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Old 02-15-2012, 10:59 AM   #1
Bamofo
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Default Subaru how to make an Upper Thermostat Housing Setup

So I have been reading a lot of posts lately, uncommon for me, but most from Team Scream. He has shared some of his most private data on how to, in the most scrutinized way, build a subaru motor. Its not my first time around the block but it was nice to see someone actually put some effort into explaining what was going on. Not to limit it to him Crystal, Fuji and some others have shared data that i just didn't have time for. Also limiting me was my biggest fear, the audience. I feel people are like NFL commentators on many forums. They look it over, sleep on it, and then say boy if Brady had of just... well you get the point. Overcoming these fears im releasing what i have been testing for over 3 years on all types of subarus, including but not limited to, Stock STI's, Stock WRX, Built, Sleeved, High HP, Low HP with the same results.

Ok enough about that junk here is my findings. The Stock Radiator system has been Picked apart as a great setup that heats up fast making it convenient for morning commuters especially in the north. As i came into the tuning portion with Turbo_Mike, the team at Romraider would release new features or access to different sections of the rom. At the time i was running with no maf and tuned it to run perfect, minus the CEL. However i was always limited to the cooling system. I was noticing in the summer even with the Koyo I couldn't reliably keep my subaru where i wanted for temp... There were work arounds, but why explain them when i have the following.

So you understand what you're about to see, think about a dodge pickup truck or a chevy or any small block v8. The cooling system consists of the same pieces, the Radiator, Thermostat, Hoses, either a fan clutch or electric fans to keep it cool and then stock or aftermarket fan control. Great.... However all these blocks use a thermostat at the top of the car. AFTER the thermostat gets heated by the engine fluids it opens. This allows your radiator system to cool it off and pump that cool water (At the bottom) back into the car. So I looked into this more. Our system works almost against us especially with good radiators and good fans. Essentially the more/better cooling items you get the harder it is to control the heat on the car. We essentially don't open the thermostat until the engine is hot and the radiator gets hot enough to heat the sucker up. What i was finding was the more i would try to control the fans by turning them on lower and putting better thermostats in the hotter it would get on the highway... Tracking may have different results as they have a massive amount of air going through the engine bay, however, 99% of us start it up, let it warm to the C or above and then drive it. End up 2 times plus a week in stop and go traffic and the fact that the line is in the middle somewhere floats our boat... Unfortunately im part of both of these. I get stuck in traffic but the fact that my car has a 170 thermostat and in the summer used to hover at 210 barely controllable was not cool.

So quick recap. Hot cars in the summer suck and we want to see something better out of the cars. K up to speed.

So i said heck why wouldn't i just take the whole thermostat out.... I read a little, Crawford and some other companies were in a debate at the time of why that's bad... I noticed i could control the temps perfect with the fans however the first 8F day out i realized why its not a good idea too... no heat for 60 miles and i thought i had frostbite... great...

Next i plotted why can't i have a thermostat in the upper radiator hose??? does something exist... At the time yes but it looked like garbage... Anyways i looked far and long and eventually came up with the following setup.



Upper thermostat housing and how to make one yourself.


https://ibb.co/0ctC2KY


This is a picture of it in my filthy car ATM... You will notice this nice shiny piece in between two Samco hoses. Please note that the Samco "type" hose is also required as the stock hose will exploded under extreme driving... did it in queens ny... living in ma... not a fun time.


So lets make this device now. What we have done is take your stock water pump and thermostat and cut out the internals of it. Why because the pump housing uses that gasket to keep it sealed, and if it doesn't i have found no ill effects from doing it this way (NFL Guys). this will allow water to flow freely in the bottom.



https://ibb.co/KyYtHtL


https://ibb.co/dpRd71C




So you cut the internals out and put it back in your waterpump. I have this off a current car that im working on anyways so it was easy to take pictures.

Next you need to go to Jegs and get this awesome piece.
im not sure how much i can link so if you go to jegs and type the following in the search it comes up great. Ill put pictures below. (680-WN0072)





Next your gonna need a thermostat. Ive found good results with the following.

Mr. Gasket 4366

Its a 160 thermostat that fits and is supposed to be "high Flow"
Before installing you will see a floating metal Nipple is what i call it. i cut this off with tin snips to allow flow initially. (NEEDED) dont try to do it without... been there. When installing you will want to face the copper core towards your outlet from the engine to open properly.

