We recently bolted on a ProCharger P-1SC supercharger to our resident '90 Mustang GT. While the intercooled ProCharger generates lower intake temperatures than a normal centrifugal unit, we felt the coolant system should be upgraded not only for improved performance, but to protect the engine under boost conditions. Long time MM&FF readers may recall project Code Blue, our Vortech-blown '93 GT. We had quite a few issues with managing heat in the engine after the supercharger install and we were going to make sure this didn't happen again with our latest project.
Our stock cooling system has seen a couple of water pump replacements, a new radiator and even a 180-degree thermostat, but water temperatures have no fear of heights come summertime, even with the naturally aspirated stock powerplant. Since the supercharged combination has yet to see summer duty, we're going the preventative maintenance route by installing a high-performance cooling system before those problems have a chance to make themselves known. This will also be helpful as we intend to increase the boost level later on.
Installation is fairly straight forward, and a lot easier if you have replaced the water pump before. Some very minor fabrication was needed for the radiator support brackets and when mounting the coolant reservoir, but it wasn't anything difficult.
After the system has been...
After the system has been drained, remove the upper and lower radiator hoses and then take off the radiator support brackets. The radiator is now free so pull it out of the car, being careful not to leak any coolant onto the vehicle. Now you're ready to remove the water pump studs. They are of various lengths, so be sure to mark them so you know which one goes where during reassembly. You can take out the two bolts that secure the thermostat housing, and then remove the heater supply hose from the heater line on the lower intake manifold. At this point, take off the heater bypass hose, which runs from the thermostat housing to the water pump. You can also leave it on and remove all of the pieces together.
Evans recommends removing the drain plugs in order to eliminate all of the old coolant from the system. The drain plugs gave us quite the fight and refused to come out. You'll probably need to heat them up with a welder. A small propane torch might work, but we didn't try one.
The final coolant mixture should have no more than five percent of water content, so removing the drain plugs is essential. If you can't get them out, you can send ECS a 1-ounce sample of the coolant from the radiator in a screw-on type container, and they can tell you what the mixture is. They also have test strips that you can get to make sure you're in the ballpark. If you need to do this, call their phone number listed below, as there is a different address to send the sample to.
The ECS system for the 5-liter Mustang sells for $895, and features a high-flow aluminum radiator (made for ECS by Griffin), a high-flow water pump, thermostat housing and thermostat, gaskets, hoses, clamps and, of course, 5 gallons of NPG+. ECS also offers a variety of overflow tanks as well as electric fans for any application. We opted to replace the stock clutch fan and went with a single electric unit ($129.99), as our supercharger did not offer the necessary room to fit the dual setup ($249.99). For those living in warmer climates, or cars with custom computer tuning, ECS recommends they not use the included thermostat, as the system is designed to flow openly. People in the colder northern climates may want to use it to get some heat from the engine.
Our detailed captions will get you through the installation of the Evans Cooling Systems kit. The ECS kit comes with detailed instructions, and its Website is quite helpful should you have other questions. A Chiltons or Haynes manual will come in handy if this is the first time you have replaced the water pump.
Whether your car is unnaturally aspirated or not, it can benefit from a high-performance cooling system. The factory design is good at best and as our cars get older, most of these parts will need to be replaced anyway, so it only makes sense to upgrade. After all, that's what you're doing to the rest of the engine. Ignoring your cooling system is like ignoring your brakes. You're only asking for trouble, so read on to find out how to make your cooling system perform like a pro.
With the old water pump and...
With the old water pump and thermostat/housing removed, scrape the mounting surface until it is clean and free of any gasket material. Use brake cleaner or a similar solvent to thoroughly clean the area afterwards.
Unless your car has the heater...
Unless your car has the heater blocked off, you'll need to install this supplied fitting. Apply some Teflon(r) tape on the threads to make sure it seals properly. Use the stock hose to connect it to the heater rail on the intake manifold. To the right, you can see the small hole for the full-time bleed line.
The ECS thermostat housing...
The ECS thermostat housing is made from aluminum like the original, but is manufactured for improved flow. Here, you can see the braided steel bleed line, which will be attached to the water pump. This allows air to escape from the pressure side of the water pump and to make its way out to the overflow container. Be sure to wrap the threads with the aforementioned Teflon(r) tape prior to installation.