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AAIIIC's oil cooler thread

74445 Views 177 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  AAIIIC
I am thinking about selling a complete oil cooler kit. Would anyone be interested? It would be roughly $400-450 plus shipping.

The kit would include everything needed to install an oil cooler (with integrated fan and thermostat to automatically turn the fan on and off) and a larger power steering cooler. It would include braided stainless steel lines with -AN fittings, a new bracket that holds the two coolers and replaces the stock power steering cooler mount and a sandwich style filter adapter. I have had one on my car for about 6 months and it keeps the oil about 20°F cooler.
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Will do, thanks for the tips. I'll be sure to post back here when I have it all set up.
If you're not going with headers it should be way easier for the line routing as well
Well now that I've had the cooler on for a week and two track days I think it's time to get on here. I ended up mounting the cooler behind the lower grill from two L brackets, attached to the bumper bar with self tapping screws. The cooler does hang a little low, but the splash guard still fits and I could raise it about two inches by flipping around the L brackets if I needed to. In hindsight I should have gone with slightly sharper bending fittings off of the adapter, maybe a 90* and a 120* instead of a 45* and 90*.

As far as performance, my cruising oil temperatures went from 230*-240* down to 210* as read from the dash gauge. Track temperatures however went from 320* to about 305*, which is really questionable for a 80* ambient day. All I know is that the gauge is unreliable and I'm glad to have the piece of mind this cooler gives me. I was working pretty quick when I put the cooler in, but if anyone wants pictures of anything just let me know. Thanks for all of the help guys!
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Hey Lou - It was good to see you out at NJMP Lightning a few weekends ago. I'm running a oil cooler in approximately the same place as yours and, that day at the track (approx. 85-90 degrees air temp) I saw my oil temps getting higher than I'd like and higher than I've seen at other track days (~255F) but not getting near 300. My normal running temp, like you, is right around 188-210F. The oil temp gauge fix (another ground wire) might be key.

I'm running a very similar setup to yours with the exception of using a Setrab cooler and Fireflex over my lines
I'm fairly confident that the sensor reading is way off. Turning the AC on can make the temperature jump as much as 25 degrees instantly when the oil is really hot. I haven't gotten around to fixing any of the grounds, but even if my problem is completely electrical I figured having the cooler would be helpful for track days. I didn't wrap any of my hoses yet, but I think I will soon as one hose is fairly close to an exhaust manifold. Thanks for the link.
Yesterday I implemented oil cooler setup, take 2. I wanted to re-do things for a few reasons:

(1) Having the oil filter in the wheel well is a bit of a pain in the ass. I knew that going in, but with more frequent than normal oil changes (due to the track events), it's just annoying to have to pull the fender liner to get to the filter. So, I really wanted to get the filter back where it's supposed to be.

(2) At the last track event (which has been months ago now :() I had 3 low oil pressure alarms after heavy braking. I was running the oil above full, but apparently not enough. I don't know what oil pressure actually dropped down to - as you all know, once an alarm pops up, you won't see the number until you press the steering wheel button to acknowledge it. If you're in the middle of a corner, you're really not inclined to thumb the button and look down at the instrument cluster to see the oil pressure :rolleyes:, so each time it happened the alarm had cleared and pressure was back to normal by the time I could look at the DIC. Anyway, the point of all that is that I want to install an Accusump to give me a bit more peace of mind for track events. The only place I can think to install the sump is in the front of the driver wheel well, and in order to do that, I had to get the remote oil filter mount out of there.

(3) The remote filter mount means there are more connections, and more connections means more opportunities for leaks. With some of those connections tucked behind the fender liner, there wasn't much opportunity to keep an eye on them.

There will be a Take 3 setup at some point in the not-too-distant future, as I haven't added the Accusump to the mix in Take 2, and I might change a couple other details. But in the short term, I needed to change the oil, and I figured I might as well delete the remote filter mount while I was doing that.

So, step 1 of Oil Cooler Take 2 was to somehow make more room in the vicinity of the boss above the oil filter so that I could use the TPIS take-off adapter that I already had (or one of the other, similar LS-specific take-offs from Improved Racing, Mocal, etc). I spent some time under the car trying to figure out how one could modify the Kooks headers, but I wasn't coming up with any brilliant ideas. I knew that these sorts of adapters worked on other LS-powered cars, though, so I figured I'd look into headers from another platform. I elected to pick up some JBA shorty headers for a Camaro/G8, as I didn't think there was much chance that long tubes would work (since LTs typically are a pretty tight fit even when installed on the correct platform, there wouldn't be much "slop" to play with on the wrong platform). I'll post more about that experiment in a dedicated thread, but suffice it to say I was able to get the Camaro JBA headers (and associated cat pipes) to work with some flange modifications.

