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#939963 - 07/22/12 10:42 PM Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $  
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DiamondSnake Offline
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Québec, QC
Hi all,

I'm looking into getting a new a radiator, to replace the stock one, with some electric fans to get rid of the clutch fan so i can also install an electric water pump. I wanted to know what was the best bang for the buck in terms of radiator + Electric Fan combo?

My rad preference would be aluminium, polished if possible. Any suggestions?

Last edited by DiamondSnake; 07/22/12 10:42 PM.
#939999 - 07/23/12 04:17 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: DiamondSnake]  
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RenoReno2 Offline
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alot of people swear by the Champion radiators on ebay. cheap and hold up


88 Monte SS
#940005 - 07/23/12 08:47 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: RenoReno2]  
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Richie Cat Offline
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Just looked into Champion and found this:
http://www.performancecooling.com/servlet/the-1481/1978-1979-1980--dsh-/Detail
Not bad at all.


83 SC, 355 w/TPI
#940038 - 07/23/12 06:38 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: Richie Cat]  
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gmachinz Offline
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I have several high output cooling fans setups for you....PM me for details and I can suggest the best option for ya.


gbodyparts1234@yahoo.com

HARNESSWORX
#940040 - 07/23/12 07:19 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: gmachinz]  
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DiamondSnake Offline
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And what would be better for the fans? One Big one or, like, two 12 inchers?

Edit : gah.. just saw your post gmachinz, i'll be pm'ing you smile

Last edited by DiamondSnake; 07/23/12 09:33 PM.
#940097 - 07/24/12 01:59 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: DiamondSnake]  
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mondotti Offline
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For my swap I have the Champion 3 row with dual 12" fans for my 86 SS with the pre-cut/fitted cover and I have no issues. Fit perfect (used the buick GN top mount).



I was advised that only one 12" fan operating would not be enough to cool it and they were right. However, it wasnt as bad as I thought as it was only when it was very hot and it would not overheat but rather the fan would never reach the cut-off temp I set in the ecm. So basically I would end up over working a single fan so I set it up in the ecm for both to engage..



At some point when I add AC I will get a larger single fan and use the smaller for AC or may just use the dual speed single as John Bzdel had done.

Last edited by mondotti; 07/24/12 02:00 AM.

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1986 Maroon SS Notchback, Stage LS9 Hyperspace Chip with G&M 4L65E Shift Kit
#940145 - 07/24/12 05:08 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: mondotti]  
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DiamondSnake Offline
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@mondotti : in my case since i got no electronics in the car anymore (Except an aftermarket audio system) I can just rig some manual switches and relays for those fans right?

And are your fans pullers or pushers?

Last edited by DiamondSnake; 07/24/12 05:15 PM.
#940148 - 07/24/12 05:18 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: DiamondSnake]  
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MD
There were no controls to run those fans to begin with. If you swap in a late-model engine with an ECM, that can be used to switch on the fans.

There are aftermarket controllers out there like from Flex-a-lite that just have a little probe that goes between the fins of the radiator and you can adjust the temperature at which it closes its relay. I've used the flex-a-lite controller for a few years and it's worked flawlessly.

Or you can get temp sensors that ground at a certain temperature from Summit, and use that to create your own harness with a relay (or multiple relays for different triggers/speeds/temperatures).

gmachinz has created fan control harnesses for people, send him a PM if you are interested in having a system that controls itself. All you need to do is forget about that switch one time and the engine overheats.

#940150 - 07/24/12 06:37 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: SickSpeedMonte]  
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gmachinz Offline
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As stated, there are a lot of ways to control an electric fan-I have kits to allow multiple speeds for a single fan, multiple speeds for dual fans, dual speed single fans and dual speed dual fans. They are relay activated through the use of temp switches.


gbodyparts1234@yahoo.com

HARNESSWORX
#940185 - 07/25/12 12:05 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: gmachinz]  
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Dollar for dollar, use a new stock radiator and LS1 f-body fans. You'll probably have less than $250 in the entire setup and it will do a good job.



85 MCSS, 02 5.3/4L60E stock daily driver,84 MCSS, Another stock 5.3/60E.
#940272 - 07/26/12 01:10 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: 84LS1T56SS]  
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MAP Offline
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Hi Folks,

Probably one of the greatest mysteries in the universe, at least for me, is how much radiator and fan are needed to maintain a certain max coolant temp in a certain max air ambient temp, for a given motor.

I presume based on what I've heard that the fans are needed below 25-ish MPH to maintain adequate air flow through the radiator. This probably relegates most of the fan's cooling demands to keeping the engine cool at idle in a stopped-traffic condition. From Newton's first law of cooling, the higher the ambient air temp, the more fan CFM will be needed to maintain a target coolant temp. More accurately, we need to lower total thermal resistance as the ambient temp rises.

