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Old 05-27-2012, 11:55 AM   #1
Team Scream
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Default The Ultimate Radiator Solution for your swap

Ok since I was blown away by the total lack of definitive answers or the sheer number of combinations of parts that people used to get a decent radiator to work in their GC swaps, I decided to take what I learned from the other threads and dive in and create a solution that I think is the best of all possible worlds for early cars with turbo swaps.

These posts will document what I have done, and what I found to work better than any other solution I have seen on RS25 or anywhere else for that matter. Believe me, I agonized over this for weeks, and I read, and re-read the few threads here and on RS25 that attempted to address this issue.

What I did was create a semi custom option that should work for any 1993-2001 Impreza. It will allow you to keep your A/C and have ZERO clearance issues. Plus, if you use the fans I chose to use, you should have ZERO cooling issues since the fans I am using quite simply outperform the OEM fans by a LARGE margin as far as air flow (CFM) is concerned.

That being said, here we go:

The Radiator: Koyo R2218
The Fans: Spal (MEDIUM PROFILE - High Performance) 12" puller: 30101522
The Overflow: Team Scream/Boogaloo Custom 13" polished stainless bottom feeder.

Fan mounting is achieved by using 3/16" (thick) x 1/2" (wide) steel bar stock. The bar stock is attached to the radiator by way of 1/2" x 1/2" aluminum angle stock. The aluminum angle is welded to the side plates of the radiator. Once I decided on the location and arrangement of the fans, the aluminum bar stock was cut and welded to the side plates in 3 places as shown below:




After the angle stock is welded in place, the steel bar stock is cut to length so that it spans the radiator and reached the edges of the angle stock (end to end) and placed across the rear face of the radiator.

At that point, the fans are laid on top of the steel bar stock so that the mounting holes of each fan (2 on top and 2 on bottom of each fan) line up properly with the bar stock. From there, I marked the mounting locations on the bar stock with a sharpie.

From there, I drilled out the bar stock in 4 places per bar. (2) for the top fan mounting holes, and (1) on each end of the bar to mount the bar to the aluminum angle stock. I did not take pictures of this process because it was a frenzy and I was short on time, however, the result is 2 pieces of steel bar stock with holes in the perfect location to (A) mount the fans and (B) secure the bar stock to the (now welded) angle brackets on the radiator.

At this point, the bar stock gets tapped to accept 8mm x 1.25 threaded rod @ the (4) fan mounting locations, where it is cut to length and screwed into the bar stock and welded on the back side. The welds are then ground smooth so that the end result is bar stock with studs protruding just enough to secure the fans with lock nuts and washers.

Next, once the fans are secured to the new steel bar stock brackets, I ended up with 2 fans locked in place on the "brackets" so that the entire assembly couold be laid across the radiator, and squared up in a way that allowed me to drill the mounting holes through the aluminum angles at the ends of the radiator. Once that is completed, the fans can be bolted to the radiator as shown in the picture below:





Next up, we need to deal with the coolant feed line and nipple which routes to the intake manifold mounted reservoir. To do this, we can do one of two things: (A) weld a nipple on the radiator tank or (B) do like I did and take advantage of the now un-used OEM fan mounting lug on the new radiator shown below:






Tools/Parts REQUIRED:


(1) 1/8 NPT pipe tap .
(1) .332" drill .
(1) 3/8 O.D. threaded (1/8 NPT) ALUMINUM radiator nipple.
(some) tape to wrap around the drill as a stop.


The aluminum nipple looks like this:




And we are going to install it here:







The Operation:


Place the drill bit next to the target lug on the radiator, and mark it with a sharpie 1/4" ABOVE the top surface of the lug. Then, wrap tape around the drill bit to create a drill stop so you don't blow through the back of the radiator when you drill out the lug as pictured below:








Now, CAREFULLY drill the lug on the radiator clear through and into the main tank. I set up my shop vac to provide **** loads of suction so that it would suck out any and all chips that might make it into the radiator when I drill out the hole. My set up is pictured below:








Once the hols is drilled, turn the radiator upside down, and shake it a bit while holding the vacuum in place to make sure you get ALL of the chips that made it in to the radiator sucked out.

Next, take your 1/8 NPT pipe tap and apply grease LIBERALLY as pictured below:






The purpose of the grease is to catch the chips, and to help create nice clean threads as the tap is doing it's work. Greasing the tap works wonders as you can see from the picture below:







Again, vacuum the hole and place the vacuum nozzle in the upper radiator hose while holding the radiator upside down to make sure you get any stray chips out of the top tank. The grease does a killer job, so if you are lucky like me, there wont be any chips in the tank after tapping.

TIP #1
:

Run the tap down in the hole until there are 4 or 5 threads remaining exposed on the tap. Then CHECK THE THREADED DEPTH OF THE FITTING !!!

If the fitting does NOT run down into the newly threaded hole until there are only one or two threads exposed, count the number of threads that are exposed and subtract 2, then CLEAN THE TAP, RE-GREASE IT and run it back into the hole and turn the tap that exact number of turns.

When you are finished, clean the threads with a Q-Tip and some brake cleaner, and run the fitting down into the hole. What you should end up with is pictured below:




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Last edited by Team Scream; 05-27-2012 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:56 AM   #2
Team Scream
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Next, apply some RTV to the threads after cleaning the fitting as seen below and then using the appropriate socket which in my case is a 1/2" deep socket, install the fitting and tighten it snugly. BE CAREFUL and don't go ape **** on the torque, these are aluminum fine threads:









Next up is the wiring of the fans. My car started life as a 2001 L Coupe, and only has 2 wires per OEM fan. I have read posts on RS25 that refer to "3 wire" OEM fans and I have no idea about those. The Spal fans I am using are 2 wire fans, and my OEM harness plugs only have 2 wires so this is a slam dunk as far as I am concerned. My OEM harness (connector) wires are BOTH blue and black. The Spal fans come with a connector that has blue and black wires. Blue goes to Blue and Black goes to Black. It is as simple as that.

