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Old 10-14-2014, 06:51 AM   #1
X25

 
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How to install air-to-oil engine oil cooler

I could not find a complete how-to on this, so here it is!

** (1) Please follow the instructions at your own risk. This is one of the mods that can easily lead to get your engine to kaboom, since improper connections might cause an oil leak, etc. If this is your first-ever car/garage project, then this should NOT be your first ever project : ) **

** (2) It turns out our high-end(!) cars don't come with a real oil temp gauge, and oil temp is rather calculated using rate of RPMs, etc. If you want to see what your real oil temps are, you'll need a real gauge. FYI, my dashboard reading and my aftermarket gauge display exactly same temps from 250 to 275 degrees F, but the OEM display just starts a fake dance anywhere else. **

Tools:
Besides the usual tools (10mm, 12mm, 13mm, etc.), there are two rare sizes you need: 34mm socket for the engine block's coolant port, and 17mm allen for the bung to shut it.
I also used a 3/4" plug to plug the radiator port which will no longer be needed.

Choosing an ideal setup:
  • I did go with Setrab's Series 1 (Shortest for lower pressure drop) 72-row (most # of rows for least pressure drop) oil cooler core.
  • This core, coupled with huge 12-AN fittings, should provide the least drop in oil pressure possible. Actually, I might see an increase in oil pressures since it will allow the oil stay much cooler during track duty!
  • I went with the 212 degrees F thermostat for the cooler kit. This means the oil cooler will almost not run at all at the street, and will only engage at the track. 215 degrees is about what I see the oil temps settling at during street use with the OEM cooler. FYI, even when shut, the thermostat allows a small amount of flow through the oil cooler to make sure the oil inside the oil cooler is circulated, and the oil doesn't stay too cool, shocking the engine when the cooling is needed.
  • The pressure drop rating of this core is only 0.8/1.0 PSI, and is rated to support 600+ HP!

Parts list (The last number is quantity):
  • AHL-12 Raceflux lightweight black nylon racing hose, -12AN 12 feet.
  • DS-090-12 Hose end, double swivel, 90-degree, -12AN, black 3.
  • DS-120-12 Hose end, double swivel, 120-degree, -12AN, black 1.
  • EGM-113-12AN / EGM-113 Oil cooler adapter, low-profile, thermostatic, GM LS-series engine, rear sump, high temp (212 degrees F).
  • ORB-12-08 Adapter, -12AN flare to -08AN straight thread o-ring boss, Viton o-ring, black 2
  • 50-172-7612 Setrab 72 row Series 1 115mm oil cooler, M22F threads.
  • M22AN12-SE M22 to -12AN Adapter, OEM FD3S oil cooler and Setrab coolers 2
  • ABKT-235 Setrab oil cooler bracket, 235mm core 2.
  • 12561663 PLUG - Coolant Plug for GM LS Engines 1
  • FF-12 Fireflex hose sleeving, 1" (-12AN) 3.

Important -AN fitting install tip: Any connection that has a plastic o-ring does not need teflon tape. The hose tips don't need anything due to their design. The o-rings need to be thoroughly oiled with engine oil.

Installation steps:
  • Drain the engine oil and coolant. It will get incredibly messy if you don't.
  • Remove the front bumper. You will need to remove the top plastic retainers, two bolts up top by the sides, and a few other bolts that can be accessed by moving the fender liners out of the way.


  • Once bumper is removed, choose a location for your cooler. This pretty much depends on your cooler's shape, and your air flow preferences, as well as the clearances available. I chose the upper bar for mounting. The general rule is, you should stack the radiators (coolers) as close to each other as possible to reduce possible turbulence in between them. Make sure you temporarily put the bumper back on to see if it will fit.

  • Once you determine the location, you will most likely need to drill holes for mounting. Make sure you don't mount through cables. Feel what is behind, and move any cable away, or at least protect it with a metal piece during drilling.

