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Old 10-19-2011, 05:33 PM   #1
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Going to change belts.....

Well, looks like I am going to have to change belts and after reading quite a bit of information here, I am going to hit it from the front. I am planning on dropping the radiator core after removing the front grill, etc. I have a small pinhole leak on it anyway so I might as well have it looked over and repaired if needed. And of course the clutch fan and t-stat....blah, blah, blah.
I am also going to pull the air injection pump on the top, but leave the bottom one and lastly, replace all of my vacuum lines and trans modulator while I am at it.
After reading this it looks like it should only take a few days. Well - I thought the gas tank was only going top take 2 days but it took 4. We have a trip to Death Valley coming up. I hope I can get this done in time . I'll post pictures as I can.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:09 PM   #2
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work in progress....

Well, the job has begun.

I removed the front hatch and grille. Disconnected hoses to the oil and tranny cooler. And unbolted the AC/oil cooler unit from the main core. And therein I found two surprises....



The air flow blockage and....


The leak....


I should have the main core out and over to a radiator shop for cleaning and repair in a few days. All but 2 hoses need to be disconnected and it will be free. The AC/oil cooler needs only to be lifted up and out of the way to get the main core out.

Time spent so far - 5 hours or so...
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:28 PM   #3
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Wow, now that's a radiator full of bugs. What year is your MH? You have a horizontal radiator? Mine is vertical with tanks on top and bottom. I need to eventually service my radiator too...the las trig thing I think I have left to do.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:40 PM   #4
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Yes - horizontal - I was a little surprised too. It is a 1989 chassis and was not driven a lot - it only has 76,000 miles on it now and has been to Burning man 3 times now. I happen to know that the dust of the playa doesn't clog radiators. This looks like bigger chunks of debris, rocks, bug, etc...
I have lots of tasks o complete once I get that bugger out - belts, vac hoses, t-stat, water pump, etc...
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:49 PM   #5
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I am definitely going to Burning Man next year with the MH! Airstream must have changed the front end a bit in later years (I have an '82). I've looked and. Don't think a horizontal radiator would fit in mine at all.
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Old 10-23-2011, 06:37 AM   #6
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It appears from the pic the radiator shop will be replacing the radiator core. It also looks like its been repaired before (fins pushed away from the header) but it may just look worse in the pic and your core isnt rotten. If you need a core dont get a cheap one made in India, the metal is thinner.
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:23 AM   #7
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Yea, the fins are indeed pushed away on the ends but the PO never said anything about having that sort of work done. Before buying a new one, I would like to see if this one is in good enough shape to repair.
BTW - I read just about every thread I could on this topic and many suggested removing the core from the bottom. That will not happen on this core because of chassis framing and cross members. The only way that this is coming out is from the front end.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:08 AM   #8
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radiator is out...

The radiator is now out and to tell the truth, it was not so bad to remove it or the belts.


once on the ground, I was able to take some close up shots of the problems....


It is obviously leaking - actually, it is leaking in a few places it appears.


This is one leak location for sure......

Unfortunately, the bad news showed itself also - brown water spray all over the engine compartment. Removing the clutch fan and the pulley on the water pump the evidence shows quite clearly - the water pump was gonzo... it make an ominous sound just spinning it by hand. Maybe I can post an audio file to hear it - it was nasty.

Coolant was going everywhere. Funny thing is I actually heard the engine was sounding different - it was the water pump the whole time!

So, with a little extra effort, the water pump was removed and the pulley pulled from it. It was rusted and nasty and hard to remove.


But now that it is gone I am left with one sinking feeling..... how in the heck does all of this go back together!!??!! As O was removing the pump, little spools and bolts were falling down that I had loosened but did not remove. Now I have parts and pieces that came out and I have no idea how or where they go back!!! HEY! is that the timing chain cover where the pump was....

I am taking the radiator down to a radiator shop tomorrow morning to see if it can be repaired or if it has to be replaced. Wish me luck......
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:11 AM   #9
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Hi, good luck getting all of that back together. While I worked at a local Chevrolet dealer, I was amazed at all of the brackets that GM used to attach everything, to and around the four water pump bolts. I used to say that GM engines had no plans for all of the items needed on their engines [alternator, smog pump, power steering pump, and A/C compressor] so they developed the bracket factory. But if you can take it apart you should be able to put it all back together.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:15 AM   #10
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I would suggest getting a new GM waterpump as I've had trouble with aftermarket new and rebuilt pumps and you dont want to go through this again. You can get a new core put in your radiator if the shop say's its too far gone. Go with an american made one. Now is the time to replace any hoses that show signs of age.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:07 AM   #11
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Bob, you ain't kidding! It was raining spacers and nuts and whatever as I was loosening up that bracket to get the pump out. I would wiggle something and another part would fall. I know I can get it all back together, but I fear I may have a few parts left over when I am done.
One hose that I am going to replace out of fear is the booster to the brake. I had a friend with a Suburban and his vehicle caught on fire just after towing his trailer to a friends house. He called 911 and they could not locate the address and suggested he call the nearest fire department - which he did AFTER unhitching his trailer and getting it away from the vehicle by hand. Anyway, he said that he knew that hose was the culprit. Mine has a leak now anyway so, might as well replace it just because.
I have a pile of hoses, pumps, fan clutches and belts I will be taking to NAPA. And after my coffee this morning, we'll head into town with the parts and the radiator. And that pump - I am going to take your suggestion - new GM pump, not rebuilt, not aftermarket.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:35 AM   #12
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Awesome pics and info Buttercup!
While you are in there, ya gotta do it all!
Was your A/C disconnected, or did you have to purge it?

Also look at Flow Kooler Waterpumps...
CID: 454/7.4L - Flowkooler Water Pumps - Robertshaw Thermostats - SPAL Fans & More

Kinda interested in your Radiator...
Looks Identical to my 1987 454 Suburban unit...
Could you put a tape on it and post up some measurements please?
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:34 PM   #13
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the AC condenser/fans I simply lifted up and out of the way to get the radiator out. It is sort of hanging by the hoses for now. it is still pressurized. But the AC does not really work in our rig. It blows a little cooler but that is all. There is something wrong with it.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:12 PM   #14
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OK - the core dimensions are about 28" by 19" and the overall radiator size is 36" by 20-1/2".
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