Why Is My Motorhome Overheating?
by Frustrated RVer
(Chula Vista, CA)
I have a 1983 Fleetwood Southwind 32'. I have a Chevy 454 7.4L engine. I have recently been having trouble with it overheating. I have had the radiator, fan, fan clutch, water pump and thermostat all replaced within the last 6 months. I have no white smoke and am not losing water. I have also removed the entire AC unit including radiator to allow for more air flow. I have also removed all extra weight from inside and outside the Motorhome. I do tow a 1997 Nissan Sentra on a tow dolly.
On straight-aways she does well but on the grades the needle moves fast to the hot mark and nothing slows it down. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
ANSWER: Greetings Frustrated RVer thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.
I am sorry to hear that you are going through this and I am afraid that I may not be the bearer of any good news for you either. I am assuming that prior to this you did not have an overheating problem. First I also need to assume that you have had the engine cooling system pressure tested using a Cooling System Pressure Tester and you have also replaced the old radiator cap (I know this sounds stupid but a bad radiator cap that is not holding the proper pressure can cause the symptoms you are having and you would not notice a loss of coolant because it would go into the coolant recovery tank and get recycled back into the engine cooling system).
If all of the above has been done then the only thing I can assume is that you have an internal problem in the engine allowing the cooling system to lose pressure. This could be anything from a bad head gasket, a small crack in the head or even a small crack in the engine itself. Just because you are not seeing signs of white smoke or steam coming out of the tail pipe of your Motorhome does not mean that there is not a problem.
For a quick check you should remove the oil filler cap on the engine of the Motorhome and look at the cap itself to see if there is any creamy colored residue in the cap itself. That is a pretty good sign that you have engine coolant mixing into your engine oil.
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The best way of diagnosing the problem is by checking for exhaust gasses that have leaked into your engines cooling system by using a Combustion Leak Tester that uses a chemical reaction to let you know if exhaust gasses are present. If you are not comfortable in conducting this test yourself then you should take your RV into a service center and have them do the test for you.
As I told at the start of my answer I may not be the bearer of good news and based on everything you have done to the cooling system of your Motorhome’s engine there is good chance that the problem may be in one of the engine components I mentioned above.
I hope this helped.
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