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The following technical information allows the reader to know more about the radiator cap and its functioning within the cooling system of an internal combustion engine. Besides, you will find the selection criteria to acquire the correct replacement for your radiator cap and some tips about the common problems presented in this device.
It is a small part that belongs to a forklift cooling system. This device controls the high pressure that hot coolant generates in the radiator. A pressurized cooling system is essential to raise the coolant boiling point to keep the coolant as a liquid.
Components of the radiator cap
How a radiator cap works
The design of this device makes it capable of handling pressure changes. When the coolant stops circulating the engine body, it enters with a considerable heat amount into the radiator tank. It makes the coolant volume increase, and the pressure in the cooling system is higher.
The lower-pressure seal moves upwards and flows towards a reservoir tank once the coolant pressure exerts a force major than the radiator cap spring. The upper-pressure seal assures the hermeticity of the cap. It also avoids the escape of coolant from the system to the outside or air entering the system.
The vacuum valve opens to regulate the cooling system pressure once it has a value lower than the outside air pressure. It happens when the engine cools down.
How to choose the correct forklift radiator cap
Dimensions: The total height, the distance between hooks, LIP width, and valve diameter are helpful parameters when comparing a new cap with the one to be replaced.
Operating pressure: It is the most critical parameter. The new cap must have the same pressure as the one that is damaged. It ensures its good performance. A pressure range for a typical radiator cap is between 4 Psi - 30 Psi. Be careful when reading pressure measurement as some manufacturers express it in other units as Bar o kPa.
Radiator cap type: A cooling system can work with a recovery cap and a non-recovery cap. The design of the recovery cap has a single seal; meanwhile, a non-recovery cap has a double seal. Generally, Forklift cooling systems use a recovery cap.
How to check a radiator cap
A basic visual inspection could identify the problem:
Check the engine is off and cool.
Remove the radiator. As the first step, turn it clockwise to release the remaining pressure. Then, push it and turn it again until it is removed. While doing this, check if this device is fixed correctly to the radiator tank.
Inspect the condition of the device's internal components.
Springs: If there is no chance to exert pressure on the springs inside this device during the visual inspection, it means that the cap is damaged and needs a replacement.
Seals: If seals are melted, broken, or deformed is recommended to replace the cap.
For a deeper inspection, special equipment is necessary to evaluate the performance of the cap.
The seals are pieces made of rubber. A bad condition of these components makes the radiator cap not work appropriately. Given the construction material of the seals, extended use and high temperature could degrade their original shape. On the other hand, the spring is made of metallic material. It can get stuck due to external agents, rust, and damage due to the time of use.
The common problems that come from a defective radiator cap are:
The coolant passes to the reservoir tank when it is not required.
The radiator cap gets stuck in the radiator, and thus, the pressure will still increase inside the radiator without control.
Another related problem is when the upper seal is defective because it causes air entry into the cooling system. The presence of this air in the system has its components corrosion as a consequence.
A radiator hose collapses by excessive internal suction. It happens when the vacuum valve of the radiator cap is defective.
The radiator cap controls the high pressure that hot coolant generates in the radiator.
When choosing a forklift radiator cap, the dimensions, the cap type, and the operating pressure are essential parameters.
A basic inspection is helpful to know if the radiator cap is working correctly and its internal components are in good condition.
Coolant leakage, cap stocked, defective seals, and bad condition of the vacuum valve are the common problems of a radiator cap.
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