The Studeblogger

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Modern cooling fan replacement for Studebakers.

OK, first off, Barney's back and running fine, even in the 85+ degree weather we've been having. The new heater installation works great, doesn't drip anti-freeze on the carpet, doesn't fog the windows. Supreme!

But cooling is always an issue for older cars. Most were not equipped with over-capacity cooling systems like modern cars have. My '67 Pontiac (and all Ponchos with the original PMD-designed engine) are notorious for running hot; problems include vapor lock, heat-soaking the starter and solenoid, and simple boil-out - shut the car off and hear the relief valve hiss open after a couple of minutes. Owning an old car means always having to check your radiator!

Some makes can be easily retrofitted with either RPM-dependent clutch fans or thermostatic fans that decouple the cooling fan from the water pump shaft at a certain velocity or temperature, in order to permit better cooling at cruising speeds. GM cars can be easily equipped with OEM-style aftermarket or reproduction clutches. You can put a declutching fan on a Studebaker as well, but the repro clutches are pretty pricey and are not thermostatically-operated, as the original (optional) equipment was.

Luckily, I scored a factory Viscous Drive thermostatic clutch and fan for Barney, which bolted right onto the water pump drive hub after removing the original fixed 4-blade fan and spacer, but not everyone is so lucky.

With that in mind, I wanted to post a tech tip found on the Studebaker Drivers Club Forums last night. Member "HammondA100" from Sioux Falls, SD., found that Flex-A-Lite makes a modern flex-fan that will mount to the Studebaker hub with very little modification, helping make sure your car runs cool in hot weather. He wrote:

I've seen here on the difficulty of finding the right adapters and most efficient cooling fans for bolt on ease. I just got around to inspect what my 57 Silver Hawk had on it from the Nevada desert which turns out to be a early fiberglass fan and an aluminum hub adapter S-008 made by Flex-A-Lite 25 years ago.
[After a] quick phone call to their tech help and a search at I was recommended to trash the old fiberglass unit for safety. I gave him all the measurements and turns out they have all the solutions.

The hub part #876 allows for a 1" hub so on a stude you would need to turn it out to 1-1/16" - an easy fix.. This hub already had that treatment so I don't have to do anything there. As for the proper flex-fan - perfect match. The FlexALite 1818. 18-1/4 diamater, 2-1/2" projected width creates a constant high static pressure, low noise movement of air as it's 7 blades. I found it for only $48 at Summit Racing. 

Well one less thing to worry about and I hope I could help someone find the right fan. They have a huge selection of electric fan set-ups too as they claim to be the pioneer of these.

They also sell a easy to mount heater unit to simplify the stock set-up.

 Keep 'em cool and enjoy the summer!

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