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Silicone vs. EPDM Hoses

We often hear about the battle between rubber, and silicone. However, when it comes to the hoses on your heavy-duty truck, should you go with a silicone hose or stick with EPDM?

Recently we interviewed Nick Colarusso, HDT Aftermarket Regional Manager at FLEXFAB.

The Cost of a Blown Hose

How much can a blown engine hose really cost?

Imagine this scenario. You’re making good time on your route, but then your truck breaks down.

You check the engine and spot a leaking hose. You most likely do not have a spare hose with you in the truck, so you must find a local shop and get it repaired.

Depending on the situation, you may need to transfer the load and have your truck towed in.

When you break down it means a loss of productivity, possibly spoiled products, unhappy customers, a repair bill, a tow bill, and additional hotel and food expenses if the truck can’t be fixed that same day. This is a truck drivers’ nightmare and a fleet’s worst-case scenario.

Comparing Silicone and EPDM

Hoses fail mostly from exposure to extreme conditions, such as high and low temperatures, high pressure, or abrasion, especially if the hose has a tight bend radius and is rubbing up against something.

What kind of temperature ranges do commercial engines have to operate in? The charge air cooler for example sees internal temperatures of 250f, and the EGR may see continuous operating temperatures of 450f.

If you live in a climate that can see frigid weather in winter, this can also greatly impact EPDM hoses. Generally, EPDM can last from -40f to 260f, whereas silicone can last from -65f to 500f, giving silicone a far greater range of temperature resistance.

Purchase the Correct Clamps

Clamping your hoses may seem like a simple thing, but things can go wrong especially if the hose is made of EPDM. The wrong type of clamp can bite into the hose, creating multiple leak paths, damaging the hose, which will prevent it from future use. Flexfabs’s clamps have a band that runs along the inside to give the hose extra protection from the slots.

Positioning the clamp correctly can make the difference between a proper seal and a blowoff. Flexfab ensures that its clamps are perfectly placed every time with a saddle.

Lastly, when installing clamps, over-torquing the clamp can also end up leading to leakage. Make sure you read or look up the manufacturing specifications so that don’t accidentally end up over-torquing.

Lowering Cost-per-Mile with Silicone

Does silicone increase the service life of the product?

“We have seen million-mile trucks who have the original Flexfab manufactured OEM hoses still installed. The chemical properties of silicone make it more resistant to a wider range of temperatures and also help it retain its form, which will lead to increased service life. Longer-lasting products and more uptime on the road will save you money,” said Nick Colarusso, HDT Aftermarket Regional Manager at Flexfab.

While costing more to initially purchase, silicone provides not only better performance, but it increases the service life of the product as well.

Silicone is not a solution for everything though. If there’s high abrasion or prolonged oil exposure, you may want to consider other options but that is the exception, not the rule. Under most operating conditions, silicone is the way to go with your CAC, coolant, heater hose, and EGR applications on your commercial trucks.

Answers to Your Questions

For questions about the way that Flexfab’s products interact with certain fluids, what should you do?

Flexfab has plenty of engineers who are willing to help. You can also reach out to Nick, and he will help you get that process rolling for you. Flexfab also publishes videos and flyers that explain the difference between Silicone products and EPDM. Also, they have an app that shows where their products go on an engine to help train salespeople.

If there is one thing to take away, it’s that Flexfab silicone hoses work for the long haul.

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Author: Taron H.

Taron is the Marketing Manager at The Heavy-Duty Parts Report.


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