Are you starting your semi truck driving career? It will likely involve motoring down the nation's highways for long periods, often traveling in isolated areas. CB radios do keep you in touch with the outside world, but when you are driving through miles of Midwest farmland the last thing you need is an overheated engine. That's where semi truck radiators come in. The best of them can handle long haul life with barely a whimper. The following is a general description of these radiators and how they work, along with some tips on how to keep them in top shape.
How Truck Radiators Work
Truck radiators sit in front of the engine. They're the first thing you see when you pull the giant hood down for a quick inspection. The radiator cools the various moving parts of an engine that heat up because of the friction caused by the internal combustion process.
Think about it, each cylinder has a source of ignition that lights the fuel and causes it to burn. In the more common diesel powered rigs, the cylinders are heated by glow plugs. A gas rig uses spark plugs. The burning fuel makes the pistons move, causing the engine to run.
To keep the engine cool the radiator pumps water and engine coolant into the engine block. Then a pump circulates the mixture, reducing the engine temperature. The heated fluid is then pumped back into the radiator where the excess heat can be released. This system works continuously as long as the engine is running.
If the heat exchange system on the radiator fails, then the engine overheats. Prolonged overheating can cause a blown head gasket, the seal that sits between the two main engine parts, or even a blown piston. The piston could punch through the cylinder, which usually means a costly repair or even an engine replacement.
Materials Found in Truck Radiators
Truck radiators are made of high grade materials that effectively conduct heat. The most common are steel, aluminum, brass and copper. In cars and light duty trucks, aluminum has emerged as the favorite because it is light weight and fairly inexpensive. But, copper and brass are favored for heavy-duty trucks, including semis, because they cool more efficiently.
Radiator Preventive Maintenance
Keeping your grill clean is the easiest preventive maintenance chore you'll come across. Driving those highways and byways can lead to a collection of bugs and dirt that clog the air slits, preventing air flow across the radiator. This air flow helps in the cooling process. That's why when your truck sits at idle the temperature gauge usually shows a higher reading than when you are motoring down the freeway. Other preventive maintenance practices should include the following.
Regularly Checking Radiator Hoses
Radiator hoses transport the coolant/water mixture from the radiator and the water pump. The hose itself is made of synthetic rubber and is held on by hose clamps. This flexible rubber/clamp combination can better tolerate the bouncing around of your semi-truck when it's moving.
Car owners are advised to check their hoses and clamps at least twice a year. Semi-truck radiator hoses should be inspected more frequently because of the heavier use. While you're at it, check the coolant, or anti-freeze level. A lack of anti-freeze can also cause overheating and may be a sign of a leak in the cooling system. If the radiator hose is cracked or showing other signs of wear, have it replaced.
Most semi-trucks, like cars, have a dashboard indicator light for an overheated engine. By the time the light goes on, usually you already have a problem. Some newer semis are programmed to automatically shut down the engine if it is overheating.
Checking the Thermostat
A truck thermostat works much like the one that turns your home furnace on and off. In a truck, the thermostat opens if the engine temperature exceeds the recommended level. This allows the coolant to flow. The thermostat on your semi can get stuck or fail, causing overheating. At first the signs may be more subtle, with the heat gauge fluctuating more than normal for your rig. Either way you need to get the rig's thermostat checked out and/or replaced or you could be left stranded.
Keeping your semi truck's radiator and cooling system in good order (with the help of a company like Radiator Pros) will keep you on the road longer. That means more money in your pocket, making that heavy duty radiator a long haul trucker's best friend.Share
20 January 2015
Have you been overlooking the chipped paint on your car? Maybe you have ignored the rust that is forming on the quarter panels. Allowing these auto body problems to persist will lead to rust which is devastating to a car. Once rust begins to form, it can be difficult to put a stop to. Working with an auto body shop to repair any scratches or dents in your car can preserve its appearance and keep the car in solid condition. I have provided a few instances in which an auto body problem was ignored and what happened to the car after a few months had passed. Use these examples to help you learn when to take your car in for work.