Way back when we first threw some boost on this 1992 Ford Mustang coupe (you’ve probably seen it before in previous articles), we knew that we were going to need to address the cooling system thanks to our newfound power from forced induction. If you know Vortech superchargers, then you’ll know that they are a centrifugal style blower, therefore heat soak isn’t really a big issue for us.
That isn’t to say, however, we won’t have any issues from heat being generated. Because forced induction calls for burning more fuel and more air, boost creates more pressure in the engine’s cylinders from a larger “bang” as a side effect according to our friends below. So, if we have a cooling system that currently can’t handle this side effect of boost (which is generated heat), a new radiator is in order to begin addressing the cooling system.
For that, we hit up the fine folks at LateModelRestoration.com (LMR), as they’re known for being the quintessential Fox Mustang restoration and parts suppliers. LMR was able to hook us up with one of its SVE aluminum radiator and dual fan combos, and even gave us a lesson on why upgrading our radiator was a good choice now before everything went kaboom.
What’s In The Box?
For those of you inquiring, this radiator is compatible with both automatic and manual Fox Mustangs.
Modern radiators are mostly constructed from aluminum for several key reasons. Two of the most important reasons that come to mind, however, are that aluminum is extremely light weight, and aluminum has the ability to transfer heat rapidly. Our SVE Mustang Aluminum Radiator & Fan Assembly (PN SVE-500AK) is a crossflow design, as apposed to an alternative downflow design.
LMR’s crossflow and downflow style of radiators are constructed from the same material identified above, and have identical surface area which will offer the same level of cooling. According to LMR, there are additional factors which make this unit stand out. “Adding the third core is what makes our SVE radiators unique,” Landan Durham of LMR told us. “This adds additional cooling capacity, therefore resulting in better cooling efficiency.”
Though it’s evident that the radiator does most of the bulk work in the cooling process, Durham said that the included dual fan combo makes a big impact as well.
“The SVE dual electric fan setup features two, 12-inch fans that flow 933 cubic feet per minute (CFM) a piece,” he said.
“Puller-fan setups have been the ‘industry standard’ for years, which is why we chose that style of setup. The dual fans bolt right into place, and it allows the customer to retain A/C, unlike a pusher style fan. A pusher style fan is usually geared more towards custom set ups, or dedicated racecars.”
Beyond Face Value
SVE MUSTANG ALUMINUM RADIATOR 5.0L & FAN ASSEMBLY (79-93)
If you own one of the Fox Mustang variants that isn’t powered by the optional 5.0-liter pushrod V8 engine, you’ll be happy to know that this aluminum radiator and dual fan package is compatible with a multitude of engine swaps.
We all know how popular the Fox Mustang platform is for engine swaps, and sometimes even crazy, one-off builds for different racing series. This is why the folks at LMR and SVE have designed and engineered a radiator package that is compatible with a profusion of engine swaps.
“The SVE radiator and dual fan combo can be used with popular engine swaps,” Durham said. “Several enthusiasts we know have used this same exact setup with different engine swaps, and that unit has worked out perfect for them. Like any custom-oriented build, some minor modifications to components may be needed.”
Both the fan setup and radiator together tip the scale at 24.5 pounds, with the fans weighing in at 9.5 pounds, and the radiator at 15 pounds by themselves. Depending on what year or model application, the weight savings would be very beneficial, according to Durham.
Durham said that regardless of using a single or dual fan setup, it will depend on how many CFM that a particular setup can move. The more air that can be supplied, the more efficient the setup will be.
“When converting to an electric fan setup, you eliminate the factory manual (or belt driven) fan assembly. This in turn reduces parasitic drag caused from the rotating fan, therefore resulting in more horsepower. This particular setup for example, can support upwards of 450 naturally aspirated horsepower,” he said.
Let’s Talk Tech
When you get down to the nitty-gritty of wiring, and electrical as a whole, you might find yourself with a lot of questions that need answering. Since we don’t proclaim to be experts on the subject ourselves, we took this opportunity to ask Durham a few of our questions.
As we mentioned before, the SVE radiator from LMR.com is made from 100-percent aluminum, and saves a decent amount of weight when converting, as shown below in the installation portion.
Several of enthusiasts we know have used this same exact setup with different engine swaps, and that unit has worked out perfect for them - Landan Durham, LMR
One of our questions inquired as to the purpose of the A/C override circuit in the adjustable fan controller kit.
Durham said, “In a nutshell, the override circuit tells the fans to turn on regardless of the temperature from the coolant system. The reason for this is that an A/C system needs airflow, just like the radiator and engine. As air moves across the condenser, it cools it down, making the air nice and cool entering the cabin. This can be wired in multiple fashions with two of them being to the A/C compressor, and the other to a manual switch inside of the car.”
Durham explained that while the kit isn’t necessarily plug-and-play, you won’t have to know how to wire an entire server room either. “The purpose of the adjustable fan controller kit is to control the electric fans, and allow the user to adjust when the fans turn on based off of the coolant temperature,” Durham explained.
