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corey_49

Performance/Modern cooling system in old cars

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 So I have just sold my house and have some cash to final spend on the 240z. I want to create an efficient cooling system to free up some power from the l24.  This means getting rid of the stock fan and replacing it with an electric unit.  I was looking on MSA and found a 12” dual electric fan and shroud kit, it is expensive at $349.95 (Part # 16-7054) it looks nice has 2x fans and a shroud, install should be easy if you shell out another $249.95 for a 3 Row Aluminum Radiator.  Therefore a complete drop in replacement would cost total $599.95(Part # 16-6980).  Another product I saw was an electric water pump from MSA $297.95 (Part # 16-7025).  Together these products should complement each other and remove some parasitic losses.  Although after some research I found Davies Craig Electric Water Pumps and controller.  It allows you to remove the stock OEM thermostat, controls the fans, and allows you to adjust the temp if you want,(EWP115 Alloy http://daviescraig.com.au/) all this and a nice little LCD screen for $489.  Not to mention that this is a universal kit for engine between 2.0L to 3.5L, the only hard part will be fabricating a block off plate for the OEM water Pump. 

 

I know that this is an expensive option for maybe 15 HP but I like this because it is modular.  I am just wondering what the z car community thinks.  Also another little bit is I am from Toronto Canada so exchange rate is painful; I am interested in your thoughts and possible alternatives.  

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Posted (edited)

You can buy the electric fans and shroud from champion for $200. Pretty sure there isn't much of a difference, seems like MSA just throws a markup on parts for those not willing to shop around.

 

Not sure about electric water pumps. It would free up some parasitic loss, but they tend to draw quite a bit of amps, couple that with with the extra load when one or both of the electric fans kick in you are looking at an alternator upgrade in addition to all of this. Electric components also tend to have a more finite life span coupled with the excess heat environment I'm not sure it would be a wise choice. Most of the electric water pumps I have seen are more or less for more cars that were towed to and from the track. 

 

You can get an adjustable fan controller relay kit from the autoparts store for ~$40 or champion also sells a controller kit for $60. 

 

I'm running a 2 row champion with a shroud and dual E-fans with a controller in a 240z with a turbo'd 2jz, I haven't run it under hard load, but on a 90+ day here it was idling fine at 185 with the fans kicked on even with the engine over idling (1500rpm) and reving up to 4k or so. 

 

Bottom line, new radiator and e-fans wouldn't be a bad idea could be done with a bolt in solution for ~$400. Not sure the electric water pump or water pump controller would really be overtly beneficial. I've found ducting and blocking off other air passages to be much more effective. A local guy used to run a piece of card board on the front of his car that blocked off the radiator that wasn't in front of the fan to keep his 400+hp L28T cool.

Edited by seattlejester

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I'm a big fan of electric fans, mainly because I don't like how mechanical fans make the car sound like a giant vacuum cleaner. I've never met anyone brave enough to use an electric fan on anything that racks up a lot of street miles, except for I believe GM used them on some LT1s from the factory. My biggest concern is parts availability. I like the peace of mind that if the car is broken down a few hundred miles from home, I can get parts at any parts store, though I may have to spend a night there (been there, done that.) I also prefer 2-row, cross-flow radiators with the extra wide core tubing. And like Seattlejester said, electrical loads play a load. It's been a while since I've used a stock alternator, it's only like 40 Amps isn't it?

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I wouldn't change the water pump. An electric pump cannot flow any where near the volume that a mechanical pump can. Electric pumps are fine on Drag Cars. Not so good on Road Race cars. And the stock cast iron Datsun pumps are very efficient. Save your money there. Electric pump would be a step backwards on a street car. Save that money for some other more worthwhile mods.

 

A quality aluminium rad is a good idea. Lots to choose from. A few local hillclimbers  have had good success using Northern Radiators. Champion, Mishimoto and Koyo are all good as well.

 

Electric Fans. Two 12" fans are not likely going to cut it IMHO. I've seen some failures with that sort of setup. Total CFM is all important. Stock mechanical fans ( especially the 280Z with shroud ) pull Huge CFM. Look for electric fans in the 2,500 to 3,000 CFM range to even come close to the Stock 280Z fan performance. . Spal is a good choice. But $$$ in that CFM range. An excellent alternative is a Ford Taurus single fan $25 to maybe $40 at an Auto wreckers. The choice of Big Turbo cars of all types. 3,000 CFM and dual speeds. Mid 90's Volvo Fans are essentially the same and have a dual relay controller.

 

http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/volvo_electric_fan.shtml

 

BTW, I've mentioned this before. But my 1976  280Z has a custom 3 core Copper Rad, stock 8 Blade ( AC option ) plastic fan with stock shroud. new Hayden Thermal clutch and stock  Atsugi ( OEM Nissan ) cast impeller W/pump. Just got back from a trip to Osoyoos . 100 F ambient. Stinkin' Hot!! Engine never went over the 185 to 190 F in stop and go traffic. With the AC on full blast.  Soon as you stared to move over 30 - 40 MPH.... back to 180F. So nothing wrong with a properly maintained stock system with a good Rad.  I do run some Redline Water Wetter and my block and head were cleaned in a High Pressure Steam Cabinet when the engine was rebuilt. Absolutely no scale in the heads or block. That may make a difference.  