Next just put it in the engine bay where its not going to hit anything and trim the hose accordingly. Obviously you will need 4 good clamps to hold everything together.

Last but most importantly... you need your tuner or someone locally with a tactrix cable to setup your fans to turn on "correctly" I find with a 160 thermostat i can hold temp (Always) at 170 with a - + 2 degrees. I say +- because on bugeye's or more specifically non AVCS motors they seem to generate less heat and can run down in the 167 range. Here are screen shots from Romraider which reads in Fahrenheit.

https://ibb.co/JzM082z

And what to change them to

https://ibb.co/zV3TmpZ

Thats it. You change your hoses and put this in and your car now runs 170 degrees all the time. Here is a picture of another car with this setup working just fine.

https://ibb.co/9nmWVC5


What are the advantages of this system your going to ask. I find running a more consistent coolant temp runs the whole motor cooler and a more consistent Oil Pressure and Temp. We noticed a rise of 10-15 Psi Overall on the cars because of the cooler temps that Ive run it on. Also after a long highway runs the oil pressure is the same as the beginning. I've been running this setup on my de-stroked 2.3 motor for 99,975 miles now with no ill effects. through winters of -22F and summers of 110F in traffic. This setup might not be for everyone but for the enthusiast that doesn't like the car cruising at 167 and then in traffic at 205-210... this may be for you. Noticeable less wear on the oil from not cooking it all the time has been noticed too. Anyways, This is just a trick i thought i would share. Good luck and PM me with questions.
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Last edited by Bamofo; 06-25-2020 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:27 PM   #2
spoolinsti05
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Nice write up man.
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:56 PM   #3
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still cant believe this got so few views.. I keep finding the new STI's getting way too hot and this fixes the problem.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:49 AM   #4
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Thanks for the write-up.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:14 PM   #5
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For those prone to TLDR syndrome: -Cliff notes- Lowering the fan activation temps to basically be on all the time is what reduced the OP's slow traffic engine temps. Moving the thermostat may cause it to open sooner during warmup, but it doesn't really change operating temp.

......_Long version_.......

Thermostat up top is not a bad idea, but it is kind of 'fixing' something that isn't really a problem. It may open a couple degrees sooner and it may be a bit less restrictive thermostat, but neither of those is causing your car to get "too hot" in traffic.

A car could be sitting in a shady 60F parking spot just idling and if the radiator fans don't turn on, then it is going to get to 210 and even hotter. Take out the thermostat entirely and its still going to overheat without fans. Put a tiny pulley on the water pump so its pumping more water and its still going to overheat without fans.

Maybe if you had 3 or 4 radiators you would get to the point where the natural convection was enough to maintain a lower temperature without fans.

Setting the fans to come on high at any temp above 170 is what is keeping the temps down in traffic. Even at very slow speeds or stopped, there is an even flow of air thru the radiator like you were driving a steady 40mph. The upper thermostat setup may be keeping it at 170, but a normal lower thermostat would have it around 180 if you had the fans set on high all the time.

Also, setting the fan activation/deactivation all the same temp like that is probably going to cause a lot of on/off/on/off/on flickering and burn out relays.

The oil temp 'benefits' are not really benefits. Of course oil will make more pressure at the lower temp, but oil is supposed to get hot in order to better evaporate all the condensates from blowby. If oil pressure is too low when oil temp hits 210+, then something should be changed in the oil system.

If oil is getting 'cooked', then the oil is getting way hotter than 210F and a separate air/oil cooler should be used.

I can concur with the lack of thermostat being bad for DD vehicles. I had a stuck open thermostat last winter. The car would take forever to warm up and during normal driving run at ~120F above the ambient temp. Coming down the mountains when its 10F out and less than a minute of coasting later the engine temp dropped to 10F. Glad my heated seats were working.

Last edited by vica153; 05-05-2019 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:35 PM   #6
Bariga
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nice, i have seen this done also by Dominic @ Tier 1
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Old 05-05-2019, 12:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamofo View Post
still cant believe this got so few views.. I keep finding the new STI's getting way too hot and this fixes the problem.


