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Old 08-01-2021, 10:59 AM   #1
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Coolant Change - Freightliner Volume vs Reality

I am posting this just as my experience and as a highlight to others that may be doing their own coolant changes and relying on the Total System capacity given by Freightliner (or perhaps other chassis builders) that those capacities could be far from reality.

I have the XCR chassis, 450 HP ISL, side radiator, with the option to heat the potable water from the engine while in transit.

Since purchasing the 2013 4336 MA about 2 years ago, I had no idea what kind of coolant was in the system. The lab test was good at the end of 2019, but at the end of 2020 was showing degradation. Rather than adding SCA's to something I didn't know for sure what it was or how old, I opted to do my own complete coolant change going with Fleetgaurd ES Compleat OAT (concentrate).

My product manuals showed a fluid capacity of only 12 quarts, so I knew that was not correct and was probably only the engine itself. I contacted Freightliner support in Gaffney and gave them my VIN. They reported back that my Total System Coolant Capacity was 11 gallons. Upon questioning them as to what all this included, they advised this was everything as shipped including a loop to the front of the chassis for the body builder to install the heater core for dash heat and a loop to the Oasis area for the body builder to install the hot water heat option. I contacted Newmar to see what they did to the system and was told they only cut those two lines and installed the cores and did not use hardly any coolant at all to top off the system as received.

I was able to drain 11.5 gallons of old coolant from the system. This included removal of the old hoses as I had also decided to perform a complete replacement of those. (Side note: There was only ONE of the bottom radiator hoses available in all of North America! I had to have it shipped to me from Canada!) Now, I've never been able to drain all the old coolant from these systems, but the drained volume really closely matched what I would expect based on the info from Freightliner and Newmar.

I flushed the system first with Restore cleaner. Then did TWO more flushes with Distilled Water (very hard water at home and I don't want any chance of that left in a coolant system and water is cheap). Each time I could drain 11.5 gallons. I need a higher freeze protection than 50/50 based on where I live, so reinstalled 6.5 gallons of concentrate and topped off with 5 gallons of Distilled water desiring a FP in the -55 to 60 range. Result: 42% EG level and approx -15F freeze protection. From that, I calculated that I really had a 15.5 gallon total system capacity. I drained 4 gallons of the mix and added 4 gallons of concentrate back in now giving me approx 9 gallons of EG in the system. Voila! The reading came back at 58% EG and a FP of -57F.

I should have known that I could NEVER drain the entire system, even though I was using one of those devices where it sucks the system down collapsing the hoses and then uses the vacuum created to suck the new fluid back into the system (which was a wonderful tool to use...it just doesn't suck fluid out that is left from the drain, apparently). Mathematically, it's impossible that Freightliner quoted the correct system volume OR Newmar does more to affect the volume than they told me (a 4 gallon system difference would be a LOT for Newmar to install, so I think Freightliner is way off). I contemplated that I had a mislabed batch of Concentrate that was really 50/50 mix, but if that was the case, when I drained and re-added concentrate (which I tested) I would have been WAY over the desired EG level at the end instead of coming in right on. In addition, I had mixed the left over concentrate from the first time and that tested perfectly as a mix.

Long story, but in NET I just wanted to relate this so that anyone doing their own coolant change takes any Total System volumes given to them by the chassis or coach manufacturers with a grain of salt. Always test your end result to make sure you have a proper mix for your conditions/needs.
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On the Mississippi in SE Minnesota
2013 Newmar Mountain Aire 4336
2016 Chevy Silverado 4x4
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