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Uhrlto 06-16-2016 11:18 PM

Where is the Coolant going
 
this is beginning to turn into a game of hide and seek and not a particularly fun one. Okay, parameters first, 1992 Fleetwood pace arrow, I think it's often referred to as a P 30. Chevy 454 V8, 52,000 miles. Initially when we bought our rig, it was overheating on the short drive to our home and since it was hot I waited for the following day to check the coolant level. To my surprise it was practically empty. I filled it with about one and three-quarter gallons of a 50-50 mix. After that it seemed to run very cool temperature climbed slightly as expected, when we were climbing a hill but it rapidly went back down. Okay let's take you about a month later, we take the rig out for a shakedown cruise about 15 miles from our home to a KOA. Everything was fine, everything worked beautifully. We came home after a successful weekend parked our motorhome back up in the storage facility and left it there for about a month and a half. Okay so now I bring you to today we decide to take a three-day weekend so I go and get the rig and I'm noticing that it's overheating, so I let it cool down and again I'm filling it with about a gallon and a half of coolant. I cannot see a drop of coolant leakage anywhere. The reserve tank has fluid in it. The temperature averages around 210 to 220 Street driving. Important fact to note that when I was coming downhill on the freeway the temperature dropped very low on the temp gauge probably down to about 162 175. But then rapidly rose again when it was under acceleration.
Okay, there's all the details, I have checked to see if there is exhaust fumes in the coolant and there are none. The fans are working as best I can tell, that means the electric and mechanical. Where is the coolant going. This is starting to drive me nuts. I also can't be sure about the temperature situation because I've read several different posts that a 454 can run anywhere normally from 192 to 220 depending on the situation, whether, and terrain. If anybody has an idea as to what I'm dealing with I would sure love to hear your input. We are going to attempt to get out of our Valley tomorrow and go for another three day weekend but I have the early morning to work on anything that might need to be repaired.
Once again my deepest thanks to everyone for their input.

TeJay 06-16-2016 11:34 PM

I'll give you what I know concerning these type of issues. Most of these systems are about the same. What plagues one plagues most and the causes of overheating are for the most part universal.

First of all you need to verify if you are actually having overheating issues. Maybe it's a defective temp sensor. You mentioned that at one time the temp went way low then came back up. That tells me maybe something is not reading the temps correctly.

I'd get an infrared temp gauge and when it's showing hot take some reading around the radiator and if possible at the thermostat housing. Compare with what you are seeing on your gauge and go from there. You have to make sure you are not chasing your tail.

Once you verify that you do have a temp problem sometimes a thermostat can and will operate intermittently. It's easy enough to change one.

The next thing I'd do is find a place that will pressurize your system with 15 lbs of pressure. Most all systems that I've worked on will pressurize the system to 15 lbs. This raises the boiling point of the coolant 3.25 degrees for every lb above sea level or about 48 degrees above boiling. Changing the cap is not an expensive thing to do either.

In recent years many systems use a pressurized overflow tank. I don't know what the P-30 has so I can't advise. If you have the pressurized over flow tank it's not a lot different except the tank cover acts like a radiator cap.

If all of that checks out and you are still loosing coolant, really do have a heating issue and not seeing any external leaks the coolant can be escaping through a crack in a head and being sucked into the combustion chamber and burned along with the air fuel mixture. That is not a good thing.

I have sealed cracks in head using radiator sealants but for a MH that you expect to run and run that's not a good reliable long term fix.

You've got some things to look for and I'm sure some P-30 owners will weight in on this issue.

TeJay

Uhrlto 06-17-2016 12:46 AM

Thanks Tejay, I do appreciate the reply. I'm pretty sure I can eliminate a head gasket or a cracked head, yes the mere thought makes me tremble.:eek: I have had a vehicle that had a cracked head and you can usually smell coolant cooking. It has a distinct sweet smell, and I'm not smelling a thing.

I am, like you hoping its just a defective thermostat, I can change that very quickly. I do not have a pressurized recovery system, just a bottle and hose. I have already replaced the radiator cap with a new stant, with a lever.

How about timing, with the engine running as smooth as it does, I dont consider it, but if its too far advanced that could cause a problem, could it not? As you can see I'm :banghead: beating my head against a wall.

Tony

DeOrellana 06-17-2016 03:38 AM

Sorry for the long post and if I'm stating the obvious, just trying to be methodical.

I think the most important thing to identify is where the coolant is going, as per your thread title. Coolant can go three places. Internally into the engine (bad), external leak such as hose or radiator leak, or vented out through the radiator cap from over heating.

From your description it does sound like you've ruled out external leak. We'll assume for the time being that it is not leaking internally. Without doing a compression check or radiator pressure check you can't be sure, but the indications are that it is not. So we will assume the engine is over heating and the coolant is escaping in the form of steam.

