On the other side of the radiator, fabricating a fan shroud that seals the radiator and reaches beyond the blades of your mechanical fan at the other end will help create a low-pressure area behind the radiator, which will help pull air through. If, however, you are running an electric cooling fan that mounts directly to the radiator, this isn't necessary. Finally, when it comes to electric fans, pullers that mount behind the radiator and pull the air through are generally considered better than pushers that mount in front of the radiator and push the air. This is because a pusher fan blocks airflow to the portion of the radiator that is directly behind the motor unit.

Care and Feeding Once you have the right cooling system mounted in your race car, make sure that it stays at peak efficiency throughout the season. The first step is to inspect and clean your radiator after every race. Look for damage from trash that has been thrown from the track into the radiator and cracked or abraded coolant hoses. When you clean your radiator, these things can still be in the car. Just make sure not to use high-pressure water, as this can bend the cooling fins. Bent fins block airflow and seriously damage your radiator's cooling efficiency.

At least once or twice a season, you should also pull your radiator from the car for a more thorough cleaning. If you are racing on dirt, soak the radiator in a solution of soapy water and then rinse it with clean water from a garden hose (without a squirter nozzle) to remove any dust and mud that have collected between the fins. If you are racing on asphalt, your radiator 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 instead of soap and water.This will help dissolve 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 prevents track debris from going farther 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.

All in all, having the right radiator in your race car and properly maintaining that radiator will allow you to perform better each and every weekend. And you'll never have to deal with that telltale stream of steam.

After test fitting, Davis (left) and Wyles carefully lower the radiator into position.

Brackets Davis and Wyles fabricated from 1x11/48-inch aluminum strap bolt into place on a crossbar and hold the top of the radiator in position. In the event of a wreck, the aluminum brackets should bend instead of the radiator.

Here's another look at the brackets.

This two-core radiator has both the inlet and outlet on the right side, which is more of a Ford style. To simplify plumbing with a Chevrolet 604 crate motor, Custom Chassis uses a water neck that features a swivel. The water neck and hoses came from Bradley Auto Parts, a local speed shop.

Flexible radiator hoses make custom installations a lot easier. Just make sure they are reinforced to resist collapsing if the water pump pulls a vacuum. On this install, the upper hose is 1.5 inches in diameter and 22 inches long. The lower hose is 1.75 inches in diameter and 16.5 inches long.

Always double-clamp both ends of all your water hoses. One clamp can break too easily or allow the hose to pop off. Some racers also prefer to install the clamps facing opposite directions, as you see here, so that they "pull" the hose opposite each other.

After completing the radiator installation, Davis and Wyles begin fabrication of the ductwork. This car will not have a bottom, because the two sides force enough air into the radiator. After completing your ducts, save your patterns because they can be reused if your ductwork gets destroyed in a wreck. If you are only constructing two sides, you may also consider using plastic instead of sheetmetal because it pops back to shape easier if the nose is subjected to minor damage.

This flexible radiator ductwork is an alternative to solid ones. In the event of a wreck, it will pop back into shape.

The Parts List
In case you were wondering, here's the parts list for our radiator install. The electric Spal cooling fan is available through C&R Racing.

Radiator 8200285075-D
Fan IX-30102120
Bracket 1019131016
Fasteners 1019130000
Bradley Auto Parts
Custom Chassis & Fabrication
286-A Gasoline Alley
IN  46222