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Old 06-03-2013, 06:17 PM   #1
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Rear radiator / CAC cleaning

Anyone ever had their rear radiator / CAC removed for cleaning.

On my 2000 Journey, I have tried several times to clean the face of my CAC with several different cleaners, the last was heavy duty Simplegreen, and can't do the job like I would like to see it.

If you have had it done, what did it cost and who did it.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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Wizard,
Well Sir, I can't speak for the cost of removal and reinstallation of the radiator and the CAC for cleaning only because when I cleaned mine, I did the removal and re-install. Yep, it's a pain in the a.. I'm no spring chicken, more like an old gray goose. Twisting, bending, crawling, torqueing, reaching is rapidly becoming a thing of the past for me. To get to many of the fasteners that hold those two units in there, was a shear pain. Lots of unpleasant words.

Long story short, was getting ready for a trip and thought I'd do a good inspection of them prior to leaving. Well, what I found was not a pretty picture. And, there was no way on this planet that I'd have ever got them clean, while they were in place. So, out they came. I ended up using a full gallon of ZEP Citrus based degreaser and, a 2600 psi pressure washer on both and, it took several passes before I actually saw the water pressure come through the other side of either of the two units, one at a time.

So, I cleaned them thoroughly and while I was in there, I had to actually replace the radiator due to a seriously bad rotted corner that was not repairable. A $1200.00 expenditure I was not needing. Also, while I was in there, I replace all the bearings in items that I could get apart. The serpentine tensioner, the serpentine idler. I could not get the water pump tensioner apart nor could I get the bolts out of the fan hub. They both sounded real nice anyway.

So, my advice, get it done, no matter who does it. It might cost you some if you can't do the work yourself but, it sure is a nice feeling that those are now very clean and free flowing.
Scott
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:44 PM   #3
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Fire Up...

My 04' Journey 39W showed some cooling problems this weekend with the gauge pegging at the hot level on a couple of long grades. Makes me believe I should investigate the efficiency of the radiator.

I have crawled underneath trying to find a way to clean it, and I probably have a few years on you so it is not a pleasant excercise. I can't even find it as it's up behind a shroud.

Am I correct in assuming that the only way to clean it is by removal? If that's the case, I would guess that it has never been cleaned and is in need of it.

If there is an easier method, I'm all ears.

Ron
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:29 PM   #4
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Fire Up...

My 04' Journey 39W showed some cooling problems this weekend with the gauge pegging at the hot level on a couple of long grades. Makes me believe I should investigate the efficiency of the radiator.

I have crawled underneath trying to find a way to clean it, and I probably have a few years on you so it is not a pleasant excercise. I can't even find it as it's up behind a shroud.

Am I correct in assuming that the only way to clean it is by removal? If that's the case, I would guess that it has never been cleaned and is in need of it.

If there is an easier method, I'm all ears.

Ron
Ron,
The clogged radiator/CAC fin thing has been around for decades, as you most likely know. Some guys have developed some "wazoo" cleaning techniques that some, have claimed done well for them. I cannot doubt them, I can only say that, in the pictures you see below, without the use of pressure washer and, the some non-diluted heavy duty degreaser, I'd have been there for days and, drowned in the mean time trying to use even regular garden hose pressure and any form of a nozzle. Not to mention, that unless you've got a place where you can:
1. Park the coach for this seriously dirty job (it would make a huge mess on the ground)
2. Can get that coach high enough so that you can get as many angles as possible with whatever type and means of hose/nozzle/wand etc. and not be floating in total "GOO" while doing the task
3. Even the need to get at it from the top side, through the bedroom access which, you'd better have some good visqueen taped all 360 degrees around you because if there's any "Back splash" or ricochet from streaming jets of water, that will bring with it, particles of grease/road debris/oils etc. and get on the walls, carpet, wood work. etc.

Now, I have friends that do it on a regular basis but, it's all done from underneath. They keep on it, after about every other trip they get under there and spray away. Now, if, the system is cleaned by R&R of the radiator and CAC, then you keep on it, it may, just may survive the dreaded "fin clogging" for quite some time. But, if yours looks like the ones below, (mine) I would not put any money on doing an accurate, thorough deep cleaning job, while they're still mounted. Now, it surely won't hurt to try, I'll give anyone that. But, based on the very limited access to every inch of those fins, and all the frame works, oil pan, trans/heat exchanger (on some models) fan shroud, wires, muffler, and a zillion other items that are in the way at any angle, and knowing what I know and went through, I'd pull that radiator and CAC again in a heartbeat so I could do a thorough job.

But, that's me. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not a glutton for punishment, I just know that, based on experience, I'd go through the pain of R&R of those two components so I could do the best job possible before I'd goof up the interior of our coach by dragging a hose and doing any goof ups, trying to get at even some of the problem areas.