“The fan controller is not difficult to install, but you will need a general knowledge of how to read an electrical wiring diagram, and basic electrical operations. This kit unfortunately is not plug and play, but with basic electrical knowledge, it is extremely straightforward to install.”
Another tip Durham had is to think about any commonly worn components in the cooling system. When converting to an electric fan setup, or upgrading to a new radiator, consider upgrading the hoses, thermostat, and the radiator mounting hardware.
“There’s a required overflow tank when running any SVE radiator (PN SVE-8080A), so it’s important to keep that in mind as well,” Durham explained.
Bringing The Package Together
This Fox Mustang is looking a bit tired these days while it patiently awaits its new engine swap.
Total time for installing our new SVE radiator and dual fan package (including all of the necessary wiring) only took about a half a day to complete, ensuring just about any enthusiast can handle this job in their driveway.
While we did utilize our in-house Bendpak XP10-ACX lift, it isn’t necessary to complete the installation — it just makes things easier.
Since we knew we’d be wiring our new fan modules and fan controller, we started off the installation by disconnecting the battery to avoid any electrical issues. Examining the prior wiring setup really made us glad we didn’t skip that step!
We proceeded to loosen the radiator cap in order to depressurize the cooling system, followed by removing the drain plug located on the radiator. We then removed the lower radiator hose, followed by the upper one to allow the radiator to completely drain before removing it from our Fox Mustang.
Next we removed both upper radiator brackets which mount at the top of the radiator, followed by the radiator overflow hose. Now we were able to remove the radiator with ease.
With the radiator removed, we decided to weigh the old piece and our new SVE aluminum radiator. We saw a weight difference of 4 pounds and 8 ounces. Not a bad weight savings, though we probably gained that weight back with the new dual fan combination.
We then transferred the previous fan shroud retainers from the old radiator to our new SVE package, though LMR does sell new hardware for the installation. After assembling the new radiator and dual fan combo, we dropped the complete package back into our Fox Mustang coupe and reinstalled the factory radiator brackets to hold it in place.
We reinstalled the overflow hose and the lower radiator hose, followed by the upper. We then made our way to the fun part, the wiring.
After ensuring the drain plug was reinstalled and everything was nice and tight on the new SVE radiator setup, we proceeded to mount all of the new wiring for the adjustable electric fan controller.
The first thing we did was find a place in the vehicle to mount the control module. We chose to mount the new module away from any engine bay heat or possible foreign debris.
Our new fan combination is adjustable from 150 to 240 degrees, with LMR setting the factory preset at 160. The unit utilizes a ground switch, which means the unit will activate the electric fans at a specific temperature by grounding the fan.
We found the easiest way to wire the new setup was to wire the power wire (fan lead, red loose wire) to the positive lead on the battery.
Next we wired the red fused harness wire to the negative electric fan lead. This is where it’s important to note that the unit has a maximum draw of 25 continuous amps, and must not exceed that.
We proceeded to ground the black wire to the chassis, followed by wiring the yellow wire to the ignition switch. Regarding the yellow wire, you can do this one of two ways.
You can wire the yellow wire to the ignition switch accessories, or you can wire it to the actual ignition switch for when the vehicle turns on only.
We had the option to install the override circuit, which was the green wire. While we chose to forgo this option, it is available for those who want some added security, as it allows the fans to be turned on regardless of the thermostat.
Lastly to adjust the temperature, you’ll need to have the vehicle turned off completely (though the car must be at operating temperature).
This process can not be done while the vehicle is running. We removed the rubber adjustment plug on the control module, then turned the adjustment pot counter clockwise to lower the fan turn-on temperature.
Turning the adjustment pot counter clockwise will raise the temperature, and the adjustment range is 3/4-inch of a turn. Reinstall the rubber adjustment plug, and it's a done deal!
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, our Fox Mustang coupe has lived a very long life. More than two and a half decades and a light restoration have really shown what this car can be capable of.
While this Mustang is still powered by a 5.0-liter overhead-valve V8 engine, the owner has plans to transition to a new engine setup in the future. But that’s the beauty of the new SVE aluminum radiator and dual fan combo from LMR; the owner will have the confidence of knowing that they can keep this awesome new setup, even when deciding on a new engine combination.
No matter where our Fox Mustang takes us in the future, we have the ability to keep this radiator package for nearly the rest of the car’s life. With convenience like that, you really can’t put a price on it, if you ask us. More so, we’ll have the confidence of knowing that we’ll be in control, thanks to the dual fan combo being programable as we mentioned before.
While it may not look like it from the exterior, this white Fox body coupe has come a long ways more than two decades later.
The guys at LMR close out with three helpful tips, saying, “It’s important to make sure your fan controller wiring is zip-tied out of the way,” Durham remarked.
“If you don’t want to modify your factory thermostat housing, you should look into PN LRS-8592A, as it already has the provision for the 3/8-inch fitting. Make sure the factory air deflector is on the car! This is commonly over-looked, but is a key component to the Fox cooling system.”
Whether you’re on the hunt for a new radiator or an array of go-fast parts, head over to LMR.com’s website and checkout what SVE equipment is available for your Mustang.