I would also rule out the temp gauge and sensor as the only problem since the loss of coolant shows that there is an actual problem. Yes, the sensor may be bad, but from your description I doubt it.

Since the engine temperature drops when you are on the freeway, I would rule out the thermostat as the culprit. Could be partially stuck and restricting coolant flow. It's cheap and as you say easy to remove, and it never hurts to have a newer trustworthy thermostat. Cheap insurance, especially if you don't know the condition of the rest of the cooling system.

if your P30 is anything like mine, driving up hills puts a high RPM load on the engine and not much air flow through the radiator, while driving on the freeway gives you much better airflow through the radiator. So I would focus on the radiator's cooling capacity.

Take a look at the coolant. Is it staying clear (clean) or does it contain brown sludge? If it contains sludge, I would start with flushing the cooling system. The radiator may be blocked, and the IR thermometer as TeJay described is an excellent tool for determining if the radiator is blocked. The radiator should have roughly the same temperature vertically with the temperature dropping from inlet side (from thermostat) to outlet side. Also check for debris blocking the airflow through the radiator. The A/C condensor is usually mounted in front of the radiator with electric fans. Check the condensor for debris also.

If the radiator is not blocked, not sludged up, and air flows through it, then the only thing left are the fans. If the A/C is on and the fans are not turning, then that might cause your problem, but with your symptoms I don't think they would affect it that much. So you are left with the engine mounted cooling fan.

The engine mounted fan is mounted on a fan clutch. The fan clutch is temperature sensitive and changes how much it pulls the fan depending on the temperature of the air flowing past it. Basically, if the air flowing through the radiator is hot, the clutch engages and if the air is cool, it disengages. If the fan clutch isn't engaging, it will cause the symptoms you are describing - overheating on hills, and cool running on freeways.

Finally, the timing may be an issue. I worked on a '69 Firebird with a built Pontiac 400 where it would overheat at idle if the timing was set to the recommended settings. It ran just find, would just overheat. Advancing the timing helped cool it down. With a stock 454 I would check the timing and the timing advance mechanism and vacuum to make sure it isn't sticking as part of your basic "getting it back in shape" routine, but since you say it is running smooth I wouldn't think that was the culprit.

My money is on the fan clutch.

twinboat 06-17-2016 04:56 AM

#1, Borrow a pressure tester, I believe auto parts store lend them out. See if it holds pressure and look for leaks.

#2, look at the thermostat housing bolts. If they look like they've been out, the PO may have pulled the thermostat out, the old school, wrong thing to do. May not fix it but could be the reason for the temp swings.

#3, check the fan clutch for any signs of leaking fluid near the hub.

Good luck.

DeOrellana 06-17-2016 05:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twinboat (Post 3119307)
#1, Borrow a pressure tester, I believe auto parts store lend them out. See if it holds pressure and look for leaks.

#2, look at the thermostat housing bolts. If they look like they've been out, the PO may have pulled the thermostat out, the old school, wrong thing to do. May not fix it but could be the reason for the temp swings.

#3, check the fan clutch for any signs of leaking fluid near the hub.

Good luck.

Good point about the PO pulling the thermostat out. Forgot about that one :)

TQ60 06-17-2016 08:43 AM

Fist things first..cheap and easy ones!

Take the cap to auto - zone or any place that advertises that they loan out special tools.

Have them test. The cap, often a tool by Stant which is a simple hand pump is used.

Ask to borrow it to check your system.

Lots of times the cap will under - rate meaning a 16 lb rated unit will vent at say 5.

Water boils at 212 @ sea lever and it rises 3 degrees mer pound psi so sealing required for modern engines to keep water as water.

Inspect the top seal as that keeps the water inside the system.

Next triple check the over - flow recovery tank by filling completely with water then with compresses air and very low pressure and holding hand over fill port check for leaks.

Our jeep started doing same thing and a 93 cherokee has cross flow radiator with fill port not perfect spot.

The cap valve would open at almost nothing allowing any expansion water to quickly escape and for it to boil at lower temp making it worse...not sure if actually boiled.

Combine that with a small crack about mid way up side of recovery tank it looked like it was doing its job but would loose water.

The top seal in the cap also leaked so the cooling engine would not draw water back...but the level in recovery would go down so it looked like it was all good.

Dug out the tester and discovered bad cap then tested tank and now all replaced and good.

Jeep only has 450 k miles so I guess it needed spmething...

Timing is computer controlled so pause on that.

When pressure testing engine look close at water pump was often a bearing seal will fail but only leak when warm and under pressure.