  • I always coat new holes with Rustoleum to reduce the chances of rusting.

  • Before test fitting, make sure the ports are installed onto the oil cooler since they might impact the clearances.

  • The oil coolers should not be in direct contact with the chassis to reduce vibration. The tab that came with the Setrab oil cooler already has rubber bushings to dampen vibrations. I used a small piece of heat wrap on bolting locations to reduce the transfer of vibrations.
  • I cut the hose in half and installed the cooler ports before installing the cooler itself. Then I routed the hoses by the side of the radiator. Make sure hoses don't ever get close to belt, fan, or other moving parts. I used a jagged kitchen knife to cut the hose. Due to its metal layer, regular blade did not work well.

  • Now comes the less fun part; removing the OEM oil cooler. Remove most of the bolts around the cooler. At some point, the seals will detach and it will start leaking both oil and coolant.
  • Push away the black coolant line lock rings, and remove the small lock washers (seen in picture in color) with a hook-pick. If you don't like coolant shower, don't stand right under it while detaching those lines.

  • One of the lines goes to driver side bottom port of the radiator. You will need to plug this port. Use the 3/4" rubber cap (plug) for this purpose. Do not forget to put a clamp on it, or it will pop!

  • Remove the driver side header. Kidding, you don't need to, but I was going to install headers next, and just removed it at this time since it makes accessing the coolant port to remove the last remaining line very easy. The port next to the engine mount is that coolant port. FYI, it is also accessible from the driver wheel well, once the plastic dust cover between the engine bay and the wheel well is removed.

  • Remove the line from the port the same way you did as the oil cooler ports.
  • Be careful when you're screwing or unscrewing anything to/from the engine block. If you screw up the thread, you might need professional assistance to get it re-threaded. Use your time, and unscrew the whole port using a 34 mm socket. Fortunately, it was available at the auto stores, since this size socket is used frequently for axle nuts.

  • Once removed, you will use the GM bung to seal it. It needs a 17 mm allen to screw. Again, use your time. Leave no chance to cross-threading.

  • We're getting close to the end! Now, we will start test-fitting the oil port adapter/thermostat. Find a good layout for your hoses, and then determine what length the hoses should be. The hose going to the higher port in the cooler should carry hot oil (OUT port of thermostat), and the hose coming from the lower port on the oil cooler should carry the cooled oil back, hooking up to IN port of the thermostat. At this point, we have two choices:
    • Install the oil cooler adapter upside-down: This makes it very easy to install the lines, and is sometimes the only way to install with some of the aftermarket headers.
      1. WARNING: Since we're installing the thermostat upside down, IN/OUT markings are now reversed!
      2. WARNING: In this layout, the thermostatic element is actually by the port that returns the oil back to the engine. This means, the thermostat will close if the oil returning to the engine is cold enough! Ideally, you should control the high temps of the oil in the engine, not the temp of the oil that is being returned to the engine. In my case, since I use a huge oil cooler core, the difference was as much as 30-40 degrees at times. No wonder, I switched back to upright position after seeing this
        How it looks when installed upside down:
    • Install the oil cooler adapter upright: If possible, do it this way. This ensures the thermostat works as intended (i.e. monitors the oil temps at/coming from the engine, not the temps of oil after it was cooled down). It also gets the hoses away from the bottom of the car, making them less vulnerable in case you hit something on the road. FYI, I was able to easily clear my 1 7/8" headers.
      How it looks when the oil cooler adapter is installed upright:
  • Don't forget to give a bit of slack to the hoses. Your engine buckles during acceleration and deceleration, and if you leave the hoses too tight, they might eventually get ripped.
  • Once the hoses are cut to their final length, put on the fire sleeves, and then install their tips.

  • You will need to install the hoses onto the thermostat before installing the thermostat itself. The reason is that there is just not enough space to wrench them tight when the thermostat is in its location.
  • I used metal zip-ties to fix the lines' route on the sub-frame rails. I also wrapped the part of the hoses that are closest to the headers.