With that project completed a few weeks back, this weekend I finally got around to doing the oil change and re-plumbing of the oil cooler. The remote oil filter mount is now gone, so I have lines running directly to/from the TPIS take-off adapter and the Earl's thermostat mounted above the PS cooler. One line I didn't even have to change the length, just swapped out the fitting on the take-off adapter end. The other line I had to make new, as the longest line that came off (from the remote filter mount back to the take-off plate) wasn't long enough. I still had 4 or 5 feet of hose left over from the first install, so no big deal there.

Here are the lines at the thermostat - essentially the same as they were before:

And looking up from below:

The oil filter back where it belongs, and the TPIS take-off adapter:

I went back and forth on whether to route the lines between the block/pan and motor mount, or outside the motor mount (taking advantage of the added free space I gained with the new header/cat pipe). In the end I did one of each. The line coming back from the cooler is outside the motor mount, while the line to the cooler is between the mount and the block/pan. It's hard to tell in those pictures, but at the closest point of approach there's a good 3 or 4 inches between the return line and the header, so I'm not at all worried about heat transfer, particularly with it wrapped in the DEI insulating sleeve. I may / probably will end up pulling the headers to get them coated by Swain Tech (as I had done with the Kooks), which will further reduce any heat transfer there.

As for "Take 3", I think I'll end up getting the Improved Racing or Mocal thermostatic take-off adapter. That will allow me to ditch the big Earl's remote thermostat (once again reducing the number of connections in the system and thus the potential leakage points). And I'll also be able to invert the cooler - you can see in the 2nd picture in this post that the lines to the cooler would be shorter and very simple to route if the cooler had the inlet & outlet pointed down. As it is now, the inlet & outlet are inaccessible without removing the cooler, and about the only way to do that is to remove the front bumper :rolleyes: (which isn't so practical). I know at least one of the connections is leaking a bit, but I can't get to the damn things to tighten them up! Over the years on basically every automotive forum I've been on there has been debate about which way the oil cooler inlet/outlet should be oriented, and some folks say they shouldn't point down because you'll trap air in the cooler and thus it won't be as effective. However, if you walk around a junkyard, you'll see plenty of vehicles (very common on modern pickups and SUVs) that have OEM stacked plate style coolers (typically tranny coolers, but some engine oil coolers as well) with the inlet/outlet pointed down. If the OEMs think it's OK, then so do I. And the guy at BAT, Inc (big Mocal importer) said it doesn't matter, and he's done tons of oil cooler setups for all sorts of cars.
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For those of us that track/auto-x or plan to do that in these cars. Thanks for keeping this thread so updated with info. The accusump/oil cooler was one of the first things I started thinking of when I got the car because I have seen a number of LS's succumb to oil starvation issues albeit in off road stuff where odd angles cause oil starvation, but G forces can do the same thing.

I am with you on the positioning of the cooler. In every build I have done in the past with aftermarket coolers for either steering or oil I have never seen any adverse affects of downward facing inlets. Here is the catch...once it is bled properly. Sometimes getting it bled can be a hurdle. Something to think about and what I know has helped me in the past would be pre-filling the cooler and lines, connecting them and then getting the cooler into place. This may result in a little more slack in the lines than you may want depending on where you fill it, but there is usually a way around it as long as you get some rubber tubing and clamp it onto a funnel. Just have to get creative.

Looking forward to seeing the problem solving with the shorty headers. This is what has held me up from getting LT's because I would rather sacrifice a few HP than deal with oiling issues later on.
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Here is one more option for us to run the accumulator back into the block without having to tee into any existing lines or have to run more lines down around the headers where it is already cramped. I stumbled across this going back through some stuff from my 4x4 days and remembered Will ran an Accusump and oil cooler setup on his Ultra4 buggy that has performed very well over the years.

Copied this from the forum.
There are a couple different ways to plumb the accumulator and a couple different thoughts on which is the best. Many plumb in right above the oil filter with a custom made fitting. If you’re running an oil cooler you can plumb it into the return line using a T fitting and use a check valve for priority directional flow to the bearings. The last option (and the option we choose to use) is to plumb it directly into the oil galley right after the pump. This option utilizes a simple (and cheap!) fitting directly to the block so you still have your port above your oil filter to run a cooler or oil pressure sensor. The idea being that when the accumulator purges it will send pressure to the bearings but also send pressure back to the pump to re-prime it as soon as possible and get engine oil back flowing.

We offer one simple fitting to get the hose into the block and it comes with a sealing crush washer.

