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Electric Fan and Basic Thermostat Install


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Dragster started a thread last week about engine cooling and opinions about running an electric fan. I happened to be in the middle of a bunch of other work under the hood, and had decided to go to an electric fan while in there. His thread kinda prodded me into grabbing a few pics and showing how i do it.


This isn't about electric fans being better or worse than mechanical fans. I've run both, and will continue to run both. Each have their own merits and shortfalls in differing circumstances. Each of us has to look at our own needs to determine which is best.


I mounted the fan in the shroud. I happened to have a 20" X 20" piece of 6160 aluminum, so I cut it into a ring the diameter of the shroud opening. I then cut a 16 1/2" ring out of the middle of that. Rough up this shroud where the ring meets it, then lock it in JB Plasticweld. One tube made enough putty to secure it in eight places. Great stuff, just as good as the original for metal. Put everything together, trim off the extra and get this.



Next I calibrated the thermostat to kick on at 195* and it consistently kicked back off at 185*. This is something you can do over morning coffee. That's when I did it. Take your time and enjoy the process. I have no faith in temp controllers that use electronics. This good ole fashion pressure switch type is just about bullet proof if you take the time to dial it in. Nothing against electronic controllers, but why add added complexity when about 90% of us don't need it. I also installed a new Nissan 170* thermostat in the engine.



Once it's dialed in I have marks at 170*, 190*, 200*, and 212*. The red dot is 195*, where I set it. Then some RTV and electrical tape to somewhat weather proof it.



This time I inserted the probe into my cooling system at the bottom of the metal pipe between the thermostat housing and lower radiator hose. I was originally going to insert it at the top of the pipe, but there wasn't enough room before it hit the thermostat inside.



Installed in the truck. The controller is mounted on the shroud just below the upper hose. A note about the wire between the probe and controller. Do not kink it. It's a pressure line, not an electrical wire. I didn't have the grill on the front of the truck. When I hot-wired the fan on to test it, the flow was strong enough to suck my sweater up onto the front of the radiator. Works for me.



I hope this gives people some other ideas besides mounting things directly to the radiator. I've done it many times, but it always gives me the willys to tamper with the radiator.




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I like it! Looks like a clean install. And unlike sticking it right to the rad, you're actually pulling air through the whole radiator.


How does the thermostat probe go in? Soldered to the pipe or just slip in between the pipe and the rubber?

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You just stick the probe in the hose before you slide the hose over its fitting. Try and get some RTV along the wire, then clamp it as normal. It might take a second try to get it to seal, but once you get it, it won't leak. I've done this more than a few times and still don't get it every time. Tightening the clamp some more after a couple hot cold cycles will get a leaker to seal up I'd guestimate about 75% of the time.

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I did something similar on my car. On that I used a factory temp sensor that was a lower temp. Bought one of those adapters that goes in the radiator hose. Drilled and tapped the adapter to accept the temp sensor. Placed it in the lower rad hose.


I was going for an almost invisible install. It turned out well.


I like these types of threads. Someone will come up with different ways to accomplish the same task. We know the saying, there is more than one way to skin a cat.


Where did that saying come from? Completely off topic.

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That's another good idea for mounting the temp sensor. I may go that route the next time I have things apart. This time I had so many other things to do that I went the simple way.


An update on its operation. During normal fan "off" engine operation the temp gauge is exactly 1/2 way between hi & lo. With the fan controller set at 195* the water temp gauge creeps up to 2/3's, then the fan kicks on.

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