So, where were we? Last time I was messing with Sharka’s cooling system, I had just finished my sorta easy coolant reroute. And it has been happily cooling the turbo’d engine since last summer.
But there’s always room for improvement, right? Hell, that could be the motto for my whole time with Sharka. “There’s always room for improvement.”
Or is it “there’s always money in the banana stand”? Anyways…
Flyin Miata Airflow Kit
What you’re looking at is the Flyin Miata Stage 2 Airflow Kit. I had to go to their site both for the link and to look up the name. I’ve honestly been calling it the badass fan kit to myself for a while now. Because it is.
This nicely bent piece of metal is the backbone of the airflow kit. It’s the fan shroud. It holds the fans a nice distance away from the radiator to try to get air flowing through it as efficiently as possible.
Anyone can add big fans to a radiator. Anyone. But maximizing their efficiency with a nicely machined shroud that fits on multiple aftermarket radiators? That’s not easy. But FM seems to have done it.
Fitment was spot on. Every little slot lined up with every mounting boss on the Koyo. I’m very impressed with how well these two unrelated aftermarket parts fit together.
The weatherstripping goes on the small bent lip to seal up the edges of the fan shroud as nicely as possible. I use the same stuff on my intake box to seal it against the hood Er… I guess FM supplied that weatherstripping too. But when I was N/A with a regular intake tube, I used this same weatherstripping.
The fit of the fan shroud got a bit tighter with the weatherstripping installed, but it still fit. It was just a bit of a challenge to get the shroud over the radiator hangers, but not that much of a challenge. Took me longer to write that last sentence.
FM includes enough of these small spacer bushings to put two per boss. However, my Koyo has really long fan mounting bosses, so I only needed one to space the shroud at the recommended distance.
Did I mention I was really impressed with how well this stuff fit? Cooling parts NEVER fit this well. Ever!
I could write a paragraph right here about how much I love my double-jaw ratcheting crimp tool and the perfect crimps it makes every time. I could go on about how much more secure they are than solders, especially with a nice heat-shrink splice connector like I used here. But I don’t really need to do that. It’s evident from the photo above. =)
Splicing the OEM fan connectors on was very easy. Just match up the black wires on the Spal to the black wires on the OEM connectors. The colored wires connect to each other. Not much can be easier than that. Still, I made sure the fans spun in the correct direction before closing the hood and calling it done.
FM’s installation tip sheet mentioned taping up the edges of the fan shroud to maximize their efficiency. Sounded like a good idea to me and I had a huge roll of nice tape in the garage with me, so I sealed everything up.
Annnnd… the first time the radiator heated up, the tape came free on every edge. So I ripped it off and threw it away. Bummer, huh? I might try to re-seal it again in the future, but I’m quite happy with just the weatherstripping for now.
Coolant Reroute Upgrades
Overkill? Maybe. But I’ve had a devil of a time getting my stupid lower silicon radiator hose to seal on the motor. The constant-pressure worm-gear clamp I was using just didn’t cut it. So I bought a bunch of these snazzy t-bolt clamps to get every hose in my cooling system sealed as perfectly as possible.
Yeah. I shopped at Jegs. What of it?
The Miata cooling system uses 1.25″ ID hoses. So, you want the hose clamp in the middle. The 1.5″ hose clamp on the left is too small (even though Jegs recommended this one for 1.25″ systems). The 1.75″ hose clamp on the right is way too big. The 1.625″? Perfect. I needed 6 of them.
You might remember how I spliced two long hoses together back in episode 2 of the coolant reroute. I hacked up a pipe and crudely machined a few grooves in it. It did not leak for most of the summer. No lie. Then, something gave way, and a slow drip started from that connection in the fall. Not much. Maybe a teaspoon of coolant was lost every week. But it was enough to bother me.
So, I upgraded.
That fine black piece of machined aluminum is meant to be an in-line hose drain. It comes with that little brass petcock installed. I unscrewed it and measured the threads. 1/4 NPT. I then ordered a nice black plug to go in that hole (along with the rest of the t-bolt hose clamps I needed) to delete the drain. I really just wanted this piece to serve as a nice coupler between my two coldside reroute hoses.
Isn’t that coupler so much nicer than my old piece of pipe? I’m very happy with it. And I can report that it holds pressure perfectly. It has about 50 miles of use on it at the time of this writing.
The only hose clamp I didn’t replace with a t-bolt is on the back of the engine under the coil pack. That one isn’t leaking as of this moment. I’m sure since I’ve shored up every other connection, it will be the next to weaken. But I’m hoping for the best.
(Yeah. I know. I’ll be cursing at it next weekend for sure.)
FM Turbo Heat Shield Mod
This thing is a pain. It is held in place with three bolts. Two of these bolts are easy to reach. One of them is damn near impossible. It is directly under one of the small heater hoses on the firewall. You CANNOT get your hand in there without shoving said heater hoses all around and scraping your knuckles on something. I hate it. I mean, I love the shield, but I hate that one hidden bolt.
So I fixed it.
This is the cursed bolt. Imagine trying to get the shield in place juuuust so. Then somehow lowering the bolt into place. Then somehow tightening it. I’ve done it a dozen times. And now, I no longer have to struggle.
I put a little slot in the heat shield. Now I just leave that hidden bolt in place. I loosen it enough and just slide the shield on or off. What was once 10-20 minutes of cursing is now 30 seconds of effort.
All Buttoned Up
There’s a ton of room there. I think there may actually be more room with FM’s badass fan kit than there was with the stock fans. There’s CERTAINLY more room for my blowoff valve to live in. Before, it was kinda tucked into the supports of the air conditioning fan. Now, it has a bit of room all around.
And that’s it! A bunch of pretty pix. More stickers. More engine shots. More pretty.
But how the heck do the fans work?!?!
I’ve not had them in long enough to give a decent report. They’ve driven all of 50 miles. In the winter! That’s not much of a test. I’ll gather some data and post a short follow up in a couple months. So far, I’m really impressed. But I want some data!
I’ll report back.
– Update: 8/11/2014 –
Whoa, a long time passed between posting this and remembering to do an update.
These fans continue to be awesome. Thanks to their sucking power, I’m able to keep my A/C running, even on the hottest New Mexico day (116*F earlier this summer). EVEN with the tiny 37mm Koyo. Coolant temps never really go above 96*C. Usually they hover between 90*C and 94*C. (My Link reads in metric.)
Everything in Sharka’s cooling system is indeed working together to achieve that. The re-route, the fans, a very very well sealed and ducted mouth, and a functional radiator cap. If the ducting starts to open up or the radiator cap starts to get old, I see it on my ECU’s temperature readout. It’s a marginal system. However, that’s due to the tiny radiator that I make that statement. I really wish I’d bought the FM crossflow radiator instead of the Koyo.
So, that’s it. The fan kit gets the long-term revlimiter.net gold star of approval. I can’t find a single flaw and it has worked perfectly since installation.