Cruise nights can draw a swarm of hot rods, muscle cars and high-horsepower late-model rides. As the crowd gathers, cruising speeds plunge to a crawl. If rubber-necking civilians become involved then a meltdown fest can happen. Slow cruising can be hard on a performance vehicle’s cooling system, because speeds slow down, less air flows into the radiator. This leaves you with only two options: pull over or find a way out. Thankfully Maradyne High Performance Fans has another option.
Hot Summer Nights
The owner of this ’65 Mustang Fastback was suffering overheating issues during cruise nights. Some of the problems were self-inflicted because of earlier changes to the cooling system. However, the only times it really became an issue was getting in a slow-moving lane. We typically saw it happen during crowded boulevard cruises on hot summer nights. While the Mustang has an engine temperature gauge, it reads cold-hot. We often saw it pegged to “H,” which as you may know is not an exact unit of measurement. To say our concerns were amplified was an understatement.
The engine is a modified 289 K-code V8 that pulled 350 horsepower on the dyno. This setup can generate some heat in the iron block and heads. The original radiator was swapped for an aftermarket aluminum model years ago. The problem was that the factory shroud didn’t fit. This meant the original four-blade, crank-driven fan was left to do all the work. We saw installing an electric fan as a positive move to improve the weak cooling system. In addition, the fan draws more air than the factory unit and covers a large area of the radiator.
Maradyne’s 16-inch, 225-watt reversible fan seemed like the perfect solution. The 10-blade unit is constructed of glass-filled nylon and features a sealed motor design. At 7-pounds, it doesn’t weigh much more than the steel fan it’s replacing. Finally, the low-profile design provides more than enough clearance for an easy install.
We spoke with Jim Kahl from Maradyne about its 16-inch fan.
“Part number MC162K is the flagship fan of the Champion line. The IP68-rated sealed motor can handle dirt, dust and is even water resistant to 5-meters. At only 3.19-inches deep it can fit into cramped engine spaces while providing 2170 CFM with only an 18-amp draw.”
The fan was ordered along with a wiring harness with thermostat and an aluminum bracket kit. Helping with the installation was Don Holcomb at Whipple Racing Products in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Installing the Hard Parts
The first chore was removing the stock fan and touching up the paint on the water pump pulley. After the pulley was bolted in place, the fan could be mocked up to check for clearances and evaluate the mounting strategy. The Maradyne fan blade was also checked to ensure it was in the puller position and not set up to push air through the radiator.
The aftermarket radiator already had integrated mounting flanges with a few pre-drilled holes, but the plastic mounting brackets supplied with the fan were too short to reach those holes. Holcomb mocked up the universal mounting brackets, but they wouldn’t allow the fan to lay flush on the radiator.
Fortunately, the speed shop had a set of universal fan mounts that were long enough to reach the integrated flanges on the radiator. A couple of holes needed to be elongated and two more were drilled to match the footprint of the plastic mounts after they were installed on the fan. All that was needed were four bolts and nuts to secure the fan to the radiator.
Installing the wiring harness was rather simple since the Mustang didn’t have air-conditioning, nor were multiple fans involved. The kit includes an adjustable thermostat with a remote sensing bulb. The thermostat can be adjusted to engage the fan from 32 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit. The remote bulb should be inserted between the fins close to the water tank on the inlet side. The bulb tip should not be exposed to an area of high airflow to reduce the chances of a false reading. Holcomb took the added precaution of installing a rubber vacuum plug over the bulb so that incoming air would not affect the readings.
A few basic butt connections were required to mate the harness with the leads from the fan and to stretch a line under the dash for a key-on power lead. All the butt connections were made with the proper heat-shrink connectors. The key-on power source was found at the fuse panel.
So far, the system works perfectly. There have been no temperature spikes during slow traffic. The fan is rated with a power draw of 18 amps, but that hasn’t affected any other electrical operations. Overall, it took about three hours to install the fan and wiring harness with basic hand tools, a drill, and an electrical power probe…not a bad way to spend a few hours in the garage!