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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Check out this article:

Why You Don?t Want Fans On Your Heat Exchanger

Updated Link: TECH | Department of Boost

It was posted on the other forum. I have always wondered if our e-fans restricted flow at highway speeds vs no fans or shroud. I know on my Jeep Liberty this seemed to be the case when I converted it to E-fan. It would be more prone to overheating with the fan/shroud in place than with nothing in place once I was at speed. When you consider the total OD of the fans and then subtract the fan hub, there is actually very little flow area through the fans.

I would be curious to see how much of a difference it would make to remove half the shroud and one fan(thinking the inlet side where the fluid is hotter) and leave the one fan in place for the lower speeds.
 

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So are you ready to pull your fans and run with nothing?

After skimming the data, seems like the fans are really only good for keeping temps down when idling.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
So are you ready to pull your fans and run with nothing?

After skimming the data, seems like the fans are really only good for keeping temps down when idling.
Yes exactly. Low speeds is what they are good for.

According to the article, anything over ~14 mph(in this particular case) and the fan can no longer push the air fast enough to keep up with the natural flow of the radiator. It may not be exactly the same for our radiators, but by 65-70mph I am thinking there has to be a restriction.

And I would leave one half of the radiator shroud and one fan and seal the edge during testing. That way the truck can still keep cool if I am at a stop light or something.

I think the ultimate solution if this does prove out would be to have fans direct mounted to the radiator and no shroud. That way air can flow through and around the fans, but there will still be some forced cooling for low speeds.
 
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That article is more directed at water to air heat exchangers that have their own fanned units as part of an intercooler system and operate at much lower temperatures than your engines cooling system. If you go to his facebook page he further shows how much air is pulled through the fanned HE core with an anemometer. He's not advocating getting rid of the electric fan for the radiator.

I think having a well engineered shroud is most effective. That clip on his facebook page clearly shows that a fan mounted to the core is limited in what air gets sucked through the core. Ford went one step better on the 13-14 GT500 shroud with trap doors that could open at high speed when the wind velocity exceeded what could flow effectively through the fan and shroud. I doubt they even open at normal highway speeds. Don't forget if you want your air conditioner to operate, the fans need to pull air through the condensing unit too. I installed two electric fans on my supercharged 2008 5.4 F-150, but I had Ford Racing's big aluminum radiator. The relays on my fans crapped out and the a/c wasn't at all effective when stopped in traffic. I went with a more advanced fan controller after that.

Another thing to consider is whether restricted air flow has any impact on the cooling system at all. In other words, if no fans at speed cool the coolant in the radiator to 150* and the fanned unit cools the coolant to 180*, what have you accomplished if your thermostat is 190*? Guys with fans on water to air heat exchanger are looking to get the coolant as close to ambient as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
That article is more directed at water to air heat exchangers that have their own fanned units as part of an intercooler system and operate at much lower temperatures than your engines cooling system. If you go to his facebook page he further shows how much air is pulled through the fanned HE core with an anemometer. He's not advocating getting rid of the electric fan for the radiator.
I understand this, and he even lays this out in the article, but it doesn't mean that the fans don't restrict flow at speed. It's just more critical that you have the fans on a radiator at lower speed because the engine coolant is always hot, vs an intercooler that is only hot when on the throttle.

I think having a well engineered shroud is most effective. That clip on his facebook page clearly shows that a fan mounted to the core is limited in what air gets sucked through the core. Ford went one step better on the 13-14 GT500 shroud with trap doors that could open at high speed when the wind velocity exceeded what could flow effectively through the fan and shroud. I doubt they even open at normal highway speeds. Don't forget if you want your air conditioner to operate, the fans need to pull air through the condensing unit too. I installed two electric fans on my supercharged 2008 5.4 F-150, but I had Ford Racing's big aluminum radiator. The relays on my fans crapped out and the a/c wasn't at all effective when stopped in traffic. I went with a more advanced fan controller after that.
I have looked at the back of our shourds and there is almost zero space for any kind of doors. You can buy them on Jeg/Summit/etc, but there is no where to put them. I had considered this on my Jeep and then realized that it needed a mechanical fan to stay cool regardless.