Uhrlto 06-17-2016 07:17 PM

outcome
 
First of all my thanks to everyone that offered a reply for this problem. Let me add now what happened today.
Ok I started this morning 17th at 8 am. My first hope was that the radiator would be empty, however it was full, however the recovery tank was fully empty, and I had filled it the night before, so all that fluid was sucked into the radiator as it cooled. So I started on the engine by replacing the plugs which were totally shot, All had gaps way over the 035 that it was supposed to have. two of the plugs were fouled, and 2 were put in by Hinjo the Sumo wrestler. I broke one getting it out. The distributor cap was cracked slightly and the rotor was black with carbon tracing, all replaced. The thermostat was old and I replaced it with a new 195 degree stat and new gaskets. Refilled the radiator to full, replaced the overflow tank which had a small crack, dont know if this was my leak spot. Replaced the radiator cap with a new stant lever type cap.
So when I started it it ran smoothly like I suspected, and I warmed it up a bit then shut off and topped off the radiator. re-started the engine and l let it get to 195 which it did quickly.
I drove it from Reno, nv to our campground in Cisco Grove, Ca about 45 miles and all uphill on hwy 80, the temp gauge got up to 225 degrees, my speed got as low as 40 mph but as high as 65, and she made the climb and did not boil over, of course I did keep the AC off. On the down hill side it quickly returned to 195 degrees. So is it fixed, I dont know. I do know I got a check engine light a couple of times on the run up hill, and dont have a clue as to why. So thats the new wrinkle now a check engine light.

Tony

TQ60 06-17-2016 10:14 PM

Cracked over flow will cause coolant loss as the radiator is not designed to have air space above water for expansion.

So water goes into tank and leaks.

Engine cools and draws air in.

As water flows in system it continues to blow out water.

You can get the cheapest reader you can find just to read any codes.

Maybe a wire not connected or maybe you had some air in the system still.

No reader then stop by auto zone as they read for free.

They also sometimes have cheap readers...Ours was maybe 17 bucks on clearance.

CJ7365 06-17-2016 10:32 PM

here is a you tube vid on how to get the code for an OBD I system on a Chevy


Looks like you fixed your coolant issue, good job, bet it runs a lot better with new plugs etc.....







https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8nZpQyoRh4

TQ60 06-18-2016 10:20 AM

Sorry...overlooked the year...OBD1 era...which is okay.

Did not watch video but most involve shorting out a couple pins in the connector then counting light flashes.

Just be sure you have correct pins.

mchero 06-18-2016 10:36 AM

This caught my eye;

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uhrlto (Post 3119273)
I have already replaced the radiator cap with a new stant, with a lever.

Tony

If the rig has a coolant recovery bottle you have the wrong radiator cap. That Stant with a lever is not a coolant recovery cap.

Those lever type caps can suck air around that lever.

Don't think it's the main culprit but worth looking into.

Keep us posted, interesting thread!:popcorn:

Uhrlto 06-18-2016 11:52 AM

Looks like you fixed your coolant issue, good job, bet it runs a lot better with new plugs etc.....

it ran great with the new plugs, a lot more power








https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8nZpQyoRh4[/QUOTE]

TQ60 06-18-2016 07:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mchero (Post 3121005)
This caught my eye;



If the rig has a coolant recovery bottle you have the wrong radiator cap. That Stant with a lever is not a coolant recovery cap.

Those lever type caps can suck air around that lever.

Don't think it's the main culprit but worth looking into.

Keep us posted, interesting thread!:popcorn:

They do have lever caps for coolant recover type.

Uhrlto 07-26-2016 05:28 PM

Sorry its been awhile since I posted on this thread, other things taking up time, but I got back into it last saturday (7/23)I found a loose wire that was once connected to one of the thermostat post and put it back, this caused the check engine light to go out, go figure. So I have tried everything except replacing the actual radiator to fix my over heating problem in my 1992 Fleetwood Pace Arrow, aka P30 or as it says in the VIN p37, it has a 454 engine in it and what I hope to find from you good people is how I can get a replacement radiator. Yes it seems that this has got to be it as its the only thing left that has not been replaced.
I have looked over the web and found many references to replacing the radiator in this couch, but never a part number or a place that will have one. I even looked into Orilieys auto parts as I found several posts on other forums that one can be had from then for around 2 bills.
If anyone has done this on the P30, and because of its age I’m sure that someone must of replaced a radiator by now, and knows how to get it out, which I think has to be done from underneath and most of all a part number or a place on line where I can get a new one you will help save an upcoming vacation. As always thanks for the help

Tony

DeOrellana 07-27-2016 05:54 AM

It depends on your coach builder on how they incorporated the chassis. On my '89 Winnebago Elanadan the radiator could be removed through the front of the vehicle after all of the body panels and the AC condenser are removed. The radiator sits in a bracket on the frame which goes around the radiator and is split on the sides and the top part comes off. You might find some pictures of it in my renovation thread pages 8-9 where I remove the cab. Let me know if you want pictures of any of the parts - some of them are put in deep storage by now, but I might be able to get to them.

