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Electric cooling fan, any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Performance and Tuning' started by 06TRDZombieHunter, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. Feb 25, 2011 at 8:01 AM
    #1
    06TRDZombieHunter

    06TRDZombieHunter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Flex-a-Lite sells after market cooling fans specifically for trucks and other vehicles that traditionally use a clutch fan (off the front of the crank) I want to know if anyone else has seen these, or know anybody whose invested in one? Flex a Lite claims better mileage and sOme performance gains by taking some load off the crank throughout the RPM range. Makes sense enough but I don't trust ads that claim performance or mileage gains until I know someone who has experienced it.
    For some reason I'm thinking this would be similar to lightening the flywheel, just on the other end of the engine...
     
  2. Feb 25, 2011 at 10:01 AM
    #2
    Lurkin

    Lurkin Well-Known Member

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    I have the Tacoma Flexalite kit installed on mine. I didn't notice any mpg or performance gains from the fan, although I did not measure anything on performance. I put the fan on mostly just to eliminate the start-up roar and hopefully gain a bit of cooling efficiency.
     
  3. Feb 25, 2011 at 9:19 PM
    #3
    06TRDZombieHunter

    06TRDZombieHunter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thats my primary intention, efficiency. Quicker warmup on cold days by not having the fan running immediately and cooler engine temps through the summertime. We'll see. Have you ever had trouble with the sensor or the fans not running when they were supposed to?:confused:


     
  4. Feb 28, 2011 at 5:50 AM
    #4
    Lurkin

    Lurkin Well-Known Member

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    No trouble with mine. Only thing I have done is to add the "upgraded" fan controller, which has a 2-stage start-up. I.e., at one preset temp the fan comes on at 60% power, then if the temp gets 10 degrees hotter, it applies full power. With the standard controller, the fan comes on at 100% whenever the temp setting is reached or the AC compressor is on.

    Careful with the "efficiancy" term too. IMHO, the mechanical fan will keep the truck just as cool as the electric, just that it's trading direct engine drag for alternator drag.

    Also, the fan cycling on-off with the AC compressor can be a bit of a pain, as the compressor cycles much more than you might think. I've thought about trying to tap the AC-on line as opposed to the AC compressor on line that the Flexalite instructions point you to, but have not done so yet. If I could find that line then at least the fan would be on when the AC is on, not cycling on-off so much.

    Overall though, I like the fan, but it's still not something that can be cost justified without a "it's just what I want" thing.
     
  5. Feb 28, 2011 at 5:59 AM
    #5
    Underdog777

    Underdog777 Well-Known Member

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    IMO you can't go wrong. I have one myself, and my intention was just to take off the mechanical load. I don't have to worry to much about warm ups in AZ until winter, but none the less I opted for the manual control so I can keep it running as much as I need it. As far as "performance" in the sense of power gains, you will not notice much. The only thing in that respect that helpped out was with my a/c on the load does not bogg down my engine while moving in 1st gear. Hope this helps, good luck :)
     
  6. Feb 28, 2011 at 6:00 AM
    #6
    dexterdog

    dexterdog My pee parts itch

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    I ran a flex-a-lite on my Cherokee. It worked nicely although the thermostat control back then wasn't as high tech as it is now. My unit just used a temp probe and it didn't seem to be as accurate as I had hoped. I did have it wired to a switch though so I could power it up when I wanted.
     
  7. Feb 28, 2011 at 6:23 AM
    #7
    06TRDZombieHunter

    06TRDZombieHunter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    All very helpful info, thanks everyone!
     
  8. Feb 28, 2011 at 6:30 AM
    #8
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Alot of people fall for that marketing ploy. Nothing is free, and if something is powered by the engine directly, and you wire in an electrical alternative, it still needs to draw the power from the engine in the form of more load on the alternator.
     
  9. Feb 28, 2011 at 6:34 AM
    #9
    Lurkin

    Lurkin Well-Known Member

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    Both of the controllers that I've had use the temp probes placed right where the upper hose dumps into the radiator. According to my scangauge, the fan comes on consistently at the set temp.
     
  10. Feb 28, 2011 at 4:11 PM
    #10
    jdtemple

    jdtemple Well-Known Member

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    isn't the alternator always producing the same current/amperage whether or not it's used? I know AC units have an electric clutch to engage/disengage when the system is supposed to. If the alternator is always spinning needed or not, why not put the extra juice to work spinning a few fans?

    If you were take total draw minus total produced at idle, that would give you a baseline of "Left over" electricity that could be used to power something else. If you truck came with a factory tow package, didn't it also come with a more powerful alternator? Next you have to wonder how much draw the voltage regulator could handle.