The thermal power radiated by the motor at idle is unclear to me. The motor might be operating at about 15% mechanical efficiency at idle from a thermodynamic standpoint - i.e., 85% of power is wasted as heat (rough guess, and this is probably quite sensitive to overlap.) If the overlap sensitivity is valid, then it *might* be reasonable to assume that thermal power at idle roughly goes in proportion to max engine power output. (Idle speed probably varies as a function of engine power and overlap, so once again, there should be a reasonably strong correlation between idle thermal power and max engine mechanical power.)

Putting all of these together as best as I can, all that I can conclude is that the fan/radiator combination needs to be more robust, or more precisely, to have lower thermal resistance, as:

1. Engine max mechanical power output increases,
2. Ambient air temp increases.

Hardly an earth-shattering conclusion and this reveals no new information, but trying to go beyond this is almost a crap shoot given the almost non-existent technical information out there. When faced with such a grim situation, then it makes sense to use known benchmarks that succeed, such as factory coolant system X with Y motor, of Z HP. Or maybe just coolant system X with HP Z. If you happen to have 2*Z HP (not unlikely in this forum,) then presumably you need half the factory thermal resistance. But how to get there? Twice the radiator? Twice the total fan CFM? Twice of both? (I suspect the relationship is highly non-linear.) One of the advantages of copying a factory system is that it's already engineered to resist the hottest climates, and with probably 50% radiator obstruction due to the very slow accumulation over time of things like bugs, twigs, and leaves, in the radiator fins.

Anyway, hope this sheds a tiny glimmer of light on a complicated landscape. Or, should I say, apologies.

Best,
MAP







Last edited by MAP; 07/26/12 01:21 AM.
#940290 - 07/26/12 03:50 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: MAP]  
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Retro Offline
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#940336 - 07/26/12 06:36 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: Retro]  
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MAP Offline
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Thanks Retro,

Very practical, if not completely accurate.

Best,
MAP

#940341 - 07/26/12 07:44 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: MAP]  
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84 ZZ4 Offline
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It is harder to find the HD cooling radiator, or equivalent for our cars.
I bought one, but it barely cooled the engine enough, using mechanical fan & stock shroud. Although cheap ($120) it was a POS. Repairing the original stock one was going to be over $400, so I got the easiest at the time.

The '87 IROC radiators should be a straight swap, and are easily found new, although they may have the plastic side tanks, they are aluminum and cool efficiently, on the downside, the plastic tanks tend to crack every 5-7 years on all of my cars I have owned, regardless of make.

The BeCool radiators are my top choice, although they are pricey, they require no mods, and are made in the USA.
They BeCool are also available polished, but expect to dish out another $200 or so..
Another option is use some Mothers billet polish and an afternoon, you can get the polished look by hand, or use their foam wheel.

That is what I am running on a zz4 engine, level 2 automatic tranny, and full A/C in hot Texas heat, with mechanical fan.

#940343 - 07/26/12 08:21 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: 84 ZZ4]  
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gmachinz Offline
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The problem is nobody needs a better cooling system because of a stock 305 motor running hot. The moment one decides to up the ante then changes must be made.

Aluminum sheds heat better than brass/copper so that's easy....there are other stock radiators that are aluminum but don't have any more volume so it isn't an ideal situation either. From my experience and builds, a robust cooling system consists of an aluminum 1" 2-row radiator and the biggest single fan you can fit-period. anything less is going to be a compromise since we aren't simply looking for something that will work but something that can handle any temperature extreme.


gbodyparts1234@yahoo.com

HARNESSWORX
#940346 - 07/26/12 08:47 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: gmachinz]  
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I've had luck (knock on wood) with my Modine 951 (V8 3rd gen f-body) aluminum radiators with plastic tanks. None have cracked so far and it's been almost 10 years in each car. I have a good used spare too laying around just in case. I don't know if it still is but for awhile was a very popular swap/upgrade over stock and a direct fit. Ramcharger/Intrepid fans were also very popular and I've had only good results running them as well.
A/C performance has been my recent challenge in the LS that has me realizing it might not be the "best" combo out there but for the minimal improvement in airflow/cooling, not worth my time/money to change over (JMO).

IIRC the Mark VIII fan moves the most air


-86'SS 383 CCC QJet- BRF 2004r-8.5" 3.42
-87'LS 350 MAF/SD TPI- CRF 2004r-7.5" 3.42
-81'Grand LeMans Safari Wagon 350 CCC Q-Jet/CZF 2004-r/8.5" 3.73
-07'TBSS Stockish daily driver
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#940372 - 07/27/12 03:37 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: DiamondSnake]  
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mondotti Offline
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Originally Posted By: DiamondSnake
@mondotti : in my case since i got no electronics in the car anymore (Except an aftermarket audio system) I can just rig some manual switches and relays for those fans right?

And are your fans pullers or pushers?


Sorry I didnt expand as mine were set-up for an LS swap.. As sickspeed mentioned there are options mentioned elsewhere to setup a thermostaticly controled fan for use with a stock set-up thats not hard to follow. Basically some heavy gauge supply wire, a 12v relay and the thermostat to trigger the relay. Or if you prefer the manual switch route as you mentioned to trigger a relay.