Once out, radiator itself should be fairly easy to match up to a 1991 P30 MH chassis radiator or you can get it re-cored. Assuming Fleetwood didn't swap it out, the radiator came as part of the frame assembly from the factory. RockAuto lists it as APDI/PRO 8011544 for $277, and it was used in P30s for a number of years.

My advice - before you remove the radiator, be ABSOLUTELY sure that you need to! It's not a weekend project. I left it in place until I removed the cab. I weighed the risk of damage to it to be less than the difficulty of removing it before lifting the cab off.

Good luck!

cwk 07-27-2016 07:59 AM

Tony,

Did you ever get it pressure tested? I read through this thread quickly and may have missed it.

I had an overheating problem that started to develop on our 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (5.7L Hemi engine). I know. Different engine, but they all have the same basic components. The problem was a small leak at the shaft of the water pump. While going down the road, under pressure, a small amount of fluid would leak out and instantly turn into water vapor. So, we never saw any drips under the vehicle.

Also, loose clamps on any of the water hoses, heater hoses, etc. can be an issue. Again, pressure test?

Just some more thoughts...

Uhrlto 07-27-2016 06:06 PM

No, actually thats something I did not do. I pressure tested the cap only. Is that something that can be done at "orileys or dose a radiator shop need to do this? Thanks for your reply Charles.

Tony

Uhrlto 07-27-2016 06:20 PM

So, and this is assumption Erik, my books from the po state that its built on a ford step van chassie. Sooooo, i'd be looking for a radiator that fits a Ford 92 step Van with a 454. Which if I remember my teenage tinkering is a Chev big block.

cwk 07-27-2016 06:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uhrlto (Post 3181714)
No, actually thats something I did not do. I pressure tested the cap only. Is that something that can be done at "orileys or dose a radiator shop need to do this? Thanks for your reply Charles.

Tony

Please re-read posts #2, #5, and #7. Note their comments about pressure testing. The auto parts store might lend out the tool. I don't know for sure. I would expect that a radiator shop would have one.

Anyone else here know where Tony can find a pressure tester?

BA-in-Mich 07-27-2016 06:31 PM

about 6-8 years ago i pulled my radiator and had it recored. At the time it was $450. It took about 8 hours to pull and about 6 to put it back in. It took all of my overheating problems away.

kennyrodgers 07-28-2016 05:41 PM

Hi Buddy,
Re the loose wire on the thermostat.....the earth or ground wire for the ECU is connected to one of the thermostat studs. I ran an extra wire from there straight to my Battery Negative just to be sure the ECU get a good earth.
:thumb:

guardrail53 07-28-2016 10:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uhrlto (Post 3181736)
So, and this is assumption Erik, my books from the po state that its built on a ford step van chassie. Sooooo, i'd be looking for a radiator that fits a Ford 92 step Van with a 454. Which if I remember my teenage tinkering is a Chev big block.

You most definitely do not have a Ford chassis and a Chevy motor!:eek::nonono::nonono: Most manuals have both listed, because they (the manufactures) use both chassis!
I would find a good radiator shop near your home, and take the MH to them and have them pressure test the system, since you are not comfortable doing that, or you would have done it already. You are asking for advice, and have gotten some very good advice, but ignoring the most important thing! Once the system has been pressure tested, then the shop can determine if you need a new radiator, just a good flush, or a re-core?
My money is on the water pump leaking and/or the clutch fan! Rail!:cool:

mpierce 07-29-2016 07:09 AM

Are you POSITIVE that you do not have a cracked head? Would do everything you say is happening. If I understand right, you say cannot be a head, because you do not smell it? Before you spend big bucks on a radiator replacement, I would be sure it is not a head.

TQ60 07-29-2016 08:40 AM

Be careful here as you are not sure and we are not sure of your knowledge or abilities.

Many places that charge for work pay little so they have folks who are pros and not too sharp neither.

That results in expensive repairs from wasted labor from tossing parts in the hope of a repair.

This issue is stupid simple to a trained pro who knows what they are doing and can get their hands on it.

Compression tests can verify if a head gasket is blown out but not certify they are good.

Many other things can be done as well to determine issues.

And brand new parts also cab fail.

Most common culprit is a weak seal in the water pump that only leaks when under pressure so no puddle seen usually.