    So if you can take drag off the system without increasing baseline electrical demand, you would be more efficient.

    Now the real questions:
    1. Could you measure that efficiency in HP, Torque, or MPG?
    2. How long would measured savings take to pay for installed item?
     
  11. Feb 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM
    #11
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Its no different than any other generator. If you have used a stand alone generator, you can hear the engine rev, or bog down according to the load applied. You change the load on the engine from a direct load (the clutch fan on the crank), to an indirect load (the extra load placed on the alt.). The efficency comes from the electric fan being able to be turned off, or not running when not needed.
     
  12. Feb 28, 2011 at 9:28 PM
    #12
    jdtemple

    jdtemple Well-Known Member

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    A generator is designed to kick up the rpms when it detects more load. I don't think any cars just throttle up when someone turns up the stereo with 3 amps, or turns on the lights while using a cigarette lighter and the 110v adapter in the bed all at the same time. Doesn't the voltage regulator makes more power available from the same source when load is increased?
     
  13. Feb 28, 2011 at 11:55 PM
    #13
    Underdog777

    Underdog777 Well-Known Member

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    There is a noticable change in RPM's once you go to the electric fan @ idle. I plan on appeasing my issue with that with bigger guage wire, and a bigger alternator. No it will never be perfect, but the sound of electrical load being put on the engine is like nails on a chalk board to me.
     
  14. Mar 1, 2011 at 5:38 AM
    #14
    Lurkin

    Lurkin Well-Known Member

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    Just as another confirmation, when the elec fan does kick on (using a single stage controller), there is a idle rpm drop and recovery. With the 2 stage controller it's not quite as noticable. Note that this is the fan coming on due to a temp setting, not from the AC compressor kicking in. When the AC compressor kicks on and the fan does, there is also a quite noticable rpm drop and recovery.

    The AC compressor cycling and the fan coming on at 100% with the single stage controller is what drove me to upgrade to the 2 stage controller.

    Again, not cheap, the fan kit was $380 and the upgraded controller was another $100. No way that will cost justify itself with any perf or mpg improvements. But for me this is just one of those mods that I just wanted done.
     
  15. Mar 1, 2011 at 4:54 PM
    #15
    06TRDZombieHunter

    06TRDZombieHunter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Excellent points. If I had the tools and time that would be really cool experiment to figure just what "advantage" this system provides, or denies.

    Strong work
     
  16. Mar 1, 2011 at 4:58 PM
    #16
    06TRDZombieHunter

    06TRDZombieHunter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I guess I do "Want' it done quite badly... but mostly because starting the truck and only hearing VrrWWWHHHOOOOOOOOOOSHSHSHSH from the big clutch fan is not as satisfying as I would hope. I want to hear more intake and exhaust... I am saving some $$ so that when my birthday rolls around I can treat myself to a solid $350-400 present. But its kinda a toss up between electric fan, or replace the stock Y pipe and exhaust from there back.

    Im thinking exhaust first at this point?
     
  17. Mar 1, 2011 at 7:58 PM
    #17
    Siebler

    Siebler Duck Killing Machine

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    I like my Efans. I noticed a little power gain but to be fair I am a 2.4l and have an LCE underdrive pulley as well. Also have a higher output alternator (will be much much higher+dual batteries soon)

    Personally I like the control I have with the Efans. I havnt ran them in a few months other than in traffic and drivethru's and that sort of thing. So all that power the clutch fan was robbing I am getting back 100%.

    Also I have the cool controller from Flexalite but I for the most part just use my toggle switch, we will see if I even keep the controller. A relay is so much smaller after all.
     
  18. Mar 1, 2011 at 11:57 PM
    #18
    Underdog777

    Underdog777 Well-Known Member

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    Have you thought of doing headers first before the Y pipe? That may be a little more worth while if you decided to not get the fan. IMO I think it's worth the $350 + to not hear VrrWWHHOOSHSHSHS before I hear a nice rumble out the back end. And even when the fan is running it's pretty damn quiet. Just food for thought :D
     
  19. Mar 2, 2011 at 8:01 PM
    #19
    06TRDZombieHunter

    06TRDZombieHunter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I like the idea. I've looked into JBA shortys but I dont know how much it would be to get a professional to install them and weld em to my Cats.. I have to stay legal due to OR's 2yr DEQ tests. Thornley's would be cool, but again, Cats..?

    I have till May to figure it out. I appreciate the ideas and input!
     
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