And a second benefit would be, to get in there and check all the bearings of all the tensioners/idlers, fan bearings, fan condition radiator hose conditions, CAC hose conditions etc. that would otherwise be a serious pain to try and replace with the radiator and CAC still in place. Ron, I'm 60, 6' 2 1/2" and around 235 so, trying to maneuver around those tight spaces while turning wrenches is not only NOT FUN, but it simply HURTS when doing many of the parts of the job. You'll also see in the pics below, my new radiator, changed from the aluminum one from the factory to a new "copper/brass" one. And, you'll see how much easier it is to get to important replaceable parts.

Sorry for the long winded essay here but, I just wanted to paint a clear picture.
Scott





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Old 06-04-2013, 06:08 AM   #5
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From the time my coach was new, I tried to wash and clean the radiators according to guidance and directions on the CAT Diesel forum (Yahoo). After about five years it got so bad I derated and limbed into Salt Lake City to Warner Truck Center Freightliner service. I asked to have them cleaned. Service manager said they would have to remove them. He had a young kid in the midnight shift he wanted to assign to the job. So I spent almost 24 hours waiting and monitoring progress. That kid had buckets of hydraulic fluid, coolent, and I do not know what else of hoses, clamps, fitting. I did not think it was possible to get everything back together correctly.
The radiators were seized together by built up crud. You could not see the fins. Now, prior to removal, looking through radiators with light they looked nice and clean (where I could get simple green and a hose. I also had the oil breather hose extended.

To make long story short, they did an outstanding job. I could not push the engine temp over 194 for two years no matter how hard I drove in hot (100+ degrees on long and steep grades. Now four years later I need the cleaning done again. Temps pushing 210 on grades in cool, 80 degrees. We are going back through Salt Lake this summer. I may try to have the radiators removed and cleaned again.

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Old 06-04-2013, 09:34 AM   #6
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I had never experienced a heating problem myself but knew many other who had at the most inopportune times and location so I constantly checked as best I could with the shine the flashlight through method. I also used the Hudson spray, Simple Green garden hose technique at least once a year. My first time at the factory service center I had them cleaned. They cleaned them in place as they were "not too dirty". They used a WET steam pressure system. I think they charged $99. Two years later when I was back there I had them do it again. I think they did it for free as I had other service done AND I had them install a vent tube extension.
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRGuy View Post
From the time my coach was new, I tried to wash and clean the radiators according to guidance and directions on the CAT Diesel forum (Yahoo). After about five years it got so bad I derated and limbed into Salt Lake City to Warner Truck Center Freightliner service. I asked to have them cleaned. Service manager said they would have to remove them. He had a young kid in the midnight shift he wanted to assign to the job. So I spent almost 24 hours waiting and monitoring progress. That kid had buckets of hydraulic fluid, coolent, and I do not know what else of hoses, clamps, fitting. I did not think it was possible to get everything back together correctly.
The radiators were seized together by built up crud. You could not see the fins. Now, prior to removal, looking through radiators with light they looked nice and clean (where I could get simple green and a hose. I also had the oil breather hose extended.

To make long story short, they did an outstanding job. I could not push the engine temp over 194 for two years no matter how hard I drove in hot (100+ degrees on long and steep grades. Now four years later I need the cleaning done again. Temps pushing 210 on grades in cool, 80 degrees. We are going back through Salt Lake this summer. I may try to have the radiators removed and cleaned again.

John Abbott, 39' 2004, Winnebago Journey
350 CAT C-7
What did they charge you for the removal and cleaning
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:50 PM   #8
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Yes Gents,
It is a tough, pains-taking job of r & r the radiator and CAC for a thorough cleaning. If, you're lucky enough to stay on it, right from a clean systems, and it manages to STAY clean, then you're one of the few lucky ones. Nobody likes pulling those radiators. But, it's quite possible, the really only true way of knowing that the job is done thoroughly. I'm not looking forward to it again but, in a couple of years, I'll keep my eye (and long nosed, Costco inspection camera) on it to keep it monitored.

My slobber tube had been extended prior to our purchase of the rig so, I thought I was safe. WRONG!!!! Never assume that because your tube has been extended, you're safe. That crap can still get in there and clog things up.
Scott
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:00 PM   #9
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Yes Gents,
It is a tough, pains-taking job of r & r the radiator and CAC for a thorough cleaning. If, you're lucky enough to stay on it, right from a clean systems, and it manages to STAY clean, then you're one of the few lucky ones. Nobody likes pulling those radiators. But, it's quite possible, the really only true way of knowing that the job is done thoroughly. I'm not looking forward to it again but, in a couple of years, I'll keep my eye (and long nosed, Costco inspection camera) on it to keep it monitored.

My slobber tube had been extended prior to our purchase of the rig so, I thought I was safe. WRONG!!!! Never assume that because your tube has been extended, you're safe. That crap can still get in there and clog things up.
Scott
Scott, How is your slobber tube catch tank working out? I would like to fabricate something like yours if I could only find a suitable tank. I guess I could make one out of a piece of 4 inch ABS with some fittings for the hose.