  • Refill oil and coolant as much as you can.
  • Now that you're done, you need to make sure everything is oiled (primed) before the engine starts. For this, you need to crank it. There is an easy way for this (besides pulling fuses). Before turning the ignition key, push throttle pedal ALL THE WAY. This enables a special mode, where the engine cranks without starting it. Let the engine crank a few seconds, then wait 30 seconds (to let the starter cool), and repeat a few more times.
  • Check the engine oil and coolant levels one last time and refill as necessary.
  • Start the engine! Don't wait in the car; get off and check for any leaks. If you see anything leaking, immediately shut off the engine before investigating any further; be safe than sorry.
  • Hopefully everything went well, and now you have a shiny new engine oil cooler; enjoy!
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:17 AM   #2
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X25, Excellent write up!!!! Thank You!
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:45 AM   #3
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Very nice write up. Looking forward to seeing your oil temps after the cooler has been installed. I've been looking for some good data all over the place, and nobody seems to have any before and after numbers.
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Old 10-14-2014, 01:13 PM   #4
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IIRC, the temperature shown on the oil gauge isn't the ACTUAL temperature. From what I've read, it is corrected / pre-calculated, and adding oil coolers won't change the reading on the gauge.

http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=376900
http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showpo...8&postcount=12
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Old 10-14-2014, 03:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djpelosi View Post
IIRC, the temperature shown on the oil gauge isn't the ACTUAL temperature. From what I've read, it is corrected / pre-calculated, and adding oil coolers won't change the reading on the gauge.

http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=376900
http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showpo...8&postcount=12
EDIT: YOU'RE RIGHT, the oil temps are fake. More on that later on the thread.

I've heard the same, too, but in my experience, the oil temps kept climbing to 290s at the track while the coolant did not go above 220F (I do have a DeWitt's radiator). This tells me that the oil temps can not be calculated off of coolant temps since they have clearly diverged. Perhaps this was the case in earlier model years, but I know for sure that my '14 SS 1LE shows me the oil temps.

There is one issue, though: the display at DIC does not show above 266 degrees. The sensor still works fine, but to get the actual reading above 266 degrees, you need to read it from OBD II port. I do so using Torque App and a Bluetooth OBDII bung.
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Old 10-14-2014, 04:01 PM   #6
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X25, Have you ever been able to capture the oil temp you are actually running at the track (since the gauge only goes up to 266), and if so what was it?
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Old 10-14-2014, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hcsi99 View Post
X25, Have you ever been able to capture the oil temp you are actually running at the track (since the gauge only goes up to 266), and if so what was it?
Yes, I did. I talked more about it in my build thread. It got to 280+ degrees in a matter of 4-5 laps, this despite having an upgraded radiator and about 75 degrees ambient temp. Clearly, the OEM heat exchanger unit is limited in capacity, which is why I installed this behemoth. The highest I saw was 289 degrees before I started yet another cool-down lap, but having cool-down laps every 4-5 laps was not amusing at all. In comparison, my C6 Corvette Grand Sport, in stock form, never shot above 270 degrees F, and was usually around 265 degrees during track days no matter how long the session is. My '06 C6 Z06 was similar, but '13 C6 Z06 (which has the same cooling system as Camaro SS) was running a bit hotter, which I remedied by using a Z07-spec aluminum radiator at the time. The same trick (radiator) did not help enough with the Camaro, though.

