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Old 07-24-2021, 06:06 AM   #1
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Rear radiator vs side radiator

Hi all. I have read the earlier posts about this but .... I'm confused because I read about road dirt, etc coming into the rear radiator area and understand the concept of cleaner air available via a side radiator. I'm looking for a new to me diesel pusher and see that a lot of them including Newmars have the rear radiator. Any thoughts ???? I also see that even the side radiator coaches have vents on the back for cooling air flow I think. Doesn't this make a dust / dirt mess in the engine bay ? What cleaning do you do ? Rinse radiator and engine bay on a regular basis? Thanks, Ken
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Old 07-24-2021, 06:17 AM   #2
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Both can be very dirty, but Side Radiator get better flow, and is out of the way for engine access. Fan, shroud and drive systems simpler on rear radiator. Keep things clean and good to go with either.
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Old 07-24-2021, 06:51 AM   #3
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The nice thing about a side radiator is you can actually SEE the engine……with a rear radiator you can’t.

A side radiator will sometimes create a dust storm on a dry dirt road, as the air from the fan is forced down after hitting the side of the engine…..but the engine stays pretty clean.

The rear radiator will be more likely to clog with oily dirt residue as air from engine area is forced thru the radiator, especially if your engine is one of the older models with a “slobber tube”.
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Old 07-24-2021, 07:25 AM   #4
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Here we go again. My rear radiator does not have all the misconceptions that side radiator fan THINK they do.
Easy access the the sides of the engine where most parts are.
After almost 50k miles my CAC and RAD are still clean. It is higher off the ground so less dirt gets into it.
I get 1 to 2 more mpg. Saves thousands.
The drive mechanism is far less complicated, uses less power to drive the fan, therefore more reliable. And less servicing.
Initial costs are far less.
Changing a fan belt will take me only about an hour. I carry the tools and parts to do it. If it ever needs it.
I did not lose a lower compartment for the tags. I don't have to buy 2 more tires. Tag tires are bigger therefore more costly.
I fixed my chassis so it drives 1 handed. With just a few fingers.
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Old 07-24-2021, 07:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiesta48 View Post
Here we go again. My rear radiator does not have all the misconceptions that side radiator fan THINK they do.
Easy access the the sides of the engine where most parts are.
After almost 50k miles my CAC and RAD are still clean. It is higher off the ground so less dirt gets into it.
I get 1 to 2 more mpg. Saves thousands.
The drive mechanism is far less complicated, uses less power to drive the fan, therefore more reliable. And less servicing.
Initial costs are far less.
Changing a fan belt will take me only about an hour. I carry the tools and parts to do it. If it ever needs it.
I did not lose a lower compartment for the tags. I don't have to buy 2 more tires. Tag tires are bigger therefore more costly.
I fixed my chassis so it drives 1 handed. With just a few fingers.
Pros and cons. There are advantages either way and of course disadvantages.

Working for a passenger coach co in Australia, all 186 coaches were rear rads. Mostly 8v92 Dietroit engines. These engines tend to leak oil. Yes the rads were pressure washed on a regular schedule and it was rare to have an overheating problem. The side doors and a swing out rad made engine access easy.
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:52 AM   #6
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You are receiving thoughts from those who have both types of radiator set ups and yes, there are pros and cons for each type.


My advice is, focus only on the facts that are found in the posts, not the preferences of the authors. You may not have the same preferences. Stick to these facts, and decide if the radiator position should even be a factor for you.



Both positions work just fine for the coach in which they are installed. There are reasons why manufacturers install side or rear radiators in their coaches, and it has nothing to do with ease of maintenance, preventing clogging of the fins, or blowing dust on a gravel road. It has to do with correct cooling capacity for the particular engine, and costs to be added to the finished coach. Operationally, you should not let the radiator position influence your decision on a coach.



