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Old 09-27-2012, 10:19 PM   #1
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Newbie and Mountain Driving 330 Cat keeping it Cool?

Hey folks,

Driving in Colorado on I-70 west of Denver and our 2004 Meridian 36G over heated and I pulled over let it cool. It was a new rig to us and I am new to diesel operation but I drove mountains before. After letting it cool at idle, It ran rough and I called a mobile tech who changed the fuel filter that improved performance. Went to Grand Junction to MHC Kenworth at recommendation of mobile tech who said they had great CAT mechanics and had diagnostics run. No issues found and then had oil changed, lubed, cooling checked, (down 3/4 gallon) brakes checked, and air canister changed.

We continued on and it got hot in a pass in Utah.

How do I drive this diesel in the mountains and keep it cool? Where do I want the tachometer at While going up a grade? Going down isn't a problem.

Thanks a bunch. We are in Kanab, Ut now for a few days heading down Hwy 89 to Flagstaff and then to Williams.

Staff at MHC was outstanding with the Cat. Talking to dealer who said the services were done recently when we get back. Evidence to the contrary. Shame on me for not checking.

Thanks for you help.

Dave T.

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Old 09-27-2012, 10:29 PM   #2
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Keep engine around 2000 rpm while climbing. You may have to manually downshift to do it.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:44 PM   #3
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Check your radiator for being dirty with slobber tube residue and road grime. May need a good washout. Also keep RPM above 2000 while climbing.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:04 PM   #4
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We agree with stuhly. We've gone over some of the steepest grades in the country, including the mountains in Utah, in the summer with no overheating problems. It sounds as if your radiator is dirty which is a common problem with rear radiators and slobber tubes ...getting gunked up. It sounds as if you need to add the "Simple Green Treatment" to your maintenance tasks.

Read this thread for details: click here

We do the Simple Green Treatment twice a year (along with a slobber tube modification) and never have had an overheating problem.


ETA: Here's a more detailed cleaning procedure by wb7auk: click here
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:36 PM   #5
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My 2004 Meridian 36G with Cat 330 HP pulling a Jeep Wrangler started running hot 3-4 years ago going over a couple of Colorado Summits and Monarch Pass. When I returned home I pulled the two engine thermostats (Cat recommends changing every 3 years so I was about a year late) and found one of them had come apart and was never completely closed nor completely open. Replaced the thermostats, washed the front/rear of the radiator as suggested above, and placed a container on the slobber tube to collect the oil mist, and haven't had a heating problem since.
While changing the thermostats I could look through the fan blades with a flashlight and could see a kind of lint coverage sort of like a clothes dryer filter collects, so that CAC on the engine side really needs a good cleaning.
Certainly agree on the above advice to keep the engine RPM around 2,000 and manually downshifting to manage that RPM.
Good luck.
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:01 AM   #6
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Dave,
Well Sir, you're not alone in this situation. Ours climbs in temp too when on many grades and, the outside air temp is up there. It's not quite as bad if the outside air is cooler but, still does it. I've actually had the info screen yell at me and tell me I'm in the "over heat" mode. I was on the grade from Baker to Vegas when that happened. I was down to about 45 and, the temp was climbing. I pulled over at the Halloran summit, let it idle for about 5 minutes, the temp came back down and we were on our way.

To the best of my knowledge, our radiator is clean and has no grime, created by the infamous "blubber tube". The primary reason is, my blubber tube has been extended to outside the frame and back of the coach.

Now, if yours hasn't it is possible that the blubber (blowby) tube, is expelling oil residue, at or near your lower section of the radiator and, that residue will eventually pick up dirt, dust and debris from the road and, the fan packs in there pretty good too.

This may or may not be your problem or, possibly "Part" of the problem. Do you remember be commenting on the grill section of your new rig and how it "could" possibly have an "air flow" restriction, from the radiator? Your grill section is different than ours. The top section is blocked due to a factory solid section on the top side. Ours has grills all the way to the top.

Does that make a difference? Who the heck knows? Why did they build it like that on yours and different on ours? I did a check of many Horizons, multiple lengths and, it appears that ours is the minority out there. There's many more like yours out there than there is like ours. Again, don't know if it make any difference at all.

