High Cost of Rhomar Exchange

This week I was given a quote for the required 2-year Rhomar for Rhomar exchange at a dealership on my 2020 320S for $940.  Yikes.  I love the Alde but apparently it comes with an Achilles heel.  There must be more and more of us out there requiring this service by now.  What quotes are others receiving?  I know this blog has discussed how to do the exchange on your own and would consider doing it myself if not for the fear of dishing out much more for a new Alde system if I messed things up.  Opinions?
2021 320S BD
2020 V6 Chevy Colorado
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Comments

  • AnOldURAnOldUR Member Posts: 912
    Is it a flush of the Century fluid and switch to Rhomar? Regardless, that at least double what it should cost. You can have the Rhomar drop shipped to you for about $30 a gallon. They'd need no more than four gallons. That leaves an absurd amount for labor. Did you get a breakdown of the charges?
    Stockton, New Jersey
    2020 nuCamp [email protected] 320S * Jeep Wrangler

  • MobeanMobean Member Posts: 21
    Not a flush-out of Century fluid.  I have a 2021 model (not 2020 as indicated) and has the newer Rhomar currently in the Alde.  Airstream dealer nearby declined due to cost of the proprietary pump.  I'll ask for a breakdown of charges.  Probably cheaper to drive to NüCamp to do the exchange if in fact they do this.  What a shock.
    2021 320S BD
    2020 V6 Chevy Colorado
  • Yoshi_TABYoshi_TAB Member Posts: 155
    edited January 6
    Hi,  I've also been looking around as I'm closing in on the two year mark.  I somehow landed on an Airsteam forum about the same topic.  There were a bunch of posts also complaining about the cost.  What I found most interesting was a bunch of posts referencing  the DIY method from the NuCamp forum.  Many used the DIY method posted here *(thank you for the detailed write up).  Attached is the SDS for the glycol, 96% is glycol and water...dirt cheap.  Those 2% or so proprietary items is some expensive pixie dust...

    2021 TAB 320 BD
    2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Southern Maryland
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 5,304
    It takes not only the new Rhomar must bearded, but on older TaBs with Century fluid, it takes the flush fluid, and water flush, do double to triple the labor.  Our local nüCamp dealer with the special pump, requires two technicians for two hours to do the job, that is 4-6 man hours of labor.  On a new TaB with Rhomar already in the system, it should just be a 2-hour job at max.
     Cheers 
    2018 TaB400 Custom Boondock,  Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • grubbstergrubbster Member Posts: 110
    I recently had mine changed from Century to Rhomar at Nucamp.  Cost was $450.
    2014 Ram 2500
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock
  • Dutch061Dutch061 Member Posts: 764
    Even at the $40 per gallon I paid for the Rhomar, buying a pump, and distilled water, I spent less than $200.00 to do this myself. I understand that everyone doesn't have the ability to do this, and I am sorry that you are getting gouged because despite what anyone says, this is gouging. I had my wife help me to make it simpler to set up, it took less than 30 minutes start to finish. I posted how I done it a year ago when I serviced our 400. 

    Despite the fact that the pre-Rohmar models needed to be flushed out previous to replacing with Rhomar, both heat transfer fluids are polypropylene based. The major difference is the additive package. You can run gallons of cleaners, water and otherwise through the older system but you will never get 100% of the Century fluid out, it's simply impossible.

    For those facilities that have a pump (NOT REQUIRED), it doesn't take 2 people to do this job. 

    Brad

    P.S. Sorry for the rant, I am not on here very often anymore, but I really dislike when people are taken advantage of.
    2020 400 BDL aka "Boonie"
    2022 Black Series HQ19 aka "Cricket"
    2021 F-250 Tremor with PSD aka "Big Blue"
    Concord, NC 
  • Yoshi_TABYoshi_TAB Member Posts: 155
    Hi @Dutch061,

    Where do you buy the Rhomar from?

    Thank you,


    2021 TAB 320 BD
    2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Southern Maryland
  • AnOldURAnOldUR Member Posts: 912
    Ours came from Miller in Pennsylvania and was drop shipped to us in New Jersey. The shipping was $42 and the Rhomar about $30 per gallon. I'd wouldn't think that they'd have a problem being the middleman for any out of state customer. Worth asking.