The thoughts of the posters in this thread will likely open your eyes to things about which you had never thought, and that is valuable. Use those insights to form your own opinion about radiator position, realizing it will be just an opinion, and have nothing to do with whether or not a side or rear radiator should be in a particular motorhome.
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Old 07-24-2021, 11:40 AM   #7
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Expanding on Ljwt330's reply, there is another big reason why a manufacturer chooses a rear radiator over side: it's cheaper. Simply put, side radiators tend to appear on only the highest priced models, where the buyer has already opted for features over cost. Regardless of the technical debate is this topic, most buyers equate a side radiator with upscale quality & function.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiesta48 View Post
Here we go again. My rear radiator does not have all the misconceptions that side radiator fan THINK they do.
Easy access the the sides of the engine where most parts are.
I get 1 to 2 more mpg. Saves thousands.
Changing a fan belt will take me only about an hour. I carry the tools and parts to do it. If it ever needs it.
Speaking of misconceptions, I've yet to see a rear radiator coach that had easy access to anything.
1 to 2 more mpg? Well, again, not likely. Initial lower cost is why rear radiator coaches are built. Period.
Expect higher labor costs with a rear radiator when it comes to normal wear items such as belts, hoses, water pump, alternator, thermostat, radiator or cac replacement etc....
Now, that (my .02c) being said, either one will serve you well.
Concentrate more on an agreeable floor plan, overall condition and maintenance history.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:48 PM   #9
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Many of points above are relevant. IMO the real issue is temperature. As you increase horsepower and torque, you develop more heat that needs to be regulated. With a rear radiator you, have the heat of the engine blowing on the radiator as it exits the rear of the coach. A side radiator pulls in cooler air (not air heated by the engine.) this allows for greater temperature regulation. We all know how hot the rear bedroom gets on long runs. Those temperatures require an larger rear radiator to reject the same amount of heat as side radiator would require. From an engineering standpoint, you get to a point where rear radiators would not be as cost effective as a side radiator. Room for larger rear radiators can be a constraint as well.

Many higher end coaches have side radiators but they are also spec.d with bigger engines with higher torque. It becomes a necessity if larger engines are in the product offering. You see this in some brands where they have rear radiators for certain models and then go to side radiators on other model groups. Horsepower and torque dictate the switch.

I would suggest that the buyer looks at the features, horsepower, floor plan etc. first. If a coach with a rear radiator model fits those requirements then great. There are some repairs that are a little more difficult with a rear radiator but initial cost offsets some of that.
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Old 07-24-2021, 03:06 PM   #10
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The reality of it all....it's not an option or choice the buyer gets to make. You can't buy a small coach and order a side radiator and you can't buy a large heavy coach and option a rear radiator.

The manufacturer determines how much cooling their coach (weight and engine size) needs and then installs the appropriate radiator, side or rear. There are a couple of variations, but the above is pretty much the standard across the board.

Have had both and have serviced both. The side is more complicated, but much easier to work on. My current coach is too heavy for a rear radiator to cool it appropriately.
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:01 PM   #11
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Speaking of misconceptions, I've yet to see a rear radiator coach that had easy access to anything.
.
I have no issues accessing the engine on my coach, I just lift the bead and set in the engine bay and everything is handy. I wish my diesel pick-up was as easy to work on. And don't get me started on working on my 2019 Cherokee, you need to be a contortionist to access the most basic parts.
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:06 PM   #12
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I have no issues accessing the engine on my coach, I just lift the bead and set in the engine bay and everything is handy. I wish my diesel pick-up was as easy to work on. And don't get me started on working on my 2019 Cherokee, you need to be a contortionist to access the most basic parts.
LOL, not to hijack, but try working on a Sprinter based Via or Reyo!
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:30 PM   #13
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LOL, not to hijack, but try working on a Sprinter based Via or Reyo!
Engineers are not mechanics, that's for sure.
On a friends late model Fleetwood DP, to access his Cummins topside it takes a mechanic, carpenter and tile guy to tear into it.
He just dropped over $12k on a rear radiator replacement, parts and labor, at Ridgefield Western Star/Freightliner...ouch.
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Old 07-25-2021, 11:07 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Fiesta48 View Post
Here we go again. My rear radiator does not have all the misconceptions that side radiator fan THINK they do.
Easy access the the sides of the engine where most parts are.
After almost 50k miles my CAC and RAD are still clean. It is higher off the ground so less dirt gets into it.
I get 1 to 2 more mpg. Saves thousands.
The drive mechanism is far less complicated, uses less power to drive the fan, therefore more reliable. And less servicing.
Initial costs are far less.
Changing a fan belt will take me only about an hour. I carry the tools and parts to do it. If it ever needs it.
I did not lose a lower compartment for the tags. I don't have to buy 2 more tires. Tag tires are bigger therefore more costly.
I fixed my chassis so it drives 1 handed. With just a few fingers.
Can I ask what you did to your chassis to make it drive easier ? Safe T Steer or ?? Ken
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