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Member Since 11 Oct 2012
OFFLINE Last Active Feb 26 2016 03:15 PM

Topics I've Started

LT1 / LS1 Electric Fans Conversion

09 November 2012 - 02:28 PM

A long time ago , in a forum a long way away....[insert StarWars theme]

It was suggested that I post this here as inspiration or as ideas for those who might be considering an electric fan conversion. I will preface this with a few words of wisdom.

The stock mechanically driven fan is really pretty good. Clutch fans limit the drag on the engine and nothing pulls air like the horsepower available directly from the engine. There is no electric fan that will pull as much CFM. If you are having heating problems, electric is probably not the answer.

So why go electric? It can have some advantages. At low speeds in hot weather it is not dependent upon engine RPM to move air. Crawling the desert the e-fans may keep you cooler. Air Conditioning performance can work better too. When the engine is hot they can run for a brief period after shut down to help reduce heat soak and the boil over that can occur. On a deep water crossing the fans can be canceled to prevent radiator damage. During cold weather the engine may have a faster warm up time and no drag from the fans. That can help performance and mileage.

"This all sounds great! Sign me up!" NOT SO FAST...

Every mod has its down side and the way things usually work is that one mod begets another. This is like a snow ball running down hill. Sometimes the ball gets very big , and sometimes it crashes at the bottom of the hill.

What are the negatives? The fans are electrical motors. Those can fail. Having two helps. Both failing at the same time is unlikely. E-fans is not simple. To work relays wires and fuses must all function. Any one part fails and you are down.
They do move less air than a mechanical fan. At highways speeds the fan is rarely needed to move the heated air from the radiator. At low speeds they exceed performance. It is that time when you are pulling really hard at altitude where they may not quite meet the task at hand.
The fan load is not eliminated when the fans are running. The mechanical fan puts the load on the engine through the water pump pulley. The electric fans deliver the load through the alternator pulley. Stock alternators are usually sized very close to the stock vehicles needs. If you make any additions to the electrical load, you must increase the ability to supply this load. That means you need a bigger alternator.

Ok, now that we have all that stuff out of the way...here is what I did for my last truck- LT1/LS1 Fan conversion

I found these LS1 Camaro fans and an extra upper shroud at the salvage yard.

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The plan was to keep the wiring simple.
Activated by the thermosat switch, air conditioning, or a manual switch in the cab.

I used this adjustable variable speed electric fan control-
Flex-a-lite's Variable Speed Control

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Left fan (Drivers side) Light blue = Positive , Gray = Negative
Right Fan (Pass. side) White = Positive , Black = Negative

For the AC I tapped the light blue AC request wire , from the high pressure switch on the back of the compressor. This will eliminate the fans cycling with the clutch. Instead they will be on whenever the AC is requested.
This control starts the fans at 60% power to reduce the load on the alternator, then if the temperature rises it gradually increases to 100% over the next 10 degrees.

These fans run together draw 57 amps for a split second on start-up, then continuously draw 13.6 amps while running at 100%. During AC operation and running at 60% they only draw 10.6 amps.

The fans fit very nicely horizontally, but the shroud was a little tall.
I cut the fans shroud down to the top of the upper most fan.

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The upper fan shroud was cut straight across the top,
retaining the radiator mounts and just behind the raised section for the stock fan.

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I used 1/8"x 1 1/2" aluminum angle to join the two pieces. Attached with 3/16" aluminum pop rivets, backing washers, and finished with press-in caps.
It is now a one piece direct bolt-in.

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The stock upper shroud was cut straight across just in front of the radiator mounts.
The lower lip had to be trimmed 1/4" to move the fans closer to the core and the tabs on the sides were trimmed for width also.
Slots were cut on the inside of the lower lip for inserting 1/8"x 1"x 2 1/4" aluminum tabs, that are attached with 3/16 aluminum poprivets.
These re-use the stock lower shroud mounting.

Total investment: $170 - Time to complete aprox.: 6 hours.