The DIC reads oil temp correctly until 266 degrees. From there on, the display keeps showing 266 degrees, while the reading I got from OBD II port kept reading higher.
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Old 10-14-2014, 04:14 PM   #8
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Looking forward to seeing what temps you'll be running now.
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Old 10-14-2014, 04:15 PM   #9
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I will be attending a track day at the same track I got my first measurements, this weekend. Hopefully I will finish prepping the rest of the car so I can give it a shot : )
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Old 10-14-2014, 04:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X25 View Post
I will be attending a track day at the same track I got my first measurements, this weekend. Hopefully I will finish prepping the rest of the car so I can give it a shot : )
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Old 10-14-2014, 05:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hcsi99 View Post
X25, Have you ever been able to capture the oil temp you are actually running at the track (since the gauge only goes up to 266), and if so what was it?
Do the 1ss have the gauge cluster in the console? Anyway, the console has oil temp. It will read beyond 270, up to 320 I think. I don't have my cooler installed yet but I've noticed in various types of track weather that my oil temp is consistantly at 290. I will have the cooler set up for next year and seeing that I have enough data collected from this year I should have some good comparisons.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:03 PM   #12
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1ss only have the performance menu display on the drivers info center.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:09 PM   #13
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Keep an eye on that thermostat, they have been known to fail.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 402 View Post
Keep an eye on that thermostat, they have been known to fail.
If it fails, it will either keep temps too high, or too low. There is no location of the valve which would block flow if it ever got stuck. Pretty much like the coolant thermostat. When they fail, it's not the flow but rather the temps that go out of design spec.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:54 PM   #15
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Obviously. Nothing like having oil temperature sky rocketing.
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Old 10-14-2014, 08:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 402 View Post
Obviously. Nothing like having oil temperature sky rocketing.
That's fine. The engine already has safeguards to protect itself in such cases, like switching to limb mode if the oil temps go out of whack. The real danger is pressure loss, and it might happen if you have a leak. The engine has no good protection against pressure loss.
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:26 AM   #17
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Awesome thread.

Thx

Bookmarked.
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Old 10-15-2014, 12:34 PM   #18
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Great writeup! Subscribed
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Old 10-17-2014, 11:34 AM   #19
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Added the following: WARNING: When installing the thermostat upside down, IN/OUT markings are now reversed!

Basically, if we install the thermostat upside down, its markings on it showing the flow of oil will be reversed.

I also had a chat with Improved Racing (Michael) regarding any potential issues during oil changes in terms of what the oil level should be during refill. My concern is that if the oil drains fast from the cooler, a significant portion of the oil would be used to refill the cooler after I fill the oil to max line, making the engine effectively working with less oil than ideal. He told me that the drain would actually be very slow since the oil pump is on the way, so oil level reading would not get complicated. I sure hope so. He also added that they are working on non restrictive check valves to control the flow, so the oil cooler core would always stay filled.

Another concern I have is that the oil cooler core stays pretty cool before I hit high temps, so I'm wondering how much flow the thermostat allows before high temps.

I'll be at the track tomorrow, testing it out and seeing how it performs. I'm a bit nervous about any potential leaks, so I'll have my eye at the oil pressure gauge at all times during the first session. Let's see how it goes!
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Old 10-17-2014, 11:37 AM   #20
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Tell them to check into a parker 2650 check valve. It has a 0 psi cracking pressure and will stop flow once there is no pressure on it.

Very curious on this as I was starting to piece one together.
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Old 10-18-2014, 03:14 AM   #21
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I was not able to overheat the engine since it now has both upgraded radiator and the oil cooler, but on my way back from the muffler shop, I finally managed to do it by driving at 2nd gear all the way! I'm happy to report that the oil cooler's port got too hot to touch, and was quickly able to cool down once I did upshift, all with no leak whatsoever. During normal highway driving, it settles at 210 degrees, which is almost identical to what it did with the OEM cooler. I think it is excellent for the street.

I'll be at the track all day today. Looking forward to seeing what temps it will settle at!
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:41 PM   #22
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Awesome write up!

Been planning this, so thank you for the guide!
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Old 10-19-2014, 10:23 PM   #23
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Read this!
http://forum.grrrr8.net/showthread.p...l=1#post508830

OK I think I am a victim of computer wizardry. I will just install a REAL oil temp sensor (or get it installed).