As far as the AC goes, that is why I was suggesting to use direct mounted fans. You open the back of the radiator up to natural flow, but still have to fans to cool some portion of it at slower speed. It wouldnt be as effective at slow speeds, but should be more effective at high speeds where most people seem to have trouble.

Another thing to consider is whether restricted air flow has any impact on the cooling system at all. In other words, if no fans at speed cool the coolant in the radiator to 150* and the fanned unit cools the coolant to 180*, what have you accomplished if your thermostat is 190*? Guys with fans on water to air heat exchanger are looking to get the coolant as close to ambient as possible.
The problem is not driving around empty trying to get the coolant to be colder than it is. No one seems to ever have issues in an unloaded truck.

The problem is all these guys with trailers hooked up who are overheating any time its >80F outside. Even when they get thermostats, upgraded CACs, Full-race radiators, etc, the problem doesn't go away. I have this problem and my trailer is literally 1/2 the maximum tow rating on my truck. It is not weird for my truck to sit at 220-225F ECT's towing on a flat road. The truck goes into reduced power mode at 245 or so and that happens very quickly once I start to climb.

If a radiator that is 2x the thickness of stock is not the answer to the problem, that would suggest that airflow is the limitation. The air is taking so long to pass through the cooling stack that its so hot coming out that back that its not absorbing any more heat. If you speed that air flow up so that its coming out that back colder, that means the radiator is being better utilized and is dumping more BTU's into the air stream.
 

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I don't think the overheating situation can be mainly attributed to not shedding enough heat as it is the turbos generating too much heat, too quickly. Reason I say this is with the few cooling upgrades I have done, the minute I take my foot off the gas, I get a very rapid cooling response. The cooling system cools very fast and brings ECT back in line quickly.

The turbos are basically at the end of the line in the cooling diagram. To me this is the issue. If the capacity of the cooling system were ever enlarged to meet this immediate demand put on it by the turbos, then the truck would probably never even get up to operating temperature when the turbos aren't being worked.

Furthermore, I don't think the gains from fan/no fan are going to squeeze out enough cooling efficiency/capacity to overcome the burst of heat load from the turbos. Clearly, a large radiator, upgraded CAC, etc. are not either. What needs to happen in my book is more circulation of the coolant, so that the heat being dumped into coolant by the turbos can be cooled quickly in response to their added heat load. If flow is increased, there may be some point at which one needs more efficiency from the current cooling system, but I just haven't seen any data to prove that it's not cooling enough. "Fast enough" is the issue IMO. Certainly more efficiency would support a faster flow, so they may go hand-in-hand.
 

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Excellent post DNA.

Especially your summary of the problem in the earlier paragraph(s)

I'm just thinking out loud here........ But what kind of engineering would it take to cool the turbos independently from the rest of the truck? 2 cooling circuits.

Flame on! Lol

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I don't think the overheating situation can be mainly attributed to not shedding enough heat as it is the turbos generating too much heat, too quickly. Reason I say this is with the few cooling upgrades I have done, the minute I take my foot off the gas, I get a very rapid cooling response. The cooling system cools very fast and brings ECT back in line quickly.

The turbos are basically at the end of the line in the cooling diagram. To me this is the issue. If the capacity of the cooling system were ever enlarged to meet this immediate demand put on it by the turbos, then the truck would probably never even get up to operating temperature when the turbos aren't being worked.

Furthermore, I don't think the gains from fan/no fan are going to squeeze out enough cooling efficiency/capacity to overcome the burst of heat load from the turbos. Clearly, a large radiator, upgraded CAC, etc. are not either. What needs to happen in my book is more circulation of the coolant, so that the heat being dumped into coolant by the turbos can be cooled quickly in response to their added heat load. If flow is increased, there may be some point at which one needs more efficiency from the current cooling system, but I just haven't seen any data to prove that it's not cooling enough. "Fast enough" is the issue IMO. Certainly more efficiency would support a faster flow, so they may go hand-in-hand.
This is an interesting thought. But if the cooling capacity were adequate and the fluid was moving too slowly through the engine and heating excessively, wouldnt the opposite be true in the radiator? It would come out of the radiator extra cold.

