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Old 05-22-2017, 09:44 AM   #1
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Cleaning Radiator & CAC

At now 60K miles I took a peek at the engine cooling system on my '06 Journey with a Cummins 5.9 ISB.. I've never had an overheating situation and the coolant temp gauge always sits halfway between the the cold side 1/4 mark to the mid gauge 1/2 mark. Well within the normal range and it climbs only about a needle's width on mountain climbs still staying below the 1/2 mark. When I looked between the fan blades I could see that about the lower 1/4 of the CAC fins are dirty and the lower I looked, the dirtier things got but no where near totally obstructed. It appears to be dry soot and not wet sludge. We're planning a trip to the Pacific North West this fall and I feel it's time to clean things up before we go. I have a few questions about the process. First question is what product is safe to use to remove what I'm seeing? I hear about Simple Green, but is it safe for aluminum? Second question is can this cleaning be effectively done in chassis without first removing the CAC or the radiator? I have an access panel below the bed and will be using a garden sprayer to apply the solution. I am hesitant to use a pressure washer to rinse and will probably use just a garden hose for that process.
Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks, Dan
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:06 PM   #2
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You might at the moderator to move your post to the cummins forum where you will receive more response.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:12 PM   #3
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From my findings and other posts on here about the proper cleaning of these, is to remove them, you can clean from both sides while still in and mounted, but you would be surprised what the insides of them both will look like after cleanings.
My findings were the only way to properly clean, is to remove them.
Here is a photo from another member that was still having cooling problems after several cleanings, and finally pulled them out..........I found the same thing........
Washing from the outside's, cleans just that, and washs all that jusk inside to join what is already there.........just like the outside, the other surface should be cleaned also, and washing from the outside's, doesn't do that ........

If you CAC is on the outside, it is easy to take the 2 hose's off it and remove it, then the radiator can be cleaned from both side's along with the CAC that is out. Might just as well take the time to pressure test the CAC while it is out.............
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:58 PM   #4
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As to what to use, I went to a local heat/air supply shop and bought what they use to clean home a/c condensers and it was approved for use on aluminum. I applied with garden sprayer and hosed off.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPO1980 View Post
As to what to use, I went to a local heat/air supply shop and bought what they use to clean home a/c condensers and it was approved for use on aluminum. I applied with garden sprayer and hosed off.
Simple Green Extreme is safe on Aluminum also.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:28 PM   #6
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On my Journey I cut out a section of the shroud on the bottom exactly between the radiator and CAC, sprayed the inside and outside surface of both with Simple
green HD then used a pressure washer. using my bore-scope it looks a lot better now. I will be driving the same route as before cleaning soon and will report the results.

I will say that I got a lot of gunk out on the ground. I covered the cut out section with a sheet metal cover and several screws
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelledan View Post
At now 60K miles I took a peek at the engine cooling system on my '06 Journey with a Cummins 5.9 ISB.. I've never had an overheating situation and the coolant temp gauge always sits halfway between the the cold side 1/4 mark to the mid gauge 1/2 mark. Well within the normal range and it climbs only about a needle's width on mountain climbs still staying below the 1/2 mark. When I looked between the fan blades I could see that about the lower 1/4 of the CAC fins are dirty and the lower I looked, the dirtier things got but no where near totally obstructed. It appears to be dry soot and not wet sludge. We're planning a trip to the Pacific North West this fall and I feel it's time to clean things up before we go. I have a few questions about the process. First question is what product is safe to use to remove what I'm seeing? I hear about Simple Green, but is it safe for aluminum? Second question is can this cleaning be effectively done in chassis without first removing the CAC or the radiator? I have an access panel below the bed and will be using a garden sprayer to apply the solution. I am hesitant to use a pressure washer to rinse and will probably use just a garden hose for that process.
Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks, Dan
Hey Dan,
Our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon, 36GD with the C-7 CAT, is fairly close to yours in build. Different motor but, very close. Cleaning the radiator and CAC is no easy chore. Some on there claim they've done it successfully with both still in the coach. Some, like me, have taking the time and energy, to remove both from the coach and do the most thorough job possible. As for the use of a pressure washer, some will run for the moon when you mention Pressure washer and radiator in the same sentence.

I used a 2650 psi pressure washer on mine, at about 3" away and didn't bend ONE FIN!!!!!!!!!!!! And boy did that help with getting all the debris and gunk out of those tubes and fins. But, that may not be good if leaving the units in the coach. There's those that have cut access panels in the top of the shroud to be able to get closer for cleaning, inspecting and actually doing some work through.

It's just one of those things that we rear radiator folks have to deal with from time to time, not the end of the world for sure.
Scott
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Old 05-23-2017, 06:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by palehorse89 View Post
From my findings and other posts on here about the proper cleaning of these, is to remove them, you can clean from both sides while still in and mounted, but you would be surprised what the insides of them both will look like after cleanings.
My findings were the only way to properly clean, is to remove them.
Here is a photo from another member that was still having cooling problems after several cleanings, and finally pulled them out..........I found the same thing........
Washing from the outside's, cleans just that, and washs all that jusk inside to join what is already there.........just like the outside, the other surface should be cleaned also, and washing from the outside's, doesn't do that ........

If you CAC is on the outside, it is easy to take the 2 hose's off it and remove it, then the radiator can be cleaned from both side's along with the CAC that is out. Might just as well take the time to pressure test the CAC while it is out.............
That picture is from my entries made when replacing my radiator. I don't think any amount of pressure washing would have cured the problem. Also I was not the only person who found a lot of crap between the two units. I fabricated a piece of metal to bridge the gap between the two units preventing a future episode .
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Old 05-23-2017, 07:53 PM   #9
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With my recent issues with coolant issues. My next step is to do what palehorse (The coolant doctor... :-)....) has said and rip them out and truly clean them.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Adamsta View Post
With my recent issues with coolant issues. My next step is to do what palehorse (The coolant doctor... :-)....) has said and rip them out and truly clean them.
Adamsta,
I too have had them out. It's not a fun job but, it's also not all that hard either. From the time I put my first wrench on it, to the time I lifted the CAC out (contrary to popular belief, the radiator and CAC can come out separately), it was about 6 hours. I was lolly gagging around though, took lots of breaks, 'CAUSE I COULD. On mine, one of the hardest parts was finding the stupid drain port petcock. Freightliner said it was on the left (drivers side) and, I looked and looked and looked. Nope, ain't there.

When I finally had the radiator out, I found it, it was on the right side and, INSIDE the radiator frame, SMOOTH MOVE FREIGHTLINER!!!!!!!

In the end, I ended up installing my own petcock, in a cross-over tube that sits at the lowest point so, take that Freightliner!! If and when, (there will be a time WHEN) I have to pull it again, draining will be a snap. There is a few hard-to-get-to nuts and bolts but, if this old man can do it, anybody can.

And, while you're in there, replace anything and everything you can. Belts, bearings and what-not.
Scott











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