These cooling systems are pretty self sustaining and, they keep themselves pretty clean, on the inside that is. I don't know if they develope corrosion or clogging in the radiator or not now days due to the strict chemical makeup of the anti-freeze etc.

As for driving and trying to assist in keeping the big girl cool, as has been stated, keeping the engine at a higher RPM during the climbs, within reason of course. You see, almost (that I know of) 100% of these CATs are direct drive fans and, the higher RPMs mean more air flow through the radiator and, that means better heat transfer to the fins, from the coolant. At least that's the theory anyway.

As you start climbing a grade, you'll eventually know both by second nature and, looking at the tach, at what RPMs, the engine/trans will auto shift to the next lower gear. You can, again within reason, shift it ahead of time to the next lower gear, to assist in keeping in the torque range and, yep, getting that fan speed at a higher rate and thus, moving more air. Just don't forget you preshifted it and you'll need to manually shift it back to the next highest gear when appropriate.

That's about it on the exterior assist side. On the internal side, your CAT tech will have to determine if the radiator is clogged and or needs some sort of service and, any other issues that may need attention in the cooling system. Hope this helps at least some. Take care, have a good trip.

By the way, don't know where you're planning on staying when in Williams but, there's a great, National Forest campground called Kaibab National Forest Campground. It's on highway 64, which, is the same off ramp you'd take for Williams. Only instead of going south from the off ramp, you go north, towards the South rim of the Grand Canyon, about 1-2 miles and the entrance to the campground is on the left.

I don't know if it's open or not but, it's a non-hookup campground and is incredibly nice and quiet. There's a lake there too, small, but a lake non the less. We use the C or D loops, on the upper end because the camp spots are more spread out and, as stated, it's QUIET! I like quiet. Then, when you want, a quick jaunt down the road and you're in Williams. OK, one more time, have a good trip.

Scott
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:34 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the great advice and things to check. I am sure the thermostats haven't been changed either. I can do the radiator before we move on. When I changed the inside A/C filter it literally had blanket of lint covering on it. Indication of how maintenance was performed by the prior owner. Once I get these all done, I will have more confidence in the chassis and my abilities in driving it.

Cannot say enough good things about Kevin, our mechanic, at MHC Kenworth in Grand Junction. He gave me a crash course in the C-7 capabilities and engine systems. He even showed me the Cat service history. He said the passes give them a tremendous amount of business.

The adventure continues!
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:01 AM   #8
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3126B Cat 300 hp

Were running the 300 Cat hp in our 2000 Winn 40J UA pulling a Dodge Dakota 4 door pick up, on grades I run 2000 to 2200 on the rpm never higher I do run the rpm down to 1800 or 1700 if it's cool outside. We purchased this unit 3 years ago and I did notice that the previous owner did extend the breather tube but we don't seem to get much or any blowby.

Years ago I drove semi over the Grapevine on 5 in CA hauling a tanker of Spring water 6700 gallons 80,000 Ibs made 110 trips only had a 350 hp it's all the rps did have to run the heater a few times but keep your foot out of it and just shift down to the next lower gear and you will solve your overheating problems.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:54 PM   #9
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Update on the heating issue.

We left Kanab today and I had a heating problem south of Page, AZ and took great care to run slower into Flagstaff and then onto Williams, AZ which is our final destination before heading home next Wednesday to Missouri. Once in Williams I bought a bottle of Simple Green, whilch was the only bottle in town! We let the MH cool down and then onto a car wash. Sprayed the Simple Green on used the wash wand on low spray and repeated five times. Started the engine and rinsed until no more bubbles. Drove it around to get to running temp and noticed it was running cooler.

Lots of crap did come out and some from the inside of the radiator once the motor was started. Engine area looks brand new.

The engine digital display for my rig is useless since you can't read it while driving. I understand that there is a fix for the display.

Once we leave for home I will report back.

