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Old 07-18-2006, 06:32 PM   #21
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My understanding is that the reason the dipstick is not calibrated by the engine manufacturer is that when it builds and engine it doesn't know how it will be positioned in the vehicle it is installed in. I always wonder about this explanation and whether or not it has any validity.
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Old 07-20-2006, 08:36 AM   #22
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Thanks for the additional info.
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:20 AM   #23
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2004 journey overheat on long pulls

Originally Posted by Golfingene View Post
The longer breather tube is supposed to help, but dumps the crud closer to your toad. CAT has a CAT Mist Filtrtion System which I'm going to have installed which is supposed to recycle the engine oil that has been fogging the radiator and blow only non-oily residue out of a longer breather exhaust tube.
I'm hopeful this will solve the clogging problem for the foreseeable future.
Hello Golfingene,

I am having exactly the same problem. Changed thermostats, new airfilter, but still have overheat on long pulls. Only 15K miles. Have changed oil 2 times in last 5K miles. Did you buy the CAT Mist Filtration System? How much did it cost? Does it work? How do you deal with the oil overfill problem?

thanks so much for your info, I am getting desperate.

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Old 04-21-2009, 12:03 PM   #24
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HI Gene,

Mine was running a little hot last year in 90 plus temps. I had the radiator cleaned and was given a good tip. When pulling the grades if you run in 4th gear you will get maximum cooling from the fan. Gears 5 and 6 are overdrives--so he said. I just came up from Laughlin to Las Vegas climbing out of the valley in 95* and the temp gauge stayed right in the middle. I have heard stories of shops wanting to pull the radiators and I think it is part of the new stimulus package for the repair shops!

Good luck and happy travels--

John and Marion Bell
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:21 PM   #25
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This has been a problem w/Cummins rear radiator rigs also. If your rig has sat & accumulated water condensation in the engine, e.g., the boiled off water will take some oil with it when the engine is heated up, along w/pushing out excess oil.

It is true that, at least up to 2007 engine builds, the coach mfgr designed the oil tube access and therefore the dipstick calibration. Adding that, as is noted above, to oil capacity changes (Cummins added that same problem as well as Cat) has caused overfill to be a periodic problem w/motorhomes until the individual owner gets it right. 2007+ engines had to come w/certain features, probably including oil recovery from blow-by (mine has this) and it appears to work very well.

Another remedy not mentioned on this thread, but regularly on the yahoo diesel pusher discussion group, is to make your own oil recovery. This doesn't do recirculation, but will make a fairly effective oil trap: Take a large plastic bottle like a coke 2L, punch breather holes in the upper part near the neck, push some copper scrub sponges into the bottom part, then shove the breather hose down into it (may need to gingerly upsize the neck to fit the hose) so the breather tube lands in the pile of copper wire; figure a way to keep it from flopping around (zip ties?). This then goes on the routine maintenance checklist to monitor blow-by status, along w/dipsticks, air filter restriction... Those who have tried it say it works pretty well. If yours clogs up, make a new one for a few bucks & throw the old one away.

One last word of caution about controlling engine temp by gears & watching rpm's: if you have to do this, then something is w-r-o-n-g with your cooling, and you are playing w/a $20,000 rebuild roulette wheel. For rear radiator rigs, most of the time it is simply oil accumulation on the radiator clogging up & precluding air flow, so it is an easy fix (clean & do something to keep it from being a problem next time).
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:06 PM   #26
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We had the same problem. We cleaned the rad with simple green, a messy job, then put a piece of PVC pipe extension down from the blowby tube. CAT has another fix, they give you the parts but you must pay install. When we stopped at Freightliner for our maintenance this year we had the radiator steam cleaned ($170) even though we had no overheating probs after we cleaned it ourselves. Our CAT takes 19 qts and was never overfilled.
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:19 PM   #27
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thanks Engineer Mike for advice and clever tips. My rig did sit idle for about 2yrs with previous owner. Oil was overfilled by presumed technically qualified people, since after 3000miles my oil dipstick still reads 1" above the full mark.
I have the simple green, the hose, and ready to clean the radiator as all have suggested. Like the bottle idea so that the amount of blow by can be measured.
thanks again
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:31 AM   #28
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You've received plenty of good information so I won't repeat, but the one suggestion I would offer is that when doing the cleaning keep mind that you need to clean from both the front and back of the radiator. The charge air cooler and radiator combined make a fairly thick package and it takes some time to get the simple green to penetrate through both units.

A trick I was once told was to clean the radiator a couple times by spraying, letting it sit, and rinsing, then for the final cleaning, spray simple green on from the engine side of the radiator with a pump sprayer then very briefly start the engine. The fan will push the cleaner through the radiator and clean out more of the dirt that is in the center of the cooling pack.

