Setting up the cooling for the engine, engine oil, and power steering oil took quite a while. Again, not the same as a Miata.
Initially, I did this. This fit the frame really well, looked good, and should work well. I was kinda proud of this.
Unfortunately, I had to trash all that and start over. The front of the engine is so close to the front of the frame, there’s no way a big radiator will fit inside the engine compartment. Part of the issue is the water pump. That giant Liberty Bell on the front is ridiculous! So I swapped to a Corvette LS2 water pump, and then spaced it out 3/4″ to match the other LS1 pulleys. That gained just enough room to make things work; about 1 1/8″.
Corvette front dress fits a lot closer to the block, gaining you another 3/4″. BUT… look where the alternator is. It’s mounted high up on the left, beside the head. That would hit the round frame tube.
Take note of the heater ports off of the water pump. Certainly not needed in this car. I installed this loop hose out of convenience. Don’t do this. That loop will get in the way later. Instead, pull out the hose barbs, and tap the holes for a pipe plug.
So now the radiator fits down there in front of the engine. But there’s so little room that I couldn’t get the hoses to work. And there was no room for the fan, either.
So, trial #3, or 4. Or maybe 5. I lost count. The radiator is mounted to the front of the frame. The oil cooler is mounted to the back of the frame. And the P/S oil cooler is mounted between the horizontal bars. A small puller fan is mounted on the left side. I don’t expect to need the fan much.
Modifying the Radiator
I also had to modify the V8R radiator a bit to make it all work. It they would supply it this way, it would work much better. I bought some aluminum tubing, and took it to a welding shop. I don’t have the equipment or skills to weld aluminum.
The radiator needs to be well protected. On the track at triple digit speeds, it’s pretty easy get some FOD damage that could end your day. Fortunately, good protection is inexpensive and easy.
I purchased a sheet of SS 1/4 mesh from Pegasus Auto Racing. You can get similar material from other places, but I like this stuff. You can’t lay it directly on the radiator core. That would simply transmit the force directly to the core. You need space it out just a little bit, so it will allow some movement of the screen and act like a trampoline for junk.
I laid down a fairly tall and narrow strip of clear silicone, from the top to the bottom of the radiator core, dividing the core roughly in to 3 sections. Marked with blue arrows.
After it was fully dry, I added another fresh layer of silicone on top, and some fresh stuff to each side. I simply set the screen down in to the fresh silicone, “gluing” it to the radiator.
I know, you’re thinking, “But, Bob! That will never hold!” I did a similar installation on my Cobra replica about 12 years ago. After 12 years on the street, and 10 years on the track, the screen is still in place, and there isn’t a single bent fin. Yes, it does work. Proof of concept.
I finally got it all to fit and work the way I want it to. At least I hope it will. I am a little concerned about how low the radiator sits. I’m worried about road damage. Not sure what I’ll do about that yet.
I made some spiffy brackets to mount this overflow reservoir. Looked pretty good. Sadly, I had to remove it later. The front body nose cone wouldn’t fit over it. I also had to re-do the lower radiator mounts to fit the nose.
Right now I’m making a new reservoir and brackets. Once I get them installed I’ll add more pictures. Kind of a good thing, anyway. The new reservoir fits better, and is considerably lighter.
I built a new overflow reservoir out of PVC tubing and end caps. I made the brackets out of some sheet aluminum I had lying around. I drilled a hole in the bottom, and installed a plastic 90* fitting for the tubing – only because I had one lying around. Without it, I would have drilled a hole near the top and threaded the tubing down to the bottom of the reservoir. Simple, effective, light, and cheap. Certainly not trick or fancy. No billit alum here. 🙂 I might make a PVC oil catch can out of the same basic stuff.
Track Update 9/16/16
After nearly a full season on the track, this is working. The power steering fluid gets pretty warm, but not boiling. Oil and water generally stay around 200*, with a 190* thermostat. I do run E-85, and that really helps to keep things cool on a hot day. Once again, proof of concept!