Just crossed over this. Well written and explained. Might have taken a while but I appreciate the work put into testing and verifying results. Wells done; I now have yet another item to add to my build design.
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Old 05-05-2019, 04:26 PM   #8
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@vica153

The OP did not remove the the thermostatic valve.

It has been moved to a location where it is less sensitive to the low temp coolant coming back from the radiator. This allows the cooling system to easily maintain target temps when there are dramatic differences between ambient and coolant temps.

This is not a "general" mod. It helps in extreme climates, and track cars.
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Old 05-05-2019, 05:37 PM   #9
bp05obxt
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Default Subaru how to make an Upper Thermostat Housing Setup

Aside the OP clearly states that it has been an effective mod in all conditions. I appreciate the information the OP posted; especially because it has allowed my thought process to change and look at the car and engine layout in a way I never thought of before.

A thermostat is a thermostat is a thermostat and the only changes that can affect them is their designed temperature range and where they are located in the cooling system. It makes sense to have the thermostat at the immediate exit of the engine as the goal of a cooling system control the engines temperature directly. In Subaruís OEM layout, as was highlighted, the thermostat has to wait for the entire engine temperature to rise to the point that the radiator becomes fully heat soaked to finally allow coolant to become hot enough at the water pump/thermostat housing for the thermostat to function.

I now realize this design leaves something to be desired as far as controlling temperatures optimally. It seems that Subaru relies heavily on moving air whether that be from a moving vehicle or the radiator fans. With the thermostat opening into the radiator instead of after the radiator it prevents the radiator from initial heat soaking.

My only thought that I now have pertaining to this setup is the temperature sensor. It seems logical to simply alter the switch settings VIA the ECU but I wonder if the solution could be done simpler for those who may not have ECU control. I.E. move the thermostat to the top radiator hose and proceed to relocate the temperature sensor downstream of the thermostat. In my mind this would allow the thermostat and temperature sensor to work alongside without any ECU manipulation.

Just a thought hopefully the OP chimes in again.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kharmicresonance View Post
@vica153

The OP did not remove the the thermostatic valve.

It has been moved to a location where it is less sensitive to the low temp coolant coming back from the radiator. This allows the cooling system to easily maintain target temps when there are dramatic differences between ambient and coolant temps.

This is not a "general" mod. It helps in extreme climates, and track cars.
-Cliff notes- Lowering the fan activation temps to basically be on all the time is what reduced the OP's slow traffic engine temps. Moving the thermostat may cause it to open sooner during warmup, but it doesn't really change operating temp.

My post was apparently too long to bother reading, so theres the short version.

I understand the OP's setup still has a thermostat.

I also understand that he very specifically stated that he wanted to change the thermostat setup to mitigate high temps in DD traffic. The mod wasn't about 'track cars', though the OP's car is clearly capable of putting down some power.

Last edited by vica153; 05-06-2019 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bp05obxt View Post
Aside the OP clearly states that it has been an effective mod in all conditions. I appreciate the information the OP posted; especially because it has allowed my thought process to change and look at the car and engine layout in a way I never thought of before.

A thermostat is a thermostat is a thermostat and the only changes that can affect them is their designed temperature range and where they are located in the cooling system. It makes sense to have the thermostat at the immediate exit of the engine as the goal of a cooling system control the engines temperature directly. In Subaruís OEM layout, as was highlighted, the thermostat has to wait for the entire engine temperature to rise to the point that the radiator becomes fully heat soaked to finally allow coolant to become hot enough at the water pump/thermostat housing for the thermostat to function.

I now realize this design leaves something to be desired as far as controlling temperatures optimally. It seems that Subaru relies heavily on moving air whether that be from a moving vehicle or the radiator fans. With the thermostat opening into the radiator instead of after the radiator it prevents the radiator from initial heat soaking.

My only thought that I now have pertaining to this setup is the temperature sensor. It seems logical to simply alter the switch settings VIA the ECU but I wonder if the solution could be done simpler for those who may not have ECU control. I.E. move the thermostat to the top radiator hose and proceed to relocate the temperature sensor downstream of the thermostat. In my mind this would allow the thermostat and temperature sensor to work alongside without any ECU manipulation.