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Sway bar bushings

09 November 2012 - 12:48 PM

Where to start? and how did I get here?
I am not quite sure how the topic arose or why I poked my head under the front of my truck to check out the sway bar. Perhaps it was the disconnect thread? More than likely is is my continuing quest to make my current truck everything that the last was.

On my last truck I had very simple front sway bar quick disconnects. The links once disconnected allowed the bar to rotate forward and lock in place along side the front recovery hooks. Lubricated polyurethane sway bar bushings allowed the easy rotation. Disconnected the truck was able to float effortlessly over the terrain.
The addition of the Energy Suspension Polyurethane sway bar bushings did improve on road handling. With tall sidewalls and narrow tires the improvement was a correction that brought the cornering abilities back closer to stock performance on smaller tires. The replacing the stock rubber bushings with the polyurethane bushings reduced the body roll 15%.

How did I determine this you ask?

Here is what I did.
I used a ramp. I pulled my left front tire up on the ramp and took measurements at all four fenders. This was done stock. Then with the sway bar disconnected and with polyurethane bushings installed. The difference from side to side was subtracted, then the difference was added to the rear. The percentages were calculated from there. The percentages did closely mirror the front alone. I wanted to add the rear measurements to allow for some frame twist. It didn't amount to much since the front alone was virtually the same percentages.

If we call disconnected our baseline the stock bushings decreased body roll by 6%. Poly bushings decreased body roll by 23%.

What does this mean? Well, having the sway bar disconnected and running the stock bushings , the body is tipped 6% less than with the bar attached. Once I added the poly bushings this percentage really increases and the body will tip with the frontend 23% more than it would with the bar disconnected. The bar being disconnected then makes a big difference.

Flash forward to the new truck...
Disconnecting the sway bar in the same way as the last is not an option. The bar can not swing up or down due to the upper a-arm and the steering tie-rod below. Still the Polyurethane sway bar bushings may offer an advantage.
This truck is heaver and even though the tires have less sidewall, that weight does make things pretty soft in the corners. Do I worry about articulation? Yes! Is this going to hurt it? A little, but as with any mod you must weight the pros and cons. In my case this is a daily driven rig and sees lots of loaded street duty. Some roll reduction would be to my advantage.

I ordered the front sway bar bushing and link kit from Summitracing.com - ENS-3-5214G FRONT SWAY BAR KIT
It came to $42 delivered.

Arrives soon, stay tuned...

Happy Halloween!

31 October 2012 - 09:41 PM

Happy Halloween!

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From BLT :)

Welcome new users - READ THIS! (Yes you.)...please.

28 October 2012 - 02:15 PM


Radiator caps

28 October 2012 - 02:06 PM

This stuff is for the earlier models. Mostly the 5.7L and those who run Dex.
Do me a personal favor and the next time you go by the auto parts store, stop in and get a good radiator cap.

The stock GM cap is very poor, and yes I'm talking about even new ones. The problem is that the upper gasket is made from a fiber base, which is nice because it doesnt crack like the rubber based seals, but it does shrink a little and just by its nature does not seal well.

The next problem is that the ID of the upper seal is barely smaller than the rad opening, so there is very little contact. If the gasket (seal) shifts even a little, air can enter the system. For the Dex users this is VERY bad! (Dex + air = contamination)

The new cap will also improve the system performance by holding a higher pressure, which will be less prone to "boiling over" This is not a big expense. I paid $5.09 for a new Stant cap with pressure relief lever. It has smooth rubber seals and fits just right.

MACS 2001: GM and Texaco “Bare All” about DEX-COOL®
by I.M. Cool
Appeared Jan/Feb 2001 Cool Profit$ Magazine
© 2001 All Rights Reserved
As in the past, the MACS 2001 Convention and Trade Show in Orlando provided some very interesting and helpful air conditioning information. However, the sleeper presentation at this show was not about refrigerant, but—of all things—engine coolant! (Sleeper does not refer to making you sleepy; it was anything but boring.)

