Careless About Cooling

The High Performance industry oversight

What a long month it has been this November with the SEMA show taking place a couple of weeks ago, the traveling back-and-forth across N. America, the follow-up from the convention, and continuous projects for private labeling and new model development continuing to take up the time of the CSF staff. 18-hour days don’t seem to be enough, but now that I’m on a plane back to California, I finally have the time to sit down and write out my observations about cooling in the high performance industry. This entry is what I’ve experienced since I started our high performance division 5 years ago, which was reinforced again with the amount of built show cars I saw at the SEMA show earlier this month.

Whatever Happened to Proper Cooling?

Hasport Prelude

CSF brought Hasport Performance’s Road Racing K-Swapped Honda Prelude to showcase a true road-racing car with proper cooling. Hasport gets it, do you?

We all read the magazines, watch the youtube videos, see the dyno results, and check out the blogs for those awesomely built cars and crazy engine bays. Common thinking in the high performance world is that every item under the hood, especially if you can see it, has to be upgraded to something beefy and shiny. From my experience, if it’s a high-end build for high power, reliability, drivability and performance, then quality parts are used when needed to achieve the outcome desired. Sometimes you come across what I like to call the “All Show – No Go” builds that carry the thought of “Let’s throw in everything from an ebay shopping cart, have it highly polished, “stance it”, and hope that it works”.

Honda Prelude Engine Bay

All function and form that is purposely built to dominant the track. Nothing cheap or knock-off, just high quality parts that will perform as expected when needed the most.

The biggest difference I see in the high performance world between high-level tuners and racecar builders versus street builders is the importance and placement of proper cooling in the vehicle and build process. Top-level tuners that we work with such as GMG Racing, D3 Cadillac, and VF Engineering among others are working with CSF to solve their cooling issues and develop new products because they understand the importance of proper cooling and the fundamentals of a high performance vehicle; If it’s not cooled properly how can it ever be expected to operate at maximum output for a prolonged period of time under the most extreme driving conditions? High-level companies and tuners build their cars for the track not the parking lot.

Porsche Radiators

Porsche, one of the world’s ultimate track cars, has been a good market for CSF due to the high technical knowledge base of tuners and drivers in this market segment.

Street level guys often ask me when discussing cooling, “How much horsepower is it going to add?” This is the SMH moment the frustrates me as I’m continuously informing enthusiast that it’s not going to add any horsepower, but it’s going to protect your investment and allow you to use the full potential of your engine. People in the high performance world will spend thousands of dollars on upgraded components, forced induction systems, nitrous, etc. but when it comes to proper cooling, they’ll cheap out at the very end of their build with a $200 radiator they bought on Ebay from a knock-off company. Either they don’t really care, or they simply just don’t know, that all radiators are not created equal. They just want something shiny for the car show next week to say their engine bay is complete.

Tube Comparison

Not all radiators are created equal. CSF Radiator on the left with “B-tube technology for proper flow and heat transfer against a Mishimoto radiator on the right.

Ask any Mitsubishi Evo owner about the tragedy of melting their engine due to the lack of proper cooling, or a time attack driver who had to pull off their session at Button Willow (CA) in 110-degree weather in the middle of June. I’m sure they’ll regret their choice to neglect installing a proper cooling system. Skimping out on the few bucks more that is needed to get a better cooling system, or not taking the time to research what you are buying will come back to bit a vehicle owner in the @$$ when they try to push their car to the limits.

GT Boxster at Chuckwalla GTA

Ask Eric Ovatt about proper cooling, and he’ll tell you the reason why he was the only one left on the track at a Redline Time Attack Session back in June. His upgraded, all-aluminum CSF Radiators!

If this post comes off more as a rant than an informative article, I apologize if you feel that you’ve wasted your time. It could be the airplane seat that I’m in which doesn’t recline, or just the frustration building up of 1000’s of high performance cars that I see with good quality parts and horribly built radiators. Sometimes when I see these cars at shows, I wonder if I’m wasting my time trying to build a high quality part. Maybe the lack of funds for a million dollar informative of ad campaign is all that I need for the industry to get it.

Maybe I’m pandering to the wrong crowd, the masses, the average Joes of the world tinkering in their garage… I’ll tell you one thing though, if it wasn’t for the best high performance tuners and companies in the world working with CSF, and coming by our booth to tell us that our stuff is awesome. I don’t think I’d be doing this still. The support that was shown from guys that I admire in the industry, and their pledge to help CSF break through the cluttered market is what keeps the drive alive.

We’ll continue to make the best cooling products in the world, and the best and most knowledgeable will continue to reap the benefits.


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