Simple pressure test and 5 minutes shows that one and a fan clutch can be checked by hand and if water pump changed maybe do fan clutch too since it is already removed.

Our jeep has been consuming water.

First the recovery tank that was cracked and cap that had bad valve were replaced and all well.

Later swapped heater valve and just yesterday after a month observed puddle.

All looks good and pressure test good what the heck?

Started engine which caused heater valve to move then a spray of water from shaft seal...

Simple stuff but a pain unless you can take the time to look for it.

If you have some on else do the work and they suggest large amount get a second opinion.

muscob 07-29-2016 01:18 PM

Before replacing the radiator, have the cooling system pressurized. While maintaining that pressure look at the following:

1. Look around on all cooling hoses including (2)heater hoses.
2. Look on freeze plugs, including at the rear of the engine specially between the engine block and flywheel.
3. Look at the bottom and around on the water pump.
4. Look on the By-pass pipe for wear.

Since you said two spark plug fouled, what cylinder did the plug came out? Don't forget to check the intake manifold gasket too if you're still loosing coolant.

nomad95 07-29-2016 04:11 PM

bring it to auto zone. they will pressurize your coolant system for free. i would call first
to make sure they have the tool. then go from there. i would check your oil level before you run the engine anymore. if you have antifreeze in your oil . it will eat your bearings
in your engine. make sure it's not over full.

leadman 07-30-2016 03:24 AM

I have a 1988 Itasca with the 454. Was also a mechanic and Shop Foreman in a City of Phoenix auto shop. I do have some experience with overheating problems.
First question: Do you hear the fan clutch engaging when you are past 200 degrees?
It should be very noticeable as it makes a loud roaring sound when engaged. I installed an AutoZone heavy duty fan clutch and it works fine, but per the factory that made this it engages at 195 degrees. This is also the temperature of the original thermostat so the fan clutch and thermostat were always engaging. I replaced my 195 degree thermostat with a 180 degrees. Now the thermostat opens before the fan clutch engages which helps out with power and has increased the average fuel mileage but just over 1 mpg.
Question #2: Have you inspected the belt(s)? These can slip or be worn out or cracked.
#3: Have you changed the coolant and flush the system, including removing the pipe plugs from the sides of the block? These can be a little hard to get at and may not drain the block when they are removed. There most of the time is hard debris still in the hole for the plug so run a screwdriver into the holes to break this debris so the block will drain. I run water in these holes to clean out the block when possible.
#4: Have you looked between the fins on the radiator for debris? Bugs and vegetation will restrict the air flow thru the radiator. If you loosen the a/c condenser you may find it plugged.
#5: Have you looked at the temperature sensor in the head? The debris can also build up around it and sometimes an incorrect sensor the a longer tip will be installed which puts the tip very close to the head above the combustion chamber. I installed aftermarket gauges and drilled and tapped the intake manifold next to the thermostat housing. Now I get a truer reading, checked with a DVOM with thermo-couple.
If the above does not make a change you probably will have to pull the radiator. I bought a new radiator for mine as the fins were coming loose from the tubes in the radiator.
I can pull the mountain grades and the temperature will only climb to 200 degrees. I also on the very steep grades shift down to second and back out of the throttle so I maintain about 2,700 engine rpm. This helps keep the temp. down and also raises engine vacuum (I have a gauge) so fuel mileage is also a little better.
Another couple of things to do is make sure the shroud for the electric and mechanical fans are in good condition. I also sealed the area around the radiator in front so the air is forced thru the radiator rather the around the sides.

D Lindy 07-30-2016 07:02 AM

TONY; I've read most of the reply's/suggestions but didn't see anyone suggest replacing the radiator hoses. If these are old they become spongy and will partially collapse when at times when hot and then restrict the flow of water causing overheating especially when the engine is under load i.e. pulling a hill.

leadman 07-31-2016 12:27 AM

D Lindy is correct that a radiator hose can collapse on the inside, especially the one feeding the water pump. It normally has a metal spring on the inside to prevent this but when the hose is old the spring might be corroded and broken. I have also seen the inner layer of the hose separate from the outer layer.
A good practice on an old vehicle that the history is unknown is to replace all of the coolant hoses, flush radiator and block, replace the thermostat, cap, as well as inspecting for coolant leaks from the engine, heater core, etc.

stumpnc 07-31-2016 07:33 AM

Is the unit still losing coolant? Yes-Pressure test system. No move to next step
Have you looked at Fan Clutch? Is it engaging properly,Here's how to test
Diagnose Cooling Fan Clutch

TQ60 07-31-2016 10:31 AM

Reading the link reminded me of something...

With engine cold and off grab on fan blade and try pushing toward front and rear of engine while carefully feeling for any movement.

There should be zero other than blade flex but if any is there the bearing is toast.

