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Oil Cooler for a Spitfire 1500

Posted by socal.colin 
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socal.colin Avatar
Colin C
San Diego, USA   usa
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Shitfire AKA Spitwad"

Hey guys, I am new to this forum, but I believe my father has been on here. We race a Triumph Spitfire 1500 in the 24 hour of LeMons.

I would like to know what oil coolers I could grab out of the Junk Yard that would work on the Spitfire 1500. Like for instance, will the earlier MGB stock oil coolers fit? What about from a GT6?

What kind of limitations am I looking at with adding an oil cooler to the 1500 motor? I know it can take longer to warm up, but we warm it up slow and then it stays hot for anywhere from 7 to 24 hours strait, and our oil got so hot at the last race, our idle oil pressure dropped from 50lbs to 5lbs.

Can I just pick up any other cars oil cooler that is larger and run the hoses to a proper Spitfire 1500 sandwich adapter plate?.. will there be enough pressure to pump the oil through one that large?

The proper way to mount an oil cooler is vertically with the hose fittings at the bottom correct?

Sorry I have so many questions. Normally we would just buy a whole new purpose built kit but I am trying to stay in the spirit of LeMons racing and spend as little money as possible.

Thanks for your help!

-Colin



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68spitmk3 Avatar
jim dordan
niles, ca, USA   usa

no idea, but it sure looks like you are having fun with your spit the 24 of lemons.

GT6Steve Avatar
Steve Smith
North Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   usa

My mentor had an oil cooler adapter, sandwich type, out of some mundane Ford from the eighties. Seems to me it was an oil to water heat exchanger but I cant swear to that now. I do know that a simple screw in adapter changed my Spitty oil filter to a big one like a PH8A.

I still have the dimensions of the adapter if that helps any....



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Stephen Hunt
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   usa
1967 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Oldest Spitfire Owned"
1968 Triumph GT6 MkI "First Triumph!"
1971 Triumph Spitfire MkIV "Parts Car"
1971 Triumph Spitfire MkIV "Junk Yard Dog"
1974 Triumph Spitfire 1500   → more

Normally I wouldn't even recommend an oil cooler, but for what you guys are doing, yeah, I can see why...

Andrew Mace
East Nassau, upstate NY, USA   usa

Personally, I'd suggest the very least expensive NEW oil cooler you can find. While I understand and appreciate the "Le Mons" philosophy, do you really want to take a chance with an unknown oil cooler out of a junkyard? And while it might not be necessary under "racing" conditions, you might consider plumbing in a thermostat.



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socal.colin Avatar
Colin C
San Diego, USA   usa
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Shitfire AKA Spitwad"

Yes we are having more fun with it then should be legal!

The 1500 motors we have already run the larger tall screw on oil filters.

I will most likely end up buying the proper sandwich adapter plate and grabbing a couple small coolers off other cars at the junk yard and see what works best.

I was just looking for an easy complete bolt on set up that could be found in the junk yard, but it looks like I will at least have to buy the sandwich adapter plate.

Stephen, that is where our problem is. For the street you really should not run the oil cooler. Takes to long to warm up the oil, and if it has the thermostat it will be bypassed most of the time, if not it will keep your oil too cold which is bad as well.

The next race is a true 24 hour, and is at Buttonwillow Raceway in Bakersfield, CA June 30th-July 1st and it will be 95-105degs during the day, An oil cooler maybe the savior of our motor that weekend, I would like to see our hot idle oil pressure stay at least above 15lbs if possible.
So if it comes down to it I will fork out the money for a new full kit, because the head of the LeMons league gave our car a $5 residual value after the last race which is very low because our car ran all weekend without issues. He did this I believe because we are the only ones running a Spitfire 1500 and they like to see us do well or to insult our car choice haha. This meanswe can spend $495 on improvements to meat the $500 value.

People who race Spitfires stay with the smaller motors and run fancy oil cooler set ups.