Here's a pic of his engine and the fitting.
Auto part Fuel line Pipe Bumper Metal

Just a little sample of what this is in:
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I used that spot when I pre-lubed the engine when I first installed it in the car. What I don't know is how accessible that port is once you have the alternator installed; however, the thought of using that for an Accusump has occurred to me, as it would make the plumbing substantially easier/cleaner.
No new updates - still haven't gotten around to "Take 3" yet - but I was under the car today and got a better picture of the additional clearance the modified Camaro/G8 headers provide:

Compare that to what it looked like mocking things up on the engine stand with the old Kooks headers:

On the Accusump note, I picked up a used one, but in the end I've basically come to the conclusion I don't have anywhere to put it. I was thinking it might fit in the fender well, where I had the remote oil filter mount originally, but even the 2qt Accusump is too long once you add in the fittings on one end and the gauge on the other. In dedicated track cars I've seen folks mount them in the trunk or behind the front seats somewhere, but on my tracked street car I didn't like either of those options. The only thing I could come up with would be to mount it at the back of the engine bay sitting above the intake manifold. I verified it would fit - there's enough clearance between my FAST intake manifold and the stock hood (with liner installed). But it just seemed to me that the sump, and the oil inside it, would just get baked in that location. So, for now the Accusump sits on my work bench, and I don't anticipate it leaving that location - at least, not to go into the V.
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AAIIIC, you're using the TPIS C5 Oil Cooler Adapter correct?

The two fittings in the last picture (The KOOKS Fitment example) are a 90deg and a 135deg?

AAIIIC, you're using the TPIS C5 Oil Cooler Adapter correct?
Kind of. The C5 version has a 12mm port on it for the C5's oil temp sending unit. It's not shown on their website, but they also offer the adapter without that 12mm port; that's the version I have.

The two fittings in the last picture (The KOOKS Fitment example) are a 90deg and a 135deg?
Honestly, I don't recall - I bought all sorts of fittings to test out. Looking back through the thread, it appears that was a 120deg fitting.
Kind of. The C5 version has a 12mm port on it for the C5's oil temp sending unit. It's not shown on their website, but they also offer the adapter without that 12mm port; that's the version I have.

Honestly, I don't recall - I bought all sorts of fittings to test out. Looking back through the thread, it appears that was a 120deg fitting.

Thank you.
Currently trying to piece together a cooler setup and was contemplating the $200 Earl's 42500 cooler versus the more expensive Setrab.

After several emails and a failure to provide me with any data, Holley/Earl's can shove it. I was eventually told to send my message to someone else, not in customer service I imagine, and he quickly responded that there is "no measurable pressure drop" in their cooler.
I call BS. All coolers have pressure drop.

So looks like I'll be saving up for the Setrab. Screw Holley/Earl's.
Ok time to buy some stuff. Cooler comes first. So it comes down to the Setrab 925 or the 934. The 925 look like it will be plenty, but the 934 is borderline overkill. Any recommendations on either or? I can grab the 925 from Improved for a meager $285. The lowest price on the 934 was on ebay for $385.

I plan on relocating the filter and using the Greddy thermostatic unit; I don't imagine it's possible to overcool this thing especially with the ambient temps we've been seeing lately (hit 104f earlier in the week), would there be a drawback to mounting up the larger cooler? Packaging aside.

Going this route because I plan on doing long tubes at some point.
I would think the 925 would be enough. That's the same height as the Mocal I'm using (25 row), but almost 20% wider.

I never found a good location to make the Greddy thermostatic filter mount work. It's a very cool (no pun intended) design, but with our cramped confines I couldn't figure out where to put it, which is why I ended up with a separate in-line thermostat.

As for concerns about over-cooling the oil with the thermostat... Even at low temperature, there's always some flow through the thermostat - for instance, I think Mocal says 10% flow for their thermostatic sandwich plates. They do that so that all of the oil warms up together (rather than the slug of oil in the cooler and lines staying "cold" and suddenly being released into the engine when the oil thermostat opens), and also to prevent any air pockets from developing. On my Mustang, I have a Mocal thermostatic sandwich adapter and I think a 19-row cooler, and it definitely takes longer to warm up in cool weather. Driving normally on the street it really never warms the oil fully if ambient air temps are in the 50s or lower.
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did you ever find a good place for the accusump?
No, I gave up on it; I actually just sold off the (used) stuff that I had bought. Other than mounting it inside the car or in the trunk (neither of which I have any interest in doing in a street car), the only thing I could come up with above the engine at the firewall. I suppose if one moved the battery you might be able to use that space over there?
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