2 results is first fan does not work and if it is there for long enough time it will vibrate and take out the water pump.

Changed a few back in the day...

Pressure test will show if water pump seal gone but you may need a mirror to see.

Uhrlto 08-23-2016 05:49 PM

Made Some Headway
 
first of all, I wish to thank everyone who has been involved in this very long post and has stuck with it for the months that I have been trying to diagnose the problem. You have my thanks more than you know. So as the title suggests there has been some headway made in the overheating problem. And to help anyone new looking at this post I'll do a quick readers digest summation so everybody knows what were talking about.
This is an overheating problem concerning a 1992 Fleetwood pace arrow with a 454 V8 engine. We have owned this for almost 9 months now and have only been able to enjoy it twice due to the overheating situation initially it started out with the fluid disappearing and not being able to tell where it was going. There were lots of suggestions but I think as of today I found out where that fluid was mysteriously going.
So everyone suggested that I do a pressure test. So having some spare time I finally got a chance to get down to my local parts place and rent the tool. This is what I found.
With the engine cold, I went ahead and pumped the system slowly up to 18 pounds where I let it sit for a good 20 minutes and there was absolutely no loss of pressure. This made me feel pretty good because I was worried about a cracked block or a bad head gasket. But seeing as pressure was held this sort of eliminated this fear. So the next thing I did was start the engine and bring it up close to operating temperature, basically I ran it long enough to open the thermostat. At that point I shut it down and got another pressure test. I discovered two small leaks on the small hose that connects the filler To the radiator this is where I think I was losing so much fluid. I tightened up both hose clamps and that stop the leak. Once again pumped it up to 18 pounds let it sit no loss of pressure.
next, I checked the original radiator cap And it was bad it would not hold pressure past 8 pounds. So, I went back to the auto parts store purchased a new cap, checked it to make sure it held pressure and it did. Bought some additional Anti freeze went back to the motorhome topped off the radiator, installed the new cap and took it for a drive.

The temperature quickly came up on the gauge and sat at 210, now I have a 190 thermostat installed, so I went ahead and didn't really think too much about it being at 210. I should probably tell you that the temperature outside was about 87 when I got on the freeway and brought the vehicle up to 65 mph, the wind was blowing right at me so I had a lot of additional windage and I was climbing a slight incline and the temperature stayed at 210, this is with the AC off. I drove it for about another 5 miles when I came to a pretty good incline which I went up at about 50 mph the temperature slowly climbed up to about 225. On the other side of the incline was a nice downhill run to a flat area and the temperature came back down to 210 fairly quickly. So I thought everything was pretty good. I flipped on the air conditioning while on the level ground and the temperature rose again to about 225 I got off the freeway after going about 10 miles and started back to where we store our motorhome most of it was downhill the temperature stayed up at about 225 with the air-conditioning on. Then all of a sudden I got a service engine light that popped on and the temperature rose up to almost 240. This was with the wind at my back and only a slight incline. I kept watching it and it passed 240 and stayed there. I got off the freeway about 4 miles from our storage area, drove the motorhome at about 40 mph the temperature very, very slowly came back down to 210, I went ahead parked it quickly opened up the hood did not see the reservoir overflowing, nor heard any bubbly sounds which is typical of the radiator that's overheating, in fact everything seemed quite normal.
So there you have it, all the facts that I know that happened today I am leaning towards a bad radiator. I have reason to believe it's the original 1992 radiator which would mean it should have been replaced a long time ago, but I'm looking for you gentlemen or ladies to let me know which your thoughts are on this with this new information.
We like the motorhome and are willing to invest more money into it but have to stop sooner or later. And an overheating engine has always been my nightmare with any used vehicle. Tomorrow I'm taking it to a radiator shop and let them look at it, but I would sure love to hear anybody's opinion between now and tomorrow morning Pacific time. Thank you again one and all for all the help you've offered on this very stubburn problem. I would like to bring this particular problem to a close so we can enjoy our motorhome. Thanks again one and all.
Most sincerely Tony and Kay

TQ60 08-23-2016 07:52 PM

Was it really hot?

Get an ir thermometer and check actual temperatures.

Bad sender or wires can cause this.

A chunk of something clogging radiator can also cause this.

A 3 step acid flush can work miracles cleaning systems.

Collect the water as antifreeze not cheap.

Repeat your test run but before running long use thermometer to scan radiator in a grid pattern to confirm starting point.

Check hose temperature too.

Make photos and print them to use to write on maybe.

When it is warmed up scan again.

Go up that hill and scan again


If water pump is not pumping enough water the engine will be hot and radiator not so much.

If part is clogged the rows clogged will be cooler.