Racing a stock built 1500 is pretty much unheard of, which is one of the reasons it is fun.

The other reason I am trying to find a cheap way to do this, is we already need to buy night racing lights and are trying to find 14 or 15" wheels for the thing so we can have a better selection of tires. We cant run real racing tires, must be a tread ware rating of 190 or greater.. and for 13" they are all pretty much gone for anything that can take the abuse and last that long.

The costs add up even in this form of budget racing.



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socal.colin Avatar
Colin C
San Diego, USA   usa
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Shitfire AKA Spitwad"

In reply to # 731624 by Herald948 Personally, I'd suggest the very least expensive NEW oil cooler you can find. While I understand and appreciate the "Le Mons" philosophy, do you really want to take a chance with an unknown oil cooler out of a junkyard? And while it might not be necessary under "racing" conditions, you might consider plumbing in a thermostat.

My pops wants me to do the same thing, the hard core LeMons guys don't want me too. But I was given the budget to spend the money. So I might as well just bite the bullet and order a full new kit, we can always bolt it on the next motor..

So then my question is, which place will have the least expensive kit? I will check Mossmotors, RimmerBros, Spitbits.. any other places to check?



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Michael Stoliker
Bethlehem, PA, USA   usa
1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "The Phoenix"
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Lucky"

Victoria British?

The oil coolers used on the MGBs and Midgets are identical to the ones used on Spitfires, but the oil filter adaptor plates are most likely different. If you can FIND an MG in a junkyard near you, check it for usable parts.



I just checked and my can of whoop-ass is past it's use-by date.

Andrew Mace
East Nassau, upstate NY, USA   usa

In reply to # 731633 by socal.colin My pops wants me to do the same thing, the hard core LeMons guys don't want me too. But I was given the budget to spend the money. So I might as well just bite the bullet and order a full new kit, we can always bolt it on the next motor..
Well, yes...and no. That's my point about used oil coolers; you've no idea what's in them, and they're not that easily "flushed" of engine debris such as bits o' bearing, piston, etc.! Hopefully a new one will "save" your current motor. But if that one still blows, get another new cooler for the next one.

In reply to # 731633 by socal.colin So then my question is, which place will have the least expensive kit? I will check Mossmotors, RimmerBros, Spitbits.. any other places to check?
TS Imported Automotive (Ted's one of THE Triumph racer guys in the US), maybe places like Jeg's or Summit Racing...maybe just Google Spitfire oil cooler and see what comes up!



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socal.colin Avatar
Colin C
San Diego, USA   usa
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Shitfire AKA Spitwad"

In reply to # 731643 by Herald948
In reply to # 731633 by socal.colin My pops wants me to do the same thing, the hard core LeMons guys don't want me too. But I was given the budget to spend the money. So I might as well just bite the bullet and order a full new kit, we can always bolt it on the next motor..
Well, yes...and no. That's my point about used oil coolers; you've no idea what's in them, and they're not that easily "flushed" of engine debris such as bits o' bearing, piston, etc.! Hopefully a new one will "save" your current motor. But if that one still blows, get another new cooler for the next one.

In reply to # 731633 by socal.colin So then my question is, which place will have the least expensive kit? I will check Mossmotors, RimmerBros, Spitbits.. any other places to check?
TS Imported Automotive (Ted's one of THE Triumph racer guys in the US), maybe places like Jeg's or Summit Racing...maybe just Google Spitfire oil cooler and see what comes up!

I see... I will check with the LeMons guys on how they clean out used oil coolers. I know some of them run used ones very successfully, others maybe that is why they keep blowing motors. If I buy it, I will want to be able to use it again. Otherwise we might as well not bother as we know the 1500 will let go eventually revving the piss out of it like we do, the long stroke was just not built for it. We have 3 running motors. one that came with the car we paid like $150 for, two we got our of a pair of rat infested ones we picked up for $500 and stripped apart and sold the over drive transmissions for $600 total. No point on spending $200 on a cooler kit if I cant use it on the next motor and the next. Maybe just keep going like we are, we have run 4 races without a cooler, maybe it will curse us to add one in!

