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Old 09-01-2014, 12:45 PM   #1
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Side rad vs rear rad?

Why is a side rad prefered over rear rad in a DP.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:53 PM   #2
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It gives you easy access to the engine without crawling over or around the radiator!
Joe & Annette
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:59 PM   #3
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Think changing the serpentine belt..... and it's not all than uncommon.

However, with a side radiator, you lose storage compartment(s) and have extra hydraulic pump/hoses and another drive shaft with u-joints to drive the pump.

With my previous coach I was able to change the serpentine belt from up above (through bedroom access hatch) without too much trouble. With our current coach, I'm sure it would take two people (one above and one below) to change it out. Probably not really that big of a deal.

However, the front of the engine also has other accessories that require periodic attention and with a side radiator, they would be much easier to get at.

Ron, Sandie and Lilly
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:18 PM   #4
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All other things being equal, after changing the v-belt and serpentine belts I wouldn't even consider a rear radiator.
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by datrbone8 View Post
All other things being equal, after changing the v-belt and serpentine belts I wouldn't even consider a rear radiator.
(In my opinion) there are just too many other things to consider in choosing a coach, to eliminate on just that one feature. I've had both, and yes had to change a serpentine belt and alternator, thankfully with my side-radiator coach. But floor plan and overall features are more important to us, and a rear-radiator coach won out this time around.

Also, with the issue of DEF fill on coaches now, our driver-side DEF filler door in our current coach is located where our side radiator was on our former coach. I know a lot of coaches have the DEF fill on the "wrong" (passenger) side -- could this be related to having a side radiator?

Anyway, we have a rear rad now, and have been perfectly happy with it for a year and 10k miles so far.
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Old 09-01-2014, 03:39 PM   #6
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Hi dezolen,
While the previous post correctly mention the ease of maintenance for a side radiator, rear or side radiator doesn't get on my list of things to consider. One will have the belts changed once every 60K miles or how many years? Any problems with maintenance are for the professionals to figure out. I had the belts changed at 60K miles. Two techs and about 1 hour. For me, no big deal. 94K miles on interstate highways and my rear radiator has never been professionally cleaned. The engine temp is constant. Long pulls up hill cause the normal temp increase. Never over 210 degrees F.

Consider dropping this from your list of things to worry about.
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Old 09-01-2014, 03:50 PM   #7
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Basically the side radiator give you access to just about everything easier for instance you could put a belt on mine in probably 10 minutes. A rear radiator gets dirtier faster so it will need cleaning more often. I'm sure with your research you found that only certain manufacturers have side radiators and only the high end ones.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:02 PM   #8
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side rad

If the only real reason is belt changes I highly doubt it would sway me in the least. I prefer more storage and floorplan anyway. Besides I doubt I would be doing anything other than basic maintenance anyway. If I can afford a DP I should be able to afford a belt change at the least.

Thanks for all the input.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:21 PM   #9
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Well there is a reason ALL the expensive high-end coaches are side radiator..... It's plainly better. Some shops will refuse to work on rear radiator coaches because work takes up to 4 times longer.....and they don't want to have to access the engine from your bedroom!
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:28 PM   #10
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Besides better engine access, there are at least two other reasons side radiators are preferred. Rear radiators are more prone to road debris damage and clogging. Also engine bays run cooler with side radiators. This is because there is typically more rear venting and often more right side venting.

I wouldn't rule out a rear radiator if the price and coach are otherwise preferred. For me, if I was looking at a 40+ footer it would be a side radiator and have a tag axle.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:31 PM   #11
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Yes only the cheap $150 to $200 k DPs have a rear radiator and they are stranded on the roadsides across the country because nobody will work on them....

Lots of considerations and decisions to be made. Guess you could start with - only an side radiator will do. And then determine you will wait 5 more years to get a coach cause you don't like what you can afford.

Rear radiators may not be the top of the line - but they are not to be dismissed out of hand. JMHO YMMV.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:42 PM   #12
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Side vs Rear

Originally Posted by dezolen View Post
Why is a side rad prefered over rear rad in a DP.
Of course, lots of other factors are in play; but, I experienced overheating with a rear system, and none with the side I presently own.

The rear radiator had to be cleaned constantly: hot, I applied purple degreaser and then flushed with a pressure washer equipped with a delicate tip. What appeared to be mouse droppings would fall out. Not that my engine was a smoker or throwing oil. The present engine is just as greasy, but the side radiator doesn't collect a drop. Plus, there are the other reasons already mentioned above.

I'm sold on side-radiator designs.
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:39 AM   #13
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Forget the actual changing of belts and other items, to me the ability with a side radiator to just open the rear door and visually inspect all the belts, alternator, most of the fuel system, air induction etc. makes the side radiator a no brainer. Last year I caught a air line rubbing on the back side of a radiator hose which would have surely caused a leak soon. On my friends rear radiator you would never have seen that until it blew. BTW he can't wait to upgrade to a side mount.

Now that being said there are some nice coaches with rear mounts, just not for me.
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Old 09-02-2014, 10:20 AM   #14
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My Rear radiator, has never overheated or clogged. Only routine maintenance required. I've changed belts, hoses, coolant and thermostat easily.
It is a little embarrassing to find that it's just not classy... Who wouda thunk.
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