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Mack CH Radiator: Behind the Cooling

The Mack CH is one of the most successful over the road trucks built.  There are still thousands on the road with many Mack CHs having been exported to Latin America and Africa.  With a reputation for toughness, reliability and ease of maintenance, these trucks were a huge success.   However, from the perspective of the cooling system, the Mack CH Radiator was also quite revolutionary as it was among the first large trucks to convert to a plastic tank radiator.  Having serviced many fleets with these units, radiator guys like ourselves have grown to appreciate the durability and innovation these units have come to signify.  I was lucky enough to encounter the engineer who worked on the Mack CH Radiator project that was able to give me the history of how this revolutionary Mack CH Radiator came about.

The original Mack CH was the replacement for the legendary R model.   The first production years of the Mack CH had a traditional bolt-on radiator core.   These units were the standard of the day.  While plastic tank radiators had already become widespread in the auto market, the few models that used them in the Diesel Truck market, specifically Ford had many quality issues.  However, due to issues of weight, durability, heat transfer as well as cost, Mack approached Valeo Engine Cooling of Jamestown New York to design a replacement radiator for the Mack CH Bolt-on Radiator.   It was a tall order and would be the largest plastic tank radiator ever put into an over the road vehicle.  It was late 1989 and Valeo started working on the project.

The biggest challenge was producing a plastic tank that would come out straight and true from the mold.  No tank that large had ever been formed before and it took a lot of trial and error to get it done.  However, Valeo and their partner tank manufacturer were finally able to get it done.  Around 1990, a prototype was ready for testing.   Testing a revolutionary Mack CH Radiator required extreme conditions to prove the durability of the design.   The Permean basin in New Mexico was chosen for the extreme climate and the off road oil trucks that were operating as a test bed.  The unit passed the grueling test with flying colors.  Not only had the unit passed the durability tests, but the new Mack CH Radiator exceeded Mack's goals.  They were able to reduce the weight by 70lbs.and increase cooling performance by 9 degrees. All while dramatically reducing the cost of the original Bolt-On copper brass unit.

Should you have any questions or concerns about Mack CH radiators or any other, please call the experts at 201-864-6535.

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