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Old 05-14-2019, 12:48 PM   #1
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Radiator leaking need some advise

I am 2300 miles into a trip to Newfoundland and I noticed my radiator was dripping from the back corner when stopped. Tank still full. It seems like a slow leak so do I stop the trip and get it fixed or am I asking for trouble?

I have 71,000 miles from n the coach and this is the first radiator issue I have had. Currently sitting in Sault Ste Marie, MI
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:59 PM   #2
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Phil, I drove mine to Calif and back to FL using just under a gallon when mine started the slow leak. Others weren't as luck as I was with a few having to be towed. That one is a tough one to call. I put over 5,000 miles on mine when I noticed I was using coolant, but no signs of a leak.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:00 PM   #3
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Find a radiator shop and take it to them. A good one will pull the radiator, pressure test it and repair it for you while you wait.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:15 PM   #4
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Issue I am having too is finding a radiator shop in the US that is close. I called one and found out they were in Canada 15 minutes from me
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:17 PM   #5
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Phil

People's problems differ. Most have a slow leak for a while when the engine cools down after a day of running in the heat. Others have a leak which is all the time. A third, worse group, has their radiator totally blow apart and have their coolant out on the road a few seconds before you get the engine shut down light.

Now, I drove my coach maybe 300 miles from where I first saw my problem on my first radiator (it was cooling down while in a Sams Parking Lot and we were shopping). Spartan advised me to loosen the cap and keep driving and watch the temp carefully which I did. You know, radiator caps click twice when you mount and unmount them. Turning clockwise to mount, you turn until they click into place and then turn another 1/8th turn to fully lock. The opposite is true when loosening or removing the cap. They advised going to the first click and leaving it there. Spartan said that would remove a lot of pressure from the system and make any small leaks slow considerably, but watch the engine temp all the time. I did and it worked until I could get to Massey Diesel in Phoenix after Quartzsite to get it replaced.

I think your main risk is for the major blow out. If you are willing to take that risk, I probably would, then watch it closely with the cap fully tight and see if you are leaking only when the Cummins cools down, or alternately, when the Cummins is hot. Watch temp like a hawk. Fill to full every morning before departing and stop every so often to check it during the day. The chances are that you can get a long way before you have to get it fixed. But you are definitely taking a chance. Also, it will take a week for a new radiator to get where-ever you are as it has to come truck.

Keep us advised. You sure are having your share of "issues".... Sorry

Gary
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:43 PM   #6
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There was a thread somewhere on iRV2 that I followed describing a predicament where someone was stopped in a not very friendly location with coolant leak/overheat problems waiting for a tow. Pretty disappointing predicament. It turned out to be a loose clamp.

BUT

My biggest take-away from the thread was from one of the last posts after the event was all over. Someone asked why the OP didn't just run a hose from the wet bay to the radiator fill and run water to fill the radiator, drive a few miles while watching the temp and repeat until you were in a more favorable location.

Doh!!!!

I know that the OP didn't think of that and I know that I didn't either, until I read the post from someone else.

We sit on quite a reservoir of coolant that's acceptable in an emergency.

Take care,
Stu
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:46 PM   #7
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My Entegra had 11800 miles and the radiator began leaking. Spartan said the radiator had to be replaced and covered the all of the replacement costs. The radiator they installed is a different size and I read where they had been having trouble with some radiators. My Anthem in 2015.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:51 PM   #8
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Stu, another good reason to travel with a fair amount of water.
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Old 05-14-2019, 02:05 PM   #9
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I agree that I would get somebody (professional) take a look at it before making a decision.

In my case, last summer before heading out on a 2800 mile trip I noticed I was low on fluid, only about a quart. No evidence of coolant on my shop floor. Did not think/worry too much about it but did check regularly as we traveled. At our destination I noticed a damp spot on the ground beneath the radiator. The coolant level dropped from the top of the sight glass to about half way. Being in the middle of nowhere I decided to attempt to make it home as repairs would be easier back home then on the road and I now knew why I had originally seen a drop in fluid. I figured as far as I had gone already that the odds of getting back home should be on my side.

For the 1400 mile trip home, I would stop every couple of hours to check on everything and watched the temp gauge like a hawk. No problems and by the time we arrived back home I had used a total of 1 gallon from the time we left home to keep the tank full.

Once home we had about 2 weeks until our next trip. The coach went immediately to the authorized Spartan Shop for analysis. It was determined to be one of the notorious era bad radiators that has plagued Spartan. Radiator was to be replaced under warranty and was ordered. Of course with my luck the radiator was backordered and would not arrive before I needed the coach again. The shop knew I needed the coach and advised that I would be able to make the trip without any issues. Even as I pressed them, they stuck to their guns.

So in the heat of July, I drove the coach another 2600~2700 miles round trip from Dallas to Vegas and back. Used another 3/4 gallon of coolant but no other issues. With out the shops confidence that I should be fine I never would have made the trip in the coach. So get a professional opinion and make a decision from there about how you want to proceed.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:26 PM   #10
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Phil, this is a case where Iíd probably invest in an extra gallon of Final Charge Premix and a few gallons of distilled water. If you have a small leak, you can top with Final Charge as needed. If it develops into something more critical, you can supplement whatever Final Charge you have with the distilled water.

The advantage of using distilled water is the only thing it will hurt is your freeze point. That isnít your biggest concern at this time of year.

Should you have a catastrophic failure, no amount of spare coolant will get you home, regardless of distilled or not. In that case, Iíd go for the wet bay solution to get to a safe spot and call for a tow.

Donít worry about knowing if you have a catastrophic failure, your mirrors, other drivers, and your temp gauge will let you know if that happens.

The Cummins is designed for all sorts of protections should a massive loss of coolant occur. I believe it will indicate LOW COOLANT when the reservoir is nearly empty, and Iíd guess a STOP ENGINE if things progressed too far.

These engines are designed to derate or shut down before you can hurt it.

The biggest issue is controlling exactly where youíre going to park.

In our case, I began complaining of a radiator leak a very long time before Spartan stepped up to the plate and took care of it. Cummins couldnít get it to fail the pressure test, and I had a garage with plenty of evidence of a leak.

I think this debate lasted well over a year and probably close to 15,000 miles.

Iím happy to say we ventured many miles by simply keeping things topped off.

If I were where you are, Iíd forge on.

Good luck,

-Matt
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:01 PM   #11
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Back in 2017 our radiator developed a leak. I found this while in a campground on a concrete pad and decided to call Spartan since we were under warranty. We were quite a distance from a shop that Spartan suggested we take our coach. The shop was in route to our final destination. Called and setup an appointment for a pressure test as well as making sure they were going to order parts. I was sure that the leak was the infamous radiator leak....

During our travels I found a few gallons of fleetguard anti freeze and moved on topping off as needed. The radiator didnít need a whole lot of fluid and I was able to make our appointment without any issues.

So, I would suggest setting up an appointment, at your final destination, and finding a few gallons of antifreeze for travel. I think youíll be fine....
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:09 PM   #12
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They leak the most when you stop from the contraction and expansion. I am not suggesting you do so, but I ran 1400 miles with a leaking one per Spartan, just filled the coolant before I left in the morning. I would call them.
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:27 PM   #13
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My radiator started leaking and required about a pint of Final Charge every 500 miles. I contacted NIRVC, they suggested to keep driving but keep an eye on water consumption. I did about 1,500 more miles with the same leakage amount until I got it back for a new radiator.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:39 PM   #14
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Someone suggested using some jb weld on the outside where it leaks as that is what they did back in the day

It seems to be leaking out of 2 or 3 fins about the size of a 50 cent piece
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