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Protecting Your Cooling System

Aug 19, 2008
Your cooling system is extremely significant. Once you start customizing your sports car for speed and horsepower, things can start to get really hot under the hood. This is because your cars energy only translates about 30 percent of the energy found in gasoline into power. The rest of it ends up as waste heat, and as any good hot-rodder or tuner knows, heat is one of the biggest enemies of performance.

This is because engines are intended to run inside fairly narrow temperature ranges. You have probably seen that a motor can be somewhat hesitant in the mornings on a very icy day it needs to warm up to that most advantageous temperature in order to become efficient and make the most horsepower that it can. Likewise, since the temperatures inside an engine can get scorching and do not forget, you are actually using controlled burns of gasoline to get where you are going too much heat can melt or damage important engine components. This is especially true if you are running performance parts such as aluminum cylinder heads.

So how can you maintain things as cool as possible? It helps to have a cooling system that is up to the mission of keeping your engine from baking alive. The more power you make, the hotter you engine could start to run. The first thing to keep in mind is that you should run the type of coolant that the manufacturer recommends for your car. Now I know a lot of people tell you that all coolant is the same and that you can go down to the local supply shop and buy green, blue or orange coolant and just dump it in there, but this is not true. Each type of coolant has a different chemical composition, and your engine was designed to run specifically with what it came with from the factory.

Another way you can help your stock cooling system deal with the increased load is by installing a more powerful electric fan. Most modern cars use electric fans as a stock accessory, but if you are running an older car, then you can use a conversion kit to switch over to an electric from a mechanical fan fairly easily. The key characteristic of an electric fan is how many cubic feet per minute of air it can move CFM. You can easily find a fan with a higher CFM than your stock fan, and sometimes, (depending on how much space you have in your engine bay), you can install two fans side by side in the same housing.

Electric fans are very useful if you have a turbo car. Turbos spin very, very fast sometimes tens of thousands of rpm. Naturally, they can get extremely hot, and so can their manifolds. A good trick is to set your electric fan to keep running even after you have shut down the car after a hard run. It might make you feel a bit weird to walk away from your car with the fan still whirring, but putting the fan on a timer or temperature sensor that shuts it down once your engine and turbo are back down to a reasonable temperature is a great way to prevent component damage and prolong the life of your vehicle.
About the Author
Justina Mathews writes issues that currently affect the performance car enthusiast. She also writes about issues that affect the street tuner industry, as well as import scene lifestyle. She's a staff writer for cooling systems .
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