    Miller Trailer Sales
    Address:
      293 W. Dublin Pike, Perkasie PA 18944
    Office:  215-249-8327
    Email:  [email protected]lersales.net
    Website:  www.millertrailersales.net

    Stockton, New Jersey
    2020 nuCamp [email protected] 320S * Jeep Wrangler

  • Yoshi_TABYoshi_TAB Member Posts: 155
    Tks...that is where we bought our TAB from.  I was going to contact them, but was just curious if there was a direct source.  How many gallons did you buy for your 320?
    2021 TAB 320 BD
    2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Southern Maryland
  • AnOldURAnOldUR Member Posts: 912
    @Yoshi_TAB I went with four gallons (3 shipped / 1 purchased at the Miller storefront).
    Stockton, New Jersey
    2020 nuCamp [email protected] 320S * Jeep Wrangler

  • qhumberdqhumberd Member Posts: 383
    Yoshi_TAB said:
    Hi,  I've also been looking around as I'm closing in on the two year mark.  I somehow landed on an Airsteam forum about the same topic.  There were a bunch of posts also complaining about the cost.  What I found most interesting was a bunch of posts referencing  the DIY method from the NuCamp forum.  Many used the DIY method posted here *(thank you for the detailed write up).  Attached is the SDS for the glycol, 96% is glycol and water...dirt cheap.  Those 2% or so proprietary items is some expensive pixie dust...

    Having done a flush and refill with Century, which was cheaper, I think that my worry is about corrosion protection. that has been a concern with some units, with no clear cause specified. Grounding was recommended, which is pretty easy. The Rhomar is not supposed to have that issue due to the pixie dust you mentioned, and if it stops any corrosion it would be worth the cost.

    My next flush is due this summer and it will be DIY for me. I will just use a lot of water and then distilled water flushes to minimize any residual Century fluid. So far my system has not shown corrosion, but I cannot see all the connections either.

    2019  [email protected] Boondock Lite "Todd"

    2016 Toyota Tundra 5.7 Crew Cab
  • Dutch061Dutch061 Member Posts: 764
    @Yoshi_TAB, I bought the Rhomar from D & H RV in Apex, NC which is the dealer I purchased from.

    Regarding the corrosion and all of the posted photos, the Airstream Bulletin, plus the instructions and stuff that I had posted. What I find most interesting is that the corrosion is typically happening between the hoses and the convector fittings, from the outside of the convector fittings inward instead of the inside out. I spent a lot of time researching, reading, and pondering this. I never did come to a conclusion as far as root cause. Since I no longer have the 400, I am no longer pondering...

    Brad
    2020 400 BDL aka "Boonie"
    2022 Black Series HQ19 aka "Cricket"
    2021 F-250 Tremor with PSD aka "Big Blue"
    Concord, NC 
  • MobeanMobean Member Posts: 21
    Thanks for all the discussion.  NüCamp will do the new Rhomar-for-Rhomar exchange in Sugarcreek by appointment for $500.  I'm 5 hrs away so may go this route if I decide not to try this on my own. $500 is getting much closer to a more reasonable service charge than $930. 
    2021 320S BD
    2020 V6 Chevy Colorado
  • AnOldURAnOldUR Member Posts: 912
    edited January 14
    Even $500 sounds a little pricey @Mobean. If I was looking for a side gig, traveling the country doing this exchange for Alde owners might be a profitable business. =)
    Stockton, New Jersey
    2020 nuCamp [email protected] 320S * Jeep Wrangler

  • manyman297manyman297 Member Posts: 847
    Isn’t the Rhomar-Rhomar exchange fairly easy for DIY compared to a Century-Rhomar exchange? I need to flush my Rhomar this spring and understand it’s much easier…still need the makeshift pump and all but no flushing with distilled water.
    2021 400 BD
    2020 Tacoma TRD Off-Road 
  • ScottGScottG Administrator Posts: 5,175
    Isn’t the Rhomar-Rhomar exchange fairly easy for DIY compared to a Century-Rhomar exchange? I need to flush my Rhomar this spring and understand it’s much easier…still need the makeshift pump and all but no flushing with distilled water.
    Yes, it should be. My understanding is that the extensive flushing is only needed if you are changing fluids because allegedly you are not supposed to have any residual Century fluid mixed in with the Rhomer. Having a little old fluid mixed in with new fluid of the same type shouldn't pose any problem.
  • qhumberdqhumberd Member Posts: 383
    So can someone clarify the Century-Rhomar exchange?  It seems once your are all hooked up and ready to pump, that the only difference is the time for going thru more flush fluid, and with a small pump from my prior experience that only took about 5 minutes per 5 gals of fluid. Is there a need for a ?cleaning fluid prior to the new Rhomar? I have not seen much on that requirement or the procedure. Thanks for anyone who has done this for the specifics.

