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Old 06-29-2014, 06:09 AM   #1
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SIDE Mount RADIATORS...good/bad/ugly?

When looking at DPs, there are "normal" radiator placements, and side mounts.

Is there any reason why one would be the way to go over the other? Having read one thread where R&R of a side mount was over $6000, is that typical?

Do side-mounts cool better? Last longer? Provide any benefit over traditional ones?
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:22 AM   #2
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The side mounts tend to get better airflow through them, and at the same time suck in less dust and debris commonly found at the rear of the coach when traveling.

You will see most, if not all, of the higher end coaches from all manufacturers and all the high end coaches from the high end manufacturers use side mount radiators.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
When looking at DPs, there are "normal" radiator placements, and side mounts.

Is there any reason why one would be the way to go over the other? Having read one thread where R&R of a side mount was over $6000, is that typical?

Do side-mounts cool better? Last longer? Provide any benefit over traditional ones?
They both have their good and bad points.

Side radiator allow much easier access for routine maintenance but you give up some basement storage, they have more components to possible fail.

Rear radiators are driven by the engine directly like older cars, no additional parts to fail, you don't give up basement storage but routine maintenance is very difficult, can't mount anything that would block air flow like a motorcycle lift.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:28 AM   #4
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Accessing the engine becomes more problematic with rear radiator as well.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:28 AM   #5
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Hello Rick, I am going to say the big reason that I went with a side radiator when looking, is for the ease of doing the maintance work on the engine. I do all my own manintance work, and when I open the rear outside engine cover, it is right there. With a rear radiator, just changing belts is a big deal with the radiator and charge air cooler right in front of the engine, let alone other jobs that will come up. There are a lot of both out there, the side radiator makes the maintance easier. A lot has to be done from inside the bedroom, under the engine cover in the bedroom on a rear radiator model. As far as does one work better than the other.......No.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:31 AM   #6
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Another advantage to side radiator, is you have direct access to the engine for maintenance or belt replacement. One other disadvantage of the rear radiator is they tend to get oily film from the engine blow by tubes and this causes dirt to clog the venting.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:53 AM   #7
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Many great points here. The hydraulics [eg pump, hoses, motor] required to operate a side mount are generally dependable but can be expensive to fix. A friend recently had an alternator freeze on his late-model rear radiator coach--fortunately the coach was still under warranty but the bill was over $2200 for just the labor. Even replacing the serpentine belt on his coach looks like a major effort. As a DIY kinda guy--I would opt for a side mount.
PS--add in things like EGRs and DEF injection on the newer coaches and you have a real "rats-nest" to work on or to pay someone to. Access to critical engine components is paramount to reducing labor costs on Rvs.
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Old 06-29-2014, 07:05 AM   #8
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Everyone has given the reasons between the different mounts...... I do all of my own maintenance and wouldn't even think of owning a rear mount. I am sure shop rates are based the same way. Regular maintenance could eat up any savings of a rear mounted radiatior.

My previous MH was 12 years old and never needed the radiator pulled. With good maintenance there should never be a problem to requiring the expense of pulling the radiator.
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Old 06-29-2014, 07:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
When looking at DPs, there are "normal" radiator placements, and side mounts.



Is there any reason why one would be the way to go over the other? Having read one thread where R&R of a side mount was over $6000, is that typical?



Do side-mounts cool better? Last longer? Provide any benefit over traditional ones?

Didn't hear anyone else bring up this side radiator benefit......

Many side mounted radiators that use hydraulic fans, have two speed hydraulic motors. This means dependent upon temperature, the fan can spin slow or fast, making less noise, and also using less engine horsepower.

The rear radiator coaches tend to have direct drive fans.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:02 AM   #10
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We have had our rear-radiator RV for more than 10 years, and I do most of the work on it. Although engine access does not compare with a side-mount, it has not been a big deal for me, to work on the engine. If I paid a dealer for everything, I imagine the bills would be higher for the labor, on a rear-mount, but the additional hydraulic hoses, motors, bearings, etc of a side-mount, may offset that. I don't know for sure,

But I do know that I can remove only 3 bolts, and take up the metal engine-access plate under the bed, and get to everything that I can't get from under the engine. I just replaced the serpentine belt tensioner, belt; the V-belt pulley and tensioner, and the V-belt driving the water pump, and cleaned the CAC and radiator (and the engine), here at home. This week I will replace the engine air filter, and engine A/C compressor and receiver-drier, as the shaft-seal on the compressor is shot, and the A//C has stopped working a long time ago. I bought a new, OEM compressor on-line, for 1/3rd the price of the dealers parts-dept.

If I were to buy another RV, I'd consider either rear or side-mount, as there are other things that are more important to me.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:08 AM   #11
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Wish some of you guys lived close by so I could sponge knowledge instead of OJT Mighty steep learning curve, but at labor rates of $100/hour, there's alot of incentive to think things through, isn't there?

Well, I have to say that RVs are much worse than boats. Here I am having owned my first DP for all of two months and I'm already in the hunt for something else. What's wrong with me??


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Old 06-29-2014, 12:57 PM   #12
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Didn't hear anyone else bring up this side radiator benefit......

Many side mounted radiators that use hydraulic fans, have two speed hydraulic motors. This means dependent upon temperature, the fan can spin slow or fast, making less noise, and also using less engine horsepower.

The rear radiator coaches tend to have direct drive fans.
I disagree. Most late model rear radiator fans employ an electric viscous clutch which gives two speed fans. Additionally late model diesels no longer use a slobber tube. The crankcase is not vented to the atmosphere and therefore you no longer get the oily radiator. You still have to clean them periodically just to get road debris out just the same as a side radiator. General maintenance is a tad more difficult on a rear radiator, but the cost of the initial purchase is generally lower as people erroneously think that they are poorer and less useful design.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:09 PM   #13
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The side mounts tend to get better airflow through them, and at the same time suck in less dust and debris commonly found at the rear of the coach when traveling.

You will see most, if not all, of the higher end coaches from all manufacturers and all the high end coaches from the high end manufacturers use side mount radiators.
That about covers it.

However, I did hate to lose that storage bin...now I have to get by with 12 rather than 13.
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:18 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=bamaboy473;2114980]
Well, I have to say that RVs are much worse than boats. Here I am having owned my first DP for all of two months and I'm already in the hunt for something else. What's wrong with me??
QUOTE]

Nothing I can think of . Your situation is normal. However if you feel you need to talk about this some more , we can set up an appointment , my rates are, $$$

EDIT: BTW . in your original post you asked about a side mount rad R&R being $6,000, I believe that was a rear rad unit, as one manufacturer had a set up where either you had to cut slots in the coaches rear fiberglass cap to remove the rad , or pay to have the whole rear cap removed if you didn't want to have the cutting done. My side rad could be out in an hour.
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