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Cooling System Upgrades - Chillin' Out
Keep your classic Ford cool when things get hot...
When it comes to fan coverage, you want as much of the radiator core covered by the fan as possible, with a minimum of 70 percent. If a shroud is available for your electric fan(s) package, by all means use it. The shroud not only makes the fan more efficient, as it is pulling air through the entire core, but the shroud usually makes the installation of fan easier since the shroud reaches the mounting edges of the radiator itself. While we've all done it, the last thing you should use for any sort of long-term fan mounting solution are those plastic "through-the-core" plastic tie-wrap affairs. The weight of the fan, coupled with the vibration of it in use, can cause the fan to wear/cut through the radiator's cooling tubes when mounted in this manner. At the least, use solid mounting ears/straps and when at all possible, a shroud (1/4-inch deep at a minimum) is the best solution.
There's a fairly common misconception that S-shaped blades outflow straight blades on an electric fan. More often than not, the S-blade fan has a different motor on it, which increases the airflow cfm, so we're not comparing apples to apples here. According to engineers we spoke with at SPAL, straight-blade fans are usually the more efficient of the two styles if the motors are the same, however they do have a blade pitch that is slightly noisier than the S-blade style. No matter the size of the fan or the type of blade, it is going to make some noise. When you move air, you create noise.
When looking at electric fans, beware of cheap models that cut corners. On large diameter fans, you'll find a support ring to stabilize the blades so they don't flex and cut into your radiator core. Also, look for glass-reinforced plastic for the fan body and blades. This increases the stiffness of the unit as a whole, and prevents blade breakage. Lastly, a quality fan will often have an IP68 rating for dust and water intrusion. Many low-dollar fans aren't rated as such, and driving in rain can severely shorten their lifespan to a matter of months. Many electric fans come without any wiring or controls, leaving it up to the installer to determine how to control the fan. We recommend controlling an electric fan via a thermostatic switch in the engine. Fan wiring should be sized properly for the amp draw of the fan motor, and due to the rather high-amp draws of the typical fan, you should always use a relay to allow direct connection to the battery (properly fused) so that the thermostatic switch turns the relay off and on for fan control. Amperage is of particular concern when it comes to using used fans from the scrapyard. Many times, these fans will draw much more amperage than a quality aftermarket fan, and if you're still running the factory alternator, it simply may not be enough to keep the charging system operating properly.
It's inevitable that the original single-core radiator in this '64 Falcon would not be able to keep up with the demands of the added horsepower from the warmed up small-block that now resides in the engine bay. The old radiator was quite possibly original equipment and had a good amount of buildup, which would certainly have a negative effect on flow.
To address this issue, we got in touch with the guys at Champion Radiators in Orange, California, and they suggested their aluminum two-row '60-'65 Falcon radiator (PN EC259, $159.98) built for those running a small V-8 (289 or 302) with a mild increase in horsepower.
The advantage of the aluminum two-row radiator over the single-row brass version is better heat dissipation through thermal conduction and greater flow. Another bonus is the weight advantage aluminum has over the heavier brass unit. This radiator is a direct bolt-in replacement, so all that we needed to do was swap the radiators, connect the trans cooler lines and coolant hoses, fill it up with coolant, and we would be good to go. Now the car cruises all day long between 170-180 degrees whereas before, we were sweating in traffic while watching the temp gauge quickly creep above 210 degrees.