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  1. #1
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    FRANKENCOOLER is coming ...

    Looking for a solution to beef up your RT or SRT's secondary cooling systems? Something you can implement in stages as you need it or can afford it? Check this, which I have dubbed the Frankencooler system. This system is currently on order for myself, CoolVanilla and Meister. I am releasing the parts list prior to the first installs -- slated for early to mid-February -- as I know a lot of people are considering cooler mods and this may help you in your decision process.

    If you recognize the name, you know Frankentake was a do-it-yourself intake system meant to be inexpensive and do-able by the tinkerer who has ordinary household tools and no mechanics' skills.

    Frankencooler ain't one of those.

    Its a best-performance system. It requires a respectable (but not insane) budget. It should be installed by the speed shop of your choice if you don't already know your own way around the auto shop. Cost? The entire system, which covers oil, transmission and power steering cooling, should run you with an estimated 3 hours of shop labor about $750. Thats not cheap but if you price these parts against commercially available high performance kits (say, for example, a performance oil cooler) you'll find the Frankencooler components outperform the kits and are less expensive.

    Before I dive in I'd like to acknowledge the folks who contributed to this project. First and foremost I want to thank Bob Crespo at SVS R&D in Sacramento, CA. Bob is of course the head honcho at the speed shop where the MFO series of events are held, and over the last two years or so has contributed a great deal to the LX platform. Bob and SVS are probably the most unsung heroes that the LX community possesses. This system's design is essentially Bob's.

    Additionally I'd like to acknowledge the contributions of Cam, CoolVanilla, Hemi31 and Meister. These guys have been invaluable with respect to providing advice, suggestions on parts and for being there when I need to bounce a crazy idea off of someone.

    Next, notice I have *not* opted to use the Mopar parts that are a part of the police package for the LX platform. This system has been the subject of much recent discussion -- and anguish. Said anguish was the reason I said to hell with waiting around for the mystery to unfold and set out to git'r'done myself. A lot of people have worked hard to try and use genuine Mopar equipment and it seems that Mopar isn't interested.

    Which is actually fine for me, since I need a best-performance solution and Mopar's water-cooled approach simply isn't in that league. It makes for easier packaging and installation, but not cooling capacity. Additionally the police package cooling contemplates also having the severe duty radiator. So tacking on the extra load of auxiliary fluid cooling onto a stock engine cooling system is a concern no one has addressed when considering whether to use the police system.

    Engine Oil Cooler
    This is a Derale model 52510 25-row stacked-plate cooler with AN-10 fittings whose dimensions are 13x7 and 2 inches thick. Whats a stacked-plate cooler? Why not a fin-and-tube cooler? They sure are a hell of a lot cheaper. Cheaper, yes... and a whole lot less capable. Stacked-plate coolers are the highest-capacity units on the market, and this one is rated at a huge 33000 GVW (as well as being recommended for a 325-425hp motor). Thats a lot of cooling to pack into a very small package.

    The AN-10 fittings and hoses are beefier than what you see in commercial oil cooler kits, which usually use AN-8. Part of the reason for using the larger size is increased flow. The other part: The hoses are so sturdy they can be used as part of the support for the cooler. Just lash the hose to something and you've got a solid high anchor point. Double party bonus.

    This cooler will be mounted to the top of the bumper, behind the upper grille, on the passenger side of the grille opening. The lines will snake around the radiator on that side to the oil filter, which is almost directly behind the cooler.

    Tranny cooler
    This is another Derale stacked plate unit, only the next size down. #51606 is a 16-row cooler, 13x5x2 in size; this time with AN-6 fittings. This cooler is rated for about 22000 GVW. That, also, is a lot as coolers go.

    This cooler will be mounted to the top of the bumper, behind the upper grille, on the drivers side of the grille opening. The existing lines already flow to this side to the existing transmission fluid cooler, which is hiding just above the condenser (you have to really look to find the thing in the first place). We'll leave that cooler in place and run lines to this unit instead.



    Sidebar
    Interestingly, the GS Motorsports oil cooler kit uses a cooler of about this tranny cooler's size (albeit with AN-8 fittings). According to the pics on the GSM web site they use a 19-row Setrab model 50-619-7612; which is rated, according to Setrab, for a 220-310hp motor, but thats probably considering a full race application. I considered downsizing the oil cooler to this size to save a few bucks (about $40), but Bob at SVS reasoned that overcapacity is a good thing since a)we have loads of available space behind the grille, b)if the cooler is in fact overly capable the oil tstat we put in (see below) will keep us from overcooling the oil and c)if we ever need the capacity its there. So what the hell.

    If you feel differently, just downsize the cooler to Derale #51610, which is the 16-row cooler, sized the same as the tranny cooler, but with AN-10 fittings, and save yourself some dough. Me, if I am going this far I am going for broke so I am using the big cooler.

