Continuing that quest for an efficient cooling system, we installed a 28-inch radiator from Fluidyne. This unit is made for Sportsman-level racing, so it is compact but very efficient. Of course, to get the most air to the radiator it has to be in the front of the car, which also makes it a prime candidate for wreck damage, so it needs to be mounted in such a way to make removal and replacement as easy as possible. Our radiator sits in a pair of brackets welded to the frame and is held in place at the top by a single bracket. In the event it gets damaged during a race, all that has to be done to replace it is remove the hoses, unplug the electric fan, remove the single hitch pin holding it in place at the top of the radiator, and yank it out. All the race team needs to get back on the track is a new radiator and a jug of clean water.
With the radiator in place and the grille opening cut, it was time to connect the dots with a radiator box. Throughout this buildup, Davis has reminded us that "air is the only thing you get for free, so you had better take advantage of it." When it comes to the radiator box, it's no different than the body. A box with straight walls does not direct the air where you want it to go or otherwise try to take advantage of how the incoming air strikes the radiator. For example, compare the size and location of your grille opening to the size and location of the radiator. After a tough race in traffic you should notice tire-rubber buildup on your radiator. That rubber gets to the radiator through the grille just like the cooling air; if it is concentrated in one area and not evenly distributed across the radiator, then you also aren't getting even cooling across the radiator fins. In other words, you aren't getting the most cooling power your radiator can produce.
An easy solution is to create a venturi in your radiator box. Davis does this by curving the floor and roof of the radiator box inward and then out-much like a carburetor throat. This not only increases airflow to the radiator, but it also causes the incoming air to follow the roof and floor of the box, increasing flow to the top and bottom of the radiator that normally do not see enough air. The sidewalls are flat since the width of our grille matches the width of the radiator. The box is attached to the bumper cover as close to the grille as possible with pop rivets. To allow easy removal of the radiator, the big end of the box is not attached directly to the radiator but to two tabs on the frame that the radiator sits in. This setup also minimizes the connections between the front bumper and the rest of the car. If the front end gets crushed, the radiator box probably will too. Simply rip off the front bumper cover and the radiator box should come with it.
Once the radiator system was installed, our bodywork was nearly complete. There's still a lot to be done on the car before it will be ready to race again-like a new engine, suspension components, and a driver's compartment upgrade-so keep an eye out in future issues of Circle Track for the continuing evolution of our NASCAR Late Model Stock.
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