By now we can all agree, the late model LS swap into classic muscle is a good thing. The LS platform is more refined than its older siblings, not to mention more powerful, smoother, and more fuel efficient. It allows you to build a car that still has its muscle, but is better suited for daily use.
More and more companies are supporting LS swaps with motor mount plates, engine management, headers, and fuel systems. Needless to say, the LS swap is no longer exotic. One thing that is typically overlooked until the motor is in the hole is the cooling system. The LS engines have different inlet and outlet locations and sizes, as well as other needs.
We are slowly working on a 5.3L LS swap into a '66 Chevelle. With the engine and transmission installed, it was time for us to figure out the cooling system. Instead of fabricating a bunch of one-off parts to hook the LS to our crummy old factory radiator, we contacted the craftsmen at Be Cool Radiators for an LS-specific unit.
The company has a full line of LS Swap Modules for most of the popular GM muscle cars that are designed with the proper fans for the year, make, model, and engine application to achieve maximum cooling in the space provided. The Modules are made to mount to the factory core support in the OEM location, and have both the inlet and outlet on the same side and size to match the configuration of the LS's water pump. It even has a port designed to hook up to the steam lines, something only the LS has. If you have an odd vehicle, they will happily build you exactly what you need in the company's custom shop. We are dealing with a pretty common vehicle so they had our application sitting on the shelf.
At the heart of the radiator is an all-aluminum core with two rows of 1-inch tubes. The radiator is a crossflow configuration designed as a dual pass. Fred Militello at Be Cool explains what dual pass means. "In a dual pass, the coolant passes through the radiator twice (designed with a baffle built in the tank to flow that way) and the coolant in the tubes is exposed to the air longer before returning to the engine. With a single pass system, the coolant travels one time though the radiator before returning to the engine. This keeps the radiator smaller, yet still yields more cooling. An added benefit of the crossflow/dual pass design is it eliminates that long, ugly upper hose, and helps give your engine compartment a clean, sanitary look.”
The second part of the module will be the fans, and Be Cool doesn't skimp out here either. The module features dual 11-inch electric fans that are of OE quality, and assembled onto a shroud assembly. The fan assembly mounts to the radiator by a set of killer stainless steel brackets. No rinky-dink plastic push-throughs here; the brackets put the weight of the fans on the strongest part of the radiator, not the delicate fins of the core. The fans come with a ready-to-go wiring harness, with high-quality weather resistant relays for a simple hook-up.
The last piece of the cooling system puzzle is the coolant and Be Cool has that as well. According to the company, "The Be Coolant is an Extended-Life, Super Duty Coolant and Antifreeze that is compatible with all colors of coolant and all types of radiators. It comes already pre-mixed 50/50 with deionized water, and features a new-generation earth-friendly, biodegradable, propylene glycol formula that protects cooling systems and aluminum components down to 26 degrees below zero (F). It has a boiling point of 267 degrees (F) @15 PSI. Best of all, Be Coolant doubles the radiator's warranty to two years."
Now its time for us to see how this new Be Cool Cooling Module fits into our '66 Chevelle.
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