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Old 01-30-2015, 08:29 PM   #15
2006 34' Classic
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 261
If you suspect a cracked cylinder head, warm up the engine, pull all the plugs and spin the starter. If you have a cracked head antifreeze will spew out of the offending cylinder plug hole. Good advice on using the factory thermostat and antifreeze the manufacture recommends. The radiator needs to be at least as large and as many rows of cores as original and clean. When all this is done the heating/cooling system will be in balance. My experience with engines says to do all these things mentioned in this thread. Assure, do not assume, you have a clean radiator, have replace the cap, inspected hoses, clamps,and belt/s, changed out the fan clutch, and replace the water pump. I watched a friend completely overhaul a big block engine for over heating when all that was wrong was a bad radiator cap. He never thought to check the cap. That it why a good pressure test includes a hot and cold engine, and the radiator cap. Don't forget to check out the coolant recovery system.
Good luck in fixing your problem.

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Old 01-30-2015, 09:58 PM   #16
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Redwood City , California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,734
I would agree that the first thing to do is to solve the missing coolant issue.

If you never hear the fan clutch engage especially if you are running the dash A/C (almost impossible to drive an Airstream motorhome any time of the year without running the dash A/C...LOL), I would agree it probably isn't working. I replaced my fan clutch three times before I got one that worked. First one was from Autozone...didn't work. Second one was twice the price from Napa...didn't work. Then I spent twice the money again and got an original AC Delco fan clutch. It works!

Never try to solve an overheating issue by installing a lower temperature thermostat. The engine, the carburetor and the few vacuum/heater sensor/valves are all designed to run at a certain temperature. The fan clutch is also designed to engage at certain temperature ranges and it will not function properly with a lower temp thermostat.

However, most overheating issues on these old rigs are never solved by replacing thermostats, fan clutches, water pumps etc. it's important that these parts are functioning properly, but the main culprit is the radiator. We all tend to replace all the other parts first simply because of the cost and effort to replace/recore the radiator. I did the same thing.

One of the most significant repair that I have done engine wise was to have my radiator recored. After the recore, all heating issues disappeared and I'm amazed at how consistent the water temp stays in almost all conditions. Second most significant repair was a carb rebuild. I rebuilt my rebuilt quadrajet and the change in performance and gas mileage was significant. On my last trip to Yosemite, I averaged 7.5 mpg on mountain driving and 9 mpg on flat freeway driving!

Last but not least, post some pics of your rig! We all love pics!

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Old 01-30-2015, 11:00 PM   #17
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2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,239
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Hi, a clogged radiator doesn't dissipate heat; No heat from radiator will cause fan clutch to not work. Replacing a fan clutch that isn't getting enough heat to activate it will make you think that the new one is bad too. In the old days when cars didn't have air conditioners, we would put our hands on the front of the radiator in several places and could find cold spots. From my personal experience, never have a radiator boiled out; It only cleans dirty core tubes. Have your radiator rodded, re-cored, or replaced with a new one. Never put a cooler thermostat in, or a lower pressure cap on.

2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
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Old 01-31-2015, 05:58 AM   #18
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2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 8,197
What Robert well as a radiator which is down on coolant. Not sure a gallon down would be enough to fake out the fan clutch, but maybe.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 01-31-2015, 08:16 AM   #19
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1966 24' Tradewind
Placerville , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,327
Images: 2
I tow with 2 different 455s, one a '71 Buick and the other a '69 Oldsmobile. I've owned 2 different Buicks a total of 28 years. NEVER have I have gotten much more than 2 years out of a fan clutch. I have left some in longer but I change them out when I am doing extensive towing. I have found that a 160 thermostat works best for the car runs at 190 degrees anyway. I have installed aftermarket temperature gauges for the coolant and the transmission. Monitoring those temps especially in the mountains tells me when I should exercise caution. As for overheating in traffic that is a good reason to check each of the coolant situations.....leaks, plugged radiator, faulty fan clutch..........

Neil and Lynn Holman
FreshAir #12407

Kirk Creek, Big Sur, Ca. coast.

1966 Trade Wind

1971 Buick Centurion convertible
455 cid

1969 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:59 PM   #20
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1998 35' Cutter Diesel Bus w/slide
Summerville , Georgia
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 11
My '86 345 would overheat until I cleaned the outside of the radiator. It had a buildup of crud on about half the engine radiator between it and the a/c condenser where you couldn't see it without taking parts loose. Made a world of difference to have air flowing thru all of the fins.

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