Just a thought hopefully the OP chimes in again.
The coolant temp sensor is already in the crossover pipe, the hottest part of the coolant system, so its going to to turn on the fans as soon as possible.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:32 PM   #12
bp05obxt
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Default Subaru how to make an Upper Thermostat Housing Setup

As the OP found when the thermostat was moved the engine operating temperature was affected. For consistency sake and holding the engine temp to align with the temp range set for the thermostat he altered the ecu temp required for the fans to come on to compensate for the improvement in cooling. I understand moving the temperature sensor isnít necessary but it would, in my mind, provide a mechanical way to more accurately switch the fans on and off without using ECU strategies. Keep in mind the goal is to run consistent, cooler temperatures.

This can all become more complicated than necessary for the average car, but it is an interesting topic.
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Old 05-06-2019, 12:50 PM   #13
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The problem is that the coolant temp sensor is used for engine temp and fan switching, so you're going to want it at the hottest point for engine temp.

Some other vehicles have a separate sensor used for fan switching. Often its in the cold side of the radiator. That way when the coolant temp going into the engine is cold enough the fans turn off.
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Old 05-06-2019, 01:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bp05obxt View Post
A thermostat is a thermostat is a thermostat and the only changes that can affect them is their designed temperature range and where they are located in the cooling system. It makes sense to have the thermostat at the immediate exit of the engine as the goal of a cooling system control the engines temperature directly. In Subaru***8217;s OEM layout, as was highlighted, the thermostat has to wait for the entire engine temperature to rise to the point that the radiator becomes fully heat soaked to finally allow coolant to become hot enough at the water pump/thermostat housing for the thermostat to function.

I now realize this design leaves something to be desired as far as controlling temperatures optimally. It seems that Subaru relies heavily on moving air whether that be from a moving vehicle or the radiator fans. With the thermostat opening into the radiator instead of after the radiator it prevents the radiator from initial heat soaking.
The heater core, turbo/top coolant tank, and oil cooler (if equipped), all bypass the radiator and supply hot water directly to the thermostat housing, so the radiator itself does not need to be fully heat soaked and have an 185 degree outlet temp or whatever the thermostat is to open. Plus that rated temp is when the thermostat is fully open. It will start to open and provide cooler water to the block before that. And actually, if you ditch all those things and have not hot water inlets on the water pump it can cause cooling issues.

On the second part, yeah that's how a radiator works- air has to flow through it to effectively transfer heat. On that note, if you can improve how air flows through the radiator, you can really improve how well the cooling system works, on, say, a race track.

Last edited by jamal; 05-06-2019 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 06-25-2020, 11:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vica153 View Post
For those prone to TLDR syndrome: -Cliff notes- Lowering the fan activation temps to basically be on all the time is what reduced the OP's slow traffic engine temps. Moving the thermostat may cause it to open sooner during warmup, but it doesn't really change operating temp.

......_Long version_.......

Thermostat up top is not a bad idea, but it is kind of 'fixing' something that isn't really a problem. It may open a couple degrees sooner and it may be a bit less restrictive thermostat, but neither of those is causing your car to get "too hot" in traffic.

A car could be sitting in a shady 60F parking spot just idling and if the radiator fans don't turn on, then it is going to get to 210 and even hotter. Take out the thermostat entirely and its still going to overheat without fans. Put a tiny pulley on the water pump so its pumping more water and its still going to overheat without fans.

Maybe if you had 3 or 4 radiators you would get to the point where the natural convection was enough to maintain a lower temperature without fans.

Setting the fans to come on high at any temp above 170 is what is keeping the temps down in traffic. Even at very slow speeds or stopped, there is an even flow of air thru the radiator like you were driving a steady 40mph. The upper thermostat setup may be keeping it at 170, but a normal lower thermostat would have it around 180 if you had the fans set on high all the time.

Also, setting the fan activation/deactivation all the same temp like that is probably going to cause a lot of on/off/on/off/on flickering and burn out relays.

The oil temp 'benefits' are not really benefits. Of course oil will make more pressure at the lower temp, but oil is supposed to get hot in order to better evaporate all the condensates from blowby. If oil pressure is too low when oil temp hits 210+, then something should be changed in the oil system.

If oil is getting 'cooked', then the oil is getting way hotter than 210F and a separate air/oil cooler should be used.

