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Old 06-15-2011, 06:39 PM   #1
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Question Rear radiator - good or bad?

I've been looking at a buying newer DP. A lot of the models I like have a Rear radiator. Is that harder/more expensive to work on than a side radiator? I would think it is because it blocks the engine.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:47 PM   #2
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It is harder to get to the engine for sure with the rear radiator, but I have had both types and both work very well. I have not had a problem with either one both on Freightliner chassis.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:47 PM   #3
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:14 PM   #4
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:23 PM   #5
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We've had two rear radiator motorhomes. Perfectly fine configuration.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Automobilist View Post
We've had two rear radiator motorhomes. Perfectly fine configuration.
Tell me that after you break a serpentine belt on a rear radiator unit! On our DSDP it takes me longer to get out the tools (two wrenches) to loosen the air con belt than to put a new serpentine belt on.
Plus I don't have to clean the slobber off the CAC and radiator. I don't have to lift the bed or unbolt a hatch to lube the e-brake or change the air filter either.
Other than that and cleaning the radiator/CAC there isn't much difference other than cost to the manufacturer.
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:13 AM   #7
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My previous coach (Fleetwood) had it in the rear and I never had any issues with it. On my model the airflow blew out so I really didn't have any problems with it getting dirty either. I did have to replace a belt on the road - and that did take a little longer because I had to pull up the bed, climb on top of the engine, remove 4 bolts from the fan and pull it out, and then replace the belt from on top... I had it done in about an hour with a mild backache.

My new coach has it on the side, and although I have not had to do anything with the engine (yet) - I do like being able to open the rear compartment and see all the belts right there... I estimate the same belt replacement would take me about 10 minutes now and not cause my back to hurt for an hour afterwards!

So, in my opinion, I do prefer the radiator on the side, and labor costs (hopefully few and far between for you) may be cheaper if they use actual hours... but my advice would be to concentrate more on coach quality, floorplan, storage, and how it drives. If in the rare case you find 2 comparable coaches at about the same price range, and you can't decide, choose the one with the side radiator, but I wouldn't limit my search for a new coach based only upon this factor!
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:22 AM   #8
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Very true TGMarrs. Good answer.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:27 AM   #9
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When getting our newer RV, I specifically looked at only side radiators for all the reasons given so far. The biggest reason was that we did not want the mechanic dirt & grease tracked into the living area any more than necessary. The side radiator allows most maintenance & repair work to be done from the outside.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:27 AM   #10
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Excellent, well thought out answer TGMarrs.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:42 AM   #11
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Side radiator if you like to do some maintenance on your engine. Either if you don't mind spending the money to have someone else do ALL of the labor and work on your engine. Of course, if you end up with a rear radiator the labor charge WILL be higher as it takes a contortionist to get to certain parts of the engine and that is only through the access panels in your closet. So don't plan on having too much stuff on the floor of your closet to remove each time your need engine service.

I have double drawer cabinets inside on the floor of each side of the closet. It's a pain to remove them but haven't had to do that since I put a quart into the Allison tranny on our way to Alaska last year.

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:39 AM   #12
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Thanks guys. That is what I was looking for.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:36 AM   #13
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Billieg......A side radiator is nice, but it usually comes in a higher price coach. All these examples of changing a belt makes me laugh. When you read the above, it sounds like these guys are changing a belt every other trip. How about every six years or so if you do the maintenance. Since less than 10% of the DP owners do their own repairs, the only back that will hurt will be that of the mechanic. And the cost to do it is once every 5-6 years.

Buy the best coach you can afford with the floorplan that floats your boat. You want a minimum of a 350 Cat and one with a 400 Cummins would be the best. An engine smaller than a 350 Cat will work fine, but you'll always be looking at ways to get more power. Something larger than 400 Cummins will run you into a very pricey coach.

After the wife decides on the floorplan, I would use the following criteria. in this order, to decide between two similar coaches......engine, side radiator, engine brake over an exhaust brake.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:33 PM   #14
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I have always like the side radiator as I want to see what is going on with the engine and can maybe see what might be wrong. We have never owned one however. But, there is the same problem with the side as the rear in that your fan is more than likely a hydraulic motor and prone to go out like belts are. Both situations can be a PIA, I imagine - had a broken belt on a new coach (alternator seized) and I could only see the bottom of the pulley and had no idea how the belt was routed.
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