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Old 03-08-2021, 01:14 PM   #1
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Radiator Corrosion

Have a 2001 Damon, with the 350 Cummins. Just had a full inspection done for the insurance company as I just hit the 20 year mark. Everything is as expected with the exception of the radiator. Mechanic says to monitor it, no leaks yet but showing signs of advanced corrosion. What to do??

Replace now or wait and see how long it lasts? Feels like a crap shoot if I wait, but the cost of replacing is quite high. May last 3 or 4 more years before it starts leaking. Wait or replace?

What would you do?
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Old 03-08-2021, 01:53 PM   #2
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That's always a tough call especially as a coach gets older. Is there value in replacing it? Do you intend to keep it another 5-10 years?

If it breaks on the road, far from home, the replacement will most likely double in price with towing, possible hotel bill and being held hostage by a company being asked to do it in a timey fashion.

I think I would keep using it and hunt down a good deal on a radiator and a reasonably priced place to do the switch. I had to replace mine on my 2005 Monaco Diplomat in 2012. I was looking at $3000.00, just for the radiator. After some searching, I found a company that bought Monaco surplus when they went out of business. I got a brand new radiator, charge air cooler, shroud and trans cooler all on a pallet for $1000 delivered. I did my own R&R.

You won't find the above deal anymore, but you may find something reasonable with a little searching and maybe scheduling when a shop is slow.
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Old 03-08-2021, 01:57 PM   #3
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Things usually fail at the worst possible time, preventative maintenance could save you some grief later on down the road, If it was Me, I would be worried about it , until it was replaced. Maybe carry some stop leak with you if your going to wait just in case.
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Old 03-08-2021, 03:09 PM   #4
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I would flush system replace coolant and as mechanic said keep a close eye out for leaks or low coolant level, would also as mentioned be a good idea to start shopping for a good buy for replacement.
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Old 03-08-2021, 06:11 PM   #5
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PO replaced it on the one I own, was $5000 during a road trip...

If it starts leaking and you *really* need to fix it on the road, itís going to be *really* expensive....

Might be cheaper to try preventative replacement...
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Old 03-08-2021, 06:27 PM   #6
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It’s twenty years old. An experienced mechanic has said keep an eye on it.

Do you want to replace it at your pace, when you can source the parts at the best price, and choose the shop to do the work?

OR, do you want to replace it in the middle of Wyoming, when you pay through the nose for the part, pay extra for expedited freight, have an unknown shop work on it, and deal with DW for the week or more of downtime?
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Old 03-08-2021, 07:22 PM   #7
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I say if you like your coach and trust your mechanic...Replace it. I have always been proactive with all my vehicles and it has worked out well. Never had to deal with the stress of on the road repairs and hope I never do.
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Old 03-09-2021, 10:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by widmerhd View Post
Have a 2001 Damon, with the 350 Cummins. Just had a full inspection done for the insurance company as I just hit the 20 year mark. Everything is as expected with the exception of the radiator. Mechanic says to monitor it, no leaks yet but showing signs of advanced corrosion. What to do??

Replace now or wait and see how long it lasts? Feels like a crap shoot if I wait, but the cost of replacing is quite high. May last 3 or 4 more years before it starts leaking. Wait or replace?

What would you do?
Well Sir,
*Gambling* can be lucrative or, it can cost you BIG TIME! The "....cost of replacing is quite high..." statement, is the EXACT SAME whether you do it today, or 3 years from now. But, the ramifications of you postponing a replacement, could, I SAY COULD cost you considerably more if you dilly dally in a situation like this. Again, one more time, I say COULD! You also *COULD* last for several years before the actual need of replacement. Unless you have a crystal ball that's gonna tell you the future on that situation, it's you that's gonna have to make the call, none of us can do it.

The pics below show the radiator lower tank seam when we first purchased our '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT, with 40K miles on it, 10 years ago. I had no idea that, that lower seam was that bad until one day I had a small puddle of anti freeze under it. And even then, it was probably around 10-15 drops that made that puddle. Due to the fact that it's a rear radiator coach, and the logistics of a steel frame around that radiator, the issue I had was concealed and IMPOSSIBLE to see the extent of damage.

So, long story short, you see in the pics below, just what was taking place. I had to do something, even though it was a very small leak. So, I yanked tha thing out and really saw the problem.

