If you're thinking about modifying your car so you can take part in club racing or rallying, you may be focused on handling and energy production as your two most important criteria. After all, you need to be able to go around corners as quickly as possible and to drive down straights with maximum speed. However, you must also ensure that the temperature of the engine and transmission are carefully regulated, or you will lose a lot of that important horsepower. Why should you pay a lot more attention to the configuration of your radiator?
As you may know, the radiator has a critical part to play in keeping any engine within a range of operating temperatures. To be most effective, it should be fitted at the front of the vehicle with very little if any restriction ahead of it, and it should be be 'square' to the flow of air.
Do You Need an Upgrade?
In a performance vehicle, you will probably need to install a larger radiator or one that has wider rows within its main core so that more heat can be dissipated. Some people may choose to install a dual-pass radiator, where the water is forced through the system twice. However, these require a larger footprint and are effectively twice as thick, so some efficiency can be lost in this way.
Capturing the Air
Pay attention to the flow of air as it hits the car and dissipates. The grill opening must be sufficient in size and proportional to the type of performance you expect. You can also use a special design to deflect and help gather the air from the entire front surface towards the radiator.
Some people use a tightly sealed air box so all the ducted air is forced through the radiator, and this helps to exclude any hot air that may be generated by the nearby engine.
Be careful when installing an aftermarket fan or one that is driven by the engine. In certain circumstances they can do more harm than good, as at high revolutions the blades may create a stalling effect. This can prevent air from passing through, instead of enhancing it.
Getting the Radiator Serviced
You may wonder if your current radiator is up to the task, as you've been dealing with high temperatures recently while you test. Your first job should be to get it checked out by a qualified mechanic, as it may need to be flushed out carefully first, and you may need to invest in car radiator repair. Only then can you see if it is going to be suitable for your weekend activities, or whether you need to upgrade to a new version.