Use factory oil coolers for air to water heat exchanger? (on street car) - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Use factory oil coolers for air to water heat exchanger? (on street car)

Has anyone converted their factory front mount oil coolers for use as heat exchangers for an air to water intercooler? The oil coolers are nice to have, but wondering if they are overkill on street cars and would allow you cool off the intercooler but not pass the heat off to the main engine coolant (or vice versa).
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 06:36 AM
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Yes and no. I've seen that done in other cars, and it does work at low power levels (under 400 hp). With my car I did the forward heat exchanger part but not the intercooler heat exchanger, so they are currently unused.

You have to replace the oil lines with larger hose, as they are too small, but using the old lines through the sills. Cut off the oil cooler fittings and replaced them with 3/4" fittings. Used a OE water pump (used in Ford Lightning etc - they are common). Made a header tank as well. Just need to get around to making the manifold accept an intercooler core.

The only concern I would have is that Lotus mentioned that the oil coolers were to help engine cooling as the radiator was marginal. Not a problem for me as the Honda engine runs cooler than the Toyota, and has a oil/water cooler built in.

2005 Elise with Honda engine
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 12:08 PM
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Coverting the oil coolers to water coolers for an air-water intercooler has been done on an Elise by at least one person. To make up for the loss of the oil coolers in the front, he added an oil cooler in the rear that gets its air flow through the right rear wheel well. He uses the username Ronin (his first name is Frank), and he posts at the monkeytuner web site.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-18-2010, 07:29 AM
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As said, it's do-able, but you need to consider that you have to cool the oil somehow, and adding more power is not going to reduce this need for oil cooling.

also consider that the oil rads are not in the best airflow for an intercooler rad, fine when oil it's 100C+ to shed some heat, but the intercooler is going to be more like 25-30C, so a good clean airflow is essential.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-18-2010, 10:35 AM
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Yes it will work great, that's how I ran my car for quite some time with great results. It was identical with what Frank was running with the exception I did not run a center core as well. All the way till I bumped up power and ran the smaller pulley on the MP62 to push around 10-11lbs.
At that point the stock system was barely keeping up so Brent B. added a thrid center core and replaced the stock coolers and radiator with new units. But for anything "normal" it will work just great and far better than the air/air that comes stock.

2006 Elise : JFG | Nitrons | 2bular 8" Single | IMRP aero | TWRD carbon | K20/24 NA | DRS EFI/Cosworth dash and tuning
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Are the front coolers attached to clam? I would guess not. Once you remove the clam that stuff is all accessable?

Also how to get access to the tunnels under the doors? I took off the black plastic sill inside the cabin and it was just the top of the aluminum extrusion under there. Do you have to take off the fiberglass body panels?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
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Are the front coolers attached to clam? I would guess not. Once you remove the clam that stuff is all accessable?

Also how to get access to the tunnels under the doors? I took off the black plastic sill inside the cabin and it was just the top of the aluminum extrusion under there. Do you have to take off the fiberglass body panels?
The bottom sill are bonded in place and very very hard to get off without breaking them.
Always thought that was a bit of a design flaw but with the 211 the whole panel comes off easy enough
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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So then how do you run new lines for heat exchangers up front?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:27 AM
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Easiest if you remove the gas tank. Cut the old fitting off at the front, tape 3/4" hose to the line, pull it through. There is some foam insulation around the line which tends to bunch up, so it may be quite difficult to pull.

2005 Elise with Honda engine
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:50 AM
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My car uses the OEM oil lines for intercooler water transfer through the stock oil coolers; plus a Mocal heat exchanger for the oil, that cools the oil with circulated engine coolant and is mounted on the firewall. The system works great.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 07:18 PM
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Just finished converting the OEM dual cooler to OEM Heat exchanger (From Monkeywrench Racing)

Firstly I removed the oil lines and then sandwich plate.



Drained as much oil as I could be bothered.

Took one of the 5/8th fittings out of the sandwich plate and connected the two lines.

I added a bit of padding and zip tied them out of the way.





There is a key/tongue on the heat exchanger that is meant to fit into a pocket on the block. Mine seemed to bottom out about 3mm away from flush.



So I cut about 4-5mm off the tongue.



Removed the aluminium U joiner from the coolant lines. (I didnt know this was a common failure point and it looks like mine was wearing through)

This was the hardest part pf the job. I ended up pushing a small allen key up between the ali and hose and work it around until I could get it moving.



Installed the fitting to retain the heat exchange. Attached coolant lines. Installed the filter.





It took about 4 hours.

What I did manage to do is an oil and water warmup time on the stock Dual Oil Cooler setup before doing the swap. Thermocouple mounted to the bottom edge of the oil filter.

Then I did another with the heat exchanger.

Summary:
n
Dual Cooler
After 27mins - Oil at 160F, Water at 203F
10 mins for water to get to 162F

Heat Exchanger
After 19 mins - Oil stable at 182F, Water at 203F 27mins
7 mins for water to get to 162F

Note: Fans didnt come on with Dual Coolers after 27 minutes. With heatexchanger they came on at 15mins 217F and turned off at 23mins 212F and dropped to below 200F
WHich is weird so im guessing there was air trapped in the system that purged through maybe?

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Last edited by not-a-number; 05-11-2019 at 09:16 PM.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 04:56 AM
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Heres some data for you, the blue line is engine temp and the purple line is oil. This is with no tstat, the radiator opening partly taped up, and a BOE rear oil cooler.
The Graph is from 100-275 deg and starts at water 136 oil 126 and peaks at oil 266 coolant 190.
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2007 Exige S with almost every track mod...
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