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Electric Fan in a 63

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So, in an effort to reduce some parasitic power loss, as well as improve cooling, I picked up a flexalite fan kit. The kit is similar in dimension to the one discussed in the 84-91 forums, although it is labeled for a Mustang 5.0. See 84-91 forum discussion

Anyways, I opened the kit, and it looked beautiful. No doubt in my mind that it would help the car cool. What I found after removing the shroud and the mechanical fan is that the lower pulley on the motor is only about 1" away from the radiator! The fan needs 4" of clearance! Ugh.....

Has anyone moved the stock radiator? I would really like to gain a few inches of clearance here. My other option would be to get rid of this fan ($200 anyone?) and get a pusher electric fan for the other side of the radiator.

Thoughts and opinions anyone?

-Mark Aiksnoras

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So, in an effort to reduce some parasitic power loss, as well as improve cooling, I picked up a flexalite fan kit. The kit is similar in dimension to the one discussed in the 84-91 forums......Has anyone moved the stock radiator? I would really like to gain a few inches of clearance here. My other option would be to get rid of this fan ($200 anyone?) and get a pusher electric fan for the other side of the radiator.

Well ... I dont think you want to try moving the radiator, that will create more problems. I am going to be

doing this same mod when I get to the point of driving the car more often. I dont know the dimensions of

the stock radiator, but I would assume that a dual fan setup would give you the clearance that you need

in the middle where the fan motor is now. Both my Impala and my Camaro have dual fans, which places

the fan motor on either side of the front hub. Chances are this setup is too wide for the factory radiator.

It IS possible with creative ducting, to use two fans in this manner. As I said, this is something I need to

look into more. There might be some smaller cars that have two smaller fans. I could measure the stock

Camaro and Impala fans for you later.

Tom

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Problems be damned, I'm going to investigate the radiator moving!!!! :rolleyes:

I know what you mean about the seperated fan situation. I was taking dimensions off the Flex-a-Lite site, and looking at where the space would be. It could work, but I still think there would need to be more clearance between the bottom Stude pulley and the radiator. Right now I only have about an inch.

I did some preliminary investigation last night, and I didn't see any real reason why I couldn't push the radiator to mount in the FRONT of the radiator support frame, instead of the rear as it is right now. I'll look again tonight, and maybe I'll see the real reason.

Thanks Tom!

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I did some preliminary investigation last night, and I didn't see any real reason why I couldn't push the radiator to mount in the FRONT of the radiator support frame, instead of the rear as it is right now. I'll look again tonight, and maybe I'll see the real reason.

The concern that I would have is the ducting of air into the front, if the radiator it too far forward,

then the air forced whiel driving, might want to "go around" the radiator. So you want to make

sure that it cant do that. Also keep in mind that you will be moving your weight balance even

farther forward on an already front heavy car. The radiator itself isnt too heavy, but the coolant

is, so keep that in mind as well.

Tom

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So, in an effort to reduce some parasitic power loss, as well as improve cooling, I picked up a flexalite fan kit. The kit is similar in dimension to the one discussed in the 84-91 forums, although it is labeled for a Mustang 5.0. See 84-91 forum discussion

It's the same kit. I called Flex-a-lite and they recommended the other kit because it comes with universal mounts instead of the Mustang mounts.

Anyways, I opened the kit, and it looked beautiful. No doubt in my mind that it would help the car cool. What I found after removing the shroud and the mechanical fan is that the lower pulley on the motor is only about 1" away from the radiator! The fan needs 4" of clearance! Ugh.....

That's odd, how did the shroud and fan fit in that 1" space?

Jim

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I don't know how the shoud fit in the space initially. I know that the shroud I took off the car was cut out on the bottom. Basically it was an upside down "U", it didn't do much more than provide some protection for your fingers and such while the engine was running. <_<

-Mark Aiksnoras

Oh, and I picked up that 5.0 kit because of the price that I got for it on e-bay. Basically $70 less than the summit racing cost of a universal kit. I figured the brackets would be simple to fabricate.

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I must say that I am impressed with the amount of work and trouble people will go through to install electric fans. For those in the know: a proper clutch fan only gives up a couple of horsepower when compared to an electric fan. Another fact often ignored: a mechanical clutch fan has a much higher CFM of airflow than an electric fan (please note the obvious: that a fixed non-clutch fan is a definite power drain at higher rpms). If you check with any of the common electric fan companies you will find that they do not recommend their product for any heavy duty application - simply because no electric fan can out flow a properly shrouded mechanical fan clutch setup. Electric fans came into vogue almost entirely out of underhood packaging issues - especially with front wheel drive layouts. There were also some packaging benifits for certain rear wheel drive cars.

