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Old 08-21-2009, 05:29 AM   #1
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1994 34' Legacy 34
Bath , Michigan
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Maintaining cooling system

I've got a Y2K Yukon XL 2500 with 23,000 original miles, yes 23,000. After the first five years I drained, flushed, and refilled the OEM coolant with new Dex-Cool, and despite the low mileage I have always replaced both drive belts after 3-4 years.

Later this fall I will be performing the second coolant replacement, and I will be replacing the OEM radiator hoses at the same time. The originals still look very good, and while it may be false economy to replace them, I would rather do the job at home than on the road.

I'm wondering what the proper interval for replacing radiator hoses is, and does it depend more on mileage or age? If they look okay, no cracks, bulges, hardening, etc. should they still be replaced?

Although I do not have an Airstream trailer (yet) I recently took ownership of a '94 Land Yacht with 22,000 miles. The original owners never worried about maintaining the cooling system, and one of the first things I did was replace the OEM coolant and hoses. The originals still looked good. Did I waste my time and money replacing them or not?

Thanks for any advice and/or feedback.
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:50 AM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

I have two similar vehicles, a 2005 Yukon XL 2500 4WD Quadsteer (75,000 miles), and a 2004 Suburban 2500 2WD Quadrasteer (58,000 miles). As I tow a 7400# Airstream with both of these vehicle all over the country, I try to stay on top service and preventative maintenance.

I must admit that I have not considered maintenance of the cooling system on either of my tow vehicles. I did have a 2001 Suburban 2500 that I drove to 140,000 miles, and I did not replace any cooling system elements. I never experienced any cooling system problems on that vehicle.

After your post, I will take a closer look at my cooling system components.

Brian
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:44 AM   #3
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I wouldn't hesitate to start from scratch. Literally. There is no system so hard taxed (and so commonly neglected) that $1000 spent here is cheap.

I would begin by using the most time-consuming OTC flush from PRESTONE. I usually have to flush a cooling system five or six times to have clear, beautiful water flowing from the system after running cleaning product and neutralizer. (Use de-ionized water over distilled. Tap water is unacceptable in all cases).

Next step is removing block plugs and cleaning lower cooling jackets of accumulated debris; replacing drain plugs with petcocks and upgrading the water pump with an EVANS or EDELBROCK piece. I'd also look at a BE COOL radiator. ROBERTSHAW HD "Balanced" design thermostat (see also MR GASKET) in oem temp rating.

Big truck hose clamps of the constant-torque variety (won't pinch or cut hose)
Hose Clamp, 7/8" to 1" I.D.; Constant Torque Series Clamp

Etc.

Coolant change annually, hose/fastener about five years.

Were it mine I'd change out the timing chain for a will-never-wear-out CLOYES piece while I was in there. Factory chains aren't worth much.

I also use RADIATOR MASTERS RMI-25 product, and use Ph test strips to see that coolant remains "good".

Changing too much too soon is about right. Cooling systems are just barely good enough to begin with.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:02 AM   #4
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I have a 99 Tahoe. Back in the day, there were horror stories about Dex-cool clogging up things. GM had a 5 year recommendation on it back them. After 3 years I did a complete and thorough flush of the cooling system and replaced it with green Prestone. I change it every 2 years and have never had a cooling system problem other than a water pump at around 100k miles. The newer antifreeze now will mix with the old dex or green. Don't think it really matters which you choose, but I do think that getting a flush kit so you can hook your garden hose up to a heater line and back flush is the only way to do it and really get all the old out.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:57 AM   #5
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I wouldn't hesitate to start from scratch. Literally. There is no system so hard taxed (and so commonly neglected) that $1000 spent here is a cheap start.

I would begin by using the most time-consuming OTC flush from PRESTONE. I usually have to flush a cooling system five or six times to have clear, beautiful water flowing from the system after running cleaning product and neutralizer. (Use de-ionized water over distilled. Tap water is unacceptable in all cases).

Next step is removing block plugs and cleaning lower cooling jackets of accumulated debris; replacing drain plugs with petcocks and upgrading the water pump with an

EVANS
Evans Cooling Systems, Inc. High Performance Engine Cooling and Power Production.


or EDELBROCK piece.
Edelbrock.com - Water Pumps - Introduction


I'd also look at a BE COOL radiator.
Be Cool

ROBERTSHAW HD "Balanced" design thermostat (see also MR GASKET) in oem temp rating.

Thermostats: Stewart Components, Inc.

Big truck hose clamps of the constant-torque variety (won't pinch or cut hose)
Hose Clamp, 7/8" to 1" I.D.; Constant Torque Series Clamp

Etc.

Coolant change annually, hose/fastener about five years.

Were it mine I'd change out the timing chain for a will-never-wear-out CLOYES piece while I was in there. Factory chains aren't worth much.

I also use RADIATOR MASTERS RMI-25 product, and use Ph test strips to see that coolant remains "good".

Changing too much too soon is about right. Cooling systems are just barely good enough to begin with.

Low mileage means little. Age is the determing factor, and at 15-years the dealer network and chain stores remove inventory.

Change all fluids, belts, hoses, filters. New high tension cables (MAGNECOR), etc. I'd also use AUTO-RX on all lubricating fluids (100,000 mile program) and drive, drive, drive that vehicle, solo, on some 600-mile days (600 out, 600 back in) and look as well to replacing all bushings for body/frame and steering (tie rods, anti-roll bars, spring isolators). As well, rubber brake hoses. Look to door gaskets, etc. As well, all new lamps, fuses, relays, HD batt/starter cables (triple check terminations).

Get the parts from the dealer network while you can. Exercise the you-know-what out of that vehicle for several thousands of miles. Re-set the clock!
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1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:00 AM   #6
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1994 34' Legacy 34
Bath , Michigan
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Lots of good advice there, and I appreciate the feedback. I have always thought preventive maintainance may cost more right now but will pay off in the long run, especially when a maintainance item that was neglected decides to fail when you are 500 miles from home. It's much easier for me to fix something at home where I have a huge stock of tools and a decent place to park a vehicle.

Agree with you about cooling systems being stressed highly on today's new systems, the designers try to shave weight by making the cooling system as small as possible. And with the sealed radiators having no top cap, it's almost impossible to know how much of the "coolant" is air and not antifreeze. I've fixed overheating problems on several friend's cars just by carefully bleeding all the air out of the system so there was room to add more coolant.

When I drain old coolant out and flush the system, the only way to get all the liquid out of the block and hoses is to use a powerful shop vacuum with a blowing mode, coupled with the proper sized reducers, and it's surprising how much can be removed that way. By having nothing left in the system you can easily refill with the proper amount and strength of the new coolant. And if you can only get 14 gallons into what is termed a 17 gallon system, you know there is a lot of air to be bled out.

While on the subject, does anyone else laugh at the display of antifreeze at the stores where they try to sell you "pre-mixed" 50/50 water and antifreeze mixture for the same price as full strength coolant? Lets see now, ten bucks for a gallon, who is stupid enough to pay $5 for a gallon of tap water?
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