Shut off and w quickly try to spin fan by hand and it should be stiff.

If easy it is bad.

Radiator removal on your beast is an 8 hour job each way...A friend is having his done due to pinhole.

We suspect a blockage or lack of something causing the cooling system to ALMOST work.

Fan clutch too.

Uhrlto 08-24-2016 05:11 PM

I give up
 
Thank you for the reply Tony and the list of things to do, but I've had it with this dame thing and now its at the shop :banghead:
I have spent to much time not enjoying our couch. And if I could find the PO that sold us this MH, lieing to me stright faced as I asked him if it over heated at all, I'd choke the crap out of him!:facepalm:
I have sold a lot of vehicles in my 60 years and always told the buyer what he was getting into, so he could make a educated desision. :mad:
Sorry for my rant, anyway its at the radiator shop and they do think its totally plugged up, as I do. I'm told its a bear to get the dame thing out so I'm exspecting a big bill, but I told the service manager to replace whatever needs replacing, as I dont want to worry about it overheating in the desert.
So as soon as I know what the actually cause is I'll post it here
Thanks everyone for the help.

Tony

TQ60 08-24-2016 09:46 PM

Do get oem or known good quality parts and replace water pump and fan clutch as one needs to come off anyway and the other is not much more trouble.

All belts and hoses new and keep all old in the "crash box" for emergency roadside use.

Look at row count in the core and if 2 make it 3 as that may be a bit o bucks now it is good investment.

kennyrodgers 08-25-2016 01:38 PM

As leadman suggested earlier I've also replaced our fan clutch with a hayden severe duty item. The fan kicks in at 195 and coupled with a new 180 thetmostat she sits at 188 on the Motorway and gets up to 195 on a pull. She sat at 210 all day lonfg with the old Thermostat and fan clutch.
Took me a couple of hours to do but well worth thinking about the fan clutch.
Hope you get it sorted soon.
:thumb:

Uhrlto 08-25-2016 07:10 PM

Radiator shop Update
 
Well I got the call from the shop today. I decided to use the oldest radiator shop in Reno, its been here since we moved here 22 years ago. Anyway Henry called me and reported that its the original radiator, it was 3/4 of the way plugged with sludge. Its a big 4 core brass radiator that he feels can be overhauled and put back in. I told him to do what he thinks best. So he said he would call me when he gets into rodding it to see if it will still work for me. If not he said he can get me a 3 core aluminum for about 245, but hopes the brass one can still be used. Also the fan clutch was leaking fluid, so that will be replaced, apperently the pump has been replaced at one time an is still good. All belts will be replaced and all new hoses, total price 1500.00.:dance: I was exspecting a lot more...dont think I could beat that anywhere. So I'll have the MH back next week and were already planning out trip to Disneyland and Socal on the 9th of Sept.
So I guess this brings this thread almost to an end, there will be one more post after its on the road to report hoe it all works out. But I want all who have contributed to this disscussion to know how greatful Kay and I are for all the help, ideas, thoughts, well you name it, that was given. Be back soon.
Tony & Kay

cwk 08-25-2016 07:18 PM

Tony,

Sounds like good news. Very smart move to use a professional shop with a good history. Nice choice. :thumb:

I am certain that you have learned a lot about your cooling system and will keep an eye on it going forward. You may want to keep an eye on the new hoses and belts to be sure that the clamps are tight and the belts adjusted well. Sometimes the hose clamps may need some tightening after some time as things settle in. Ask the radiator shop what to check for and when. He will have the best advice.

Now, get out there and enjoy!!! :dance:

TQ60 08-25-2016 07:57 PM

1500 hundred!

We're you wearing your mask in case someone calls the cops?

great price?

Kenvb 08-26-2016 09:21 AM

invest in a code reader..dont be sticking pins in the plug. i am retired GM mechanic, have replaced many computors due to people watching those videos. scanners are not expensive anymore.

Uhrlto 08-26-2016 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cwk (Post 3225655)
Tony,

Sounds like good news. Very smart move to use a professional shop with a good history. Nice choice. :thumb:

I am certain that you have learned a lot about your cooling system and will keep an eye on it going forward. You may want to keep an eye on the new hoses and belts to be sure that the clamps are tight and the belts adjusted well. Sometimes the hose clamps may need some tightening after some time as things settle in. Ask the radiator shop what to check for and when. He will have the best advice.

Now, get out there and enjoy!!! :dance:



Fully Intend to:dance: Weve been wanting to get away since we bought the thing. Now I'm just hopeing that nothing else rears its ugly head (just for awhile) I will stay on thouse clamps as thats where I was losing the fluid that started this post. A tiny, but consistant spray on a part of the radiator mounting flang that was undetected unless under pressur. I will be very pro-active (as I usually am) on the rest of the system, just as I'm anal on changing oil and switching to full synthetics when I can.