Marketing departments of major consumer goods manufacturers are known for their attempt to conceal even a shred of negative publicity about their products. You can’t blame them; you do the same in your business. That’s why it was refreshing to witness a candid GM/Texaco presentation about DEX-COOL coolant and its related field service problems. I give the big guys credit for even bringing up the subject because, well, let’s face it, there are not a lot of kind words being spoken about this coolant at automotive service shops today. (Especially at radiator shops.)

GM Cooling System Contamination Video @ $10 +S&H - Call 800-393-4831Left: 14-Minute GM Training Video is now available to help technicians service known cooling system contamination problems in specific GM vehicles.

GM’s Jay Dankovich and Equilon Enterprises’ (Texaco) Stede Granger directed a 2-year study of thousands of DEX-COOL cooled vehicles. Armed with the results, they really didn’t have anything bad to say about the coolant. In fact, they strongly defended the product’s reputation. What they revealed to the audience is that specific models of GM vehicles have specific cooling system contamination problems. And essentially, that DEX-COOL is not the culprit!
Their presentation started with a 14-minute video that is now being circulated to technicians at GM dealers nationwide. In the video, GM’s trainers succinctly described the problems that have been found and the corresponding corrective actions to be taken by technicians.

Suggestion. This video is a “must see” for all technicians considering themselves antifreeze/coolant experts. Without this information, your cooling system service knowledge of late model GM vehicles is severely limited. Seriously!
Fortunately, you can buy the video for only $10 (plus S&H). Call MSX International of Auburn Hills, Michigan at 800-393-4831. Ask for the DEX-COOL Video: “Understanding Radiator Cap and Cooling System Contamination.” Part number: RADCAPK. Immediately following this article is a report on this training video by John Brunner, recently retired GM field service representative.

What was said at the presentation? Besides the video, Jay and Stede included their personal observations about the study. At the end, they fielded several questions from the audience. Here’s a recap of their entire presentation.

1. Keep the cooling system filled. In fact, fill the reservoir bottle to “Hot” level when the system is cold. Problems arise when a system’s coolant level is not maintained. (Fleet vehicles receiving regular maintenance, and with reservoirs kept slightly above normal, do not show signs of contamination. This even applies to the specific “problem” vehicles.)

2. The coolant problems found in this survey were caused by system contamination, and not due to the breakdown of DEX-COOL.

3. Check and keep the pressure cap clean and functioning. A contaminated and/or malfunctioning cap causes low coolant levels, which in turn causes overheating and a greater loss of coolant: the notorious vicious cycle. No matter what the vehicle, if the cooling system acts suspiciously, test the pressure cap.

4. On the ST vehicle models mentioned in the GM DEX-COOL video, you “must” replace all suspect radiator caps, especially those with a Drop-Center design, with a Stant Model 10230 or 11230 (Spring-Center type). (Just do it.)

5. Make sure that the coolant is at a 50-50 mix. Often, the flush water was not being removed from the engine block. Consequently, when a 50-50 mix is added to the system the resultant mixture could approach 30-70. Like any fluid that has been diluted beyond its recommended levels, the lowered level of inhibitors will not be able to protect the coolant system effectively. Low levels of inhibitors can cause pitting on aluminum surfaces and general corrosion of cooling system metals.

Cutaway of Drop-Center CapLeft: Drop-center, “vented” radiator pressure cap. GM found this cap (like the Stant 10231) to be less helpful than a Spring-center cap (shown below) in controlling the formation of contaminants in the cooling system. If contamination forms, the debris fouls the valve and restricts its ability to seal. In turn, the coolant boils at a lower temperature. Coolant loss is accelerated and so is the accumulation of contaminants.

Cutaway of Spring-Center CapLeft: Spring-center, sealed radiator pressure cap (like the Stant 10230). This is the preferred cap for GM applications that are more prone to accumulating cooling system contaminants.

