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Almost every automobile manufactured today uses an electric fan for cooling the radiator. For the Mustang, Ford went this route in 1994. The electric fan uses less horsepower than the mechanical fan, helping both gas mileage and acceleration. You know which part interests us.

We came across an interesting alternative to the costly aftermarket electric fan kits; a junkyard fan out of late 80's, early 90's Taurus cars with the 3.8 liter V6. It is a two speed fan with integral shroud and a low-profile electric motor. One Mustang owner is using his on a supercharged 302 without any problems. Sounds like it should be able to handle our naturally aspirated 302. We headed to the junkyard to find our diamond in the rough.

Once in the Ford section of the yard, we were nearly overwhelmed by the site of so many Tauri (plural for Taurus, isn't it?). We chose an '89 wagon with the 3.8L V6 as our donor. A few small bolts and one unplugged connector and the fan slid out easily. We also pulled out over a foot of the harness with the mating connector and cut the wires so we would have plenty of length and a nice weatherproof connector.

The price? A mere $27, including the $2 entry fee.

With our dusty treasure in hand we headed to the local chain autoparts store for a controller and a mounting kit. See side bar for required installation components.

Installation
The stock 5.0L clutch fan and shroud were removed and we laid the new fan in place to check the fit. The shroud covers over 80% of the radiator

Junkyard Electric Fan : Parts List
Fan 3.8L Taurus $25
Imperial Controller PN: 3647 $36
Imperial Mount Kit PN: 226201 $6
Bosch 150amp Relay PN: 0 332 002 156 $30
Freewheeling Diode PN: 1N5408 $5

and sits nicely on the existing mounting clips at the bottom of the radiator. Two "thru-core" connectors would be needed to secure the top of the fan shroud against the radiator.. To insure a good seal at the edges of the new shroud we used foam weather seal you can find at any hardware store. The pictures tell the story. It will also protect the radiator from rubbing due to vibration.

With the fan in place we connected the cut harness we saved and tried out the fan by going across the battery with the bare ends of the wires. The low speed wire contacted the battery post and the fan spun up quickly. The airflow felt very good. If this was the low speed setting, what would we get from the high speed? We wish we had CFM ratings for you, but we could not find them in time for this article. We can tell you that with the high-speed wire connected the fan was moving a huge amount of air. Far more than the last 16" electric fan we bought from the auto parts catalog.

Since the fan controller has only one relay we decided to run just the high speed, which should insure a cool radiator no matter what. But before the wiring can begin the charging system will need to be upgraded. The stock 75amp alternator will not be able to handle the added load of the new fan, especially after we saw how much air it can pull. You can check out the 3G alternator upgrade here.

Using a Fluke digital clamp ammeter, we tested the starting (or inrush) current draw and the operating current draw. The Taurus fan pulled a little over 130 amps on startup (only for milliseconds) and settled down to right around 40 amps using the high-speed wire. This is why you must upgrade to the bigger alternator and a Bosch high-powered relay.

Fan Wiring Diagram

The diagram shows how to use the fan controller to fire the Bosch relay. A reverse current blocking diode (or freewheeling diode) is a good idea on any motor control relay. Once power is removed from a DC motor it becomes a DC generator and the reverse voltage spike can shorten the life of the relay. The diode will bleed this spike to ground. The 1N5408 diode can be found at any electronics store for just a few dollars.

The fan controller also has a lead that can be connected to the air conditioning compressor clutch power wire to turn on the fan whenever the A/C is turned on. If you wish to have a manual control switch for the fan, simply connect it to 12V and contact 86 on the Bosch relay.

The last step is to set the electronic thermostat for proper operation. With the engine running at idle, we let the temp gauge slowly climb. We adjusted the small potentiometer on the controller so the that the fan would come on just before 200*, which is after the coolant thermostat opens (180*, in our case). This way, if you are cruising down the highway and the thermostat opens but the radiator does not reach 200* thanks to the steady airflow, the fan stays off.

Results
So, how does it work? We decided to really test it by driving 6 hours one way in 100*+ temperatures and race at Los Angeles County Raceway in Palmdale, CA. That is desert country west of LA. Not only did it work, but the temp gauge never went past ½ scale. Even letting the car sit intentionally for over 40 minutes with the A/C blasting while we packed up after the race in over 100* heat the gauge not only was stable but dropped to only about 1/3 of the scale! The A/C actually blows colder than before, even when the mercury goes past triple digits (way past, occasionally).

Another pleasant side affect has been a 1 to 2 mile per gallon increase in fuel economy on the highway. The fan isn't running while cruising unless you turn on the A/C. And then it cycles with the A/C clutch. In conclusion, the time and cost were absolutely worth it. We can also run the fan in the staging lanes by turning the ignition to the on position and switching on the A/C. Just don't forget it's on and kill your battery. We had to get a push start in front of all the other racers…


Source for the Bosch Relay- Brandon Products Group, www.bpg-inc.com


The 3.8L V6 Taurus fan (found in late 80's wagons and sedans) pulls an estimated 2000cfm. Well suited for cooling modified V8's.
 

At $25 or so from the local Pick 'n Pull, the fan is a mere fraction of similar aftermarket designs.
 

We chose the Hayden/Imperial electronic fan controller (PN:3647) for $36 and a mounting kit (PN:226201) for $6. The relay on the controller is rated at only 30 amps and will not be sufficient for the new fan so we purchased a 75 amp rated Bosch relay (0 332 002 156) for $30. The controller has an adjustable thermostat and A/C compressor switch built in.
 

The thru-core connectors are easy to use, just be sure to pull them tight and use the included foam pads. pulling the ties very tight before inserting the locking clips will prevent the fan from vibrating and causing damage to the fins in the radiator.
 

The stock 5.0L coolant recovery tank mounts on the left of the radiator shroud. The electric fan requires relocating the bottle to the right. By turning the tank around and placing it on the passenger side of the radiator, we could use bent pieces of 1/4" x 1" aluminum bar stock to hold it into place.
 

We followed the directions that came with the fan controller and placed the thermal probe thru the radiator and secured with the provided clamp.
 

We put the fan controller and relay under the battery on the frame rail and used 8 gauge wire to connect the fan to the Bosch relay and the battery. A 14AWG fuseable link was placed on the 12v supply for the system for safety.
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