    2019  [email protected] Boondock Lite "Todd"

    2016 Toyota Tundra 5.7 Crew Cab
  • fstop32fstop32 Member Posts: 333
    Or you can do what I did and rip out all the rubber lines and convectors, remove the boiler from the camper and drain and flush it...then put all new lines and convectors back and all you have to do is pump or pour the new Rhomar in and burp it!  Easy peasy!  =)    :scream:
    DaveR middleTN - 2015 320S  /  TV 2003 Tundra 4x4
  • HoriganHorigan Member Posts: 443
    edited January 16
    qhumberd said:
    So can someone clarify the Century-Rhomar exchange?  It seems once your are all hooked up and ready to pump, that the only difference is the time for going thru more flush fluid, and with a small pump from my prior experience that only took about 5 minutes per 5 gals of fluid. Is there a need for a ?cleaning fluid prior to the new Rhomar? I have not seen much on that requirement or the procedure. Thanks for anyone who has done this for the specifics.
    Mixing different glycols or coolants can result in solids or gels in the system.  You need to do a flush with water twice to preclude the possibility of the two fluids mixing.  If you're tap water is good, you could do the first flush with tap water, then the second with distilled water.
    Rich
    2019 [email protected] 400
    2013 Toyota Highlander 3.5L V6
    Bellingham WA
  • ScottGScottG Administrator Posts: 5,175
    qhumberd said:
    ...
    Is there a need for a ?cleaning fluid prior to the new Rhomar? I have not seen much on that requirement or the procedure.
    ...
    When the switch to Rohmer first took place, I vaguely recall seeing something about a special "cleaning" fluid that was recommended by Rohmer in addition to the dH2O flush. I haven't heard it mentioned beyond that, though, so who knows if that step is really necessary.
    Anyone else have the same recollection?

  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 1,215
    @ScottG, you are referring to Hydro-Solv 9100.  It is discussed in this discussion thread:

    https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/comment/178945#Comment_178945

    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite2007 Toyota Tundra 4x4
    (Alde: 3020; Refrig: Isotherm Cruise 65 Eleg; Battery: BB 100Ah LiFePo4; Solar: Renogy 100Ah Suitcase; Victron BMV-712; Pwr Cntr: PD-4135KW2B; EMS: PI-HW30C)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 5,304
    Our shop tech says, it takes twice the time to do the exchange process from Century to Rhomar fluid.  So this soup,es the shop/labor cost compared to just changing the fluid without all the flushed sand cleaning steps.
     Cheers 
    2018 TaB400 Custom Boondock,  Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • justdoit70justdoit70 Member Posts: 33
    Hi all . Just wondering if you have Rhomar fluid installed ,would a gravity drain and fill work out ok?  I have not seen any info on this procedure. I know some campers use their units a lot more than some. Let the conversation begin.

    Ed &Cathy
    Poconos Pa.
    2021 [email protected] 400 solo
    2016 Taco double cab 4x4
  • Dutch061Dutch061 Member Posts: 764
    edited January 17
    Sorry to "butt in again" but I have to repeat what I have said many times before. 

    Both the Century and Rhomar are propylene glycol with an additive package added for corrosion etc. Anyone stating that "if you don't get all of the Century heat transfer fluid out before adding Rhomar heat transfer fluid will causes gelling" is simply using scare tactics. I don't care if it is an individual or a dealer. It is simply not true, kind of like watching the news on TV (which is filled with bias and opinion).

    Here is something else "we were told 30 years ago". R-12 refrigerant was being discontinued in the USA because the "chlorine ends up in the atmosphere and is destroying the ozone." This is when R-134A refrigerant was introduced as a replacement. Personally, I believe there were other reasons behind the switch, but I will leave that part out. 