6. A safe method of achieving a true 50-50 mix is to first determine the actual capacity of the system (use the owner’s manual). Then add 50% of “that” amount of undiluted DEX-COOL (or any coolant), and top it off with water.

7. Mixing a “green” coolant with DEX-COOL reduces the batch’s change interval to 2 years or 30,000 miles, but will otherwise cause no damage to the engine. In order to change back to DEX-COOL however, the cooling system must first be thoroughly drained and flushed.

8. Bacteria cannot live in a hot, Ethylene Glycol environment and is therefore not a threat to DEX-COOL.

9. While there have been intake gasket failures on CK Series, V8 powered vehicles for various reasons, DEX-COOL has never been found as a cause.

10. Use a refractometer to check the condition of DEX-COOL. Its inhibitor package is strong enough that if the batch still provides proper freeze protection, it is probably still providing proper corrosion protection as well.

11. DEX-COOL can handle the minerals in hard water better than silicated conventional chemistry coolants. Drinkable water is suitable for top off.

12. In ST Blazer applications where the radiator cap is mounted at an angle to the ground, the vehicle is more susceptible to radiator cap contamination and its related problems. The Stant 10230 is a wise choice for these vehicles.

S-10 Planet.com forum

Dexcool was developed specifically to protect aluminum engines. As any engine that is primarily made from aluminum the key word here is "primarily". The engine still has lots of small parts touching the coolant that are made from ferrous metal. Stuff like bolts, the water pump impeller, headbolts, gaskets, cylinder bore liners, etc.

The protection level of silicated coolant is dependent on a coating of silicate on all of the parts of the engine blocking electrolytic reactions. This is a hit-miss kind of thing and you can see the effects of electrolysis on the intake manifolds on mid-80's Oldsmobiles and Chevys. They will be eaten away wherever they were in contact with a ferrous metal part. The way Dex-Cool functions is that it actually changes the mollecular structure of the surfaces of the aluminum in contact with the coolant. (Sometimes this will appear as a black or dark gray coloring of the aluminum inside the cooling system.) This is a similar process to bluing of ferrous metals to prevent rust.

The drawback of silicates is that over time they flake off leaving unprotected areas of the engine open to electrolytic action. They also have hard debris floating around in the cooling system. (The Silicate coating is that white flaky stuff you see in a used engine block at the junkyard.) Pieces of it find their way into the water pump seal and wear it out much earlier than if you use Dex-Cool. They also build up in the radiator and block the flow of coolant through the tubes slowing cooling. And as if that were not enough, the silicates act like insulation keeping heat from transferring from hot parts to the cooler liquid and from the hotter liquid to the cooler radiator surface to be carried away.

Dex-Cool has had some issues with solids forming in the coolant. Those issues are caused by two things.
1. Air trapped in the pressure side of the cooling system.
2. Over-concentration of coolant.
You can mix them but you lose the benefit of the Dex-Cool (mixing is not what turns the coolant into "mud") Never go higher than 50/50 and always make sure the system is full and is not losing coolant. Also, when you do this, replace the Radiator cap, preferably with a new one from GM. GM used to use Stant caps until they found out that they were getting air in the cooling systems from them. Look at your cap and if you see a Stant brand "Block S" on the stock GM cap, toss it and get a new one from a GM dealer. As long as it does not have that "Block S" on it when you pick it up, you are good to go. Some of them may have the small letters "TVS" on them, these are the good ones.
The NAPA cap has a block leter "S" stamped on it!

It is the design that is flawed. read the Mac's article linked above.

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Above: Drop-center, “vented” radiator pressure cap. GM found this cap (like the Stant 10231) to be less helpful than a Spring-center cap (shown below) in controlling the formation of contaminants in the cooling system. If contamination forms, the debris fouls the valve and restricts its ability to seal. In turn, the coolant boils at a lower temperature. Coolant loss is accelerated and so is the accumulation of contaminants.

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Above: Spring-center, sealed radiator pressure cap (like the Stant 10230). This is the preferred cap for GM applications that are more prone to accumulating cooling system contaminants.