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
, 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
(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.