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ASTM Summer Time Tips For Your Truckmount.

Chris Sheldon 1

Dec 26, 2009
Albuquerque, New Mexico
It's getting hot out there and heat is probably public enemy #1 when it comes to keeping your TM in tip-top running condition.

Most of these tips pertain to TM's with liquid cooled engines, but I will also give a little advice pertaining to air cooled TM's and CDS units. Items 1-4 can also be implemented on your van's engine.

1. First and foremost, be sure that your engine always has an adequate supply of water/anti-freeze mix. I check the coolant level at the radiator and not at the resovoir; there are times when the resovoir is at the proper level but the radiator will be low. Just make sure that you don't remove the radiator cap while the engine is still hot. Allow it to thoroughly cool before removing the cap to avoid burning yourself. Make sure that you use anti-freeze and not plain water; water can corrode the cooling system.

2. Replace your radiator cap yearly. Caps are often the most ignored component of the cooling system, but are very important to the proper function of the cooling system. Each pound of the radiator cap raises the boiling point of the system by 3 degrees. In other words, if your engine is equipped with a 10 pound cap, the boiling point is raised from 212 degrees to 242 degrees. Caps are cheap and most can be purchased at any auto parts store. If you don't want to replace the cap, you can have them tested at an auto repair shop or you can purchase your own tester.

3. Replace or test your thermostat. Again, thermostats are generally inexpensive and easy to replace (in most cases); it would be good preventive maintenance to change the thermostat at the beginning of the hot season so that it does not fail you at an inopportune time. You can also remove and test the thermostat by placing it in a pot of water on the stove; place a thermometer in the pot of water while heating the water. Once the water reaches the operating temp of your thermostat, you should see it activate. Also, you should see the thermostat close once it cools off.

4. Inspect all belts and hoses and replace any that may look worn. Obviously, replace any hoses or clamps that maybe causing a coolant leak.

5. Test the vacuum setting on your vacuum (blower) system. A vacuum relief that is set too high will cause extra load on the engine which can cause the engine to run hotter.

6. Check engine RPM's. An engine that is operated above the maximum RPM specification can also cause the engine to run hotter.

7. Clean your van! Make sure you do not stack items such as fans, dehu's, etc around the machine. It is important to allow air flow around your machine to help keep it cool.

8. Open the doors. I advise my customers to open both the rear and side doors while operating their unit. Again, this will allow air to flow around the machine and allow hot air generated by the machine to escape.

9. On air-cooled engines, keep the engine clean. The "fins" that you see on the block and heads of these engines are what tranfers the engine heat to the cooling air that is brought in by the flywheel fan. If these fins are dirty with oil/grime, they are basically insulated and will not transfer the heat efficiently and can cause overheating issues.

10. Make sure that all shrouds and sheet metal/plastic parts are intact on air cooled engines. They may not seem important, but these parts are what directs the cooling air to vital parts of the engine. They can be a pain in the butt to put back on after an engine repair, but again, they are very important!

These are some basic things you can do as an operator to protect your investment and minimize downtime during the Dog Days of Summer! Be proactive in your maintenance, as it is much cheaper than "reacting" once your machine fails!

Please feel free to ad any tips or additional advice to this thread in case I have overlooked something.
Last edited by a moderator:

Jim Martin

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2008
Tucson Arizona
on my CDS unit I put a electric fan on the outside of the radiator and wired it to a switch on the dash.when we would get the real hot summer days in the desert I would turn it on to help keep the engine cool and in the winter I could leave it off.......

I also put a roof vent above the unit and it was wired to the start switch on the machine to exhaust the heat out of the van...........

Jim Martin

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2008
Tucson Arizona
If you get a good fan that can move some air then you don't have to open the hood.....In the years that I ran the CDS I have never opened the hood while cleaning....We can get 115 to 120 degrees here in the desert and as long as you have good air circulating it is not a problem.............


Dec 9, 2009
Real Name
Kevin Price
Business Location
United States
I put a 16" 1300 cfm fan on mine and depending on situations (winter/summer)I will reverse it and pull the heat off the engine(this will also prolong belt life.