump, new thermostat, etc. are easier and quicker to do on a side radiator. Side radiators generally stay much cleaner than rear radiators, as does the charge air cooler.

The disadvantage is that side radiators do require some horsepower (usually via a hydraulic fan motor) to run them.

I've had both and would never want to go back to a rear radiator DP.
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:06 PM   #3
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The disadvantage is that side radiators do require some horsepower (usually via a hydraulic fan motor) to run them.

I've had both and would never want to go back to a rear radiator DP.
So do rear radiator units as the fan is usually belt driven and is not variable speed like some of the side radiator units. The belt driven fans take more HP to drive than the hydraulic ones.
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:48 PM   #4
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I would never own a rear radiator motorhome. My friend just bought one and you can't access the motor from the back, you have to lift the bed and unscrew the floor panel to see the engine and most things have to be done from underneath. Since I do my own maintenance it is a deal breaker.
Steve
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:16 PM   #5
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Side radiators tend to stay cleaner on the road. They are above the rear wheel spray in rainy conditions. As others have mentioned everything about a side radiator is better as far as maintenance ease and maintenenca costs.
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:50 PM   #6
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Your decision on a coach should be based on the interior layout,
and how you like it. Whether the radiator is on the back or the
side is not relevant, there are pluses and minuses to each
configuration, IMHO.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:29 PM   #7
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I've got a side radiator, but that was just luck that it was on the coach we loved. In my mind, the side rad is better, but not "better enough" to overrun floorplan, etc.

But yes, if you had two identical coaches, one with side radiator and one with rear, I'd pay more for the side radiator. It's like IFS -- I love having it, but not so much I would have chosen a coach I didn't love.

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Old 09-06-2014, 10:04 AM   #8
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Yes I agree a side radiator should seal the deal. I have a rear radiator and do my own maintenance. Is it a little harder to work on the engine? Yes but not enough to stop the purchase. The radiator does get a little dusty but soap and a water hose cleans it right up. I'm going to install a side grill at in one of the side access doors to enable the engine to pull cleaner air in.

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Old 09-06-2014, 12:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smlranger View Post
Generally, side radiator coaches are at the higher end of the pecking order of DP's. The obvious advantage to the side radiator is the obvious ease of access to engine compartment..... belts, hoses, alternator, filters, etc. So, if you plan to do your own maintenance, you will appreciate that access. If you have to pay someone to do your stuff, you will/may pay less in labor since things like belt changes, alternator or fuel pump, new thermostat, etc. are easier and quicker to do on a side radiator. Side radiators generally stay much cleaner than rear radiators, as does the charge air cooler.

The disadvantage is that side radiators do require some horsepower (usually via a hydraulic fan motor) to run them.

I've had both and would never want to go back to a rear radiator DP.

Agreed!
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:33 PM   #10
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Oops, meant to say a side radiator should not seal the deal or a rear should not break a deal, it is just a case of what you would feel most comfortable with. One shoe does not fit all. I think it is like Chevy versus Ford.

Martin
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Old 09-10-2014, 09:52 PM   #11
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DP side radiator

X2 on Steve and Martin's posts. I only have experienced the rear radiator but have a side air intake grille and side access panel for the air filter and don't have any complaints. Any major work requires access through the bedroom floor but aren't diesels supposed to run forever?

We love our floor plan and coach model which is way more important than how the service person accesses the engine. At least that's what the DW tells me!
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:08 PM   #12
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I have a side radiator and like to open the rear door to check my motor and be able to see ever thing. I do my own maintenance and changed the serpentine belt in about one minute. If you have to work on one and start bring tools into the bedroom I think someone will be mad There is only 2 ways to see anything, from the top or the bottom because the rear is all radiator.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:01 AM   #13
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I would understand the rear radiator sentiment if I didn't do my own maintenance although I would hate to have to pay a technician extra for having to hang upside down to fix something. I would never own a rear radiator motorhome and there are so many side radiator floor plans that picking the right one should be easy. I love being able to open the doors and access the engine.
Steve
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:57 AM   #14
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When I was looking for a new used coach I found myself getting caught up in the side/rear radiator thing. Then I thought, hmmmmm, I've had 4 motorhomes and have never had to replace a radiator, rarely change the belts, and the frequency I need to crawl under the hood was never an issue. I ended up making the side radiator a non issue. Maintenance and floor plan, ease of daily systems checks and buy in cost had more of an influence for me.
I put 5-6k miles on my units a year.
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