Dirt Late Models do not use electric fans. Therefore, the only other thing that will need to be done once the motor gets back from its refreshening is to attach a fan shroud to our assembly. A brand new set of Earl's hoses will complete the package.

Now that our radiator is in the car, we're ready to get going. As the rules state, we'll be using distilled water as our coolant choice and absolutely no additives. Since we want to maximize our performance on the track week to week, we need to make sure we maintain all aspects of the car including the cooling system. Here's a basic outline of what we'll be doing to keep the cooling system in tip-top shape:

Inspect & Clean - The first thing we'll do after every race is inspect and clean our radiator. We'll look for damage from trash, chunks of dirt, and rocks that have been thrown up into the radiator that could have caused bent fins, breaks, and/or cracks in any part of the radiator, housing included. In addition, we'll be inspecting all of the hoses for cracks, scrapes, or pinholes. Obviously racing on dirt means we'll have to wash down the car each week, but it is not a good idea to use pressure washer on the radiator. High-pressure water can bend the cooling fins and bent fins will block airflow and do some serious damage to the radiator's cooling efficiency.

Pull It Twice - Twice this season we will pull the radiator from the car for a more thorough cleaning. Since we're racing on dirt, we'll soak the radiator in a solution of soapy water and then rinse it with clean ater straight out of a garden hose (without a squirter nozzle). That will help remove any dust and mud that has collected between the fins. If we were racing on asphalt, we'd have to use something a little different.

Radiators on asphalt cars will collect chunks of rubber which won't come out in a soap-and-water bath. In this case, Chris Paulson of C&R Racing recommends soaking the radiator in a solvent solution instead of soap and water. This will help dissolve away some of the asphalt and rubber and make it much easier to remove. Before soaking your radiator, however, make sure to cap the openings so that you do not allow solvent inside the cooling tubes. After soaking the radiator, pull it from the solvent bath and rinse it with clean water from the back to the front. This way you do not push any track debris further into the radiator. When reinstalling the radiator, make sure that your hoses are not breaking down.If they show signs of collapsing, it is time for them to be replaced.

When the racing starts, we'll put these maintenance tips into practice. And, as always, we'll be reporting on the results. Stay tuned.

Radiator protectors are a good way to add an extra layer of protection for your cooling system. These protectors mount in front of the radiator and absorb the impact from debris, rocks, and dirt instead of those aluminum cooling fins. The one pictured above, the Tru-Kool Radiator Protector, is from Speedway Motors. Its Nomex honeycomb construction is very strong and extremely lightweight offering excellent protection.

The protector is disposable and is designed to be replaced as it absorbs various amounts of damage. Naturally, how often you race, the type of track you race on, and other factors will determine how often you have to replace the protector, but some racers have reported running an entire season on just one honeycomb. The Tru-Kool Radiator Protector comes in four different sized sheets that can be easily trimmed to fit any radiator.

286-A Gasoline Alley
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