So, with all that being said, it's your call. The mechanic said to "keep an eye on it". Well, if you've owned and operated the coach now for some time and, it's not loosing coolant, I'd say you've got a fairly safe bet that it's not too extensive of an issue. But, again, no one really knows, especially without seeing any pics of the issue. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 03-09-2021, 12:24 PM   #9
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I'd replace it sooner rather than later. While I can shop around and do it on my schedule and maybe within budget. It's gonna be expensive, but I'd prefer to avoid a breakdown on the road or at an inconvenient time.
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Old 03-10-2021, 09:05 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone for the feedback, looks like I am in the market for a replacement radiator. Going to do it sooner rather than later. Will figure out what I need and shop around for a decent priced replacement. Guess the good news is I can do it myself and save 6.5hr labor costs and all the shop fees etc. that they like to add to bills.

With Covid we are staying pretty close to home, but definitely want it replaced before I take any major trips.

Thanks Again for the feedback
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Old 03-10-2021, 09:23 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the feedback, looks like I am in the market for a replacement radiator. Going to do it sooner rather than later. Will figure out what I need and shop around for a decent priced replacement. Guess the good news is I can do it myself and save 6.5hr labor costs and all the shop fees etc. that they like to add to bills.

With Covid we are staying pretty close to home, but definitely want it replaced before I take any major trips.

Thanks Again for the feedback
Roger that Sir,
By the way, the radiator you see in my pics, was the original *aluminum-plastic* radiator which, is typical of a zillion diesel coach radiators out there. When I looked it up on my DTNA website, at that time, it was right at $1,750.00 for a replacement. AND, it was gonna take, in the neighborhood of 6 weeks to get. But, when I checked with a pretty reputable radiator repair shop near me, it took them about a minute and a half, to locate a *Copper-brass* version of the same exact dimensions and specs.

And, two things. 1, That copper-brass one would be at their door step, THE NEXT MORNING!!!! And 2, that copper-brass one was $1,225.00!!!!!

Soooo, it took me about a nanosecond to make the decision as to which one I'd go with. I've heard the arguments for decades about aluminum cooling better than the standard copper-brass versions. Horse..sh.....!!!!!!!!!!

I know this coach. I know EXACTLY how well it cools, going down the road, up grades, down grades, towing, not towing (very, very rare), hot weather, cold weather and all that. And the cooling effects AFTER the copper brass version was installed, ARE THE EXACT SAME as they were with the aluminum one. So, it's your choice on this. I'm totally happy with my copper brass one.
Scott
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:27 AM   #12
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Roger that Sir,
By the way, the radiator you see in my pics, was the original *aluminum-plastic* radiator which, is typical of a zillion diesel coach radiators out there. When I looked it up on my DTNA website, at that time, it was right at $1,750.00 for a replacement. AND, it was gonna take, in the neighborhood of 6 weeks to get. But, when I checked with a pretty reputable radiator repair shop near me, it took them about a minute and a half, to locate a *Copper-brass* version of the same exact dimensions and specs.

And, two things. 1, That copper-brass one would be at their door step, THE NEXT MORNING!!!! And 2, that copper-brass one was $1,225.00!!!!!

Soooo, it took me about a nanosecond to make the decision as to which one I'd go with. I've heard the arguments for decades about aluminum cooling better than the standard copper-brass versions. Horse..sh.....!!!!!!!!!!

I know this coach. I know EXACTLY how well it cools, going down the road, up grades, down grades, towing, not towing (very, very rare), hot weather, cold weather and all that. And the cooling effects AFTER the copper brass version was installed, ARE THE EXACT SAME as they were with the aluminum one. So, it's your choice on this. I'm totally happy with my copper brass one.
Scott
Thank you for this, we have a great rad shop in our city, sounds like the best thing to do is pull the rad, go see them and get what I need, rather than deal with Cummins. Wonder if a rebuild is possible and if it makes sense? Pretty sure the rad shop will know.

Has anyone done a rebuild?
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:47 AM   #13
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In regards to "rebuilding" of your radiator, if, IF it's an aluminum/plastic version, and, if it's built anywhere near how ours is built, it will have a steel frame around it. You can't secure or mount just the radiator. It has to have something to bolt to. So, they built a steel frame around it that separates into a few pieces. And, there's rubber liners for the steel sections to cushion and insulate the radiator from the steel frame.

When I was discussing the original one that was corroded with the radiator shop owner, I asked why he couldn't just replace the tank? He pointed to a top shelf in his shop where, there must have been 100 aluminum radiators. He stated we simply don't repair or rebuild them, it's not cost effective.

Copper brass ones ARE rebuildable, based on how they are constructed. The aluminum-plastic ones use a steel *clamp ring* around the lip of the tank, that also clamps the flange of the aluminum. It's all done by a special machine, that these radiator shops don't have. Just some info for ya.
Scott
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