If, for example, the engine and turbos are producing enough heat to heat the coolant by 50°F, then you just need to get the coolant to enter the engine at 190°F to not overheat. Then you would think the solution would be to run a t-stat that opens at a lower temp to ensure that colder coolant is entering the engine to offset that. People have tried this and it doesnt seem to work, which tells me that the radiator is saturating and coolant is coming out of the radiator too hot.
 

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Mass,

Interesting article. Definitely focused on intercoolers, not radiators, but the general concept applies.

I deal with fans on HVAC systems everyday in my profession, so I think I can help bring some information to the discussion. Most of this is common sense:

-All fans have a "curve" which is a plot of airflow vs pressure drop. As the pressure drop increases, the airflow decreases.
-The fan curve changes based on RPM. Higher RPM = higher airflow with a higher pressure drop.
-Air speed entering the fan can be considered added pressure on the fan inlet. This allows the fan to flow more air. So at a higher vehicle speed the fan can flow more air.
-All fans reaches a point where it can't flow anymore air at 0" pressure drop. This is the choke point. Once the fan reaches this point it can't flow more air.
-At a lower fan speed, the choke point will also be lower. So an electric fan on low speed will choke the airflow further than on high speed.

Example of a fan curve:


Based on what I've seen from running this Ecoboost and my old 6.0 diesel, the radiator fans on those trucks are definitely a restriction. The 6.0 provided a good example of this as the fan actually moves some air. Climbing the my long steep hill at 50mph with the trailer in tow. ECT hits 220F, fan goes to high speed, ECT drops to 210, fan cycles off. ECT climbs back up to 220F fan comes back on, etc.

The Ecoboost does the same thing in theory however I've yet to see it actually pull the ECTs down to cycle off temp (~212F) climbing the hill. The fans going to high speed usually just slow down the rise, but that's another topic...

Every fan/vehicle is different and while I applaud their testing methods, I don't think those numbers can be considered universal for all heat exchangers, vehicles etc. It does provide a good illustration that above 14mph on that heat exchanger setup you are actually choking airflow.

We can't really get rid of fans on our radiators as you have to be able to idle and run at low speeds where they become necessary. You just need big enough fans to move enough air to provide enough cooling. The Ecoboost fans are the same size as the ones on my wife's minivan. Now I do believe they run at a much higher RPM than those fans as the Ecoboost fans are WAY louder at high speed, so size isn't probably a good comparison.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Mass,

Interesting article. Definitely focused on intercoolers, not radiators, but the general concept applies.

I deal with fans on HVAC systems everyday in my profession, so I think I can help bring some information to the discussion. Most of this is common sense:

-All fans have a "curve" which is a plot of airflow vs pressure drop. As the pressure drop increases, the airflow decreases.
-The fan curve changes based on RPM. Higher RPM = higher airflow with a higher pressure drop.
-Air speed entering the fan can be considered added pressure on the fan inlet. This allows the fan to flow more air. So at a higher vehicle speed the fan can flow more air.
-All fans reaches a point where it can't flow anymore air at 0" pressure drop. This is the choke point. Once the fan reaches this point it can't flow more air.
-At a lower fan speed, the choke point will also be lower. So an electric fan on low speed will choke the airflow further than on high speed.

Example of a fan curve:


Based on what I've seen from running this Ecoboost and my old 6.0 diesel, the radiator fans on those trucks are definitely a restriction. The 6.0 provided a good example of this as the fan actually moves some air. Climbing the my long steep hill at 50mph with the trailer in tow. ECT hits 220F, fan goes to high speed, ECT drops to 210, fan cycles off. ECT climbs back up to 220F fan comes back on, etc.

The Ecoboost does the same thing in theory however I've yet to see it actually pull the ECTs down to cycle off temp (~212F) climbing the hill. The fans going to high speed usually just slow down the rise, but that's another topic...

Every fan/vehicle is different and while I applaud their testing methods, I don't think those numbers can be considered universal for all heat exchangers, vehicles etc. It does provide a good illustration that above 14mph on that heat exchanger setup you are actually choking airflow.