I've driven my Avanti a few hundred miles in the same day, through the California desert - with nary a cooling issue even when buzzing along at 3,400 to 3,600 rpm (no overdrive).

I'll bet that a lot of cooling issues on older cars are simply because of a worn out fan clutch or badly shrouded fan. A properly shrouded fan should have the fan blades only ~ 1/3 into the shroud opening, and 2/3's behind the shroud. Most of the airflow through a fan occurs around the perimeter. A fan that extends more than 1/2 way into the shroud opening will actually push a considerable amount of airflow back towards the radiatior - in effect "stalling" the airflow. Simple stuff.

I also run a standard viscous non-thermostatic clutch fan on the thumping 680 horse 496 BBC in my ElCamino. My El Camino can be driven anywhere, city or highway, with no cooling problem whatsoever. And in full street trim on pump gas it runs ~ 126 mph at the drags.

Mind you I have no issue with the auxillary electric fans to supplement a fan clutch setup, but if airflow determines the winner, then a clutch fan is the king.

Thomas

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I must say that I am impressed with the amount of work and trouble people will go through to install
the thumping 680 horse 496 BBC in my ElCamino.

Hmmm….Well I say to each his own and I want to see more of it. Actual install time for my electric fan was less than 3 hours. I spend more time to repair other problems that I found.

Mind you I have no issue with the auxillary electric fans to supplement a fan clutch setup, but if airflow determines the winner, then a clutch fan is the king.

True. But there are other reasons to change over.

Clutch fan NOISE. I have read other Avanti owners with this same issue. The electric fan cured this problem.

Within 100 miles of my Avanti purchase the water pump shaft snapped sending 15 lbs of metal bouncing around the engine compartment, damaging the radiator etc. In my 30 years as a mechanic I have replaced many a radiator because of fan damage, but never from an electric fan. I did notice more power off idle, that mechanical fan was using a lot of HP to more the air.

Quicker warm up, I like that during the winter.

More air flow in slow city traffic, something a mechanical fan can’t do.

Clean up the engine compartment. The electric fan did that.

Get ready for a LT1 install.

I kind of like the idea of the fan continuing to run after shut down, not sure if it helps but that’s something the mechanical fan can’t do.

If you check with any of the common electric fan companies you will find that they do not recommend their product for any heavy duty application - simply because no electric fan can out flow a properly shrouded mechanical fan clutch setup. Electric fans came into vogue almost entirely out of underhood packaging issues - especially with front wheel drive layouts. There were also some packaging benifits for certain rear wheel drive cars.

What was GM thinking designing the LT1 without a mechanical fan? The main issue I had with my install was would the electric fan cool my Avanti, the answer is yes. The new designs are catching up with the old mechanical fans, they are practical and not that expensive.

So let’s help a brother Avanti owner out with his project.

I don’t have a Stude powered Avanti, is 1 “ of clearance between the pulley and radiator normal? If so I think I would try a pusher fan setup first before moving the radiator.

Jim

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Jim, yeah I'm definitely not the guy to pointing out how much time people spend on their cars - because long ago I crossed over the lunatic fringe :)

Some clutch fan setups can have more fan noise on initial startup and driveaway. Neither the one on my Avanti or ElCamino are noisy this way. I know that some thermostatic clutch fans will initially keep the fan locked when the engine is first started, then allow the clutch to operate in clutch mode with engine compartment heat. I generally favor viscous fan clutches in a performance application, and thermostatic clutches in a heavy duty truck or towing application.

Water pump shafts breaking off are rare occurances - I have seen nearly everything fail on some car or another, like wheels coming off while driving etc. Once I even had a steering wheel come off in my hands while I was driving a car - now that was exciting! The counterpart to the broken water pump shaft is how many times modern cars have overheated and fried engines when the electric fans failed - I've seen this many times - but it too is a rare occurance.

Actually Jim, it is worth noting that in the heavy duty applications of the LT1, like in the 9C1 police Caprices (the general platform for the performance based Impala SS of '94 to '96), they all had a mechanical fan and fan clutch setup. Check it out, its not driven off the water pump because of the LT1's camshaft driven water pump. To this day GM pickups, even the light duty ones, have fan clutch setups.

As to airflow at idle and city driving speeds - I haven't seen the specific cfm figures. However, I would note that virtually all applications with a fan clutch have much larger fan diameters and blade sizes than any electric fan. I suspect that the low rpm airflow with a fan clutch setup is much higher than you would guess.

