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Old 09-02-2018, 07:25 AM   #1
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DP Side Radiator?

I have been searching the forums concerning used DPs and I have seen several comments recommending a coach with a side radiator instead of the rear one. I get that it makes the diesel engine easier to service. But is this a deal breaking or making feature?


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Old 09-02-2018, 07:34 AM   #2
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For many, a side radiator can be a critical feature. Ease of maintenance and better cooling are two factors to consider. It might be a make/break item for people operating in hotter climates, or hill climbing in the West.

Coaches with rear radiators certainly work, and there are thousands on the road. For me it would be a factor, but not “The Factor”.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:02 AM   #3
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I work on mine and wouldn't have a rear radiator coach.

If you take one to a shop you will pay dearly for maintenance as it will take more man hours of labor due to difficulty of access.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:05 AM   #4
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I live in Las Vegas, NV and do a lot of travel in the Summer throughout the Western States with a DP having a rear radiator without any difficulties. I do try and hose out the radiator area every 60 days but have never found anything more than a little rust accumulation. For me this type of radiator has never been an issue.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:10 AM   #5
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If you are a DIY person it is great to get a side radiator.
Since I am one of those people to me it was a deal breaker.

When I was in Alaska I lost an alternator.
Drove five days without it until I reached Anchorage where mine could be rebuild.
It was an easy 30 minute removal and then 30 minute reinstall.

I really like the side radiator.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:16 AM   #6
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Only if you need to work on the engine...10 minutes to change the serpentine belt without standing on your head. In 14 years I only cleaned the side radiator several times unlike a rear that needs cleaning every year even if you've added a slobber hose.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:21 AM   #7
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If I was flush with cash and did not do my own work, It would not matter. If I did my own work, Which I do, I would certainly go with the side radiator. The side radiator is more complicated. The rear radiator is driven by the engine. The side radiator has to be driven by a separate power source, Usually a hyd. drive. That opens you to more problems. Leaks, etc.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:37 AM   #8
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Depending on the size of motorhome you are looking for, you might not have a choice. Most, but not all, coaches under 40' and 400 hp will have a rear model. There are a few 450 hp ones with a rear too. The side mounted one comes into play with higher HP generating more heat. It allows for a larger core for better cooling. The first four DP's I owned had a rear radiator. Only three times in 15 years did I have to do anything on top of the engines. 1 air compressor and 2 alternators. It wasn't a big deal. It's something to consider, but not if you like the rest of the coach.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:38 AM   #9
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….rear radiators on older coaches with engine "slobber tubes" was probably a bigger issue.....if you are a DIYer, a side radiator is a must have for me....if not a DIYer, plan on a good extended warranty or have lots of cash on had for routine maintenance and repair....just the thought of changing a serpentine belt, or an alternator, or a hose makes my skin crawl.....don't even ask about a water pump or AC compressor...
PS--friend paid $2000 labor to Cummins to have an alternator replaced on a 2011 Tiffin rear-radiator equipped product ….
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:22 AM   #10
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….PS--friend paid $2000 labor to Cummins to have an alternator replaced on a 2011 Tiffin rear-radiator equipped product ….
They took him to the cleaners big time. I changed one on my 03 Phaeton in less than an hour. Then did it again 10 months later when the replacement failed. I agree, the side radiator is easier to work on, but the rest of the coach would carry more influence in my decision to purchase.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:09 AM   #11
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I really like the side radiator! It makes it so easy to get to the engine.


I also love the side exhaust that allows me to use the Protect-a-Tow mesh shield between the MH and toad, giving complete protection from rock chips.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:47 AM   #12
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:55 AM   #13
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Do yourself a favor, and research the number of recent posts about diesel pusher cooling problems, and total them up by side or rear radiator.

Side rads are desirable for several reasons, but is reliability one of them? You be the judge.

Reality is it's a packaging decision by the chassis maker, as the engine and transmission get larger (longer) rear overhang becomes an issue.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:59 AM   #14
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Side makes for easier and less expensive maintenance. You typically pay more for a coach with side radiator. So I can't say the labor savings equates to money savings. As to cooling the engine they both get the job done.

Not a deal killer for me if rear radiator. I have a rear radiator.
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