    Power steering cooler
    This is a Derale heat sink cooler. Heat sink coolers work well regardless of whether or not they are in an open airstream. Since all catastrophic failures seen on LX's running road courses have been failures related to boiling power steering fluid, we want to go at least as overboard on this cooler as the other two, so the Derale Model 13257 -- the biggest one available, with a capacity of 5000 GVW -- was chosen. This cooler has a 3" diameter body, with both internal and external fins. Oh, and its two feet long.

    This cooler will be mounted underneath the front bumper, front and center behind the lower grille opening. While heat sink coolers don't have to be in open air, it certainly can only help their capacity to put the thing face first in the breeze.



    Worth noting is the fact we didn't choose another stacked-plate cooler for this job. We could have chosen a nice, compact Derale #51006 10-row unit that is only 3 inches tall. It has a capacity of 20000 GVW... quadruple that of the heat sink, in a smaller package. The stacked plate unit is actually about the same price as well. Why didn't we do it? Restriction. A stacked-plate cooler -- a good one, at least -- has "turbulators" inside of its cross-members to slow down flow rate. This allows the coolant to sit in the cooler longer and cool down more than if it was zipping through unrestricted. That restriction is a good thing for tranny and engine oil and a bad thing for p/s fluid. A heat sink introduces zero restriction.

    Engine Oil Cooler Sandwich Adapter
    This is a major component of the oil system, all the more so given the product research that went into its choice. first of all, you need a dedicated oil tstat to keep from running the oil cooling system when the oil is cold. You can buy an inline tstat, but that requires AN fittings -- four of them -- and those suckers are not cheap. Further it complicates your plumbing as it increases by four the number of hose cuts and endings you have to manufacture. Next, we haven't addressed how the oil system will plumb into the engine. The solution to that can include re-routing the oil filter to a different location, among other things. The simple solution is a combination oil filter 'sandwich' adapter and thermostat, which is so named because it is sandwiched in between the oil filter and the oil filter mount on the engine block. We found two different solutions on the market.

    The first is from Earl's Plumbing and is a gorgeous unit made of billet aluminum. Its thermostat holds its openings mostly closed until oil temp reaches 160, whereupon it slowly opens up until it is fully open at 180+. The Earl's adapter is available from Summit for about $90. It also requires slightly different elbow fittings that are much more expensive. This is the unit chosen by Meister for his own system and should be considered the top-tier option.



    The other unit is from Derale again. This unit is just plain old ugly alloy. Its thermostat holds itself in a 90% 'restricted' flow position until oil temp reaches 180 degrees, whereupon it opens up. Slightly different and slightly less sophisticated. The Derale unit is a little less than half the price of the Earl's product, and its attachment fittings are 1/3 the cost; making for a significant cost reduction.



    Why did I use all Derale parts for the major components? Well, I certainly didn't set out with that in mind. But after looking around it seems that we get what we want at the best price this way. I found stacked plate coolers from Earl's Performance Plumbing that were fine, but they were also a fair bit more expensive ... and at the one place where the prices were lowest (Summit Racing) they only come in grey, which will stick out big time behind my mesh grille. I also found Setrab coolers... but those things are essentially DOUBLE the cost of the Derale units; and Derale told me that Setrab's rising pricing was the reason they have recently been dropped as their cooler supplier. Setrab certainly is the big name in the game, but at this time I can see no reason to favor them given the application.

    Here is the parts and expense list. Note there are no hose clamps on this list, and we are using a few barbs in here (the p/s cooler). Strictly speaking you are not supposed to need hose clamps with bignbad barbs but we will use them anyway and you should too. Add fifty cents to your project cost.





    [Parts lists formerly located here are now located and maintained in this thread. Please go there for updated commentary and details]






    So is this mod for everybody? In a word: No. Who needs it? Well, if you track the car on road courses, or go for extended, spirited drives -- especially in the mountains where there's a lot of action and RPM's but not so much speed, then you really should give this some thought. Further, if you have added a torque converter I would argue that you really need at least the tranny cooler. If you are in a warm weather state and like to hammer it, I'd give this mod serious consideration. If you are juicing up your engine with fun go-fast things, I would argue this is some smart insurance to help ensure engine longevity. Also note that Meister has accumulated temp readings while driving and tracking his car, and these readings have taught us some scary lessons. I will leave it to him to go over that with anyone who has questions.

    To find the parts, go to Summit Racing and key in the part numbers above in a search. To see more details on the coolers, you can go to

    http://derale.com/stacked-plate-oil.html

    and

    http://derale.com/heat-sink-coolers.html

    But there's not much on the web sites. I got most of what I did via phone with Derale, and by talking directly to Bob at SVS; when we had my car up on a lift looking it over and deciding what the hell was the best thing to do.
    Last edited by MattRobertson; 03-05-2007 at 12:53 AM.
    "LxF welcomes with open arms all members, regardless of social status, creed, color, sexual preference, or anything else. The only thing we discriminate against is douchebags."

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  2. #2
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    GREAT.....more mods !!!!!!


