Radiator replacement procedures vary based on installation location within the facility and style of radiator, engine mounted radiator, remote radiator, vertical or horizontal. LionHeart will handle all aspects of radiator replacement, no matter the situation required. LionHeart has hand-assembled radiators on a rooftop when the worksite couldn’t be accessed by a crane, we’ve also coordinated an air-crane (helicopter) to remove an old radiator and install the new assembly, and occasionally have utilized professional riggers to move the radiator assembly into very tight locations.
Radiator replacement costs will depend largely on the size of the radiator and also the difficulty of replacement. Often times a new remote radiator will include a new fan, fan motor, radiator cap, structural components, and electrical boxes. Radiator construction practices and quality also play a large role in replacement cost. Serpentine fin versus tube and fin as well as material type used, will also increase cost.
As a cost savings measure, sometimes the radiator can be repaired onsite with replacements radiator cores, gaskets, seals, or upper / lower radiator tanks. Repair possibility will be contingent upon the availability of replacement cores, tanks, gaskets, and most importantly, the style of construction whether bolt together headers or soldered tanks. Downtime and repair turnaround time is also usually reduced by replacing cores or tanks since these parts can be made in weeks instead of months, as some radiators can take to construct.
Why does radiator replacement need to be done?
Replacement becomes necessary when the tubes, or cores, become clogged and restricted or when the radiator begins to leak. Lead times for replacement radiators can be extensive, into the many weeks to months, so sometimes a radiator will be proactively replaced prior to leaking, just based on age and condition.
Leaks on the radiator can come from the tubes inside the cores, the gaskets that seal the radiator or cores together, the upper or lower tanks, or the radiator filler neck. When a radiator has leaking coolant, this can present a higher level of urgency to complete the radiator replacement or radiator repair, as the coolant level can drop to an unsafe level and further cause engine damage due to high engine temperatures.
Radiator cores can become clogged from debris introduced to the cooling system, chemical reactions within the coolant and the engine, or a general breakdown of material within the cooling system.
In some rare situations, radiators can be damaged from external sources such as debris (nuts, bolts, rodents, etc) within the generator room, enclosure, or surrounding area where the radiator is installed. Keeping the generator room clean is critical for plenty of reasons but will also eliminate loose material that could be picked up by the air flow and sucked through the fan guard, into the radiator and potentially damaging fins or tubes.
How often does this happen?
Most commercial radiators will last 20-30 years. The lifespan of the radiators will depend on several factors such as cooling system maintenance practices, initial build quality, and environment which the generator / radiator are operated. Soldered together radiators, similar to car radiators, in smaller generators, are made to last 15-25 years as their materials are not as heavy-duty and constructed of thinner metals, frequently causing pinhole leaks in the upper or lower radiator tanks.
The environment in which commercial radiators are operated in also have a significant affect on their expected lifespan. Similar to how our car, or truck, radiator replacements that are sometimes caused by the salt on the roads, extreme cold and hot ambient temperatures, and dry / humid swings in the weather. Although our standby generators aren’t traveling down the road, if the generator or radiator is located along a roadway or sidewalk, salt can affect the radiator components and cause premature failures. Generators operated on the East or West coast, near the oceans, also sometimes require special construction of radiators using corrosion resistant materials; this can increase costs but will ensure the longevity of the cooling system.
What’s the importance of a commercial radiator?
The role that radiators play in the generator’s cooling system is critical in that the radiator allows warm coolant to be circulated, by the engine’s water pump(s), from the engine and then passes through the radiator(s), along with a high volume of air flow from an engine driven fan or motor operated fan, which cools the coolant as it passes through the radiator core tubes, dissipating the heat across the fins. In short, the radiator prevents the engine from overheating, particularly when functioning under heavy load.
Additionally, some larger commercial radiators may have a separate, second, radiator core section that serves the purpose of cooling the coolant that cools the aftercooler (air intake), sometimes called a CAC (Charge Air Cooler).
Failure to maintain the cooling system can cause various additional engine damage and points of failure within the system including overheating of the engine, damage to the head gaskets, oil coolers, engine block, bearings, turbochargers, and other critical components.