I really have nothing against Mark installing electric fans on his Avanti, but the idea of moving the radiator to make space for the electric fans seems like an obtuse solution for a simple matter. Simply having a good fan clutch and a fan that is positioned correctly in relation to the shroud opening would solve any cooling issues without a need for re-engineering the radiator location. It might be worth noting that Karl Sparks twin Paxton supercharged 504 hp Studebaker powered Avanti still uses a conventional fan and shroud setup.

Thomas

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Some clutch fan setups can have more fan noise on initial startup and driveaway. Neither the one on my Avanti or ElCamino are noisy this way.

I have never heard a clutch fan make as much noise as my Avanti's, it was annoying to drive. When I first got the car I believed it had a transmission problem because of the whine, I have heard others complain about the Chevy engined Avantis making the same noise.

Water pump shafts breaking off are rare occurances

I have seen two others besides mine, both on medium duty trucks where the fan clutch locked up. Mine snapped the shaft at the nose of the waterpump, the waterpump bearings were fine. At first I believed that I had missed the bad fan clutch during my inspection of the waterpump after my purchase. But after replacement of all the damaged parts with new the noise was still there, I tried moving the fan in and out of the shroud and replacing the stock fan with a flex fan, no good. I decided that for whatever reason the noise was designed in and the cause may be putting to much of a strain on the shaft. I didn't want a repeat that could result in a lot more damage so I started looking into electric fans to see if they could provide enough CFM to do the job. The newest kits are designed as good or better than the OEM's I have seen. The Flex-a-lite kit has performed great and has made my Avanti a pleasure to drive.

I have seen reports that the Stude engined waterpumps have weak bearings. Wouldn't removal of the fan help?

Sorry to hijack your tread Mark.

Jim

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Jim, its nice to see the forum being used - even if the replies have veered away from the original post. Otherwise you would have to admit that few Avanti travelers online seem to make it over to the forums. I've puzzled over this, maybe Avanti people are largely not interested in the online world. Maybe it is just a percentages issue: like what percent of the owners of the ~ 2,200 remaining Studebaker powered Avantis like the online format.

I do believe the Avanti specific Studebaker water pump has additional support for the bearing vs a standard Studebaker water pump, the parts vendors do list Avanti, and non-Avanti Studebaker V8 water pumps. I understand that they otherwise interchange.

On my 496 El camino I once had the water pump hub separate from the shaft about half way down the dragstrip, but that was a machining issue from the Weiand water pump - I still won the round, and with a quick scramble for a radiator I made the next round too!

I'm sorry that your medium duty fan clutch locked up and broke off. When my gas engine medium duty customers repower their trucks around 200,000 miles a new fan clutch is part of the package.

Mark, move your radiator, I'm okay with that.

Thomas

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Thanks for all the comments guys. I don't take offense, everyone is entitled to their opinions. It always keeps me thinking. Besides, nothing seemed to be a personal attack, so I am cool with it. That's what the online forums are for.

FYI, two of my reasons for the e-fan choice were cost, and something different. Cost in that I tore up the fan shroud that was on my motor when I lost a motor mount, and the e-fan kit was cheaper than a shroud replacement. Something different in that I thought the e-fan would be a good look, and give me more room for my Paxton NOVI 1000 blower installation.

I agree with the statement that a proper mech. fan can move more air and cool better than an electric fan of similar size. That is simply a HP to the blade issue. Those electric motors on the fan can only provide so much power in that small package.

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Actually Jim, it is worth noting that in the heavy duty applications of the LT1, like in the 9C1 police Caprices (the general platform for the performance based Impala SS of '94 to '96), they all had a mechanical fan and fan clutch setup. Check it out, its not driven off the water pump because of the LT1's camshaft driven water pump.

This is not true, the 9C1 and Impala SS both had only two electric fans. The only

LT1's that got the electric & mechanical fans were station wagons with tow package.

I have a 95 Impala SS clone in my driveway built from a 95 9C1 CHP Caprice.

The guys on the Impala forum remove the mech fan when they build up wagons.

As to airflow at idle and city driving speeds - I haven't seen the specific cfm figures. However, I would note that virtually all applications with a fan clutch have much larger fan diameters and blade sizes than any electric fan.

This is true, which is why many dual electric fans are used for extreme use. Our 86

IROC only has a single fan, later 350 versions got dual fans. I would go with the

dual setup, and set them to go on at different temps.

I really have nothing against Mark installing electric fans on his Avanti, but the idea of moving the radiator to make space for the electric fans seems like an obtuse solution for a simple matter.

I agree that moving the radiator can cause new problems.

