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Old 12-02-2021, 08:36 PM   #1
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Anyone have/tried/bought a steam cleaner for pusher radiator?

Pusher rear aluminum radiator.

I know all the threads on chemicals cleaners, aluminum, careful, mess, cleaning inside/out, breather tube extension, etc....

I would like to have my own steam cleaner to be able to do my own radiator cleaning on a regular basis. Have any of you purchased or tried any brands of what might be considered a non-pro version of a steam cleaner that you like or tried and can confirm does/does not work?

Interested to know you experience, how you tried to use it, results...
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Old 12-03-2021, 07:10 AM   #2
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I use a $79 pressure washer set to about 1 foot wide fan and 3 feet from radiator. Cold water, haven't needed steam.
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:50 AM   #3
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I have used my pressure washer hooked to the hot water in sink.
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Old 12-03-2021, 11:35 PM   #4
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New minimum 2k for hot water washer unless used. I have a lot of experience in repairing and using, Old school Steam Genny a true steam generating cleaner. One would and did safely clean radiators and hydralic coolers ,we are talking "steam" ,IDK if they even make those anymore, but some model hot water pressures have bypass/reducing valve that will create steam to be used through a bigger steam tip.
Our unit at work has steam bypass valve ,I confess I have never used it in steam mode.
If you could tap hot water to pressure washer you might need to put a Y connector to dump off some to keep water hot, most washers only really use a couple gallons a minute.
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Old 12-05-2021, 09:31 PM   #5
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May I ask,
Why would you need STEAM for the cleaning process anyways? There's oh, maybe a few dozen threads on here and in the past, pertaining to cleaning radiators the rear of D/P motor homes. And unless there's been some blow-by misting of the radiator in question, then all you'd have is dust/dirt/debris/leaves/hay/paper and plastic bags/ etc. In other words, there's really no need for STEAM, just some slight pressure.

And, even if there is some oily residue, there's a few dozen products on the market that dissolve that stuff pretty easily and, then the pressure washer takes over.

I mean, if ya want steam, go for it. I've had our radiator in our '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP out twice and, without a doubt, there is no way on this planet, that any pressure cleaning from any type of washer could have gotten that radiator as clean as I did it, OUTSIDE the coach. But, that's another story.
Scott
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Old 12-06-2021, 04:18 AM   #6
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May I ask,
Why would you need STEAM for the cleaning process anyways?
Scott
I didn't say need, but I'm testing the water on steam, so to speak, on I might want.

I blew a bolt on the exhaust manifold and had no choice but to push through with reduced turbo pressure and blowing a good bit of exhaust inside the engine bay. I've tried a lot of cleaners in the past on my aluminum radiator and have not been overly impressed and not even sure if it is actually penetrating, especially where the radiators are stacked. The option of cleaning from the inside between the fan blades and shroud is more of a guessing game as to what you can actually reach. Can't see much. Only a few small glimpses.

My thought was to see if others have tried any other kinds of steam cleaners rather than going to a shop and forking over more money for something we might be able to do ourselves. I do like to do everything I can myself. I have the new exhaust manifold kit ready for me to install. Will save about $2k doing it myself and a new knuckle scaping experience, for sure.

I can take my time and slowly go over the whole radiator if that is what it would take. Can't do high pressure because of the aluminum fins. Can't do a lot of chemicals either.

I see others now talking about hot water through the pressure washer at a distance....at which point, I may as well just hook a hose to hot water. I do appreciate all the experience and like learning from others' experiences, which is why I'm asking now.

Thanks to all of you who have given a response with what you have tried and how it has worked. That is helpful.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:27 AM   #7
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Trust me... even 120f water vs. 60f if film/dirt has 15-40w in it will make a big difference. Wash your hands with Dawn and cold water vs hot after doing grease monkey stuff you know the reason hot is better.
Not everybody I work with wants to fill our hot water washer up again with K1 or stop do repairs if burner is acting up. Sometimes you just spend the time to get hot rather than getting more wet in the process of cleaning with cold.
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Old 12-07-2021, 09:25 AM   #8
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Brainstorm or brain f@rt?