Cleaning the radiator should be part of the normal maintaince and should take care of your overheating issue.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:13 PM   #29
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Simple Green seems to be the most used cleaner, by the frum members, and I have used it too. But I did hear that it should not be left to dry on aluminum, as it is corrosive to aluminum. Does anyne here know if there is any truth in that?

Also have read that the brand of cleaner, "Oileater", has been more effective in cleaning radiators of the oil and gunk that accumulates. I will be finding out, as I just discovered that both Costco (5 gal plastic bucket) and Sams Club (4-1 gal jugs/carton), have it on their websites. I ordered a 5 gal pail from Costco, as the price included free FedEx.
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:19 PM   #30
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Took my '05 Journey in for maint today and was told the blowby hose was too short and this caused oil to spray on the radiator (esp when going down hill or when using the exhaust brake). The oil on the radiator causes dirt, dust etc to build up on the radiator and in turn causes overheating. Sacramento Truck Center also wanted o/a $2000 to remove and clean the radiator and add blowby hose extension. He said he sees this frequently with both Cat and Cummins.
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:26 AM   #31
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Cummins and Freightliner Slobberly input

I called a local Freightliner service center and they said that extending the slobber tube to the wrong location could cause a draft/vacuum to suck the oil out of the crankcase. I called Cummins and they said that the slobber tube vents out of the top of the crankcase and is not down in the oil. They also said that you can extend the slobber tube downward and away from the radiator airflow, but to avoid placing it in a vacuum situation. I like the Engineer Mike concept of placing a self-made oil recovery device that gets changed out as a part of regular maintenance. This stops the slobber tube discharge from entering the radiator, does not change the slobber tube dynamics and stops the discharge from getting on the tow vehicle. This reminds me what it is like to have a problem with your computer. When you call the computer guy, he says its the problem of the software. When you call the software guy, he blames it on the hardware. I'm just the guy that bought it and pays thier wages.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:23 AM   #32
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When we had our Horizon with the Cat engine, the same problem occurred - heating on long pulls. The Freightliner factory maintenance shop in Gaffney SC was aware of the problem and have a ready made extension. I believe we paid $125 for the extension and the install. They also have a pit with a steam cleaner. Cleaned the radiator and the aftercooler for 50 dollars. No more heating problems.

We still had oil droplets on the towed. A simple terry cloth "sock" zip tied around the neck of the extension solved that problem. No back pressure and the crankcase breaths fine. Those folks are ripping you big time if you allow them to charge you that HUGE price for something as simple as this fix.
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:21 AM   #33
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Again, Thank you all very much for the help!!
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Old 04-25-2009, 02:26 PM   #34
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Capt Bill
I used 3 qrts of simple green and diluted with water half-half. Some other products are more corrosive. The simple green did disolve the oil film on the charge air cooler (1st radiator). I also applied to the radiator. I inspected for corrosive effects. There was none. It worked well. The brightness of the Al on the radiator did not change--which makes me believe that no chemical reaction occured with the Al.
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Old 04-25-2009, 03:23 PM   #35
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All, here is my story on overheating:

When I originally purchased my 04 Winnebago Journey, it did not overheat on long pulls (the grapevine HWY 5 near Los Angeles, and Tahachapi Mts Hwy 58 near Bakersfield CA). The a series of events happened. My rock guard was damaged and I had to remove it. Rock Guard is 14" by 8ft 150lb slab of rubber reinforced with steel and is located between the blow by tube (slobber tube) and the radiator. Then I had an oil change. On the next trip from San Franciso to Ohio I experienced considerable wind and dust in Southern CA desert. In AZ on a long pull I was shocked to get an instrument panel alarm that indicated overheating (alarm sounds when water temp exceeds 220F). I immediately pulled over and found no coolant leaks but air temperature from the radiator was very hot.
In Texas I found a Freightliner/CAT authorized service shop. They replaced both thermostats, flushed and added new coolant, and added an air filter. They also replaced oil and filter. This cost $1600. 1000 miles later on long pull I experienced an overheating event similar to the first. Then I found this forum and followed their recommendations.