    R-12 used a mineral based lubrication oil and R-134A uses PAG (Polyalkylene Glycol) which are not compatible with each other. We (in the automotive industry) were told that even 1 drop of mineral oil left in a system that is charged with PAG oil and R-134A would wreak havoc on the system and destroy the compressor due to the PAG oil turning into sludge from the contamination of the mineral oil. Obviously, there is no way possible to remove 100% of the mineral oil without replacing 100% of the components. Guess what, we never saw an issue caused by mixing of the lubricants that had 2 completely different bases to them. Funny thing is that "according to recommended service procedures "all fittings and Orings are to be lubricated with mineral oil" due to the corrosive nature of PAG oil. 

    So, back to TAB and Alde. It is impossible to remove 100% of the Century Fluid, regardless of what you do unless you replace 100% of the components. No one is going to do that, nor should they be expected to. With less than 3% of the total volume being anything but propylene glycol, it doesn't take much effort to realize how quickly this is further reduced by using water to clean out the Century fluid. Example, If the system holds 3 gallons, and 97% (372 ounces) is propylene glycol with 3% (11.5 ounces) of pixie dust. If you run 5 gallons of distilled water through and it reduces the pixie dust by 97%, it would reduce that pixie dust to less than 1/2 ounce or somewhere near 99% pure water. 

    So, if you use the "cleaning solution", how do you get 100% of that out? Simple answer is that you do not. You just add additional trace chemicals to the system. 

    Bottom line is this, it is your camper, and you need to use facts and logic to make decisions about what you should do. I am very fortunate because I have the ability and education to be able to take care of nearly everything myself. My limitations are related to tools and other equipment in some instances. I realize that not everyone has the ability (or desire) to be able to do these things themselves. 

    To me, this is simply taking advantage of a situation by those who are doing the work. No different than what happens nearly every day in the service industry. Example, my neighbor's sister just took her vehicle with 60K miles on it to a dealership for an oil change. They upsold her to nearly $900 in additional maintenance items that were not necessary or even recommended by the manufacturer. I can give you countless examples of this being done. 

    Safe Travels to everyone,

    Brad
    2020 400 BDL aka "Boonie"
    2022 Black Series HQ19 aka "Cricket"
    2021 F-250 Tremor with PSD aka "Big Blue"
    Concord, NC 
  • fstop32fstop32 Member Posts: 333
    All excellent points Brad, thank you. 
    DaveR middleTN - 2015 320S  /  TV 2003 Tundra 4x4
  • berggerbergger Member Posts: 723
    I agree with what @Dutch061 has said.  And as someone who tackled the Century to Rhomar exchange themselves last year I can say, @justdoit70, that a gravity drain is not good enough to get out the Century.  A gravity drain typically only removes a small amount of the glycol.  If that's all you do before you enter Rhomar you will still have a lot of Century in the system and your Rhomar will look yellow.  Now you can do a gravity drain first but you would need to follow up with a good water flush.  Yes as mentioned above in in other posts you will never get all the Century out but you will get so much out the remainder is not an issue.  I flushed with water until the Rhomar coming out of my bleeder valves looked exactly the same color as the Rhomar from the bottle.  You will see the color change if it mixes with Century.  The process is really not that hard but just takes some time.  And it's not expensive.  Took me roughly 3 hours to do the switch.  Read this thread and you should have all the information you need.

    https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/13409/switching-to-new-rhomar-glycol#latest
    2021 [email protected] 400 BD  "Vixen Gail" 
    2018 Nissan Titan Pro 4X "Big Bird"
    Leadville Colorado
  • qhumberdqhumberd Member Posts: 383
    edited January 17
    I also have concerns that a cleaning solution would not be required  unless the system had not been maintained. With regular fluid changes every 2 years, and the replacement solution being largely the same base solution, with different inhibitors as you all say, I think that from a chemical standpoint a thorough flushing should bring any residual Century down to just a few drops in a 4 gal total system. I know that with my Century to Century flush done nearly two years ago, I did a gravity drain, followed by a tap water flush, followed by a distilled water flush. After the initial gravity drain of about 1 gallon, I could still detect a yellow color until the END of a 15 gal tap water flush. At that point it looked like clear water. Then I did 5 gal of distilled water and then I added the new fluid, similar to what @Horigan documented. I think I can do the same with the Rhomar from all that others have learned and even what the Airstream recall bulletin says (no mention of cleaning solution there). My Alde has worked fine with the light use we have of the trailer and I can see no visible hose bulges or evidence of corrosion. I did put a ground on the Alde boiler case as that was easy and can't hurt anything even if there is not any galvanic corrosion going on in the system. I just like things to make sense and I have nothing to rebut what @bergger and @Dutch061 have said. I have only one dealer near me and that dealer does not have a great reputation. I have not taken my [email protected] to any dealer since purchase from first owner, and all the routine maintenance and upgrades have been successfully completed with the help of this forum. Many thanks for all the help and Happy New Year and safe camping!

