Subscribe to the Free

Chill Out

Keepin' Your LS1's Oil a Bit Cooler

Andrew Schear Apr 29, 2005

Making reliable horsepower is considered a myth among Heartbeat enthusiasts. Why that is, we have no idea. Engines are simple machines. They require air, ignition, and fuel. The result is horsepower, heat, and stress. As many novice engine builders have found, the way to keep an engine alive is to treat it well and use the best parts that one can afford at the time of assembly. Aside from using high-quality components, the next most important thing is heat control. Less heat means less chance of detonation and a longer life for an engine.

A water-cooled V-8 is actually cooled by a bit more that water, namely oil. While most people consider engine oil a lubricant, it's also a cooling device. As such, any method to reduce engine oil temperature will prolong engine oil life and increase an engines cooling efficiency. While C4 and C5 Corvettes often came with oil coolers, many other vehicles did not, specifically the Fourth-Generation Camaros.

The LS1 is a high-powered, finely tuned engine that runs on the ragged edge 100-percent of the time. Due to emission restrictions, the LS1 is forced to run warmer to run cleaner. If you plan on hitting the track any time soon, you'll probably want to install an oil cooler and oil temperature gauge. We found that Flex-A-Lite and Auto Meter had just what we were looking for. Our entire installation took about 10 hours and required only hand tools and a bit of vertebrae twisting. Engine temperatures dropped an average of 30-degrees Fahrenheit! Better an oil cooler now than an entire engine later!


We began with the dirty part first. After draining the oil and removing the filter, take a close look above the oil filter. There is an access plate with two 10mm bolts holding it in place. This is the first step for installing an electrical temperature gauge. After removing the plate, we drilled it out to accept a 1/8-inch NPT tap.

After the threads were tapped, we coated the threads with Teflon tape and installed the sending unit. After the sending unit was snugged into the access plate, it can be mated back to the block.

The new wiring and gauge pod were next on the install list. The wiring can be run along the drivers-side doorjamb and underneath the carpeting. The pod is held in place by four plastic rivets, which are included with the pod.

On the gauge end, connect each post to the corresponding wire. Be sure to disconnect the battery before attempting this part of the project. If the hot wire touches the sending post, the gauge can be damaged.

The cooler install can begin with assembling the sandwich adapter. Multiple mounting nuts are included. Before installing the adapter, test fit your new oil filter with each adapter. Grinding down the overall length of the adapter may be necessary to gain full clearance for the oil filter.

Remove the airbox assembly to make room for inserting the cooler in front of the condenser and radiator.

Install the cooler using the provided nylon mounting bolts and rubber spacers. Use caution when forcing the nylon bolts through the fins.

We connected the sandwich adapter and screwed on the OE filter. We used 2,000-degreee thermal wrap on the first few inches of our hose due to extreme heat from the catalytic converter. While one large hose is included, it's easiest to cut the hose directly in half. Using the included hose clamps, connect both ends of the hose, one end to the cooler and the other to the sandwich. There is no in, out, top or bottom, so whichever way routes the best is the one to use.

Pull the PCM fuse under the hood inside the fuse box. Crank the engine over with out firing. When oil pressure begins to build, you're ready to fire her up! Check the fittings at all ends for leaks and loose clamps. If everything is tight, hit the track!

Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

sponsored links

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print