We can't really get rid of fans on our radiators as you have to be able to idle and run at low speeds where they become necessary. You just need big enough fans to move enough air to provide enough cooling. The Ecoboost fans are the same size as the ones on my wife's minivan. Now I do believe they run at a much higher RPM than those fans as the Ecoboost fans are WAY louder at high speed, so size isn't probably a good comparison.
I kinda was wondering if the fans turning on high speed just make them less of a resistor to flow(vs being off, ) than actually contributing to the flow.
 

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Dang Catmonkey. A few posts in, I was thinking some pressure relief flap doors should solve the flow restriction problem. And then you go and mention the GT500 has them already.
 

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This is an interesting thought. But if the cooling capacity were adequate and the fluid was moving too slowly through the engine and heating excessively, wouldnt the opposite be true in the radiator? It would come out of the radiator extra cold.

If, for example, the engine and turbos are producing enough heat to heat the coolant by 50°F, then you just need to get the coolant to enter the engine at 190°F to not overheat. Then you would think the solution would be to run a t-stat that opens at a lower temp to ensure that colder coolant is entering the engine to offset that. People have tried this and it doesnt seem to work, which tells me that the radiator is saturating and coolant is coming out of the radiator too hot.
With my setup - SuperStant thermostat, FR radiator and the Saudi cooler, my truck behaves just like you state. I can bring RPMs up, (Which increases flow) and the temperature of the truck seems to stabilize. I'm not saying heat dissipation isn't part of the equation, I just don't think you'll ever be able to remove enough heat, fast enough from the system to overcome the runaway heat problem. The lower thermostat temp will buy you time, but if you are generating tons of heat, you'll still reach the same runaway temperature point - just a little later.

I think of the problem as a triangular matrix with three areas that need to be addressed.

1) Heat dissipation - Better radiator, better coolant, Water/coolant ratio, better fans (airflow), etc.
2) Heat generation - Overworking turbos when loaded, trans dumping heat into coolant, engine oil dumping heat in coolant.
3) Proximity/Fluid Dynamics - Poor coolant flow, Turbos at the end of the circuit, thermostat on output end, Turbos crammed next to exhaust with little air movement, etc.

Regarding each area, the things I have tried seem to be working because they address each area:
1) Heat dissipation - FR Radiator, lower coolant:water ratio
2) Heat generation - Oversized trans cooler pretty much eliminates the transmission as a contributor of heat to the coolant.
3) Proximity/Fluid dynamics - SuperStant opens a little earlier, wider and seems to have a faster response rate.

If I had to bet on it, I think the best upgrade for the heat issue is going to be decoupling the engine oil from the lower radiator hose and adding an oil cooler. I don't think that system does much in the stock configuration, but contributes a ton of heat to the coolant. Think about it, not only is the oil cooler anemic, but that same oil is getting cooked by the turbos. My oil is super beat after ~3K miles. This one upgrade would have an impact on all areas, dissipating more heat, generating less heat in the coolant, and potentially increasing flow (and lowering coolant inlet temp) in the lower radiator hose by switching out that hose. It sounds like a win-win, but I just don't have the cajones to try this upgrade. It's not just a "bolt-on" thing and crosses a line into "modified" territory. If done wrong it could be disastrous.
 

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The problem is all these guys with trailers hooked up who are overheating any time its >80F outside. Even when they get thermostats, upgraded CACs, Full-race radiators, etc, the problem doesn't go away. I have this problem and my trailer is literally 1/2 the maximum tow rating on my truck. It is not weird for my truck to sit at 220-225F ECT's towing on a flat road. The truck goes into reduced power mode at 245 or so and that happens very quickly once I start to climb.
Perhaps the fans are programmed to do just that. Read on.

With my setup - SuperStant thermostat, FR radiator and the Saudi cooler, my truck behaves just like you state. I can bring RPMs up, (Which increases flow) and the temperature of the truck seems to stabilize. I'm not saying heat dissipation isn't part of the equation, I just don't think you'll ever be able to remove enough heat, fast enough from the system to overcome the runaway heat problem. The lower thermostat temp will buy you time, but if you are generating tons of heat, you'll still reach the same runaway temperature point - just a little later.

