Cooling System Frustrations

Cooling System Frustrations

Setting up the Cooling System

I’ve put the radiator in the car, connected the hoses, and unfortunately the cooling system is far from complete.  As I’ve discussed before, mixing too many changes can have frustrating implications for the fit of other items.  I can’t get the upgraded cooling version of the fan shroud to fit.  It’s super close to the a/c pulley when installed, and the fan is fully inside the shroud when it’s at the ideal 1″ distance from the radiator core.  The guidance I’ve read says you want the fan blades about halfway into the shroud for best air flow, and I’m hesitant to move the fan further away from the core.

I’m also hesitant to cut the shroud to make it clear the accessories like this guy did…I think it’s ugly, and given that the 3.5″ shroud is more than double the price of the factory repop, I may just return the one I bought and get the factory-style, albeit probably less effective shroud.

Keeping My Cool

I’ve read a lot of articles over the past few years on Mustang cooling system solutions/additions/improvements.  When these cars were new, the cooling systems were just barely adequate for the conditions experienced in most of the country.  California, where it’s going to be 102º today and 104º tomorrow, is not most of the country.  And adequate isn’t good enough.  The consensus on keeping an early Mustang cool seems to be:

  1. Upgrade the radiator to a high-efficiency core (folks give a slight edge to aluminum radiators, but quality 3- and 4-row brass/copper radiators can provide equally good heat dispersion)
  2. Use a fan shroud
  3. Use the correct 180º thermostat (never run without one)
  4. Run a 50/50 mix of quality coolant and water (water alone invites corrosion, a higher coolant concentration affects heat transfer)
  5. Upgrade your fan from the stock 4-blade
  6. A 6-blade thermostatic clutch fan is the most efficient mechanically-driven option
  7. Coolant expansion/recovery bottles are a good idea

More Parts Trouble

I’ve got the heavy-duty aluminum radiator, the fan clutch, the shroud, the 6-blade clutch fan, and the hardware, I’m set, right?  Nope!  I pulled the fan out of the box and found one of the blades was missing a rivet.  Having a blade fly off at speed and slice through the hood isn’t high on my list of exciting experiences so I sent it back for a replacement.  Naturally the fan is on back-order, so it’ll be weeks before I move forward on installing the rest of the system.  At least that will give me time to take care of exchanging the shroud.

In the interim I’ve mocked up the fan placement with the original spacer and fan.  They make great stand-ins for the clutch fan since most of the dimensions are similar.

And then there’s the coolant recovery container.  Supposedly the brackets line up with the radiator bracket connections, but that’s a moot point when the a/c hoses are in the way.  It can’t go on the other side of the radiator, the battery tray is there.  It can’t go on the fender splash area, it’s too long.  And I’m back to trying to make it fit on the left side of the radiator where I’d initially wanted to put it.  Perhaps once the shroud is installed I’ll see another solution, but for now it’s not going on the car.  Worst case scenario, I’ll just regularly check the fluid level.cooling system fan mockup