cooling system

Cooling on a performance car is nothing to take lightly, and Big Red is way past the league of a “performance car.” It’s more of an American muscle supercar. Cooling the lowest-performance engine, The Beast, is critical. The Beast is used for road course, open-road racing, and hill climbs. Those environments put the engine in the high-rpm range for most of its running time. This is the range where the engine makes most of its heat, so it needs to have a good radiator to cool it down. 

In the beginning, Big Red was built with a huge Modine Super Speedway 500S radiator right out of the old Stock Car Products catalog. A C&R Radiator was installed in 2004, which was replaced in 2011 with another brand featuring one huge, single fan that’s hanging around the shop on a shelf. They ran this radiator in 2011 at the Texas Mile and the Spectre 341 Challenge. By 2014, they switched to a new Fluidyne radiator that Dave modified to accept a pair of new 2,300-cfm Perma-Cool fans. The bottom of the radiator rests in custom tabs that have been lined with a corrugated rubber mat that can be purchased from the hardware store. The same rubber mat is used in the isolator pads on the retaining bar on top of the

radiator. With the removal of two bolts on the top bar, the whole radiator can be removed. This makes service a breeze. The radiator is a tight fit in order to get as much cooling surface area as possible. Even the side tanks were made at a slight angle to fit the curve of the front chassis hoop. Tim sent the original Modine oil cooler to Pacific Oil Cooler Service in La Verne, California, to have it checked and serviced.

Big Red was having some cooling system gremlins, so the team performed its due diligence and tried every conventional — and unconventional — avenue. They found this kit from Cool Cruisin that uses a pump to pressurize a pressure-reserve tank. It pulls water from the water reservoir (the old dry-sump tank) and pressurizes it to spray through nozzles positioned in front of the radiator. When used at Pikes Peak, the Cool Cruisin system quickly dropped the water temperature about 10°. The system is a universal fit, so Dave and Tim fabricated some custom brackets to mount the pump on the passenger-side frame rail, and the pressure reservoir to the factory radiator core support. They also created a shield to block rocks and

beast engine
cooling system

debris from hitting the pump and pressure reservoir tank. Dave welded the nozzle bungs to the spray rods. The piece of cardboard triangle gives an idea of the spray cone that comes out of the nozzle. When all was said and done, Dave only ended up installing one spray bar for the front of the radiator. It worked well when RJ ran Pikes Peak. It especially helped on the way down the mountain, when all the cars came down in a parade for the attending fans on the hill.

The Peterson Fluid Systems dry-sump tank used by the water-methanol
injection system for The Elephant does double duty as the cooling spray
reservoir tank in Road Race mode. The water-methanol pump and bracket assembly is removed from the tank when the tank is in cooling spray mode. The Cool Cruisin system could be operated manually or with a sensor, but Big Red’s system is operated by the Holley Dominator EFI ECU. When
the cooling system temperature exceeds a specific temperature, the
system sprays water on the front of the radiator. Only distilled water is
used for no mineral build up or accumulation on any parts.