Per the mounting of these particular fans they are pullers. Although they are on the cheap side they perform incredibly well and I have zero complaints. For the money the radiator was a great deal and performs quite well, even with a single low speed cheap 12" fan.


[Linked Image]
1986 Maroon SS Notchback, Stage LS9 Hyperspace Chip with G&M 4L65E Shift Kit
#940373 - 07/27/12 03:43 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: mondotti]  
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mondotti Offline
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One thing I forgot to metion that I liked about the fans is that they are very quiet.

I have heard of complaints of noise from other high end, high rpm aftermarket cooling fans ( this is subjective and of course relative to the speed and pitch of the fan blades) and this was another reason why i gave these a try.


[Linked Image]
1986 Maroon SS Notchback, Stage LS9 Hyperspace Chip with G&M 4L65E Shift Kit
#940379 - 07/27/12 05:27 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: mondotti]  
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gmachinz Offline
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Here's one style of electric fan kit I offer with a dual speed fan and integrated controller for it:


The side tabs haven't been trimmed off yet-this is for use with (2) temp switches for the two speed ranges and has an AC over-ride built-in. These fans are OEM and not nearly as loud as most aftermarket fans-much more stable @ higher RPM's and thus they can pull a lot more air without a drastic amp draw.


gbodyparts1234@yahoo.com

HARNESSWORX
#940441 - 07/28/12 03:19 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: gmachinz]  
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Fred SS Online content
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For electric fan controllers, has anyone used Delta Current Control? Their units appear to be really clean and straight forward, but a bit pricey.


87 SS, Harwood cowl induction hood, UMI trailing arms. Hooker 2050 Headers (Jet Hot Coated). Hooker Cat-Back Exhaust, Goodwrench 350, Ported TPI, Trick Flow 56cc alum heads, SLP runners, Comp Cams 260AH-12 cam, Trick Flow 1.5 roller rockers, TCI 2400 stall converter, Denny's 3.5" Driveshaft, GBodyParts GNX Replica Wheels 18x8 & 18x9.
#940535 - 07/29/12 04:01 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: Fred SS]  
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In my opinion best bang for the buck is a parts store aluminum radiator, just about all the radiators they sell are aluminum now. Go to pull a part and grab a Dodge Intrepid fan. Make your own wiring harness using relays and an add on fuse block. You can use the adjustable temp probes to turn the fans on/off automatically or just use switches. I used the adjustable probes and I have maybe $150 in my electric fan swap. Then maybe another $150 in the radiator. I don't remember what the radiators cost. I got mine free, warranty replacement of my old three core copper/brass unit that was discontinued.


84 Monte SS stolen September 2012. 077 DFE Jefferson County KY plate. $2500 reward. Vortec headed 350ci, th350, 3:73 limited slip cast aluminum cover, Autometer gauges, Pro-Stick, 2.5" fiberglass hood.



Matt
#940591 - 07/30/12 01:54 AM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: 84supersport]  
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MAP Offline
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MAP  Offline
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Hi Folks,

Brass and copper actually have better thermal conductivity than aluminum. However, there's a whole host of ancillary reasons why the industry has shifted to aluminum since about 1990, when global commodity prices for aluminum took a big dive and stayed there until about 2006.

Best,
MAP

#940635 - 07/30/12 04:00 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: MAP]  
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"Brass and copper actually have better thermal conductivity than aluminum"

Agreed. It's more of the design on the late model aluminum style radiators that makes them tend to be more efficient than the old school brass radiators. The difference in the heat transfer ability is pretty minimal though, so for all intents and purposes, look for a better design and build quality over the material itself.


Shawn

'85 MC with budget 5.3L swap, TH350 with stock 2.14 rear end
It ain't much off the line, but it's nice on the highway
#940639 - 07/30/12 04:52 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: Hunter79764]  
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gmachinz Offline
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That is true but who makes a 2 row 1" tube radiator in brass/copper that is a drop in replacement? Aluminum just seems to be true only option which then leaves the main variable the quality of the construction ie beaded seams vs tig welded vs epoxy

Last edited by gmachinz; 07/30/12 04:54 PM.

gbodyparts1234@yahoo.com

HARNESSWORX
#940651 - 07/30/12 06:49 PM Re: Best Radiator/Fan combo for the $ [Re: gmachinz]  
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MAP Offline
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MAP  Offline
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Hi Folks,

Gmachinz brings up a good point. One the many factors that tends to level the playing field between Cu and Al is Al's much lower mass density. With Al's lower thermal conductivity, the thermal resistance vis-a-vis Cu is usually compensated-for with much higher surface area. Higher surface area usually means more metal volume, but once again, Al's lower mass density saves the day, so that when all is said and done, for the same thermal resistance, an Al radiator - despite its additional bulk - will tend to be lighter than the Cu equivalent.

Anyway, if the net balance of benefits/detriments tends to favor Al nowawadays for the OEM, there's no reason to try to fight this trend in the aftermarket.

Best,
MAP


Last edited by MAP; 07/30/12 06:51 PM.
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