Thanks to all who provided information.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:08 AM   #10
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CAUTION: Beward Simple Green

Simple Green EATS Aluminum which your CAC is made of. A product called "Simple green EXTREME" is designed for use on aircraft aluminum and will not hurt your CAC
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwasouth View Post
Simple Green EATS Aluminum which your CAC is made of. A product called "Simple green EXTREME" is designed for use on aircraft aluminum and will not hurt your CAC
Very good point. We have three types of Simple Green on hand but use regular Simple Green All-Purpose (green) for quick cleaning of the radiator/CAC area (once a month). As long as you don't let the regular stuff sit and wash it off quickly, it shouldn't harm aluminum. However, once a year we clean the gunk (if any) out of the "sandwich" area from the other side and use the Extreme Simple Green Aircraft cleaner. We let it sit for about 20-minutes or so before giving it a good hosing off. We are also have the Pro Simple Green HD (purple stuff) which is supposedly safe for aluminum too but I think is more expensive so we probably will not be buying that anymore once it runs out. We've tried the dishwashing liquid suggestion but it seems to us that the Simple Green products are better as degreasers.

A snippet from their website:

Quote:
Aluminum - Is it safe to use Simple Green® on aluminum?
When used with caution and according to the instructions, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner has been safely and successfully used to clean aluminum. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner, Crystal Simple Green® Cleaner/Degreaser, Simple Green Pressure Washer Concentrates, and Pro Series™ Simple Green® Automotive Cleaner have been used on aircraft, automotive, industrial and consumer aluminum items for over 20 years. However, caution and common sense must be used: aluminum is a soft metal that easily corrodes with unprotected exposure to water. The aqueous-base and alkalinity of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner can accelerate the corrosion process. Therefore, contact times for unprotected or unpainted aluminum surfaces should be kept as brief as the job will allow - never for more than 10 minutes. Large cleaning jobs should be conducted in smaller-area stages to achieve lower contact time. Rinsing after cleaning should always be extremely thorough - paying special attention to flush out cracks and crevices to remove all Simple Green® product residues...
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:21 PM   #12
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Here is the info from the Freightliner club on the info ctr dsp.

INFORMATION CENTER DISPLAY

For those of you looking to upgrade from the original Information Center Display you can still purchase the expanded viewing angle display (Medallion P/N 1539-10207-11) through Ross Distributors.

The cost is $199.50.

The phone number for Ross is 800 290-9798.
Click here for more information
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:30 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info on Simple Green and for the Medallion Instruments fix. I am sure I rinsed the radiator good as I continued until there were no more bubbles when the motor was running and once more for good measure.

I added a plastic bottle with an old sock at the bottom and zip-tied it to the end of the slobber tube also. Plenty of opening to make sure good air flow.

I was under the back end to reattach the "ITASCA" skirt that got broken off at the eye bolts when it was towed to Grand Junction. The slobber tube was really coated at the last 4 or 5 inches. I will check the bottle frequently when we leave for home.

Now that I have the instructions to the Medallion Instruments Systems Display I can watch some engine and transmission stuff. Hopefully the contrast setting will help on that. It bugs me that the date is 03/29/2000 and the time is wrong. Now I can fix it.

Thanks again for all the help and information.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:01 PM   #14
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Clean Radiator Did It!

Overheating Update:

We left Williams today with a stop at Meteor Crater and then onto Grants, NM and had no over heating issues at all. Gage stayed at 3/8 entire trip and never move. Cleaning the radiator did the job.

Had a good tail wind too.

Stay safe!
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:08 AM   #15
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Dave

had a similar problem while climbing the mountains in Death Valley. Had the rad and CAC steam cleaned and problem solved.

Suggest that you make sure that you are using the right amount of oil. Cat reduced the amount of oil from the original spec. After adding the right amount of oil, I had the dip stick recalibrated. This reduced the amount of oil going out the slobber tube which I piped out the back pas the mud flat.

Gary
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary D View Post
Dave

had a similar problem while climbing the mountains in Death Valley. Had the rad and CAC steam cleaned and problem solved.

Suggest that you make sure that you are using the right amount of oil. Cat reduced the amount of oil from the original spec. After adding the right amount of oil, I had the dip stick recalibrated. This reduced the amount of oil going out the slobber tube which I piped out the back pas the mud flat.

