Swapping a power-robber for dual, on-demand super-coolers
Andy Bolig - August 08, 2013 10:00 AM
First, we removed the original fan shroud and clutch-driven fan. The new unit will be much quieter (since it only runs when needed) and lets a few more hp flow to the rear tires.
Fans can be ordered separately or in a kit that provides the necessary wiring, temp switches and brackets.
First, we installed the new fan assembly. Notice how much more room there is around the front of the engine!
The kit comes with the necessary wiring, relays and fuse holders for a safe, sanitary installation. There’s more than simply running a big, red wire to the battery or a dash-mounted switch to run the fans. The kit gives you everything you need.
We mounted the relays where they were accessible, and also away from the engine’s heat. Relays allow for controlling high-current draw items with minimal current through the activating switch.
The kit comes with a thermostat switch for the fans, or, if your ride has an ECU, many have available outputs for operating electric fans. Also, if your system has A/C, you will want to include the A/C switch to operate the fan(s) as well.
Once installed, the unit not only allows for control over cooler temps, but also allows for more room around the engine and underhood areas. They’re also much quieter since they don’t run unless they’re needed.
It all comes down to moving air and if the ion-driven unit can get more cooling air over the fins of the radiator, then it can also assist in pulling more heat from the fins on the radiator.
Nothing has the potential of sucking the fun out of enjoying your ride like keeping one eye on the temp gauge and the other on traffic.
More than simply the fun factor, keeping your engine’s operating temps well below cracked-head status has been the goal of engineers and enthusiasts for ages. Unless your engine has fins on the block and head(s), you can rest assured that it uses liquid to keep it cool. Likewise, there’s probably a radiator attached to it to help pull the heat back out of that coolant.
Engine cooling has progressed over the years as engineers utilized everything from reverse-flowing systems, different materials for construction, clutch-actuated mechanical fans and finally, electrifying the means for moving air through the radiator. Much debate has evolvedas to whether an electric fan cools better than a properly engineered mechanical fan and the answer is definitively – maybe.
It all comes down to moving air and if the ion-driven unit can get more cooling air over the fins of the radiator, then it can also assist in pulling more heat from the fins on the radiator. But, an electric fan assembly will NOT overcome other issues in the cooling system. You can move all the air in the world through a radiator with limited coolant flow and still wind up with an overheated engine. Likewise, a stuck thermostat will also keep all that hot liquid from getting near where the air can do the most good.
What an electric fan CAN do is to help get better control of the cooling characteristics of your ride. The latest mechanical fans from the OEMs utilized a clutch assembly to help dictate when the fan does the most good and help eliminate parasitic power loss when it doesn’t need to. Tests have shown that double-digit horsepower losses are possible when trying to drive even a clutch-actuated fan at high rpm. Even more notable is the fact that around 40 mph, there is usually enough air moving through the radiator due to the car’s motion that a fan is not necessary. If this is not the case, you should check to make sure that all necessary seals and ducting are in place and that the thermostat, water pump and radiator are not restricting coolant.
When do you need a fan? Obviously at low speeds, when the air isn’t being pushed into the front of the vehicle, and also when items like the A/C are on (to help cool the condenser). The nice thing about electric fans is that you can wire them for everything from a “constant on” condition to operating one (or both fans in a dual fan assembly) when specifically called upon from a number of different factors. Turn the A/C on, and the fan can come on automatically, and/or reach 45 mph and the fan could turn off automatically, unless needed. Their versatility, controllability and efficiency are the main reason they have become the darling of engine cooling engineers as of late.
Now, all of the benefits of the latest technology in cooling can also be had for earlier cars. We recently rode along as the folks at Cole’s Classics were installing a new Maradyne 225-watt Jetstreme II dual-fan assembly into a second-gen, big-block Camaro. This was a typical installation that utilized the proper switches, relays and brackets to make for a safe and long-lasting installation. As an added bonus, Maradyne offers a technical support line that is staffed Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central time.
Swapping out a belt-driven fan for an electric model can bring many advantages so long as some general rules are followed. Just like a single, belt-driven fan, if there isn’t a way to direct that air through the ENTIRE radiator, you won’t get all the benefit that any fan can offer. That is why you want the fan shroud to cover as much of the radiator surface as possible.
Our fan measured 26 by 15 inches and covered most of the radiator, while the rubber seal makes sure that all the air is pulled through the radiator, not between it and the fan. And, it helps to protect the fins of the radiator. You also want to separate the temperatures at which the thermostat opens and the fan turns on by at least 15 to 20 degrees. If the fan comes on too closely to the thermostat opening temperature, the fans could run constantly, increasing wear on the fan motors and shortening their life greatly. Follow along and we’ll show you how easy it was to keep our big-block cool and add in some safety and other features along the way.