I first checked the oil receipt and found that I was charged for 22qts of oil. My 04 Journey has the shallow sump and holds only 19qts. I presume they may have overfilled it, then drained some off. In Ohio, I found that the oil level was 1" over the Full mark. I drained it so that it was just above the add oil mark.
Following this forum I bought 3 qts of simple green and diluted it with water half and half. I bought a garden sprayer with a 20" wand and loaded the solution.
Before using the solution I extended the blow by tube by about 40" by purchasing identical tubing. The tubing was 1" inner diameter amd 1.5" outer diameter reinforced rubber tubing. I using a 4" section of 1" outer diameter thin copper tubing and clamped both sections of the tubing with hose clamps on each side of the extension. The blow by tube is not rigidly joined to the engine. It can move in a lightly clamped sleeve. To avoid having liquid traped in the tube I pulled the loose tube down toward the bottom of the engine and then clamped the extension in 2 places under the frame using 2 muffler pipe hangers secured onto the tube with hose clamps. The blow by tube is connected to the engine near the top, so that liquid could not be siponed or sucked out. The extension protruded 6" beyond the back end of the RV.
Next I accessed the engine by opening both front and rear top covers underneath the bed. Both covers must be removed to get best access the the charge air cooler (front radiator). By using a light and peering through the radiator fan blades I could get a glimpse of about 30% of the right side of the front radiator. The bottom half was covered so heavily with an oily film that this part of the radiator was completely and totally blocked. I sprayed the simple green mixture. Without the long wand on the sprayer this would have been impossible. The fan is not electric, it is belt driven. By manually rotating the fan blade I could get more access the the front radiator. However, it was still necessary to crawl underneath the engine and spray both right and left sides of the radiator. As a last effort I stuck the wand between fan blades at the top and sprayed the radiator even though I could not actually see it. The simple green solution worked really well, the oil film was easily dissolved. The fan blade and fan cowling were covered with the oily sludge. Following suggestions on this forum I also used one qrt of the simple green mixture to spray into the radiator from the rear of the vehicle. The mixture did not appear corrosive to aluminum and did not dissove rubber. This is probably the best of the degreasers since it worked well but did no damage. I then got a water hose and climbed back inside the engine and rinsed the solution from both radiators. I also sprayed from the back.
I then started by trip. To my horror, the engine overheated eactly as it did before.
The next day I stopped at a car wash and used the power sprayer to spray the outside of the rear radiator aiming the sprayer so that water could shoot through both radiators at the same time. The rinsed water was sooty but did not have large chunks of sludge as I expected.
I have driven 200 miles up and down hills in 81F weather with a 30MPH head wind and with driver AC on. I have no towed vehicle. To my delight the problem was fixed. In fact the temp stayed in a very narrow range from about 165F to 170F. I was shocked at the result.
In retrospect, simple green worked as claimed, but the real trick was the high pressure water aimed directly at the radiator and only 6" from the radiator surface. I used this position after being sure that the high pressure water did not bend the thin aluminum in the radiator. Also by pointing the sprayer directly at the radiator, I avoided side pressure on the thin aluminum fins. Next time I do this I will try feeding simple green into my power sprayer at home and then rinse with water and will do this only from the outside rear. This may be enough to maintain the radiator and avoid going back into the engine compartment.
By the way I am headed back to CA through NM and AZ and the souther CA desert. There will be many long pulls. I will report back to the forum on the temperature excursions I experience.
Thanks so much to all on this forum who have helped me.

Jim & Debbie and 2 cocker spaniels Max and Cassie
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:27 AM   #36
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Hi All,
I have just finished my trip back to CA and want to report on my findings with the overheating. During the 2000 mile journey after cleaning the radiator I ran with full water tank and more than half full gas but did not have a towed. My rig is a 2004 Winnebago Journey with C7 engine and 6 sp Allison. I also added the plastic bottle suggested by Engineer Mike since this was a way to measure how much blow-by oil was being thrown out of my engine. I drove between 60 and 65mph when conditions allowed.
Here is what I found:
1. under nearly all conditions the temperature ranged from approx 165F to 175F as measured by assuming that the mid temp on my gauge was 180F and the 25% and 75% temp gauge positions corresponded to 160F and 200F respectively. This may not be exactly correct.
2. first temp excursion was on Interstate 10 within the 30 mile range just west of Blyth, CA. The outside temp was 100-104F and there was a very gradual grade (1600ft summit) but the wind was a terrible 30-40 mph head wind. At 65mph speed, the temp gauge rose to 180F but dropped back to 170F when I slowed to 60mph. With this wind, 65mph speed was not safe anyway. By the way, this was not a steep grade but was very long. During this time the engine remained in high gear at approx 1700-1800 rpm.
3. the next temp excursion was on Interstate 5 at the Tejon summit (4400ft). The temp gauge again reached 180F while trying to maintain 55mph up the steep summit with 15mph wind gusts, but again dropped back to 175F when my speed dropped to 50mph. During this time my engine had shifted to a lower gear and indicated approx. 2000 rpm.
4. The plastic bottle did not collect any liquid oil at all. But the mouth of the bottle near the air vent did show a very thin layer of black oily residue. There was also at times a slight oil vapor visible at the air exit on the bottle at times.