Tom

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I no longer have the order guides and specifications to the late great '94 - '96 Impala SS's and various police Caprice variants. I do know that the last police '96 Caprice sedan, with the LT1 and not the L99, that I delivered had the mechanical fan....but I'll leave that debate to a non-Studebaker forum, maybe it wasn't a 9C1 car - I don't know.

Mark, from what I gather, lower cost solutions are a Studebaker owner's tradition :) If you get it all worked out it would be nice to see some pics posted.

I may veer away from the original topic, but I think that its all good - the forums actually getting used that is.

Thomas

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I no longer have the order guides and specifications to the late great '94 - '96 Impala SS's and various police Caprice variants. I do know that the last police '96 Caprice sedan, with the LT1 and not the L99, that I delivered had the mechanical fan....but I'll leave that debate to a non-Studebaker forum, maybe it wasn't a 9C1 car - I don't know.

The mechanical fan was not a standard option for a 9C1, but it could be ordered with it. I would bet

that the car you delivered was going to used for towing by the department, maybe to move those

signs around? At any rate .. I was only correcting that not ALL 9C1s got a mech fan. Using a dual

fan gives you more flexibility, since you only use both fans when you REALLY need it.

Tom

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Speaking of electric fans......My 63' R1,A/T,A/C, has two 12" B*W fans mounted in front of the A/C condensor.

I still use the original fan clutch, (very low noise, thermostatic type) that works fine for regular driving (180 on the temp guage). In traffic, or real hot days, w/o fans, temp goes to almost 200 degrees. Turn on the fans, (I have a manual switch to two relays, don't trust the after-market thermostatic switches) it drops to 185. They work great, they're quiet, and they're hidden. :) The only down side is sometimes the OEM 40 amp alternator can't keep up, but after the fans are switched off, the alternator catches up. OBTW, there's PLENTY of room in front of the radiator for "pusher" style fans. :)

Dan Miller

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In traffic, or real hot days, w/o fans, temp goes to almost 200 degrees. Turn on the fans, (I have a manual switch to two relays, don't trust the after-market thermostatic switches) it drops to 185.

Wow! When doing my Gtech testing for a couple hours, with time sitting and idling while

TRYING to figure out the settings, my Avanti never got over 160 degrees. As a matter

of fact, if memory serves it was at 140 most the time. It never felt, or smelled hot. :unsure:

Tom

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I found that the AC condenser added some significant temperature, even if you were not using it (mine was not even hooked up).

It may be that it will be too difficult to move the radiator, but so be it. I also may just end up finding a different electric fan, one with no shroud, that will actually fit on the radiator as is. Don't know yet.

As for the electric versus mechanical fan argument/discussion that is happening, I know all this. I did not intend to debate how my mechanical fan "should" be better. I have little doubt that as far as cooling goes that a mechanical fan can move more air. The electrical fan would be for space saving and "cool" factor (that's cool as in awesome, or neat-o, or whatever). Obviously the fan I have chosen does not necessarily save much space, but as I said above, I am currently running the mechanical fan without a shroud.

I was hoping for someone who did a full aluminium radiator swap to tell me what they did. It may come down to that for me, slightly smaller radiator to mount in the condenser position, with the e-fan.

-Mark (yes my Avanti is modified, no I don't care....at least I drive it, do you drive yours? :D ) Aiksnoras

Wow! When doing my Gtech testing for a couple hours, with time sitting and idling while

TRYING to figure out the settings, my Avanti never got over 160 degrees. As a matter

of fact, if memory serves it was at 140 most the time. It never felt, or smelled hot. :unsure:

Tom

Tom, did you check the accuracy of your tstat? 140 seems too cold for the motor to be very efficient, and definitly too cold for an Avanti. I have heard that the tstat and guage may fail after a while. Just curious...

-Mark

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Tom, did you check the accuracy of your tstat? 140 seems too cold for the motor to be very efficient, and definitly too cold for an Avanti. I have heard that the tstat and guage may fail after a while. Just curious...

No, I have not confirmed the accuracy, but given how the car runs, I dont have any

reason to believe that it IS running much hotter. Usually when they get up there in

temp, you can smell the water getting hot, and the engine tends to run poorly. I dont

have any answer to why it seems to run about 50 degrees cooler then other Avantis.

