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Safari Radiator Replacement: Other Recommended Work

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Hello, I am new to DP Motor homes. We are long time Boaters and we just bought a Use 2003 Safari Cheetah with Cat 3126. Buying used you get what you get. I went through all the fluids, engine, transmission, fuel, bearings, air filter, and was going to do belts and hoses. The service center shared that the Alum Radiator was leaking and would need to be replaced. Fun. Shame on me for not doing my homework on the Radiator issues that Safari had, but enough said, I own it now.

I have arranged to have a new alum radiator installed but my question to you folks is, what other items should I address while the radiator is out and being replaced?

My thoughts are:

Belts and hoses ( they told me when they found the radiator leak to wait till they pulled the radiator)

New Thermostat

Check water pump, (not sure how they do that)

Check Alt

Redirect the Crank Case Breather tube ( it hangs strait down now)

Any other recommendation??

Jim B

38 Carver Boat

37 Safari Cheetah

Newly Retired and looking froward to Winter Traveling where it is WARM, We are Michiganders!

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Jim,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

Yes, there were indeed issues with the Monaco (who owned Safari when your coach was built) aluminum radiators.

Here is another alternative to the aluminum radiator: http://sourcerv.com/radiators

And, your other items (answers in SOLID LETTER CAPS)

Belts and hoses: CHECK CONDITION OF HOSES-- IF SILICONE, PROBABLY JUST FINE. YES, REPLACE BOTH WATER PUMP AND ALTERNATOR BELTS. CHECK/REPLACE AUTOMATIC BELT TENSIONER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTLV5IU_IMM

New Thermostat-- YES. CATERPILLAR CALLS THEM REGULATORS. MAY HAVE ONE OR MAY HAVE TWO. THEY WOULD BE IN THE SAME HOUSING. GO TO ANY CATERPILLAR DEALER WITH YOUR ENGINE SERIAL NUMBER FOR THE CORRECT REGULATOR(S) AND GASKET.

Check water pump, (not sure how they do that). SURE, CHECK WEEP HOLE FOR LEAKING COOLANT, BUT THESE HAVE NOT BEEN PROBLEMATIC UNLESS COOLANT NOT CHANGED. MAKE SURE THAT THEY FLUSH AND PUT IN NEW COOLANT WHEN THEY DO THIS. CATERPILLAR ELC IS THE NEW-GENERATION, MAINTENANCE-FREE COOLANT FROM CATERPILLAR.

Check Alt: DEPENDING ON YOUR FLOORPLAN, LIKELY EASY TO GET TO FROM ABOVE (BEDROOM/CLOSET). SO, NOT SURE I WOULD DO PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE, UNLESS OVER 100K MILES. THEN HAVE AN ALTERNATOR SHOP DO BEARINGS AND BRUSHES.

Redirect the Crank Case Breather tube ( it hangs strait down now). EASY FOR YOU/THEM TO DO. BREATHER HOSE IS 1" ID. SO, 1" BARB TO BARB FITTING, 4' OF 1" ID HOSE, A COUPLE OF HOSE CLAMPS AND A COUPLE OF ZIP TIES. JUST MAKE SURE THE HOSE DOES NOT HAVE A DRIP LOOP THAT COULD TRAP MOISTURE. EXTEND TO BEHIND THE FAN SHROUD, SO OIL VAPOR NOT DRAWN INTO THE COOLING PACKAGE.

ALSO, MAKE SURE THEY PULL AND CLEAN THE CAC (CHARGE AIR COOLER) AS THAT IS WHERE THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE DIRT WILL BE DEPOSITED.

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Brett,

Thanks for your information, I like the idea to replace the tension arm. I viewed the video you offered and did not think of that. Again Thanks.

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I agree with everything Brett recommended.

Regarding the CAC, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned in & out, and then pressure tested. Check the CAC hoses as well. Then check the air intake system to make sure it is clear and install a new air cleaner element.

Another source for radiators is http://www.cgj.com/ in Gadsden, Alabama. A friend has had good luck with them. Be sure to request a 4 row radiator regardless of where you get it. Don't let them talk you into a 3 row.

Extending the crankcase breather tube is an excellent idea. Extending it to the rear corner of the coach will keep it from fouling the CAC/Radiator and dirtying your rear mud flap.

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I agree with everything Brett recommended.