 

Ducting can make a difference in extreme conditions as mentioned. We used ducting a a few other tricks when racing. Getting air out of the engine bay is just as important as getting it in.

 

If you are not running the factory Splash Shield get one. It creates a low pressure area behind the engine and helps to extract air from the engine bay at Hwy speeds. Without it you get a turbulent, rolling high pressure area just behind the the lower edge of the Rad support and this pressurises the engine bay. The Splash shield straightens this turbulent, rolling  flow and attaches it it to the lower pan, then by the time the flow travels to the back of the engine it is in a low pressure zone. Very simple and works amazingly well. 

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Posted (edited)

Good point from Grim. You'll need at least a 70 to 80 AMP alternator with Electric fans.

 

Electric W/Pump... just say no. Drag Race stuff only in aftermarket.  Some European Manufacturers are using electric W/Pumps to get that last MPG ( Mercedes and BMW ) and they are a huge PITA when they fail. And they do fail.... often Huge $$$ as well. Check BMW forums . 40K miles on new BMW 135 and 335 electric pumps is a common failure range.

 

Meanwhile, Cheby and Datsun OEM W/pumps often outlive the cars. 200,000 miles on a stock W/pump is common. Engine is usually in there 2nd or 3rd car . By a NOS OEM Nissan w/pump and forget about it. 

Edited by Chickenman

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Thanks for the quick response; I was planning on replacing the stock alternator with the 60amp internal regulator one from MSA for 127.95 (part # 12-4068).  And yes I think I will buy the radiator from champion $339.98 (SKU CC110-110FS12).  I agree with Grim, I really hate the sound it makes, then I watch this video on YouTube and it just made me want to change it even more.  I could not find any specs for how many amps the 2x fans would draw but looking online they range from 10 -15 so 25 amps for both is a good estimate, I think and the Davies Craig EWP draws 10amp so already I need more than a 60 amp alternator.  After a quick google search I came up with a GM CS130 alternator rated at 85 or 105 amps at idle.  What do you guys run?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXdLgaFXZzs

I think I will hold off on getting the Electric Water Pump if I don’t have enough power to run it and the fans,  I think more there are more gains from electric fans then water pump. 

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Once again, MSA is punishing you for not shopping around. Pretty sure that alternator is a turbo zx alternator. ~$40 if you are willing to go non oem. $52 for one from my local parts store with warranty. Don't forget the voltage regulator delete plug if you have a 240z.

 

Might be worth looking at the Fins Per Inch and row size. My recollection was that the FPI count was more important then the rows in the radiator given the same overall size (really long time ago could be completely off). So the benefit of the 3 row was not as useful given the FPI is the same and the overall dimensions the same. If you are running a stockish setup the three row may not be worth the extra $100 or what not over the 2-row. 

 

Agreed 60 amps may not be enough. I know with the NA alternator which I think is the 60 amp model, I could get the voltage to drop if I turned on my lights, wipers, and the fans had kicked on. Throw in a stereo and an EFI fuel pump and you might have to start prioritizing. 

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Thanks for the quick response; I was planning on replacing the stock alternator with the 60amp internal regulator one from MSA for 127.95 (part # 12-4068).  And yes I think I will buy the radiator from champion $339.98 (SKU CC110-110FS12).  I agree with Grim, I really hate the sound it makes, then I watch this video on YouTube and it just made me want to change it even more.  I could not find any specs for how many amps the 2x fans would draw but looking online they range from 10 -15 so 25 amps for both is a good estimate, I think and the Davies Craig EWP draws 10amp so already I need more than a 60 amp alternator.  After a quick google search I came up with a GM CS130 alternator rated at 85 or 105 amps at idle.  What do you guys run?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXdLgaFXZzs

I think I will hold off on getting the Electric Water Pump if I don’t have enough power to run it and the fans,  I think more there are more gains from electric fans then water pump. 

Unfortunately this video is full of Half truths. While they test for HP loss, they do absolutely no testing for cooling efficiency or CFM capacity of a fan. Fine for a Drag car but next to useless on a Street Car and totally useless on a Track Car.

 

Flex fans are a complete joke at any thing other than a Drag car. Go put an 18" Pizza pan behind your radiator and see how much flow you get behind the Rad. Because that's exactly what a flex fan does at high RPM. Flattens out and effectively becomes nothing but a blockage to air flow. Flex fans make great Frisbee's though and are often seen in old James Bond movies ( Odd Job ) 

 

And no matter how much HP a fan " saves " you. if your engine overheats it is going to make less HP. What works on a Drag Car or a Dyno for a short pull does NOT necessarily equate to street use.  

 

A lot of things on Engine Masters is geared towards Drag Cars only. Keep that in mind.

 

They sometimes skip important details to prove a point.