I can concur with the lack of thermostat being bad for DD vehicles. I had a stuck open thermostat last winter. The car would take forever to warm up and during normal driving run at ~120F above the ambient temp. Coming down the mountains when its 10F out and less than a minute of coasting later the engine temp dropped to 10F. Glad my heated seats were working.
So there are a lot of comments and i didnt realize people still searched here for this stuff.

To be complete, which i thought i was, this is incorrect. When i was running stock fans, stock theremostat on "many" subarus it a crap shoot if it runs target or runs 205 for no reason. The newer fan control maps that are defined are also crap... So the way i mentioned above works regardless of what your doing, stock, upgraded, track car.... The point of the setup is that the more you mod your cooling system, the better it does cooling it and then effects the thermostat cause it comes out cooler.. Seen it for years now and any build that i do, which is few now, gets this mod. Last built block i did was a 2015 which was running 195-205, fan support was like you mentioned... running all the time and kinda keeping it cooler but not a lot. The point of putting in a 160 and targetting 171 is because i was sure the "thermostat" was open all the way now that its up top and i wanted to control the temp to w/e i wanted. in my case it was 171. It only turned on the fans in traffic... it wasn't the case your mentioning running fans in high mode all the time.

As for oil temps and keeping the temps hot... We all change our oil enough to not have the symptoms mentioned here... if you dont you should... and if your seperating the conversation to run the engine screaming hot... so you can bake the condensation out of your oil... then... your reading the wrong thread... because i want it cooler... and consistent. All this did was gurnetee consistency all the time.

End of the comment is this, Fan support alone will not get you consistent results, and may in some cases make it worse... It will keep your car from overheating... but it wont get you target coolant temps like i mentioned in the first thread. Just be lucky your not driving an audi... my next project is doing this in a Q7 FSI that has a 225 thermostat in it...
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Old 06-25-2020, 11:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bp05obxt View Post
As the OP found when the thermostat was moved the engine operating temperature was affected. For consistency sake and holding the engine temp to align with the temp range set for the thermostat he altered the ecu temp required for the fans to come on to compensate for the improvement in cooling. I understand moving the temperature sensor isnít necessary but it would, in my mind, provide a mechanical way to more accurately switch the fans on and off without using ECU strategies. Keep in mind the goal is to run consistent, cooler temperatures.

This can all become more complicated than necessary for the average car, but it is an interesting topic.
The temp prob is in the outlet of the crossover pipe. thats exactly where you want it. you want the car making decisions on what to do with the fans based off the coolant coming (out) of the car.

The thermostat is at the bottom, which is making decisions on how to open based off how the coolant is cooled from the radiator... Thats the point of this thread. Put it at the top and they work together and realllllyyyy well.
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Old 10-04-2020, 10:53 PM   #17
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I have used the thermostat in the upper hose. The only downside I have found so far is running too cool on a modified car.

Using a Koyo rad, rotor vane water pump, and not having a condenser I could not heat the engine enough in the winter. It wasn't that bad with a FMIC because of the gap between the radiator and intercooler. When I switched to a TMIC and put some aero on the car it became really bad at 40F ambient and below. Cruising on the highway with a coolant temp of 120F to 150F would happen. My solution was completely covering the radiator with cardboard, that got me to thermostat temperature. Raising idle above 1500rpm was another workaround

I'm not saying anything bad at all about this. In fact when racing this actually helps. I could never get the coolant over 215F and even then it would take over 10 minutes to get to 200F. However, the car was making less than 350whp.

Quote:
A car could be sitting in a shady 60F parking spot just idling and if the radiator fans don't turn on, then it is going to get to 210 and even hotter. Take out the thermostat entirely and its still going to overheat without fans. Put a tiny pulley on the water pump so its pumping more water and its still going to overheat without fans.
This is not true. The faster your water flow rate and the larger your heat exchanger the more heat you can dissipate. Think peeing into a river.
My fans didn't even need to turn on while idling. My radiator and pump had a higher cooling capacity than the engine could produce heat at a 900rpm idle.

For stock cars with a condenser, stock size radiator, and no aero parts this mod is wonderful. The stock oil "cooler" is more useful with this mod as well.

I am using the same thermostat setup on my LSX Sti.
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