I am running straight water and its even got a leaking core plug or two! The gauge

starts out at 0, and moves up slowly to 140, it tends to just hover around 140. (maybe

I am thinking 160 - I need to look at the gauge again - but its still very low temp). I

drove it arond for hours on sunday, driving it VERY hard, it wasnt pinging, which you

would expect with the compression of an R1, and the gas we have today. My tach got

stuck at 3000 rpm during the testing, and my gas gauge stopped working a few years

ago, so anything IS possible. The temp, Alt, and oil pressure are the only gauges that

are still working to any 'dependable' degree. ;)

Tom

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Tom,

Do you know for sure there's a tstat in your car? :blink: There are people that think the car will run a lot cooler with NO tstat at all, so they remove it. (previous owner?) My temp guage was off by about 15 degrees , even with a new sender and direct ground. I measured it with a laser temp. gun at the point where the sender is in the head...180 degrees, used a inline resistor to bring down the guage reading to its correct number. Mine dosen't run as well at 160 degrees as it does at 180-85. Just FFT (food for thought)

Dan

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Tom,

Do you know for sure there's a tstat in your car? :blink: There are people that think the car will run a lot cooler with NO tstat at all, so they remove it. (previous owner?)

You know .. I dont know Dan, I have never had that apart, the only thing I have done on

the engine in this car is valve seals and spark plugs. It runs "good" though, I mean as

well as a stock R1 with 103,000 miles can. :P I wouldnt recommend removing the tstat

since its really needed, I have read about overheating problems FROM removing the tstat

and the water moves too quickly through the radiator. :unsure:

Tom

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You know .. I dont know Dan, I have never had that apart, the only thing I have done on

the engine in this car is valve seals and spark plugs. It runs "good" though, I mean as

well as a stock R1 with 103,000 miles can. :P I wouldnt recommend removing the tstat

since its really needed, I have read about overheating problems FROM removing the tstat

and the water moves too quickly through the radiator. :unsure:

Tom

You hit the nail with your head, Tom :P There must be some restriction of the coolant flow. I know in NASCAR those guys use a disc with a certain size hole and that determines the rate of flow through the radiator. Imagine "cooking" one of those motors cause of a "stuck" tstat :( Yours probably has a 160 degree tstat. If it works for you, it works for me. :) Keep us posted, Thanks

Dan

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Tom, did you check the accuracy of your tstat? 140 seems too cold for the motor ....

Drove the car to work yesterday, the temp stayed between 140 and 150 degrees regardless

of speed. Never exhibited any of the usual signs of running hot. I dunno. My Avanti is a

freak of Studebaker maybe? :unsure:

Tom

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I don't know how the shoud fit in the space initially. I know that the shroud I took off the car was cut out on the bottom. Basically it was an upside down "U", it didn't do much more than provide some protection for your fingers and such while the engine was running. <_<

-Mark Aiksnoras

Oh, and I picked up that 5.0 kit because of the price that I got for it on e-bay. Basically $70 less than the summit racing cost of a universal kit. I figured the brackets would be simple to fabricate.

I attended an Avanti meet last weekend and discovered why the flex-o-lite fan setup won't work on pre '87 Avanti's. My radiator sits straight up, while all the others are mounted at an angle towards the bottom of the engine. Sorry Mark, I didn't know there was a difference in clearance. But I did see some other electric fan setups.

Also my '87 Avanti doesn't have cowl grilles. Great, now I have to figure out where the air for heating and AC comes from, of course that could explain.... <_<:unsure::o:angry:

Jim

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Greetings, All,

As discussed above, the 1951 Stude V8 water pump was designed to share one thin V-belt with the generator and a thin stamped steel 4-blade fan.

By the time the Avanti came along and most had AC and PS and the huge, honking multi-blade fan and clutch and a few had superchargers, the original water pump bearings and casting couldn't take the load. Stude engineers significantly beefed up the shaft, bearings and castings. It was usually sufficient for the first 50-100kmi, if not run too hard.

Stude was not alone with losing water pump shafts to clutch fans. Back in the early years of the clutch, seeing a car or truck alongside the interstate with the fan through the radiator was a common sight. Once, it happened to me. took a few years to sort out how to hang all that rotating mass off the front of the water pump.

Electric fans are not without their problems. Sensors and relays fail, connections corrode. Motors wear out.

One point which has not been discussed is most current generation engines with electric fans are all or mostly aluminum and were designed with much smaller coolant capacities than old iron lump Studes. A modern Chev, Lexus or Ford V8 of the same displacement usually carries half the coolant. Finite element analysis and extensive testing over the past 50 years mean several orders of magnitude of improvement in efficiency and operating temperature control.

Bottom line, on my current Packard V8 project, which is very similar to Stude, just a bigger iron lump, I am using both an electric fan and an electric water pump, both managed by a temperature sensitive DC variable speed controller.

thnx, jv.

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