Pops just called might have found us a new kit for $140 or can match the fittings and switch oil filters and use what the local off road shop has and get it for as little as $100 with some shopping around for fittings..



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Remus Avatar
markus bewley
North West Englandshire, UK   gbr

Colin, the bigger the better.im not a fan of putting it in front of the rad, as In my mind, this stops air getting to the engine rad.
I ran a water cooled one a long time, changed it about 5 months ago, cos it cracked internally .
so put a 25 row in its place, in the syam place too.
and can say,its very effective. and I putting alott moer GGs out than you.

one reason you may be llosing pressuer,is the bore of the hoses are too small,also the unions are even smaller. this leads to a bigg restriction in oil flow.
try and use a hose [ not too struck on hoses ] or a pipe which has got at least 1/2 inch internall bore, same for the fittings, 1/2 ole thru em.

lookat these,
1, original water cooled cooler





New cooler, 25 row, fits in perfectly,





only place i used hose is for the cooler to copper pipe for a wee bit o flex



all other pipes are copper 13 mm/1/2 internal bore, much neater, and takes up less room.






maybe of some help to you. Markus

socal.colin Avatar
Colin C
San Diego, USA   usa
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Shitfire AKA Spitwad"

Thanks markus.

We do not have any oil cooler installed yet. We see a drop in pressure after some hard racing, but once we idle through the pits and our oil.cools the pressure comes back. This is why we are looking to add a cooler.

If we go with one that big and nice looking the LeMons guys might give us some penalty laps for spending too much money on one non critical part. And since our car did not have one stock it is considered a significant upgrade. But we also get some le way for running this type of car.

As they know we will be putting in a few other things as well, we do not have the entire 495 to spend. And when you spend a lot on one part that is not critical like a motor or trans they nail you with penalty laps.


We have a huge hole cut in our front with a sheet metal cowling to direct air to our radiator with a nice eletric pull fan on back. We also have to run strait water in this race league, so our water temp stays rather low.

Though it is not ideal we may mount it in front of the radiator for easy install. But we also don't mind hacking the body up a bit to direct air we already cut the hood to make room for the used weber dgv with a broken choke we got for a deal.

This is crap can racing we are not looking for perfection just to survive



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012-03-31 09:54 AM by socal.colin.

carChips Avatar
Victor Harnish
Kelowna, BC, Canada   can
1933 MG Magnette
1973 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Chip"
1989 GMC Sierra 1500 "Bush Truck"

Colin, go to pick-n-pull and check out the old ford trucks and vans. They have trans coolers. One of those coolers is probably about 10 bucks. You'll have to find the oil filter adapter, might be able to use the ford hoses though. It'll need a good flush too.



'S all for now
Vic


Heres one no one has mentioned.
I once used an evaporator coil out of a common air conditioning unit.
Mounted it up on the roof with long transmission hoses.
Worked very well,even used the electric fans as well for when doing the slow stuff
in the vee dub baja.
Thomas

socal.colin Avatar
Colin C
San Diego, USA   usa
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Shitfire AKA Spitwad"

Cool, I will check the junk yard first and see what I can find. Will check crashed cars because they are expected to have good motors and transmissions.

Volvos, Crown Vics for oil coolers, and Ford trucks/vans for Transmission coolers.

I will get a few and bring them home, put oil or ATF in them, shake them up, then blow out with compressed air into some sort of a filter like a towel or rag with a magnet to check for engine or transmission bits. If any are seen toss it and check the next.

If I see an old AC unit that is trashed I will give it a look over. That will less likely have bits of metal in it. Good call Thomas.

Once we have a good cooler and hoses, either piece together the rest of the fittings and order the proper sandwich adapter plate online or match up to one we can get at the local off-road shop and change oil filter type to fit.

Thanks for you help guys.



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