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Old 02-13-2008, 05:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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5 min radiator block aeromod

OK - It's cold outside, but I want my engine to run a little better in the winter.

I have been very busy lately, so I did a VERY fast and dirty radiator block.



Width of the radiator was almost exactly the same as some scrap (got it free!) coroplast I had kicking around.

I shoved it down the front of the radiator, and cut off what stuck out. Friction fit right in there - no zip ties needed.

The coroplast sheet is not actually in direct contact with the radiator, it is a centimeter or two out from it. (Trying to NOT melt the coroplast)

Will this this radiator block make any difference of aerodynamic drag? A little bit? Just curious?

I don't have any way to check fuel economy other than dividing trip odometer by gallons at the pump.

More photos at:
http://web.mac.com/benhdvideoguy/iWeb/Home/5minmod.html

I have also started plugging in my block heater at night. It runs just over 500 watts, so it's kinda wasting electricity if I run it all night. I am planning on setting it on a timer, but am still looking around for it. I have one here somewhere....

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Old 02-13-2008, 06:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd say it won't do amazing wonders for aero, but it'll definitly warm up your engine faster. Just make sure it doesn't warm it up too much.
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Here's one of the pics from bennelson's photo link in the first post.


Wow, that's a block. You definitely get credit for fast and low cost.

I have to say, it looks like you blocked off the radiator completely. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge. I'd leave at least a 2-3" strip of radiator unblocked; I think that even in winter its going to need some air through there to cool the engine.
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucepick View Post
Keep an eye on your temperature gauge. I'd leave at least a 2-3" strip of radiator unblocked
Yep, I was planning on keeping a close eye on the temp gauge.

If I trim some off the block, should I do it off the bottom or the top?
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post

The coroplast sheet is not actually in direct contact with the radiator, it is a centimeter or two out from it. (Trying to NOT melt the coroplast)

Will this this radiator block make any difference of aerodynamic drag? A little bit? Just curious?

I have also started plugging in my block heater at night. It runs just over 500 watts, so it's kinda wasting electricity if I run it all night. I am planning on setting it on a timer, but am still looking around for it. I have one here somewhere....
It is not good to completely block airflow to the radiator, melting or not. Yes you can make a block that is 100% radiator sized, but it still needs to be some distance away from the radiator. SOME air movement is necessary.

You've been around here for some time right? Aero drag reduction from that kind of block will be too tiny to detect. And heaters have been discussed too, with optimal plug-in times for one example running just over an hour.
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
... If I trim some off the block, should I do it off the bottom or the top?
Actually I think I'd take some off one of the sides - or cut a vertical opening, if you want to keep the full rectangle so it stays put.

Take a look at what's happening behind your block panel. See where the coolant enters and leaves and trim your block accordingly. My radiator has the intake at top right, and outlet at lower left, with the tubes running horizontally. So if I made a vertical gap or slot in a full size panel, that would give some cooling to all the tubes. That would make sense to me. That way if a couple tubes are blocked then the others still get some cooling.

Look at your fan(s) too. When they run they will want some air.

I think after you see how your radiator is set up you'll have a better idea of where to cut a gap in your panel.
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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if you want to kill two birds with one stone, cut apiece of that stuff big enough to cover all the grill above the bumper. drill a few holes around the edge of the piece and zip tie it to the grill.
i'd use a timer on that heater because they don't last forever, i've burned out several of them. toss an old blanket over the dog house.
my little lady took half the wiring, electric box and all off the side of the garage one morning, brillant me had tied the extension cord around the wire so the timer wouldn't fall out of the receptacle. we laughed till we cried.
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have ONLY backed out of the driveway once so far while still plugged in.

Cleverly, everything is in a straight shot, so the the extension cord will unplug itself and the heater cable doesn't drag on the ground!
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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5 More Minutes!

I spent 5 more minutes today updating my radiator block.

The engine temp gauge did get fairly high during my 25 mile ride to work this morning.

I noticed that my radiator fan is off-center and it looked like vertical cuts would cool the radiator best



I went "Psycho" on the coroplast and popped it back in.
I will monitor my temp. gauge on the ride home and see how it compares to the ride out.

This morning, my heater definately did get hot faster, car warmed up much quicker!

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Last edited by bennelson; 02-14-2008 at 01:31 PM.. Reason: add second pic
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The engine ran cooler on the ride home today than on the way in.

It wasn't really fair to compare though, because it was snowing, so speeds on the freeway home were not what they were on the way out.

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