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Old 05-31-2011, 09:28 PM   #1
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Flat Plate heat exchanger block leaking

I have a 2006 Ford 6.0 diesel RB50, and noticed water dripping under it this weekend while camping. It is dripping from the flat plate heat exchanger. The original heat exchanger was replaced once by SMB. I am emailing them as well tonight to inform them that the replacement is leaking.

The leak does not appear to be where the hoses connect, as I dried the whole unit well and watched the water seep out and the areas around the hose connections stayed dry.

Has anyone else had their replacement version leak? The water leaking seems to not smell like antifreeze so I am guessing it is the fresh water side that has a leak, but I can't tell that for sure. I drained it for the winter as always and just refilled the water tank a couple weeks ago. I am going to bypass it for now, but I hesitate to get another since the first version was known to crack and allow antifreeze to enter the water supply, and now the new version is leaking.

Brian
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:28 PM   #2
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Re: Flat Plate heat exchanger block leaking

Bummer. Maybe you didn't get all the water out and it froze?
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:51 PM   #3
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Re: Flat Plate heat exchanger block leaking

I bypassed the flat plate heat exchanger tonight by just disconnecting the hoses just short of the exchanger and reconnecting them without the exchanger in the circuit. I left the potable water connections to the exchanger alone for now, and just won't use the hot water side of the sink faucet.

Looking quickly tonight at the hoses as they are routed to the heat exchanger, it appears they originate from Tee's cut into the heater hoses near the radiator. Does anyone know if the coolant to the heat exchanger is a parallel circuit with the heater hoses? Can I just cap the hoses going to the exchanger right where they leave the Tee's, or should I make a very short loop at that same point to allow coolant to make a circuit?

I plan to remove the hoses from the front all the way to the location of the heat exchanger under the middle of the van. After having these units fail twice, and paying darn good money for this option originally, I'm done with this idea. I can heat water on the butane stove easy enough to not pay for another attempt at making this work.

Any one have experience with this?

Brian
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:32 AM   #4
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Re: Flat Plate heat exchanger block leaking

Hi Brian,

I think your van is of similar vintage to ours, so likely the same setup. Our heat-exchanger circuit was T-d off each side of the heater-core, putting the heat-exchanger parallel to the heater core. Original plumbing from Ford does not have these Ts, so capping them, or just replacing them with straight junctions would restore stock coolant flow.

We restored ours heater-lines to stock, and then tapped off the rear of the block, and the water pump return, to create a new circuit that allowed our coolant heater to actually send hot-coolant through the block instead of just through the heater-core.

We have found the heat-exchanger itself to be of minimal use to us, and will likely remove it eventually.

-Erik
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:25 PM   #5
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Re: Flat Plate heat exchanger block leaking

Hi Erik,

Thanks for the confirmation on the hose routing. I'll cap off the hoses at the junctions and remove the excess hose. Yes, my van is close to the same age as yours. I also have found the heat exchanger to be unimportant and since it has cracked twice, more trouble than it is worth to replace.

Hope all is well with you and the family.

Brian
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:17 PM   #6
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Re: Flat Plate heat exchanger block leaking

I've also reached the same conclusion about the flatplate water heater. It has never leaked, but on my next visit to SMB it is coming off. I simply don't need onboard hot water and worry about those hoses under the van.
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