Uhrlto 08-26-2016 02:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenvb (Post 3226363)
invest in a code reader..dont be sticking pins in the plug. i am retired GM mechanic, have replaced many computors due to people watching those videos. scanners are not expensive anymore.

Understood Ken, honestly I have been checking codes this old fasioned way for years with nary a problem, but I suppose there is a first time. Funny thin is in this particular case I could not get the light to come back on, and further unfortunatly I have a habit of hitting the battery mains, which killed the power to the cpu and wiped the code from memory, so all I got was a 12 code which is normal. I was hopeing to see a temp code come up for a sensor, but like I said no-go.
I will take your advice though as I need to get a code reader for my Firebird TA which takes the OBD-2 reader, and I'm hopeing its backwards compatible.

Tony

Uhrlto 08-26-2016 02:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TQ60 (Post 3225703)
1500 hundred!

We're you wearing your mask in case someone calls the cops?

great price?

Yep, and I was even carring my side arm that day :D. Truth is Tony about 950 of that is just labor, but to save this 60 year old bod, its worth ever penny.

TQ60 08-26-2016 10:19 PM

A friend has a 93 and was quoted 8 hours each way for pull and replace.

Uhrlto 08-31-2016 11:51 AM

UPDATE: 8/31/16... Well there is an update to all this and a price increase. I got a call the other day from Charles at the repair shop. After getting the actual radiator out it was discoverd as being gone. Apperently the thin material that the radiator is made of turns into something like cardboard and literally crumbles in your hands. This is what happened to ours. So no chanch of an overhaul but a new one entierly. Also our options changed slightly and the price went up nearly 500 dollars to get the best radiator we could get in there. I also requested that the pump be replaced as well just so I know its been done. So now we have a bill of 2052 dollars awaiting us. At least if and when I sell this MH I can assure the next owner that the entire cooling system has been replaced, a cutosy that the PO did not afford me:blush:

Tony & Kay[/QUOTE]

DeOrellana 08-31-2016 02:01 PM

Just think of the peace of mind you just bought yourself!

Knowing the entire cooling system is in tip-top shape is worth every penny in my book. I just had the bearing on the water pump in my 454 Suburban seize this summer without any warning. I would hate to be in the same situation and stuck somewhere with my motor home.

Uhrlto 09-01-2016 09:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DeOrellana (Post 3234055)
Just think of the peace of mind you just bought yourself!

Knowing the entire cooling system is in tip-top shape is worth every penny in my book. I just had the bearing on the water pump in my 454 Suburban seize this summer without any warning. I would hate to be in the same situation and stuck somewhere with my motor home.


Perhaps your right Eric, there is peace of mind knowing that all's well up front.
Its funny I heard a sound today as I was bringing her home, it was a sound I nerver heard before, The Fan Clutch, the roaring sound of a jet engine. It was music to my ears. It got a little warm coming up our hill that we live on about a 700 foot climb, I think it got up to 200, then it dropped right back down. to 190. So my 8900.00 MH has just cost me 2057.00 more, but like you say the peace of mind is well worth it.
The only thing I was not happy about was to get the rad out they had to disconnect the AC compressor, so I have to go and seek a r-12 recharge. I'm going to see if r-134 can go into a 1992 compressor. I have an 1994 Firebird and it runs stock r-134., if thats the case I can recharge it myself.

Well this brings this thread to a close on the cooling system. If anyone wants to jump in on the r-134 ? feel free, in the mean time I have other things to fix in the next few days before we make our trip to SoCal. Thanks so much everyone for all the help and suggestions that this post took up, you all stuck with it, you guys rock!:dance:

Hers a pic of the old core
http://www.irv2.com/attachments/phot...2a57f26988.jpg

DeOrellana 09-02-2016 03:00 AM

Wow! That is one clogged radiator! No wonder it overheated.

The R12 compressor will handle R134a, but the hoses wont. You will need to replace all of the hoses. If you want to fill it yourself, I recommend a propane/butane mix such as Freeze-12. I filled my Suburban with it after the last compressor died and it's been blowing cold for years. It's a direct replacement for R12. You just need to make sure you get the right amount of oil in the system. Harbor Freight sells a decent set of hoses for charging the system.

Edit: I filled the Suburban with Enviro-Safe and have been using it for a while, I used Freeze-12 back when I lived in the States.

The propane/butane mix is both more environmentally friendlier and has a higher ignition point than the R12 or r134a that is normally in the system. And it's cheaper. :) I've done quite a few cars with it and not had any problems.

The other option is to have a certified mechanic refill it with R-12.


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