I think of the problem as a triangular matrix with three areas that need to be addressed.

1) Heat dissipation - Better radiator, better coolant, Water/coolant ratio, better fans (airflow), etc.
2) Heat generation - Overworking turbos when loaded, trans dumping heat into coolant, engine oil dumping heat in coolant.
3) Proximity/Fluid Dynamics - Poor coolant flow, Turbos at the end of the circuit, thermostat on output end, Turbos crammed next to exhaust with little air movement, etc.
Here's another area, the fan itself or rather the fan settings. Here's a screen shot from SCT's Advantage software of the OEM fan settings for my 2015 F-150. Note, the fan settings are only at about 50% at about 215*. If you lower the x axis 10 degrees, you probably would help to further delay the jump to higher temperatures too. Now are some other fan settings that control fan operation with transmission temperatures and air condition compressor pressures. I'm thinking you could log the commanded percentage of fan speed to see what a heavy load is doing to it the fans. The y axis on the function is inferred ambient temperatures, not that it alters much in this particular table.



If I had to bet on it, I think the best upgrade for the heat issue is going to be decoupling the engine oil from the lower radiator hose and adding an oil cooler. I don't think that system does much in the stock configuration, but contributes a ton of heat to the coolant. Think about it, not only is the oil cooler anemic, but that same oil is getting cooked by the turbos. My oil is super beat after ~3K miles. This one upgrade would have an impact on all areas, dissipating more heat, generating less heat in the coolant, and potentially increasing flow (and lowering coolant inlet temp) in the lower radiator hose by switching out that hose. It sounds like a win-win, but I just don't have the cajones to try this upgrade. It's not just a "bolt-on" thing and crosses a line into "modified" territory. If done wrong it could be disastrous.
I think you're onto something on this line of thought, but to do it right needs a thermal controller.

If given all the things you sited and still having overheating issues, I think you need to seriously consider a Super Duty.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Perhaps the fans are programmed to do just that. Read on.



Here's another area, the fan itself or rather the fan settings. Here's a screen shot from SCT's Advantage software of the OEM fan settings for my 2015 F-150. Note, the fan settings are only at about 50% at about 215*. If you lower the x axis 10 degrees, you probably would help to further delay the jump to higher temperatures too. Now are some other fan settings that control fan operation with transmission temperatures and air condition compressor pressures. I'm thinking you could log the commanded percentage of fan speed to see what a heavy load is doing to it the fans. The y axis on the function is inferred ambient temperatures, not that it alters much in this particular table.




I think you're onto something on this line of thought, but to do it right needs a thermal controller.

If given all the things you sited and still having overheating issues, I think you need to seriously consider a Super Duty.
I am tuned, so my fans come on at different temperature than stock, but last time I towed I was using Forscan to monitor and the fans were running on low continuously and the high speed would come on at basically every hill. I believe it was around 105C when the high kicked on. The 2011-14 trucks are only low/high, not variable.

These are the stock 2014 settings:

Stock 2014 Fan.PNG

Regardless, the high speed fan is clearly not keeping the engine cool. Also, I don't care about the truck running on flats at 225, I care when it gets a minute into a climb and I am at 245 and it hits power reduction mode.
 

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Regardless, the high speed fan is clearly not keeping the engine cool.
The high speed is just there to make the driver feel better about pulling that 7K uphill!
 
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I kinda was wondering if the fans turning on high speed just make them less of a resistor to flow(vs being off, ) than actually contributing to the flow.
You know I haven't ever looked at it that way. I'm guessing a fan not turning is still more pressure drop than a fan turning as the air would have to move it's way around the blades. Regardless, when you turn the fans off, they will still start spinning as you speed up and you're back to the fan curves. That will probably add even more restriction as the air will be having to do the work to move the fan.

I'm going to test it again this weekend (it's gonna be 108) but on my last pull in 95F heat the Saudi cooler seems to have done the trick on my truck (everything else is stock). Made it up my nemesis hill with max 235F ECt and 210F tranny. AC on max, holding 50-55mph. I actually pushed it up to 60 near the top just to see if I could get it hotter. Didn't go over 238F. Fluke, I don't know. It was pretty consistent in getting the ECT and TFT up above 240 in short order on all previous attempts where the ambient was above 85F.

