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Old 09-28-2017, 04:27 PM   #1
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12v Radiator Fan

Hey guys,

I am wanting to see if it is worth installing a 12v radiator fan and removing the belt driven fan.

Any recommendations on fan or install?

Thanks,

Ian

2004 Ford E350 Superduty
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:01 PM   #2
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+1 I'm interested in this too.

The last top-notch mechanic I spoke with about this idea (back when my transmission got rebuilt) mentioned that it was (in his view) almost a "must do" if you were going to be doing a lot of off-road driving that involved long, steep grades......the kind of rugged uphills where you wouldn't cover ground very fast, but would be definitely working the engine/transmission pretty hard. (Especially with a heavy van.)

It sounded more like a matter of ensuring adequate cooling under those circumstances than one of freeing up more power, however.

Curious to know if anyone here on the forum has done such a conversion.....same questions as you. Recommendations for parts/install etc.....I did a bit of research on this and found that there's "conversion kits" offered for a lot of common vehicles. Hadn't come across one for the E-series vans yet.

A lot of people seem to scavenge parts from other Ford products and rig them together for a fairly cheap conversion (one guy used Lincoln Town Car electric fans, for instance.) What seems to be of fairly critical importance, whatever you do, is to maintain the OEM fan shroud (or very similar) such that airflow through the radiator gets routed properly and doesn't stagnate/overheat under the hood.

Curious if member carringb has any thoughts on this.
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:30 PM   #3
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Another reason to replace that fan is the HP drag. According to this video, you can loose as much as 30hp to your fan alone. Gaining that back could make a noticeable difference in performance, similar to when I turn off the AC when climbing hills to gain a little speed.

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Old 09-28-2017, 06:00 PM   #4
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Good video. Based on past life experience, the probable reason the big difference between the with shroud and without shroud is that the air was not being sucked through the radiator.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:38 PM   #5
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Interesting!
They seemed pretty positive about the OEM clutch-style fan in that video. But on a dyno for short pulls, though, the engine and ambient air temps wouldn't have been very high. So the temperature-sensitive viscous clutch was likely still pretty freely slipping....and thus it was (as shown on the video) not pulling much of a torque/horsepower load.

I'm going to guess that once engine/underhood temperatures rise...and the clutch in the clutch fan actually starts to approach lockup....that it sees similar (higher) parasitic horsepower losses to the fixed steel fan.

So when ya need it most --- when the engine is hot --- that clutch fan setup is going to steal the most horsepower from the engine and make it work even harder to climb that hill.

Electric fans sure seem like a worthy modification to consider.
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Old 09-28-2017, 09:18 PM   #6
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Fun discussion breaking out here. I think I missed something. What motor is ianskelley referring to? The different motors available in the E350 engine bay will make a big difference in heat management.

-Eric
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:04 AM   #7
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Eric,

Thanks.

I have the 5.4l V8.

I called Flexalite but they told me that they dont have a direct fit or universal that will fit my van. So I am trying to find the best solution to getting a quality 12v primary fan on my radiator.

Any ideas?
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:24 PM   #8
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Some more stuff here.

There's a lot of other Ford forums (Bronco, F150) out there where guys have accomplished this same electric-fan conversion task pretty well. I've been researching it for my van's 5.8L, but the basics of what's accomplished ought to be pretty similar to your 5.4.

Some takeaways that those guys seem to keep mentioning on those forums:

1) Adequate CFM --- for the 5.8, it seems like guys advocate finding something that runs at least in the 4000-5000 cfm range. There's quite a bit of mention of the Lincoln Mark VIII electric fan (junkyard find), which is mentioned as being 4300 cfm unit.

On the flex-a-lite pages, you'll see that any units they offer that are rated for over 4000 cfm are starting to get into dual-fan units.

https://www.flex-a-lite.com/electric-fans.html

2) Well thought-out Fan Control --- most of the bolt-in systems utilize an automatic thermostat "probe" that gets attached to the side of the radiator, and thus creates its own automatic fan control cycling, and guys who piece together their own systems have to wire in something similar --- beyond that, a lot of guys feel its important to have a secondary wiring circuit with an "override switch" under the dash, such that they can temporarily kill the electric fan's operation for water crossings.

3) Adequate alternator output --
These fans don't create their cooling "for free," they still do put a load on the engine when the fan operates (increased demand from the alternator = more horsepower required to spin the alternator.) Our vans have pretty high-amperage alternators to begin with, but it still needs to be analyzed as to whether the OEM alternator is up to the amp-draw requirements for the additional load of the high-CFM fan assembly.

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Old 09-29-2017, 01:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [B
3) Adequate alternator output --[/B]
These fans don't create their cooling "for free," they still do put a load on the engine when the fan operates (increased demand from the alternator = more horsepower required to spin the alternator.)
With pretty much universal acceptance of the fact that electric fans use less HP to run, I too wondered how much they actually draw off the alternator. I haven't looked into this at all, but I would think a starting point is to look at the current draw of the fan motor(S) Anyway, hopefully, someone will do the research and come up with a recipe we can all use.
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Old 09-29-2017, 06:46 PM   #10
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Flex-A-Lite has a kit. It's for the F250, but since the cooling stack of the 7.3L SuperDuty is the same as the V10 in the vans (minus intercooler of course), this kit should be a very close fit.

Note that even though this is 6,200 CFM, Flex-Lite says not recommended for towing, and limit towing to 6,000 if you do tow.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/f...rd?prefilter=1

I wouldn't want to rely on electric cooling on my van, but I'm also towing a lot sometimes, and do defintiely max out my fan. I wouldn't mind an aux electric fan to boost A/C performance in stop and go traffic, but it's a low priority for me.
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