    Lou -05 Magnum RT AWD ---> FRI'd 392

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  3. #3
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    I'm glad you posted pics of the coolers as well Matt.Most of the listings for the coolers in parts catalogues don't give a good description of what the cooler looks like!
    BFNY Performance
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  4. #4
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    Do I hear another MOFO?
    Take care,
    Christopher





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  5. #5
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    How does all of this compare to the Road and Track package, extra Cooling options?

    I know R&T doesn't have an engine oil cooler... *BUT*... I do have a PS cooler and freakin huge tranny cooler as-is...
    Are you running with those *STILL* in place? or do you replace those with the new stuff?
    2012 Ram 1500 Express - 4x4 - HEMI - Black
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by legmaker72 View Post
    Do I hear another MOFO?
    i THINK WE CAN RELY ON mEISTER'S a-PILLAR GAUGES TO TELL US WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW.

    Dammit. I hate capslock.

    One thing he found was that he only got in a few laps at Willow Springs before pegging his oil temp gauge at 240, which I take to mean temps were higher but the gauge couldn't show it. Now, running on a race track in the desert in the summer is a sort of extreme thing, but if you do that... get a cooler or be prepared to sit out a lot of laps. Or blow something up. Cam has suffered through that one.

    With that said, my car goes on the dyno this afternoon at SVS along with CoolVanilla and perhaps a few other LX'ers to see what we can see.


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lafrad View Post
    How does all of this compare to the Road and Track package, extra Cooling options?

    I know R&T doesn't have an engine oil cooler... *BUT*... I do have a PS cooler and freakin huge tranny cooler as-is...
    Are you running with those *STILL* in place? or do you replace those with the new stuff?
    The stock trans cooler is part of the A/C condensor,it should have more than enough capacity for average driving.Throw a converter in and you will need an aux tranny cooler.The power steering cooler is a stand alone in front of the radiator.On the R/T its roughly 18x2" and on the SRT is 3x the size.If you are road coursing an R/T I would upgrade both.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lafrad View Post
    How does all of this compare to the Road and Track package, extra Cooling options?
    I am going to GUESS that these options are the SRT options bolted onto a 5.7.

    Looking at capacities, I have got to believe these are WAY over what the SRT's provide, and I'm certain they are more than the police package. Unfortunately, to my knowledge Mopar does not publish specs on these units' cooling capacity. I'll bet you can get an approximation by spec'ing out what the finned coolers are of similar size though. Not something I did beyond noting that finned coolers were way under the capacity of these stacked plate units. I considered finned units for awhile and when I got a look at the SP's I concentrated solely on them.

    The Setrab web site has some interesting specs on coolers that are not in GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) which is the industry standard for some reason I am ignorant of. The Setrab specs are in btu's/hr and are freaking huge. They give a really good idea of how much a stacked plate cooler can accomplish.

    http://setrabusa.com

    Quote Originally Posted by lafrad View Post
    Are you running with those *STILL* in place? or do you replace those with the new stuff?
    Replacing. The RT's p/s cooler is nothing like the SRT's. Its a single-loopback with fins running across the top of the radiator. The SRT is, I believe, a double-loopback with fins and is in the same place. the p/s cooler will be completely removed and the tranny cooler will simply be disconnected but left in place.

  9. #9
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    Nice Matt, looks like i be doing this in stages, TC being a close project Ill be doing the Trans Cooler first then the Oil. I am also looking into some temo sensors for various things.

    I look forward to see this project completed and the results.

    -Robert

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattRobertson View Post
    the tranny cooler will simply be disconnected but left in place.
    Matt,I would run the stock cooler in series for the trans.....it won't hurt anything and will help a great deal with a new converter.

  11. #11
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    And yet more inventiveness from the Gang in Sacramento and points south. I will add this to my mod list today.

    Well, the Mayans and other Soothsayers were right, the end has begun.

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  12. #12
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    Outstanding job. Matt. By way of comparison for people wondering about the cost of this setup, the Setrab-equipped Remote Oil Cooler alone as offered by a forum vendor is $395.00.
    Last edited by Ozzie; 01-19-2007 at 02:27 PM.

  13. #13
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    Damn Matt, that's one top notch job buddy. Nice write-up.
    From wild to extra wild we got you covered with crap ya never knew you needed.





    The first 6.1 transformation and it all went down hill from there.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzie View Post
    By way of comparison for people wondering about the cost of this setup, the Setrab-equipped Remote Oil Cooler alone as offered by a forum vendor is $395.00.
    And what they charge is not outlandish for a vendor trying to make a buck. That kit uses the Earl's sandwich which retails for $90 by itself. Then the elbows for the sandwich are about $13. The Setrab cooler they advertise is about $200 retail (I wonder if they also have dropped Setrab thanks to the price increases). The AN8 elbows for the cooler are probably $35. Hose is about $30?

    I'm sure they don't pay retail but you REALLY have to figure in the cost of the plumbing on these systems. Its as much if not more than the coolers themselves.

  15. #15
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    Excellent writeup Matt. It really encapsulates our combined conversations and your intense research. As always, top notch stuff buddy!

    PS: Git up here already; the dyno is in a good mood. Nillabean turned in a 360hp run this morning!
    On to... ...the next

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