Here are my conclusions:
If my blow-by is so minimal, then I do not think that I could have accumulated enough gunk to block 50% of my radiator during the 1500mi trip after the rock guard was removed as I implied in my previous comment. It is more likely that oil film was accumulating on the radiator from the very beginning even with the rock guard in place. My total mileage at the time of my first overheating was about 13000mi.
If this is true then why didnt I notice high temp during my earlier drives up Interstate 5 (at Tejon summit) and over the Tehachapi as I previously reported. I cant answer this but possibly since these trips were in Jan (colder outside temp) and RPM were 1800-2000 rpm I did not have a temp increase or else did not notice it since I did not get an alarm.

Looking back I was able to eliminate my overheating problems following the guidance of the experienced members of this forum. I do have some concerns that maybe a pressure washer only 6in from my radiator may be too severe for future cleanings, but the overall procedure of simple green on both sides, cleaning on both sides, and extension of the blow-by tube all work as claimed by others before me.

I do not know what the temp would have been if I had a towed vehicle. It leaves a big question what the temp would be towing a vehicle over some Colorado mountains. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Lastly, I really appreciate the help and knowledge I gained from members of this forum. Thanks again.

Jim & Debbie and 2 cocker spaniels Max and Cassie
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:05 PM   #37
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I have a 2004 Itasca Meridian with the 330 C-7 also. I had the exact same problem of overheating on hot days and long hills, but I was towing a Chevy Tracker (3000#) I read the forums and called Freightliner and everything pointed to clogged radiator fins. It doesn't take oil seepage from the "slobber tube", just the fumes/mist going into the radiator will cause dust and road dirt to collect severely. I was down to 25 mph on some of the Colorado/Utah mountains to keep from overheating.
The solution was a thorough cleaning of the radiator with Simple Green, sprayed heavily on both sides of the radiator. The engine side is very difficult to spray because of the fan shroud and fan. I used a plastic garden sprayer with a brass wand from ACE hardware. I used most of a gallon of Simple Green undiluted. After spraying, I started the engine for about 10 seconds for the fan to blow the Simple Green further into the radiator fins. Then I used a garden hose with spray nozzle (not a pressure washer) and flushed the radiator thoroughly, TOWARD THE ENGINE FROM THE REAR OF THE COACH. Doing it the other way would simply imbed the dirt further into the radiator. I couldn't believe the crud that fell to the ground and how black the water was for several minutes. I went through this procedure twice.
Next, I knew I had to elimate the oil mist from the "slobber tube". I called Freightliner and asked them how to solve this problem. I think they know there is a problem because they offered me a "slobber tube extension kit", installed, at no cost. This kit extends the "slobber tube" to the rear beyond the radiator. I had this installed at the local Freightliner dealer and have not had one bit of engine overheating since. I do clean my radiator once a year now, but very little comes out of it.
I treat hills with a little more respect now, I downshift manually, not letting the Allison figure it out. It is important to keep the engine RPM at 2,000 or above for maximum fan cooling and to keep the speed down to reduce horsepower required. I don't try to climb the hills at 60 or 65 mph, usually at 45 mph and 2,000 RPM. Let the 5th wheelers pass you, they don't weigh 28,000 lbs!
Hope this helps.
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2010 Chevrolet Equinox
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:28 PM   #38
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Several things.

1. Rinse/wash the radiator at least annually as suggested.
2. Extend the slobber tube to the rear of the radiator.
3. Calibrate the dip stick. You can't go by the factory markings. Your CAT owner's manual will tell you how.
4. $2400 is way too much for a radiator cleaning. Carter Cat in Roanoke said three hours or about $350-400. Freightliner factory in SC told me they'd do it on an M3 service and it would add about $300 to the bill for a total of about $1500.00.

Even if the slobber tube pukes oil on your Toad, it's easier to wash than the radiator on the m/h is to clean.
Doug and Cassi
'05 Itasca Meridian 36G
'99 Jeep Wrangler
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:06 AM   #39
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Thanks OldChief7155 and Catpowered for your helpful comments.
Catpowered, I am interested in a tow vehicle. Are you able to maintain 45mph up steep grades? Does it handle well with a towed vehicle?

By the way, I just discovered that when cleaning the radiator, we may as well clean the side mounted radiator for the dash AC (I think).


Jim & Debbie and 2 cocker spaniels
04 Winnebago Journey C7
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