Lotus Elan

Oil cooler/heater on a Zetec Motor

PostPost by: Bud English » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:46 pm

My Zetec crate motor came with what I first thought was a sandwich adapter behind the oil filter.
oilcooler.jpg and

On further inspection and research it turned out to be a oil heater/cooler. It can't be all that efficient, I wouldn't think, due to it's small size. The tubes connect to the lower radiator hose and pass coolant, not oil. I can see the advantage of it bringing up the oil temp perhaps a little quicker. I don't know if that offsets the coolant leakage problems some Ford Focus owners have reported or the space it takes up between the motor and the frame rail making that area very tight. I'm tempted to run without it. Any thoughts or advice?

Replacement coolers from Ford are over $150. I'm sure I could find a home for this one if I don't use it.
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PostPost by: robertverhey » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:28 am

Same system audi uses, but I would assume it does more oil cooling than warming..... I've always assumed that oil temperature would rise in a cold started motor more quickly than coolant..... But then I've never tested it.
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PostPost by: tonyabacus » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:52 pm

Water temperature riser faster than oil by some margin, that is why it is always advised to run up race engines over a period prior to use in anger or never to use high revs until the engine has had time to raise the oil temperature.

The device shown appears to be a way of using the quicker warming water temperature to warm the oil quicker and then as the oil temperature exceeds that of the water it does the reverse and allows the water to help reduce the temperature of the oil. For example oil temperature usually runs hotter than that of water and retains the heat longer due to its viscosity, so as water raises to its normal temp of around 80degrees it transfers some of that heat into the passing oil, then as the oil temp starts to go beyond that of the water it acts so that the water starts to absorb some of the hotter temp of the oil.

We have used a similar device in race engines called a Laminova oil cooler which size for size is much smaller than a conventional oil cooler and allows it to be used in very tight application areas. There are better explanations on the Laminova website.

Hope that clarifies what this device appears to be and what its function is.
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PostPost by: Bud English » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:50 pm

I had a pretty good idea of how these worked. Ford does a larger version that they use on the police interceptor V8's. With that one they claim a 12-15 degree drop in oil temp for a 2 degree rise in water temp. It's three times the thickness of this one. This one is just so small that I questioned it being that effective and there isn't room for the bigger one. This one is already mounted and I still have enough clearance between the filter and the frame. In fact if I remove it, the filter moves closer to the block and will barely clear my modified sump.

I've been watching the other current thread on mounting an oil cooler. Opinions seem to lean toward not needing an oil cooler on a road car. Maybe this is a enough cooler for a road car and I'll benefit from the quicker oil warm up. I'll run it for awhile and see how it works out.

It looks to me that these might just be usable on twincam motors if they were converted to the spin-on filter. The way the filter is oriented I don't think there would be a clearance problem.
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PostPost by: gav » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:20 pm

I used to use a laminoa but took it off because I could never get the oil to stay hot !

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PostPost by: tonyabacus » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:09 pm

Our experience with Laminova's is that you do not need a big unit to achieve results, running a mid engine car with front rad and 9000 rpm we still only had the smallest Laminova made which from memory was about 7 inches in length. I had long conversations with the technical guys at the factory and they kept assuring me that this size would be more than capable and they were right. We ran with an oil temp gauge and even in four hour races the oil never went above the design temps we worked out with the Laminova guys.

Oil collers on road cars are not really needed, often it is a case of making sure that the cooling system is operating efficientlyand that there is sufficient oil of the right type. If you use a sump guard then that may make cooling to the sump more difficult and so a cooler may under those circumstances be a good idea. The only real way of knowing for sure is fit an oil temp gauge and taking a range of readings under differing use conditions.
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