The Porsche Cayman is as close as it gets to a perfect mid-engine sports car. Relatively speaking the “budget Porsche sports car” is the best bang for you buck when looking to live the “P-car” life but not break the bank. If you’re looking to turn a road-legal Porsche into a full blown race car or simply have some fun on the street, possibly with some occasional track duty, you can do no wrong with picking up and modifying a Porsche Cayman or Boxster.
A stunning and one-of-a-kind blue 987 Cayman modified street car sitting at Regal Autosport in the UK, CSF’s premier dealer in Europe.
Being an official supplier partner to world-renown automotive culture website Speedhunters gives us access and the opportunity to work with some of the world’s unique vehicles. This collaboration is how a CSF 3-piece all-aluminum Porsche radiator system landed up on Ryan Stewart’s extreme 987 Cayman Street legal race car.
Ryan’s Cayman ready to get a full CSF 987 GT3 radiator system installed to keep his Porsche at an optimal temperature at all times… no matter what!
CSF radiators come meticulously packaged to make sure that transport around the world is no problem. Individually cut foam, poly wrapped bag, and a Plexi-board protecting both sides of the core assure a perfect radiator ready to be installed.
Most people, even Porsche owners, don’t realize how the cooling system works on a water-cooled Porsche. Going all the way back to the 996/986 models and continuing through the most recent 991/981 generation; the Turbo, alongside the GT3, and some S models received three radiators (Left, Right, Center) while the regular Carrera and run-of-the-mill Boxster/Caymans only received the two side radiators. (There are exceptions when talking about newer special edition mid-engine models like the Spyder or GT4, but that’s not what we’re talking about now, so let’s get back to it!).
A lot of Cayman/Boxster owners install an optional auxiliary center radiator to help with overheating, especially on the track. Ryan took it a step further and installed the larger 997 GT3 center radiator for maximum cooling.
The Cayman/Boxster makes a great track car. However, with only two side radiators from the factory, serious track use or spirited driving tends to overheat the vehicle quickly. Dating back to the 986 models, Porsche quickly realized this and developed an optional auxiliary third center radiator retrofit upgrade. Ryan has taken his Cayman cooling capabilities one step further, and has “properly” installed, with correcting radiator brackets, hoses, and ducting (super important!), the larger GT3 center radiator into his vehicle (CSF #7053).
As you can see in the picture on the left, the center radiator is tilted downwards. This allows proper airflow to enter into the radiator and exit out of the GT3 style top bumper vent.
997/987 factory radiators can range from 5 to 11 years old. 996/986 radiators can be up to 18 years old if you still have the original units installed! That’s a long time, and many issues can cause the radiators to fail or diminish in performance over time. Bent over fins, clogged by debris, and internal corrosion; just some of the issues that Porsche side radiators face. Also, weaker style plastic tanks are prone to fail during track use, especially wheel-to-wheel racing where slight bumper contact or high vibration is possible. Tank problems were especially evident on 996/986 models.
Even with condensers installed in front of both side radiators, you can see how much dirt and debris has clogged up the Cayman’s radiators over the past ~8 years. Time to change them out for a set of stronger and more efficient brand new CSF all-aluminum radiators w/ B-Tube technology
Watch Michael Essa (@michaelessa) talk about the CSF 996/986 radiators that he originally helped develop and test in his own 996 cup car.
When using just the two new upgraded CSF side radiators, vehicles will typically see temperature drops of ~10 degrees Celsius (~50 degrees Fahrenheit) when pushing the car hard + consistent and stable temperatures at optimal levels lap after lap, even in extreme ambient conditions or racing environments.
CSF worked with F1 level race team Tour-De-Force to collect detailed and accurate data on the performance benefits of CSF Porsche radiators.
So there you have it! A full run-down of how to properly COOL your 987/ 986 Cayman or Boxster. Make sure to check out the links above for help when installing your kit, and head on over to Speedhunters to read the in-depth article by Ryan himself on How to COOL a Cayman
GT3 Center Radiator Install Instructions
Ryan (@7th.seal) has been kind enough to share his knowledge and instructions for how to properly install a GT3 center radiator into either your Boxster, Cayman, or even your non-S Carrera variant. From what we’ve researched, this might be the only place on the web to find this information. Check it out now!
PORSCHE PARTS DIAGRAM
Order parts as per parts list, also use CSF part numbers: 7047, 7048, 7053
Points to note on installation:
The GT3 retaining frame will attach to Cayman tub via studs and holes present. No drilling required.
GT3 third radiator hoses mate directly to OEM Cayman radiator hoses, just remove bungs.
GT3 bleed vent ‘adaptor’ must be mated to a small length of radiator hose with a stopper in to create a bleed for the third radiator.
Carbon GT3 lower retaining frame requires some clearance for GT3 radiator
Cayman center vent ‘blank’ must be modified to fit GT3 front cowling
To do this, cut the frame from the Cayman blank and affix to bumper tabs. Next, trim the ‘ears’ from the GT3 item, this will allow it to sit flush with the Cayman bumper. A small length of weather stripping can then be pushed onto the GT3 front cowling to create a seal with the bumper.