Cap or Not to Cap…

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    Braswell, Bryan

    Seems to be a running issues across the radiator industry of adding radiator caps to repairs even though sometimes we may not have exact data on the PSI of the cap.

    Does anyone have experience on adding Radiator Caps to every job that comes in?

    If so what was your approach to ensuring the correct cap for your customer?

    Has this ever caused a problem for you?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

    Mark Taylor

    I hope it is ok that I offer my two cents as a past Radiator shop owner. The amount of phone calls and extra delivery trips wore me out so we started to place a new radiator cap on every job that went out of our shop. Sometimes the radiator we picked up would have an old radiator cap and if the markings are not legible it is easy to figure out the pressure of the cap by compressing the internal seal and spring. You can also determine if it is a recovery system or open system by inspecting the inside of the old radiator cap for the rubber seal or just a bare metal disc. When we received an industrial radiator that had no cap but an overflow tube running down the side of the radiator rail we would know it was an open system. Based on the tank design we would either provide a 7lb or 10lb radiator cap. Chances are even if you provide a 7lb cap for a 10lb system the new 7lb radiator cap is going to hold more pressure than the worn out 10lb or 13lb original cap. When in doubt we would choose a lower pressure than the higher pressure. Also, you probably will call the customer to deliver an estimate of the cost to repair or replace so at that time we would ask about the pressure cap if we had doubts. We used hundreds of radiator caps a year and this eliminated the customer calls and traveling 80 miles round trip to deliver an inexpensive part which we were accused of not returning whether we left it off or not. We also added the cost of the radiator cap to the invoice and never once did we receive a complaint about a new radiator cap being added. A new overflow tube was placed on every radiator also. Hope this helps as it was my belief that the radiator cap and overflow tube made the job complete. +

    Reimer, Rick

    I agree with Mark, we always install a new rad cap and overflow hose and with our program these items are zero dollar items added to the invoice for the record (sort of a ‘wow factor’). We use the same methods Mark described.. over the years I remember once when there was a “leak” due to our new 7lb cap over-releasing as it should have been a 13-15lb cap, which was our problem (older KW truck rad, if I recall). We also install new CAC mount bushings on the older truck rads, as well as the shorter clear drain hoses that attach to the right angle drains. My question is truck rad lower mount bushings, does anyone have a handy database on which bushings fit which rad? Kenworth, Peterbilt, Western Star..

    Duran, Bobby

    Hey Guys,

    My two cents. We attempt to put a cap on every radiator. However, we now make sure it’s a separate line item. I literally just had to credit a customer $74.02 per cap (yes that is what an oem cummins cap cost!) for a genset job that required 16lb cap which we did not have in stock at the time. We only had a 15lb and he correctly stated that my bill listed a new cap which he felt should exactly meet OEM spec. Had I only put it as 9.95 line item, that would have been the limit of my liability.

    Greater lesson learned . . . the problem was that they damaged the filler neck on installation!

    Bobby Duran

    Bienvenu, David

    We put a new radiator cap on all jobs except if we do an automotive radiator. For years we installed 7# stainless steel caps. At one time most Diesel engines ran at 180F. At that temperature even straight water does not require a pressure cap to raise the boiling point. Paint, a cap and a hose is a guaranteed pat on the back for cheap. A customer brings in an old, dull, stained radiator- you spend less than 30 minutes cleaning, flushing, testing, spot repair, rinse, dry and paint. Plus a new cap— and to see and hear their reaction when yourself or your guys bring it from the back to front lobby- priceless!
    It is our policy if a customer leaves a hose, clamps, cap, sensor, mounting bushing… we take them off and give them to them on the spot. Especially molded hoses. Same goes for heat exchangers. Lazy mechanics take the short cut and leaves all the “gingerbread” on the unit and you throw away a Dry rotted cracked hydraulic hose and they have to buy a new one, their boss questions the expense and they don’t say “I was lazy and left the hose on” they blame it on us. Depending who it is you may take the blame like Bobby did and supply a new hose. Many times I “ dumpster dived” to find an old hose! If you can’t find the old hose to prove it was sent in with a hose that was cut rather than unclamped? The world today! Lake of morals and honesty! 😞

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