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Old 06-01-2014, 11:31 AM   #57
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Dust accumulation in radiator willresult from travelling dirt roads with deisel pushe

I don't know if this has already been pointed out on this thread, but I recently became aware of it because it happened to me just recently. We frequently drive short distances on dirt roads, and we raise quite a dust cloud when doing so.
For the past year or so it seemed like the exhaust gas temperature was climbing gradually. But on our last trip going through the Vermillion cliffs area on our way to Jacob Lake, the outside air temperature was 98f, we had a stiff headwind and were climbing. The wind was pretty bad and I was concentrating on staying on my side of the narrow road and not watching the gauges diligently. I got an engine water overtemp warning and noticed that the exhaust gas temp was over 1300f and the water temperature gauge was pegged. I had to gear down and throttle back considerably to keep the temperatures at a reasonable level.

For the rest of the trip I had to really baby it to prevent overheating when climbing in the heat. This had not happened to me previously. So when I got home I searched on this forum and found several threads that pointed out that on diesel pushers dust from the rear tires will travel through the radiator and some will stick to it and eventually it will build up and result in poor cooling for both the engine water and the turbo air.

So I removed the engine cover to take a look at the radiator. I could not get my eyes close enough to the front side of the radiator (actually the turbo air cooler) so I held a pocket camera down in there and took some pictures. I viewed the photos on a computer where I could zoom in to get a good look. The radiator was coated everywhere with a layer of dust. It looked like fur was growing on the fins.

So yesterday I used a small power washer to blast out the dirt. I worked from the rear and blasted the dirt forward towards the engine since good access was impossible for the other direction. By the way, I would not recommend going the other way even if you could, because there were a lot of pieces of small trash that were on the front surface of the turbo air cooler and these would be driven into the fins if you blasted from that side.

There was a substantial amount of dirt that came out as well as the previously mentioned small pieces of trash. I would estimate that if you put the dirt in a jar, it would be about a quart or so.

I expect the cooling to work much better now. If it doesn't I will report back here.

There was some concern about bending the fins on the radiator if you get too close with a large power washer, but on mine it didn't have enough power to do that, but it had enough (I think it is about 2HP) to blast through both radiators and dislodge all the dust as far as I can see. Just do a little experimentation. If it bends a few fins, then back off. You can straighten the fins.

When the wash water and dirt blasts out towards the engine, it hits the fan blades and is deflected upwards and gets mud all over the engine. Fortunately I noticed this before I did too much and I covered the alternator with a plastic bag and draped a small tarp over the back of the engine to prevent the mud from making a mess on the engine.

It was also pointed out on forums here that on some pushers the crankcase breather tube was located where oil mist coated the radiator. This did not happen on mine, so the dust washed off pretty easily. But if dust was mixed with oil I think it would be much more difficult to remove. Some poster on other threads who had this problem soaked the radiator with simple green and then power washed. You may have to do it repeatedly, or if it is too much oil, the radiator may have to be removed to get it all. But as they say, don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough. Do your best with the radiators in place and then take a trip and see if it's good enough.

So if you drive your diesel pusher on dirt roads, plan on washing your radiator afterwards.

Regards, John

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Old 06-10-2014, 07:43 PM   #58
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Glad to hear were not the only ones driving our RV on the dirt roads for boondocking. I'm constantly amazed at how well things hold up. We go as slow as we can tolerate but the roads can be rough. However I think the expansion joints on some highways are rough also.

We seldom see other RVs in some of the places we venture so not too many people are doing it and I would say we never see the newer RVs. It is always something similar to our own. Also the older ones I think have a little more ground clearance so can handle the dirt roads better.

Proud owner of 1994 Winnebago Brave 29RQ.
Chevy 454 on a P30 chassis.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:26 PM   #59
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Taking any MH over a rocky rutted road to go boondocking is okay as long as well you go very slow, avoid going over big rocks, and avoid bottoming out.
Washboard roads on the other hand are far more damaging. Going over 5 mph will do some damage after awhile whether it feels like it or not. The harmonic disturbance will not be good for all the systems.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:52 AM   #60
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One of our favorite places to 'boon dock' is on the Denali Highway, which is a 135 miles stretch of road that is mostly gravel. While it is 'graded' once in a while, it can still get a lot of pot holes and become a big 'wash board' after any amount of rain. Most times we are also pulling a 20' trailer with our 'toys' on it. We take the road slowly, attempt to dodge the larger pot holes a pay attention to what the MH is telling us. When we get to our 'camping' area, I spend some time going over the MH looking for loose/missing screws and bolts. I also carry a good assortment of fasteners to replace any that may have been lost on the trip.
While the larger Class 'A' MH's may not be designed for this kind of travel, with a little care they will do just fine.
2009 38' Diplomat
CSM- retired, wife as co-pilot
Reka & Ali providing security (our 2 labs)
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:28 AM   #61
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Another tough road I just remembered, I-10 through parts of East Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. Parts of these roads the right lane just made me feel like I was damaging my
MH. I couldn't believe these roads were so bad. Ohio roads are bad because of the frost, but nothing like this stretch of I-10.
Most of the time getting to a good boondocking spot is not far. Even if rutted or bad, going 5 mph and watching for big holes will not hurt your MH. Driving some of these highways your MH was "designed for on the above mentioned highway can be more damaging, IMO.
40 FT--330HP CAT
2 SLIDES-TOAD 2012 focus
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:34 PM   #62
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Now you're talking. I would love to have this unit.

Mark & Carole
What a long strange trip it's been.

No longer RVing. Happy Trails to you.
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