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Posted (edited)

I run a 300ZX 70 AMP Mitsubishi alternator. Single belt and bolts right on to the factory bracket. Even uses the same belt. . 1985 or 1986 300ZX NA comes with a single belt pulley. New small frame style that puts out more amperage at idle than the early Large frame alternators. That's a big plus. For that reason alone I would switch to the later mid-80's small frame alternators. 

 

Edit: Rock Auto has the AC Delco brand 3341674  for $60.79 plus $30.00 core. AC Delco makes good quality parts. 

 

If you want more you can get an alternator from a 1986 Maxima. 80 amp and 90 amp, Mitsubishi style. But you will have to swap out pulleys as it comes with a serpentine 4 groove pulley. Single groove pulley bolts right on.

 

For the Mitsubishi style alternator you will have to change the two prong connector at the back of the alternator. It uses a Ford? Mazda style. These can be found at the wrecking yard on various mid 90's Ford vehicles and Mazda's ( Miata. Mazda Protege, Mini Vans etc etc ) .

 

Then you just have to change the wiring to suite the Internal V/Reg. Atlantic Z and other sites have articles on how to change the wiring. 

Edited by Chickenman

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Unfortunately this video is full of Half truths. While they test for HP loss, they do absolutely no testing for cooling efficiency or CFM capacity of a fan. Fine for a Drag car but next to useless on a Street Car and totally useless on a Track Car.

 

Flex fans are a complete joke at any thing other than a Drag car. Go put an 18" Pizza pan behind your radiator and see how much flow you get behind the Rad. Because that's exactly what a flex fan does at high RPM. Flattens out and effectively becomes nothing but a blockage to air flow. Flex fans make great Frisbee's though and are often seen in old James Bond movies ( Odd Job ) 

 

And no matter how much HP a fan " saves " you. if your engine overheats it is going to make less HP. What works on a Drag Car or a Dyno for a short pull does NOT necessarily equate to street use.  

 

A lot of things on Engine Masters is geared towards Drag Cars only. Keep that in mind.

 

They sometimes skip important details to prove a point.

 

Completely agree.

 

They never actually test a viscous clutch like we run, either.  The stock viscous clutch seems to "de-clutch" more effectively than they show in that video.  Honestly I've gone back and forth with electric fans over the years on my Z and finally just said "f it" and put the stock fan back in and never looked back.  I have never been able to detect a seat of the pants difference - I seriously doubt that you are losing more than 5hp with this setup, and Chickenman has already outlined pretty thoroughly the advantages regarding reliability and reduced complexity.

 

Also I think that the Taurus fan appears to work great with V8 conversions, but you might have trouble fitting one on an L-series, especially if you've gone with a thicker radiator.  There isn't that much room between the water pump and the rad, and the Taurus fan's motor is pretty big.

 

I'm currently running a Delco 12si 140A alternator, btw.  Had to use an adapter to mount it, and when you go higher in current capability you also need to address the current capacity of the harness wiring, as it was _not_ designed for anywhere near that much current, and it's 40 years old to boot.  Not advisable to actually start trying to push 90+ amps through it.

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I run a 300ZX 70 AMP Mitsubishi alternator. Single belt and bolts right on to the factory bracket. Even uses the same belt. . 1985 or 1986 300ZX NA comes with a single belt pulley. New small frame style that puts out more amperage at idle than the early Large frame alternators. That's a big plus. For that reason alone I would switch to the later mid-80's small frame alternators. 

 

Rock Auto has the AC Delco brand ( 331674 ) on for $60.79 plus $30.00 core. AC Delco makes good quality parts. 

 

If you want more you can get an alternator from a 1986 Maxima. 80 amp and 90 amp, Mitsubishi style. But you will have to swap out pulleys as it comes with a serpentine 4 groove pulley. Single groove pulley bolts right on.

 

For the Mitsubishi style alternator you will have to change the two prong connector at the back of the alternator. It uses a Ford? Mazda style. These can be found at the wrecking yard on various mid 90's Ford vehicles and Mazda's ( Miata. Mazda Protege, Mini Vans etc etc ) .

 

Then you just have to change the wiring to suite the Internal V/Reg. Atlantic Z and other sites have articles on how to cahnge the wiring. 

 

A

That's part number is 3341674

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Posted (edited)

The Pro-series electric fans that came with my 3-row Champion radiator several years ago were junk. The car would over heat in traffic or when I was just idling. I just replaced them with a pair of Spal Fans part# 30101522. These were the thinnest fans I could find that would give me a total flow of over 2500 CFM. The aluminum fan shroud had to be modified and the space is really tight, but these are working well for me so far. 

Edited by sugisan

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I am currently running the CS130 alternator on my car, it takes a modified alternator mount and a new tensioning arm (turnbuckle), but it works great. I also have a champion 3 row that will be going into the car when I get it painted. I went down to the junkyard and grabbed a dual fan set-up from a Ford Contour, it fits the radiator almost perfectly and should be thin enough to fit with the L series. I cant find any solid numbers but internet lore states that the fans put out around 3500CFM at 30 amps.

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