Gary
Gary,
May I ask Sir, what spec are you refering to? I have the CAT 330 with the small pan and it specifically calls for 19 qts of oil. I can't remember what the larger pan calls for but, its also specific to the size of the pan. Has that number been reduced and is it in a bulliten or, TSB some place? The below info was taken from a PDF that I have on CAT C-7 specs.

PM Level 1 Recommended Change Intervals
Oil Pan Miles/Years
26L (28 quarts) 15,000/1
18L (19 quarts) 11,000
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:22 AM   #17
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Fire-Up

I agree with your number. I believe original spec wass 22 qts.

When I calibrated my dip stick the old add line began the new full line.

The following is what I was referring to which is consistent with your number. If someone is using old spec of 22 qts the I understand that the slobber tube will get extra work!!!

http://catrvclub.org/CAT_RV_FAQs.pdf

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Old 10-15-2012, 07:04 PM   #18
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Update on Trip: Resolution

Hey folks thanks for the great input and knowledge!

As some of you may know, we were involved in an accident in Tulsa, OK on our last day home. A deer sand fell from a pickup truck in front of us while we were on I44 about to get on the turnpike. Vehicles in left and merging lanes and had to stay in my lane. Hit it. The driver stopped and was insured. Cracked the front passenger corner knocking off the fog light and dislocating the headlight. Damage was posted on other thread.

Anyway, we made it home. Met with the dealer. After being presented with the Denver and Grand Junction repair bills and mobile service call, they agreed that they would cover everything.

Accident Insurance company, Farmers, seems helpful and no issues yet and agrees to their client's being at fault. Motorhome is in shop that specializes in motorhomes and fiberglass repair and will winterize systems since weather is turning as part of the repairs waiting for parts. The "Itasca" rubber skirt took the brunt of the hit and pushed the deer stand to the right and away from traffic and the towed Ford Escape. The heavy rubber and metal skirt was bent into a "V" upon impact.

So many things could have gone so much worse but didn't. People came through at each instance and did the right thing as well everything going to path of lessor damage.

Wife and I are so ready to get back on the road again.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:33 PM   #19
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Glad to hear everything got sorted, but sorry to hear about your collision. We were considering a DP, but couldn't find one we could afford and ended up with our V-10, F53 Georgetown.

We haven't tried mountain climbing where the ambient temp is high, but North Cascades' Washington Pass (just over 5000') climbing from the east side in 75-degree weather, the V-10 coolant temp never went outside the "Normal" range, while running 35 -45 mph at pretty much full throttle.

I'm very happy with the V-10, less so with the F-53. It's an 11-ton box truck and drives like one!
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:04 PM   #20
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I just have to jump in here with the overheating problems and the reading of the info center. (1) Overheating, I had the same problem and no matter how much I cleaned the radiator from the rear of the coach, it didn't help much. After many months of brain-storming how to get to the front(engine side) of the radiator to clean it, one day I just dove in and cut out about a 6x9 inch section at the top of the fan shroud(I can access thru my rear closet). Lo and behold, there was a clear view of the CAC and radiator. The radiator was completely gunked up with oil goo, dirt, and whathaveyou. I ran my fingers across it and came up with nothing by grime. So I used the Simple Green Pro(purple) and took my garden sprayer and soaked it good. Since I park next to my house, i hooked up my garden hose to the water htr in the garage and, man, you should have seen the gunk I rinsed off that radiator and CAC. I couldn't believe it.

I took a run up to the foothills I did a month before when it overheated and this time, no increase in temps whatsoever and the ambient temps were about the same. I devised a method to re-install the cut out piece so it does not leak air from the fan and compromise the cooling system.

The FL dealer said the ONLY way to thoroughly clean the radiator and CAC is to remove them and steam clean them. It is about a 10 hour job at $125 per/h plus your coolant replacement, so I think I accomplished about the same thing as long as I stay on top of it regularly. I, too, did the slobber tube treatment with a peanut butter jar(Skippy's of course) and drilled several vent holes in the top of the lid. It has collected the oil blowby nicely.

It sounds like you may have your problem corrected, but the cooling system does need regular maintenance.

Glad you had a good trip.
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