Quote:
I'm pretty close to calling complete BS on the ECM's calculated oil temp value on the LS3....here's why:
  • GM info states: "This parameter displays the temperature of the engine oil as calculated by the control module using various sensor inputs", but I haven't yet found any details on exactly how it is calculated or what sensors are involved.
  • I first disconnected the so-called 'oil level/temp sensor' on the passenger side of the oil pan and let the car idle for 5 minutes. During that 5 min where this sensor was disconnected, my Aeroforce Interceptor displayed what appeared to be a valid oil temp reading. A few days later, I left the sensor disconnected all day. The 'Check Oil' warning eventually appeared on the dash, and my Interceptor continued to provide a valid oil temp reading, up to my normal 200-ish street operating temperature.
  • I then disconnected the Coolant Temp sensor...same results, Oil Temp still had a valid reading on the Interceptor while idling for 5 min (haven't done a full day like this yet). Logic suggests that ECT is somehow involved with oil temp calculation, but how much is anyone's guess. We also know that some people have found that calculated oil temps are lower when using a coolant thermostat that opens at a lower temperature.
  • I then disconnected the Oil Pressure sensor...same results, Oil Temp still had a valid reading on the Interceptor while idling for 5 min (haven't done a full day like this yet). As the car sits now, all 3 sensors (oil level, ECT, and EOP) are disconnected, and I'm still seeing oil temps that are apparently reasonable and continue to change with the engine idling. I'm not really sure what other sensors to check. I suspect IAT or AAT, but I'm not going to mess with either of those right now. I'm also starting to suspect that engine run time and or RPM is also a significant part of the calculation.
  • Lots of folks with wet sumped LS3's (Camaro/G8/wet sump Vette) have found that calculated oil temperatures are relatively unchanged after oil cooler installation (big coolers, small coolers, Air to Oil, Water to Oil, it doesn't seem to matter much). This just doesn't make any sense at all.
  • LS engines with actual temp sensors (e.g. LS1 & LS6) seem to respond much better to oil coolers. This seems normal. Case in point: This CTS-V Oil Cooler How-To, which is a copy of a C5 Z06 (LS6) installation, shows 290's before the cooler install in 70-80 deg ambient temps, and after the cooler install, he saw 232 in ambient of 94 deg F during track events. The size of the cooler in this example is almost identical to the one in the Harrop kit and the one I'm using, and yet, somehow, the LS3 calculated oil temp is almost completely unaffected by an oil cooler?? It just doesn't add up.
I'll update the first post to put a note about this. I will also be installing a real oil temp gauge to test this out, but it might be a while. I am relieved already : )
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:23 AM   #24
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The related post from my build thread:

Quote:
I should have realized this fake gauge issue the day I installed the oil cooler, since the engine oil temp was climbing very fast considering there was no warming aid by the coolant anymore (it was showing wrong temp). Anyhow, lesson learned, moving on. I ordered the following:
  • Improved Racing ENV-150 Dual Inline Oil Sensor Manifold Block: This will let me tap into the line oil temp and pressure.

  • Autometer 5286 direct-fit gauge-pod for Camaro: This should provide a good location for the gauges.
  • Autometer 6348 Oil Temp Gauge

  • Autometer 6327 Oil Pressure Gauge

I am quite relieved that the high readings had nothing to do with my set-up. I will install these gauges, and will confirm the temperature drops as soon as I can. Here is hoping I can find a track day before the season is really over.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:50 AM   #25
xc_SS/RS
 
Drives: 2010 Camaro SS/RS
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: G-burg, MD
Posts: 274
Is there anyway to integrate a real temp sensor into the oil temperature gauge that's part of the 4 pack gauges? Kinda like how mine are and if I could put a real sensor to the gauge that would be awesome.

Just thought about adding one of those sandwich plate adaptors then running the wires from a sensor to the original gauge on a 2SS. Any reason why that wouldn't work?

Last edited by xc_SS/RS; 10-23-2014 at 12:33 PM.
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