Well....as I was considering the advice of using hot water to spray the radiator, I was also thinking about the challenge that would pose depending on where I am. This got me thinking about small portable water heaters or using the RV water heater on high recovery mode (both AC and gas). Then that made me think really outside the box and a real Red Green Show solution.

I'm now looking for a radiator that I can throw on any BBQ grill and pass the water through that before spraying. Not really good control of the heat and might produce steam. Probably dangerous. Might be more than I asked for, but for giggles, I might try. I enjoy experimenting. Hopefully won't die a redneck death this way.
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Old 12-07-2021, 12:57 PM   #9
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Purchase an adapter that allows a regular garden hose to screw on a standard water spigot. That's the way I get hot water to a pressure washer.
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Old 12-07-2021, 08:50 PM   #10
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I held back but now that you made the suggestion of the grill. I had nearly same idea. I was going to suggest a turkey fryer with either a coil or a scrapped/garbage picked AC condenser in the water. It would be more the double boiler method. Make nice hot water ., exchange the washer water through the coil . Be aware that not all hoses are good to higher temperatures . But a true rubber air hose can handle some heat, just remove the quick connects adapt to what you need.. Of course you'd want this a safe distance from yourself and others. Don't nobody call OSHA on me. When I was young and poor to steam clean my engine compartment before a paint job. Cans of degreaser were still about 3-$7 can back then, Aldis pine oil cleaner was about .70 a pint . I used an auto body siphon type undercoat sprayer and hundred 120psi air. Into a buckets of nearly boiling water and Aldi's brand Pine-Sol. . It clean the engine compartment so well that when I sprayed it with black Centauri, paint made Satin, I barely had any fish eyes. Hot water and Pine-Sol makes a pretty good degreaser and it's barely on the acidic side of the scale, better than being on the base side safer for aluminium. Just don't let pure Pinesol sit on direct over metal paints, for a very extended time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsgriffin View Post
Well....as I was considering the advice of using hot water to spray the radiator, I was also thinking about the challenge that would pose depending on where I am. This got me thinking about small portable water heaters or using the RV water heater on high recovery mode (both AC and gas). Then that made me think really outside the box and a real Red Green Show solution.

I'm now looking for a radiator that I can throw on any BBQ grill and pass the water through that before spraying. Not really good control of the heat and might produce steam. Probably dangerous. Might be more than I asked for, but for giggles, I might try. I enjoy experimenting. Hopefully won't die a redneck death this way.
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Old 12-07-2021, 10:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by gsgriffin View Post
I didn't say need, but I'm testing the water on steam, so to speak, on I might want.

I blew a bolt on the exhaust manifold and had no choice but to push through with reduced turbo pressure and blowing a good bit of exhaust inside the engine bay. I've tried a lot of cleaners in the past on my aluminum radiator and have not been overly impressed and not even sure if it is actually penetrating, especially where the radiators are stacked. The option of cleaning from the inside between the fan blades and shroud is more of a guessing game as to what you can actually reach. Can't see much. Only a few small glimpses.

My thought was to see if others have tried any other kinds of steam cleaners rather than going to a shop and forking over more money for something we might be able to do ourselves. I do like to do everything I can myself. I have the new exhaust manifold kit ready for me to install. Will save about $2k doing it myself and a new knuckle scaping experience, for sure.

I can take my time and slowly go over the whole radiator if that is what it would take. Can't do high pressure because of the aluminum fins. Can't do a lot of chemicals either.

I see others now talking about hot water through the pressure washer at a distance....at which point, I may as well just hook a hose to hot water. I do appreciate all the experience and like learning from others' experiences, which is why I'm asking now.

