Newsletter – Issue 4 –Summer 2013

Welcome to our 2013 Summer Edition newsletter.  We hope you enjoy reading this edition.

A word from the director ….

Hello from all the team at Superior Radiators!  We hope you and your families had a happy Christmas, and that you had some quality time with family and friends over the period and found some time to recharge for the new year.

Here at Superior, we are a dedicated team of people who are here to service the needs for all your cooling and heating requirements – whether it is for your forklift, truck or bus, marine, earthmoving or mining equipment, automotive, power generator or industrial equipment.

We service, repair and supply new OEM manufactured and aftermarket radiators, oil coolers, intercoolers, heat exchangers, heaters, fuel tanks and air condensers; and we have cooling solutions for all the major brands such as Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi, Atlas Copco, Elphinstone, Kobelco, Euclid, JCB, Mesabi and Kubota just to name a few.

We supply all the leading brands, many of which are original equipment manufacturers to Toyota, Ford, Holden, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Nissan, Kenworth, International/Iveco etc.  Eg.   Denso, Calsonic, Valeo, Behr Hella, HCC, Air Radiators, Adrad, Koyo and Radicon.

Warm Regards,

Mark O’Sullivan

Feature: Cooling Systems – Premature Corrosion

Corrosion is the eating away, or deterioration of a solid, especially metal, by a chemical or electrochemical process.

The causes of this can be;

-          Inadequate preparation of a new radiator prior to fitment
-          The cooling system was not completely flushed out, including the overflow bottle and the heater core
-          There may have been the mixing of different corrosion inhibitors or the use of an incorrect corrosion inhibitor
-          Perhaps the incorrect concentration of corrosion inhibitor, either at the time of the changeover or cause by dilution over a period of time.

In this instance, it means the mechanical and chemical deterioration of the radiator’s tubes and heater plates is causing holes and cracks in the core, and will severely reduce corrosion protection.  The tubes will also become weak and brittle, and eventually develop holes and cracks, typically causing a reduction in performance and efficiency, and leading to conditions such as overheating.

Depending upon the vehicle model and age, the most common causes for premature corrosion in aluminium radiator failures may be;

-          Pitting corrosion;
-          Galvanic corrosion; or
-          Stray current corrosion.

radiator corrosion

The above transmission cooler is off a forklift. As you can see, the oil cooler is completely encased in mud which resulted in the cooler being isolated from coolant. The transmission suffered major overheating which resulted in it having to be replaced. Preventative maintenance would have saved thousands of dollars on repairs and a new transmission.

Pitting Corrosion

A deceptively destructive type of corrosion because the weight loss of the affected metal component is low;  but the depth of corrosion is large.
Pitting corrosion happens commonly to metals such as aluminium and stainless steel.  This occurs under sludges or scale deposited in radiators with poorly maintained cooling systems.

Pitting corrosion, usually of the water tubes in the heater or radiator core, is the principal form of corrosion of aluminium radiators and occurs when, for a variety of reasons, the coolant is prevented from protecting the cooling system.  This mostly occurs as tiny pinholes beneath deposits of sludge and sediment.

pitting corrosion

Sludge and sediment build up

Coolants will begin to break down if their service life is exceeded.  Therefore regular maintenance to the cooling system is essential.

As the coolant deteriorates, it deposits a combination of silicates and phosphates as fine slime or sludge in the lower parts of the cooling system.  Using ‘hard’ water can add calcium carbonates to this combination allowing the formation of flakes that may then coat the aluminium components of the cooling system.  These flakes can also become dislodged and may jam in the water tubes of the radiator or heater core.

If chlorine molecules are present in the system they can react to form hydrochloric acid which then accumulates beneath the deposits, creating a tiny pit in the surface of the aluminium.

Pitting corrosion is primarily found on the lower surface of the bottom tube of a crossflow radiator.  Regular servicing of the cooling system ensures that the corrosion inhibitor stays fresh and that sediments do not accumulate.

Equally, it is important that a complete ‘flush’ of the cooling system takes place prior to replacing the coolant.  If the old coolant is not thoroughly flushed out, it may leave residue to settle in the radiator and heater core and thus allow pitting corrosion to develop.  Deterioration of the oil cooler can also occur, causing a leak and allowing mixing of coolant with transmission oil.  Corrosion pitting and larger holes may be found in the oil cooler where incompatible coolant has been used.

With the oil cooler the results show severely reduced corrosion protection and gradual destruction of the weld line of the inner pipe leading to holes and cracks typically causing a reduction in performance and efficiency, and can lead to contamination of the transmission oil and eventually the transmission failing.  There is a lot of inter-relationship and overlap between corrosion types.

Galvanic corrosion occurs when two dissimilar metals come into contact and set up an electrochemical cell.  For example, if stray current corrosion has eaten away copper particles from the radiator inlet and outlet, these particles may coat the inside of the water pump housing.  The aluminium of the water pump will become the sacrificial metal and will corrode, eventually causing a perforation right through the water pump housing.

Stray current corrosion is the result from the application of an external electrical source and resultant current flow.  This type of corrosion will not occur without the applied voltage and occurs regardless of the type of quality of coolant used.

Usual causes of stray current are damaged wiring insulation, faulty or incorrectly installed fans, faulty relays or earth straps missing or covered in paint overspray following panel repairs

Inadequate preparation of the cooling system prior to fitting a new radiator can lead to a number of issues – one being foreign matter completely blocking the system.

From all of the situations illustrated above, it can be seen how important it is to use a coolant/corrosion inhibitor that meets the Australian Standard that will provide a high degree of corrosion protection and the importance of correct cooling system maintenance.


Corrosion prevention and repair services are offered by Superior on these pages -

Mercedes-Benz Says No To 1234yf!
*Article reproduced with approval of Automotive Electrical & Air Conditioning News

Just when we assumed 1234yf was the world’s choice to replace R134a, Daimler / Mercedes-Benz have pulled the plug on this refrigerant.  Apparently they have conducted additional safety tests and are not convinced that 1234yf is the right choice.

As you might expect DuPont was surprised by Daimler’s statement and said… “Based on extensive data, and on independent risk assessments, HFO- 1234yf can be used safely as an automotive refrigerant.”

DuPont has now requested the details of Daimler’s data and testing methodology, and will review them as soon as possible.

The recent responses from both Daimler (click here for article) and DuPont(click here for articleare further discussed.

Let the games begin….again!

Feature: Did you know?

An early construction method of radiators was the honeycomb style.  Round tubes were swaged into hexagons at their ends, then stacked together and soldered.  As they only touched at their ends, this formed what became in effect a solid water tank with many air tubes through it.  Some vintage cars use radiator cores made from coiled tube, a less-efficient but simpler construction.

Wilhelm Maybach designed the first honeycomb radiator for the Mercedes 35hp which was a radical early car model designed in 1901.

Mercedes 35hp

The invention of the automobile water radiator is attributed to Karl Benz.  Karl showed his real genius, however, through his successive inventions registered while designing what would become the production standard for his two-stroke engine.  Benz also patented the speed regulation system, the ignition using white power sparks, the spark plug, carburetor, clutch, gear shift and the water radiator.

“Alternative uses for your radiator”

A Pool Heater!

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