Regarding the CAC, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned in & out, and then pressure tested. Check the CAC hoses as well. Then check the air intake system to make sure it is clear and install a new air cleaner element.

Another source for radiators is http://www.cgj.com/ in Gadsden, Alabama. A friend has had good luck with them. Be sure to request a 4 row radiator regardless of where you get it. Don't let them talk you into a 3 row.

Extending the crankcase breather tube is an excellent idea. Extending it to the rear corner of the coach will keep it from fouling the CAC/Radiator and dirtying your rear mud flap.

The only thing I can add is I like having a catch can on the end of the slobber tube to catch the slobber rather than having it blow on the toad or the back of the coach. Just make sure it is vented enough to allow the blow by to vent.

Bill

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Had radiator problem and contacted Source Eng. They were a bit pricey for me. ($3,700 plus shipping) had Inland Truck R&R the radiator. They sent it to a shop in Dallas and it was recored for $1,600. From all I have heard Source Eng. Is a great company.

Herman

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I just called Source for a Surge tank, not sure if the one they have will fit my coach. $463.00 plus shipping. I have to email them photos to be certain it is the right one. Mine appears to be different from memory then what I saw on their website.

More to come with this.

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AND.....get the engine and area steam cleaned! Might not help with the cooling, but will make you fell better to see all that shiny stuff again.....

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Actually, I would not steam clean any electronically controlled engine. Many plugs are water-RESISTANT. High pressure water/steam-- no. I would use WD40 and a couple of rolls of paper towel to clean the engine.

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Brett, are there threads on known problems with certain motorhomes. In our continuing search for a used motorhome, I often come across threads like this one which point out brand specific problems. Some of the worst are sidewall delamination. Others are the early Ford V10 spark plug issue. Certain Spartan chassis's of the early 2000 era had ball joints that could not be lubed resulting in premature failure and expensive repair. Country Coach had some issues with the charge air cooler. Knowing whether or not a prospective motorhome is a time bomb waiting to explode has kept me from buying a number of diesels.

Perhaps the only solution is to research the model in question. That and having a qualified mechanic inspect the motorhome.

Still, I suspect even a skilled mechanic will not find some of these problems.

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Gary,

Perhaps you need to get a new DP, that way, anything that might crop up, you can have it fixed by Dealer or Factory! You didn't mention what you have now or what brand, model your looking for.

When it comes to used DP's, it's no guarantee that it is perfect in every way. We use due diligence and hope for the best result in what we buy! My coach was used when I got it in Nov. 2013 and I have had some problems, but nothing major.

All you can do, is bite the bullet and make a decision of what you want and what you can afford.

Carl

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One important issue to consider if your Safari has a Roadmaster RR4R chassis is the trailing arms. Loads of info about them on most all motorhome forums. They have a design defect that causes stress cracks and can fail.

I had mine replaced with Source Engineering arms.It cost about 3K to replace them. I could not ID cracks in mine but did not want to chance it. Sure enough, when they removed them, there were cracks under the shims. It was only a matter of time.

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Hi, my coach is a 2003 Safari Panther 4213 with a Cat C-12 505 HP and 135 K miles. I am 2nd Owner of 4 years. First Owner had a Private Extended Machinery Failure Ins.

He replaced two aluminum radiators before switching to Brass Cored. That seems to have worked for me...no problems, no over heating RPM's wide open in Mountains while towing. I'm using long life coolant. My previous coach had Cat

C-7 330HP and only got 1 mpg better fuel burn.

Good Luck... some Coaches are rocks, some are diamonds!

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Brett,

Thanks to your link to the Monaco Trailing arm issue. We just bought the 2003 Safari and the dealer did not share any information about the issue. We did not do any research ourselves (shame on us) but with your link, which had pictures, there was brand new trailing arms.

The selling dealer must have just put them on and did not share the information, Yahoo.

Just wanted to thank you for your help.

Jim Blodgett

2003 Safari Cheetah

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Were there specific models that had more issues than others or were the problems confined to front or rear models?

Were there issues with the SMC coaches particularly the side radiatored coaches? Were the SMC coach radiators three cores deep or four.

Did these problems arise after Monaco bought them?

Are the problems a fault of the mounting style, or a failure of the mounts?

Are the radiators just inadequate by their design?

If mounting were changed would the radiators have survived?

Thanks

Bill

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