    2019  [email protected] Boondock Lite "Todd"

    2016 Toyota Tundra 5.7 Crew Cab
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Moderator Posts: 2,992
    @justdoit70 Several people have done a "gravity change and fill" of the glycol: but only for "like to like" glycol.  Century to Century.  Rhomar to Rhomar.  You might only get a gallon of glycol to drain, rather than the three gallons of glycol in the systems.  I'm still working on finding the thread on this!
    While fooling with the glycol debate the other day, I wound up on the Aqua Hot RV heating FAQ page, and the amount of information on the page was eye opening.  Compared to the bafflegab we get from Alde about glycol, and the resulting complete confusion, their description was clear and concise.  Their reasoning for not mixing the glycol "color" is more about not wanting to confuse a technician who might look at an odd color of glycol and assume some sort of corrosion is taking place. 
    The other thing that was very interesting: in the world of the Century and Camco "heat transfer" fluids, Aqua Hot stated there was no difference in them at all. The colors did not matter.   Except for the "concentrated" mixtures that needed water added to get the right ratio.  It is all..the same stuff. 
    AQua Hot FAQ page link below.  See the section on "What brands of Antifreeze are Recommended?"


    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 1,215
    edited January 18
    This is what Rhomar says about using "Hydro-Solv 9100" hydronic system cleaner:

    "Hydro-Solv™ 9100 is the product of choice for online and new installation cleanup jobs. It is recommended that all new hydronic systems be cleaned and passivated with Hydro-Solv™ 9100 prior to putting the system in service. It will penetrate and disperse a broad range of mineral and organic foulants and help recover lost efficiency in older fouled and corroded systems. In addition, Hydro-Solv™ 9100 contains corrosion inhibitor additives that will help protect system metals during the cleaning process. When used as directed, it effectively cleans iron, copper, aluminum, brass and stainless steel. Hydro-Solv™ 9100 will not harm flexible tubing and contains no acids or Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)."

    I had to look up the definition of "passivated""make (a metal or other substance) unreactive by altering the surface layer or coating the surface with a thin inert layer."
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite2007 Toyota Tundra 4x4
    (Alde: 3020; Refrig: Isotherm Cruise 65 Eleg; Battery: BB 100Ah LiFePo4; Solar: Renogy 100Ah Suitcase; Victron BMV-712; Pwr Cntr: PD-4135KW2B; EMS: PI-HW30C)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • sequimitesequimite Member Posts: 13
    I can find no place to buy Rhomar except the dealer, but I have not checked their price yet. I have read quite a few threads on the Rhomar switch, and what seems to be missing is objective evidence that it actually is better than Century. Here's a comment from Mark on the TAB trailer upgrades and maintenance YouTube channel.

    "... since the new fluid is not performing any better than the old fluid, they are now backing off the claims of a five year cycle. The new fluid needs to be changed at the same interval as the original, but at near three times the cost. I will definitely be staying with the original fluid."

    Mark seems to be a smart and rational guy, and is an engineer, I believe. Others on this forum have looked at the materials in each product and concluded they are essentially similar. All this makes me wonder if it's worth the switch. My gut says that previous problems are likely related more to poor adherence to maintenance intervals than which fluid is used.

    Any thoughts?
    2016 [email protected] 320 [email protected] S "Annie", 3rd Owner
    Basically stock, but several mods coming soon
    2015 MB GLK 250 (diesel) Tow Vehicle, "Benzie"
    Sold Little Guy 5-Wide in 2022
    Sequim, WA USA
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