Oh yeah Sophie says woof woof to your Sophie.

Sammie (Steve)
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:13 PM   #10
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Been lucky so far. Extended the slobber tube early on, I clean the rear Radiator and CAC as part of annual maintenance. Even at that I still get some snarf&grunt out every year. (Sorry about getting technical)
With the Cummins setup I have room to spray from both sides. Have had no problem with overheating and the build-up has not approached that shown in the photos. I use Simple Green HD, I think the thorough rinse with hot water helps and I also run engine using the fan to rinse, also cleans the fan.
My outside faucet with hot & cold water for washing the Newf in cold weather comes in handy...

George said 'woof what?'...
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:50 PM   #11
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Wizard, Warner charged 8 hours labor for $936. That included extending the slober tube.

John Abbott
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:22 PM   #12
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Scott, How is your slobber tube catch tank working out? I would like to fabricate something like yours if I could only find a suitable tank. I guess I could make one out of a piece of 4 inch ABS with some fittings for the hose.

Oh yeah Sophie says woof woof to your Sophie.

Sammie (Steve)
Hey Sammie,
Well, I ran that "test unit" all the way from San Diego, to El Paso TX and back. I was so disappointed with the results, I removed it and it's up on the shelf in the garage marked as "Failure"! Now, it definitely was a good intent. And, it should have worked. But, all that really happened was, it collected the oil residue in the bottom of the fixture and, it started leaking out the seams. So, when I got the beast home, I had "drips" when, this motor has no drips. So, I removed the entire test unit and, relocated the slobber tube to just beyond the rear, center of the coach. It sits very close to the hitch.

So, chock one up for the ol' college try. I'm not sure just what the answer is. To be able so "suck up" all the oil mist, and yet, let that engine breath. You know, with the EPA and, CARB, both being as much of a pain in the a$$ as they are, I'm really surprised that they haven't made all of us diesel motor home owners retrofit some sort of "proof positive" kit for that blow by. I guess I better be quiet before they hear me.

Sophie's busy right now, she's got a new "Antler" that mom got her.
Scott
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:12 AM   #13
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I'm thinking of doing this nasty task also, before I have any cooling problems. I asked McCoy Freightliner in Portland OR what they charge to R & R the radiators on my Journey 36G: 13.5 hrs labor, and that didn't include the cleaning. So, at somewhere around $120 per hr, that's $1600 or so. I believe they send the radiators out for cleaning, but need to verify. I don't relish the thought of doing it myself, but that kind of money makes me think twice.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:18 AM   #14
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I'm thinking of doing this nasty task also, before I have any cooling problems. I asked McCoy Freightliner in Portland OR what they charge to R & R the radiators on my Journey 36G: 13.5 hrs labor, and that didn't include the cleaning. So, at somewhere around $120 per hr, that's $1600 or so. I believe they send the radiators out for cleaning, but need to verify. I don't relish the thought of doing it myself, but that kind of money makes me think twice.
capnqball,
Yep, it's not fun. But, I looked at it this way, (as I do all of the projects on the big beast) I'm retired. I can, and do, take as much time as I like. If things get hard. I rest. So far, as far as tools are concerned, I've have amassed a tool collection that has done the job on almost all the projects on this coach. It's been a life time of collecting them. Anyway, it's too bad I'm not near you, I'd lend a hand and coach you where the tough spots are and what tools to use. $1600 bucks buys A TON OF DIESEL FUEL!!!!!

I got that coach up about a foot and a half. I wanted good room while creeping around under there. I also wanted clearance for a five gallon bucket for draining the coolant. Based on the design of the rear of our '04 Horizon, it's removable rear grill etc. it made work back there about as "pleasant" as possible. There was still a lot of twisting the arms, rists, elbows, back and much more to get at everything.

But, I figured, if somebody put it in there, I could get it out. It was simply a matter of what was holding what that, kept that radiator and CAC in there. I just kept on removing things that were in the way and/or attached. Eventually it was free. And, unlike some that have done the job, I separated the radiator from the CAC and, with the help of a burly son in law, we lifted that radiator, I forgot what it weighed, right out the back of it. Then, we lifted the CAC which was quite a bit lighter due to it's all aluminum with no steel frame.

As for cleaning it. That was the easiest part of the whole operation. Lay it horizontally onto a couple of saw horses and, go to town with any kind of degreaser you choose. LOTS OF IT! Then, if you have one, do not hesitate using a pressure washer. No, you don't have to get a quarter inch away from the fins, just a few inches away will present the effect you need and, you won't be using gallons and gallons of water. And, you won't have any damaged fins unless you get seriously careless. Mine is a Costco 2650 psi unit and I got closer and closer and was very observant of possible fin damage.

None, absolutely none. But it did take that much effort, degreaser and time, to get both of them really, really clean. That stuff bakes on and IN those fins. So, without a doubt, it's work but, the reward in the end, MORE MONEY FOR DIESEL FUEL!
Scott
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