Thanks to all of you who have given a response with what you have tried and how it has worked. That is helpful.
That is probably the truest statement from ANYONE on here that has *tried* to clean their radiators while still in the coach. I've said it many times. Each coach builder builds in different clearances for access to the engine and radiator. On mine, I can see the backside completely. But the front side, almost none at all. The prime reason is, the fan shroud, fan, and CAC block ALL visible access to the front side of the radiator.

Below are pics taken from the SECOND time I removed that radiator. No amount of steam, or any form of HOT WATER would be able even come close to removing what you see. THERE IS NO ACCESS to this kind of blockage. My son just pulled the radiator on his father-in-laws Tour and, he told me that that radiator was at a minimum, three to four times worse than mine. And again, no real way to clean it efficiently while in the coach. He HAD TO PULL IT OUT to get it clean, PERIOD.

Some have cut an access hole in the top of the fan shroud to gain some sort of ability to clean in between the two units. On mine, those two units are around 2-3 inches apart. Putting an access hole in the top of my shroud would be worthless. I've got the process of removing that radiator down to about 2 - 2.5 hours or so. Knowing what I know, and seeing what I've seen in our radiator fins, I'll pull that radiator without even thinking about it to make sure it's THOROUGHLY clean.
Scott

P.S. You'll also see Mr Rat man too. I have no idea when he deposited himself in between the two units, where I found him when I was pulling the radiator and CAC the second time.
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Old 12-08-2021, 04:58 AM   #12
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Purchase an adapter that allows a regular garden hose to screw on a standard water spigot. That's the way I get hot water to a pressure washer.
hehe...sure that will work when you are in distance to a regular faucet in your own house. Not everyone can have that option. The motorhome water heater is, of course, quite small and limited while the radiator is fairly large and very dirty.

Looking at all the options.
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Old 12-08-2021, 05:13 AM   #13
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... On mine, I can see the backside completely. But the front side, almost none at all. The prime reason is, the fan shroud, fan, and CAC block ALL visible access to the front side of the radiator.

... I've got the process of removing that radiator down to about 2 - 2.5 hours or so. Knowing what I know, and seeing what I've seen in our radiator fins, I'll pull that radiator without even thinking about it to make sure it's THOROUGHLY clean.
Scott
That's impressive and a good bit of work and radiator fluid. I was kinda hoping that this combo of hotter water (whether steam or just hot), chemicals, whatever suggestions come...might be enough to avoid that amount of work. I'm certainly not lazy, but I am perhaps concerned a little about messing with the actual connection and tubing for the cooling system. Those are the kinds of things that I personally like to leave alone and not wiggle and bend and break over time. I have done some preventative maintenance and replaced components before they break, but the radiator and hoses are ones I'm personally handling with a lot of care. You got more chutzpah than me on this one.
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:43 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by gsgriffin View Post
That's impressive and a good bit of work and radiator fluid. I was kinda hoping that this combo of hotter water (whether steam or just hot), chemicals, whatever suggestions come...might be enough to avoid that amount of work. I'm certainly not lazy, but I am perhaps concerned a little about messing with the actual connection and tubing for the cooling system. Those are the kinds of things that I personally like to leave alone and not wiggle and bend and break over time. I have done some preventative maintenance and replaced components before they break, but the radiator and hoses are ones I'm personally handling with a lot of care. You got more chutzpah than me on this one.
Hey gs,
The radiator hoses, clamps, connections, are no different on a diesel pusher than they are on your basic automobile. I purchased a set of hose removal tools a long time ago at a swap meet. They have been invaluable in many, many projects I've done. Here's the type I'm speaking of:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/12403229366...dc796fef0a7d04

This project Sir, is entirely up to you. I'm with you on *Hopefully* being able to clear all those impossible-to-get-to radiator fins and CAC fins with whatever kind of combination of hot water/chemicals etc. without the removal of them from the coach. But, as I've stated many, many times on here, it's virtually impossible, due to the layout of construction of our coach. Every single person that has yanked their radiator out for maintenance, has admitted it would be impossible for a thorough and efficient cleaning of the fins, unless it was pulled. It's a choice thing. Good luck.
Scott
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