The job of a heavy duty radiator is simple: to prevent overheating in your diesel engine. There are many components that help it do this, from the radiator core to the engine coolant. Some radiator issues are inevitable with operation and can be easily identified and fixed with a maintenance plan. Others require repair work by a professional cooling system technician. A radiator in need of repair is important to detect as quickly as possible because ignoring it will compound the risk of engine overheating and, eventually, lead to serious equipment damage that may be extremely costly.
Fortunately, there are a few telltale signs of a heavy duty radiator in need of repair. Keep the following common indicators in mind and, along with a regular maintenance schedule, they will help you address radiator failures before they wreak havoc on your engine. Especially during the hottest months of the year, early detection is an operator’s best friend.
The most common sign that your heavy duty radiator needs repair is an overheating engine. This one is obvious, as it indicates a failure of the radiator to properly cool the engine, but you’d be surprised how often it gets ignored. The easiest way to tell if your engine is overheating is to watch the temperature gauge. If it’s regularly hitting the red zone, you have an overheating problem. Again, it seems obvious–but that’s why it’s so important for every operator to put into practice.
When a diesel engine runs too hot, it can cause damage to the mechanical components, such as cracked cylinder heads, which will eventually lead to the equipment breaking down. Overheating can also damage the radiator itself, and add the need for a recore or total replacement to what might have been a simple fix. Any spike in your temperature gauge should be met with an immediate engine shutdown and a professional cooling system inspection.
Keep an eye out for liquid dripping below your HD equipment. Some condensation is normal, but large amounts of liquid could be indicative of a coolant leak. Other indicators are bubbles in the coolant tank and coolant levels showing as low despite regular refills. Cracks or other damage to the gaskets are a common cause of coolant leaks. Without enough coolant, the radiator cannot perform its job of carrying heat away from the engine. This is another easily detectable sign of a radiator in need of inspection and repair.
Another sign of a radiator in need of attention is sludge or other contaminants appearing in your coolant. Know the normal color of the coolant your diesel engine uses, and if it starts to appear discolored (dark brown is common) you may have contaminants. These can block coolant from draining and cooling properly, and will lead to engine overheating. Sometimes contaminants are dirt and debris in the liquid and sometimes they are created by improper coolant mixing or using the wrong type of coolant for your engine model. Pay close attention to manufacturer requirements, and get your radiator checked if you suspect the system needs to be flushed and refilled.
If you know the warning signs, it isn’t complicated to keep your heavy duty radiator healthy and your diesel engine running cool. When repair work is needed, be sure to contact a team of expert industrial radiator service technicians to get the job done right.