One thing I did notice is my AF ratio seems to be lower than before. I seem to recall seeing low 12's when pulling this hill in the past. This time is was 11.2 the whole way up. I know richer = cooler combustion temps = cooler ECT's. I just had the truck updated for the tranny recall which included a new PCM calibration. Perhaps they changed something?
 

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I don't think the overheating situation can be mainly attributed to not shedding enough heat as it is the turbos generating too much heat, too quickly. Reason I say this is with the few cooling upgrades I have done, the minute I take my foot off the gas, I get a very rapid cooling response. The cooling system cools very fast and brings ECT back in line quickly.

The turbos are basically at the end of the line in the cooling diagram. To me this is the issue. If the capacity of the cooling system were ever enlarged to meet this immediate demand put on it by the turbos, then the truck would probably never even get up to operating temperature when the turbos aren't being worked.

Furthermore, I don't think the gains from fan/no fan are going to squeeze out enough cooling efficiency/capacity to overcome the burst of heat load from the turbos. Clearly, a large radiator, upgraded CAC, etc. are not either. What needs to happen in my book is more circulation of the coolant, so that the heat being dumped into coolant by the turbos can be cooled quickly in response to their added heat load. If flow is increased, there may be some point at which one needs more efficiency from the current cooling system, but I just haven't seen any data to prove that it's not cooling enough. "Fast enough" is the issue IMO. Certainly more efficiency would support a faster flow, so they may go hand-in-hand.
Looking at the size of the coolant lines to the turbos I don't think they are putting that much heat directly into the coolant system. If anything it's going into the oil system. The main reason for those coolant lines is to keep the turbo bearings from over-heating when the engine is shutdown and oil stops. From what I understand, most of the heat dissipation is still done with the oil system.

I think most of your heat when under boost is still coming from the cylinders. HP = Heat and when the turbos are spooled you are making a ton more HP and there's a ton more heat to reject from the cylinders. If the engine has piston oil squirters you'll also pick up a lot of heat into the oil system.

Agree on your later point of about the oil cooling system. It's an abortion the way it's piped. Total afterthought. It wouldn't have been that hard to pipe it the "right" way with a supply from the lower part of the block and a return back to the radiator inlet. *Sigh* I know RMB Ryan keeps talking about a completely separate aircooled oil cooler. I'd be really curious to see how much affect that has on the cooling system. Removing a restriction from the coolant system, removing the oil cooling load. Seems like a slam dunk. Especially when guys are dropping multiple thousands into radiators, intercoolers, etc and not getting good results.
 

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I'd love to know the oil Temps on these motors. I bet we wouldn't like it either.

Everytime you see these used motors opened up you kinda get the feeling the coloring represents a hot-oil environment?

And I get the feeling you are probably right about the turbos heating things up because of the combustion chamber, rather than the fluids that are traveling through the turbos themselves.

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I'd love to know the oil Temps on these motors. I bet we wouldn't like it either.

Everytime you see these used motors opened up you kinda get the feeling the coloring represents a hot-oil environment?

And I get the feeling you are probably right about the turbos heating things up because of the combustion chamber, rather than the fluids that are traveling through the turbos themselves.

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I thought the same thing when I had the front cover off the motor. The inside of the block in places that don't appear to be flowing oil (such as the vertical sides) had a golden-tarnished color to it. Like it was cooked to the point of smoking. I season the bottom of my wok like this by burning oil on it at super high heat past it's smoke point. I get the same honey-golden deposits.

@ SuperDave23 - I don't think your data was a fluke. The Saudi cooler works because it pretty much eliminates the tranny from dumping more heat into the radiator. It may in fact be acting somewhat like a heat sink for the coolant once the tranny stat is open. 195 degree tranny oil pumping through a radiator at 235+ means is should be pulling heat off the radiator. This is the same effect I want to achieve with the oil cooler. Thanks for updating us on our nemesis!
 
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