What I did was cut the weather pack connectors with about 4" of pigtail from the OEM fans on my OEM radiator. Then I placed the radiator in the car and laid out the length of so that I could get the harness and connectors exactly where I wanted them to be secured. Once I had that laid out, I zip tied the Spal wires to the OEM connector and pigtail and removed the radiator. This allows me to cut and splice the wires perfectly:









Then I crimp the spliced wires with the Thomas & Betts "Sta-Kon" but splices pictured below:






These "Sta-Kon" butt splices are second to none because they are made with heat shrink AND sealer/bond that glues everything together when heated with a heat gun. This not only makes the connection weatherproof, but it provides amazing strain relief once completed. If you look at the picture below, you can see some of the clear bond that oozes out after heat is applied. You will also notice how much these little ****ers shrink up.
These are AMAZING little connectors.









Next up is the Team Scream / Boogaloo overflow tank.
This tank took me several hours of thought and tweaking to get it to fit perfectly. The end result is a tank that fits 100% perfect and looks 1000% bitchen. I am really proud of it. Because of the time it took me to get it all sorted, I fell short on picture taking, but it is attached to the aluminum angle brackets with stainless hardware and is solid as a rock. It clears EVERYTHING and makes contact with NOTHING. It is absolutely bitchen here it is attached to the radiator:









Finally, here is the whole assembly installed in the car.











The only thing left is to run a hose from the nipple near the radiator cap on the radiator to a TEE, then connect another side of the TEE to the hose from the cap near the nipple on the manifold reservoir, and the final leg of the TEE down to the nipple on the new overflow tank and DONE.


The end result is a radiator that fits 100% perfectl, with fans that will outperform OEM by a large margin and an overflow tank that looks completely trick and totally custom.

These Spal fans flow 1328 CFM EACH! and are mounted solidly to custom brackets which will be there for the life of the radiator without issue.

It took a lot of thought, and a LOT of work, but because these fans flow so much air, they cannot be mounted to the radiator with those zip tie like devices that run through the fins on the radiator core. They are too strong and are constantly trying to pull themselves away from the radiator so they need to be solidly mounted. I think this is the right way to do it, and I figured I should take the time and share this with the community so you can see what the options are.

Hopefully someone can appreciate it. I am stoked with the results and I am sure I won't be disappointed with the performance.
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:07 PM   #3
geronimo81
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Looks very nice! Much better than any of the other solutions I've seen.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:36 PM   #4
Jaxx
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hmm i like the bar idea i may have to pull mine apart and undo the pusher ziptie setup
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:01 PM   #5
02 RS
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That looks good! You might want to do something about that drain on the overflow though. It will full very quickly and coolant will drain out. Not good. I had the same problem with mine with the exact same tank. Replaced with a sealed unit and problem solved. Thought my overheating and low collant levels were a bad headgasket and it was only a 10 dollar part. Good DIY though.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:19 AM   #6
RL206
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Very nice!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:54 AM   #7
Tenebrion
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Awesome job! This helped me tremendously!
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Old 09-10-2016, 03:25 AM   #8
Flatfoot98H4
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So I received my koyo rad except i ordered the VH090632 benefit of having the superseded part is that there is a plug with 1/8npt threads for an aftermarket thermostat. right off the bat i dont have to drill out anything. i also noticed that on the sides of the radiator they have the fins added with holes predrilled for bars to go across for the mounting of the spal fans. im getting ready to order the spal fans but am worried as there is only one in stock everywhere i have looked so far. I will take pictures and post new part numbers and methods to add to this post!
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Old 11-12-2016, 09:34 PM   #9
curtiscrandall
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I used a 94 turbo legacy radiator and fans. Only had to source the gc8 upper radiator brackets.
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:46 PM   #10
evan_impreza
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What is everyone doing about the excessive amp draw from the SPAL fans? I just got my Koyo and fans situated, and I keep blowing the 20 amp fan fuse. The SPAL fans are rated at 13 amps a piece. You guys just running a bigger fuse with stock wiring?
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Old 06-11-2017, 12:43 AM   #11
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evan_impreza View Post
What is everyone doing about the excessive amp draw from the SPAL fans? I just got my Koyo and fans situated, and I keep blowing the 20 amp fan fuse. The SPAL fans are rated at 13 amps a piece. You guys just running a bigger fuse with stock wiring?
Fuses are to keep you from overheating the wire and having a fire.
If you need a bigger fuse, you need bigger wire.

There are charts online to show what gage wire will handle what amps.

In your other thread, I believe the 2 fan circuits are separate and thus not an issue.
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Old 06-11-2017, 11:38 AM   #12
evan_impreza
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
Fuses are to keep you from overheating the wire and having a fire.
If you need a bigger fuse, you need bigger wire.

There are charts online to show what gage wire will handle what amps.

In your other thread, I believe the 2 fan circuits are separate and thus not an issue.
Yeah I was looking at the charts online, and they all are slightly different. Some say I'm fine with 30 amps on 12ga wire for a short run, and some say I need 10ga. I believe the factory wiring is 12-14ga.

I did discover that I am missing one of the relays, so I am hoping that would explain why my fuse keeps blowing.
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Old Yesterday, 02:40 PM   #13
kylecrish
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Any chance of getting the pictures posted back up?
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