I finally got my oil cooler setup installed last week. When I went looking for a thread to post in, I found a number of possibilities, so I asked the moderators to merge them together (hence the thread title being changed to "AAIIIC's oil cooler thread").
Now, on to my update...
So, I finally actually installed an oil cooler setup on the car! Last year, when I got it all back together, I told myself that I wouldn't take it back to the track without an oil cooler. I scheduled back-to-back events in November at VIR, so after some of my typical procrastinating, in October/November, I pulled the front bumper off and fiddled around a bit trying to figure out how to make things fit. I knew that at some point the car had been in a front end collision of some sort, and I confirmed that with these braces - note the twisted/bent driver side one:
I ended up just ditching that part for now, although I might see about replacing it the next time I have the bumper off.
As a number of us have discovered, the packaging issues really become a pain in the arse if you've done headers. The placement of the header primaries and collector on the driver side preclude using the LS-specific take-off adapters that a number of companies (TPiS, Mocal, Lingenfelter, Katech, etc) sell, and also make it difficult to use a sandwich adapter. So, I elected to use a "normal" take-off adapter in place of the oil filter, which means a remote filter mount has to be used, but there's literally no room in the engine bay to put said remote filter mount! I've crawled all over under the car trying to figure something out, but in the end I elected to follow the lead of crankedupforit - I put the remote filter mount in front of the driver side wheel, tucked behind the fender liner. Pics of that later...
Anyway, back in October/November I was planning to use the Greddy combined remote mount / oil thermostat
in that location behind the fender liner, but it turned out it wouldn't fit. Since it's a combined unit, it's bigger than just a "normal" remote mount, and once I added on appropriate -10AN hose ends it just wasn't going to work. Of course, I figured this out within a week of the planned November track events, so I elected to break my own promise to myself and go to the track events without an oil cooler. To spite me, on day 1 of the planned 4 days, the alternator died, so I had to tow the car home and replace it with my Subaru to finish the events.
Fast forward to February/March. My first event of the season was scheduled for March 9/10. After a couple of months of the car mostly sitting in the garage and me thinking I need to get off my ass and do the oil cooler, I finally got started with about 6 days to go. Off came the bumper again, and I looked through the various plumbing and shiznit I've amassed over the past couple years and figured out a plan of attack.
For the cooler location, a few folks have mounted their cooler to the big steel bumper beam, but I wanted it a bit farther back, against the condenser. Here it is mocked up:
(That also shows my replacement PS cooler. It's a generic trans or PS cooler that I pulled off a junkyard car and bolted to the stock PS cooler bracket.)
I initially planned to install the cooler with the inlet/outlet pointing down (for easier access to the connections), but in the end I couldn't make the hose routing work that way, so I have the inlet/outlet pointing up. That means the hose connections are kind of buried under the radiator support, behind that vertical section. I installed the hoses onto the cooler, then bolted the cooler into position, then connected the hoses to the oil thermostat. That was much easier said than done! Getting the cooler mounted with the hoses already in place (and partially blocking the bracket bolt holes I needed to get to) took some patience and finger dexterity.
Positioning the oil thermostat was another challenge. I had purchased an Earl's t-stat because buying that plus the 4 -10AN o-ring fittings needed was cheaper than buying the Mocal thermostat. However, I think the Earl's part is bigger (just based on pics of the Mocal one), and that made finding a spot to place it difficult. In the end I decided to mount it behind the bumper beam, bolted to the top of the PS cooler bracket. That bracket is a healthy chunk of c-channel steel, so it should work out just fine.
Here's the cooler installed, with the lines running to/from the thermostat:
In the first picture you can see the line going back to the engine has already been installed, so I was close to done at that point. In the last pic (from below) you can see the piece of angle aluminum bolted to the bumper beam and the bottom of the cooler to provide some rigidity. The cooler feels nice and solidly mounted.
As for the remote filter mount, I'm not even sure what brand it is - it's a used part I had sitting around with my collection of parts. It's got a 3/4" nipple vice a 13/16" nipple, so I might end up swapping it out for something else just so I can use the filters I've got (and not have to learn a new part number to look up when it comes to oil changes). Here it is with the fender liner removed:
The line that is installed there is the supply to the filter from the take-off adapter. That's the first line I made, and it's got some high temp / abrasion resistant sleeving wrapped around it due to the tight confines it comes through to get to the filter mount. My first attempt at that hose I decided was just a little bit too short, so I made another one 2" longer (to give more slack to play with), then chopped the first one into two pieces to make a couple of the other lines.
Everything clears nicely with the brake cooling duct installed:
I was going to use 2 45* fittings off the remote mount, but they interfered with each other due to the way I wanted to route them, so instead I used a 90* NPT-to-AN adapter that I had in my collection of parts. The bottom line is the outlet of the filter and goes to the oil t-stat. That was the last line I made.
As for the oil filter take-off adapter, it's a Hamburger's Performance piece, which has 12AN ports. The downside is it's a bit taller than some of the other, less blingy take-off adapters, so I might swap it out, too, to make the hose routing a bit easier. Here's the take-off adapter and the hoses routing forward over the front cross-member and alongside the oil pan:
The rear line, which is the return to the engine from the oil t-stat, is sheathed in the same high temp / abrasion resistant sleeving as the other line. For a couple/few inches it runs almost parallel to one of the header primaries, with probably 3/4-1" clearance.
Of course, all of this was coming together Friday morning, the day before the March 9/10 track event
. I had been hoping to be on the road by noonish. About 2pm
I got everything done, pre-filled the cooler with oil (actually that was done before I had bolted it into position), and started her up. There were no catastrophic issues, but I did find a couple of leaks - one fitting that I hadn't quite tightened enough at the remote filter mount, and one leak from the Hamburger's take-off adapter. That latter one torpedoed my plans to bring the car to the track event, as it's a pretty significant leak (drip every couple seconds, can smell it burning off on the header). I'm going to have to pull it apart to try to fix it (it doesn't appear to be the hose ends, so I don't know if I nicked the o-ring on the take-off adapter or what). As a result of all that, the Subaru was once again called into action and performed admirably.
Next event is in a month. I hope to have the leak at the take-off adapter figured out this weekend, so I shouldn't be pushing my luck yet again, but I can't promise anything.