With LS engine swaps becoming increasingly popular by the day, many companies are providing enthusiasts with solutions to make the swaps easier than ever. There are many different reasons as to why LS engines are the go-to swap for everything from classic muscle cars, to import cars. Due to the LS platform’s small size and legendary reliability, it’s become a favorite among enthusiasts worldwide.
One of the most common oversights during an LS swap is ignoring the cooling system components. We reached out to cooling system experts Be Cool to discuss what steps and components LS enthusiasts should pay attention to during a swap. All of Be Cool’s products are made right here in the USA, and they offer a variety of direct-fit radiators and electric fan modules.
What Makes A Be Cool Module
Be Cool LS Engine Swap Radiators
Billet filler necks ensure the radiator has strength and won’t crack from the stress of heat. And with its aluminum construction, these radiators are 50-percent lighter than most of the OEM radiators they replace. CAB-brazed and its non-epoxy construction make the radiators repairable, and includes an OEM sized brass petcock. Be Cool says this technology allows the radiator to cool the LS engine up to a minimum of 20 degrees cooler than OEM.
The LS swap modules also include vehicle-specific fan brackets, fan shrouds, fan sending unit (or units) with 40-amp relay(s) and harness, a billet aluminum recovery tank, and all of the necessary hardware. Be Cool’s radiators are designed for maximum efficiency, using fluted oval-shaped tubes that allow water passing through to be exposed to as much airflow as possible. Construction of the aluminum radiators are also epoxy-free, which ensures they won’t store any unwanted heat.
High-torque electric fans allow for a consistent amount of airflow at any RPM. This is the reason why Be Cool only offers electric fan modules. Mechanical fans will only turn as fast as the water pump RPM to which it is attached, which is why older cars may overheat in traffic at idle or low RPM. Be Cool radiator and fan modules are built with puller fans as the standard, however, they can be replaced with pusher type if desired by the customer. Fan modules include all of the necessary components to convert from a mechanical fan to an electric fan for the LS swap. There are four types of fan designs Be Cool supplies:
- Super Duty Motor – A 16-inch electric fan which is capable of 3,140 cubic feet of airflow per minute (cfm) and mounts against a radiator core. It is the highest-rated CFM fan available from manufacturer. It requires a high-amp alternator and Be Cool’s 40-amp waterproof relay to produce at peak performance.
- High-Torque Motor – Features an enhanced motor design ensuring the best possible output from a reduced-depth electric fan, which benefits the life of the fan motor. It uses Be Cool’s “through-the-radiator” fan design and offers a tapered-protective grate-sealed, waterproof, high-performance electric motor. This fan motor also requires a high-amp alternator and a 40-amp waterproof relay.
- Medium Profile Motor – Best for when you need maximum airflow, but don’t have the space for the a larger more powerful fan(s). It uses the same “European technology” as the high-torque fan, but in a smaller size with slightly-less CFM capability.
- Thin Line Motor – Ideal for when space is a problem, or to use as a helper fan, intercooler fan, or as an A/C condenser fan. This is company’s smallest, versatile fan.
Knowing The Type of Fan Wiring Harness Kit You’ll Need
Once the proper electric fans and radiator has been selected and the wiring has been performed correctly, you’ll need to figure out if the current alternator is adequate enough to support the additional amperage draw from the new high-performance electric fans. – Justin Larocque, Be Cool
Justin Larocque from Be Cool comments: “Once the proper electric fans and radiator has been selected, and the wiring has been performed correctly, you’ll need to figure out if the current alternator is adequate enough to support the additional amperage draw from the new high-performance electric fans.”
There are a couple of different choices when it comes to fan wiring harness kits. You can choose a kit with, or without, a temperature sending unit. You can also choose a kit that activates the fans at 210, 195, or 185 degrees, and turns them off once they’ve lowered to 190, 175, or 165 degrees. Optional as well are high-amp toggle switches for both dual and single electric fans which can be used with or without a temperature sending unit.
Choosing A New Radiator
The LS engine’s original cooling system was designed to fit in that engine’s original chassis, and will most likely will not fit in your new vehicle’s chassis without heavy modifications to it.
We asked Larocque the disadvantages of using an OEM cooling system from a donor vehicle when performing an LS swap, to which he replied, “The LS engine’s original cooling system was designed to fit in that engine’s original chassis, and will most likely not fit in your new vehicle’s chassis without heavy modifications to it.” He continued with, “Our LS swap modules remove the guess work by providing you with the correct sized hoses, the correct inlet and outlet locations, a steam port, and the proper mounting locations for the recipient vehicle.”
Be Cool offers several different direct-fit radiator options for the LS swap modules:
Be Cool LS Swap Direct-Fit Module for a '67-'69 Camaro with a LS1.
- Direct-Fit Dual one-inch Core Aluminum Radiator
- Dual 11-inch Euro-Black Electric Fans
- Wiring Harness with Temperature Control Sending Unit and 40 Amp Relays
- Stainless Steel and/or Aluminum Electric Fan Mounting Brackets with Hardware
- Diamond-Cut Aluminum Coolant Recovery Tank
- Billet Aluminum Round-Style Radiator Cap
- Dimensions: 29-inch width by 19-inch height
- Pressure tested up to 700 horsepower
- PN 134-81241 on Jegs
- Classic Series – This module is very similar to the Aluminator Series, having the same radiator and features as above, with the difference of being available in 400, 700, and 1,000 horsepower versions. The 400 horsepower version features a single 16-inch high-torque fan. The 700 horsepower version includes dual 11-inch shrouded high-torque fans, and the 1,000 horsepower model comes with dual 13-inch, high-torque fans for extra cooling ability. Keep in mind, all versions of the Classic Series will include the necessary fan mounting brackets and hardware.
- Show & Go Series – Identical to the Classic Series, the only difference here is the finish, which on the Show & Go series is polished.
- Extreme Tri-Five Series – The biggest and baddest module available. If the term “Tri-Five” doesn’t sound familiar, know that it is used exclusively for ’55-’57 Chevrolets. Choose from either a 700 or 1,000 horsepower version. Both feature Be Cool’s dual one-inch core aluminum radiator and dual 11-inch shrouded high-torque fans with billet covers. They also feature optional stainless-steel mounting brackets (in lieu of aluminum), a machined aluminum radiator cap, and hand-fabricated aluminum overflow tank and windshield washer reservoir. Available options on the Extreme Tri-Five also include: aluminum A/C condenser trimmed in stainless steel, lightened aluminum mounting brackets, pre-bent polished hard lines, or A/C wiring harness.
Larocque also comments on Be Cool’s Bone Yard Series, which is an LS swap-specific universal aluminum radiator series. He states: “As the originator of the Direct-Fit Module Cooling System, Be Cool now has direct-fit modules for a variety of different LS swaps, and we’re constantly adding new part numbers every day to keep up with this demand. We also have available dimension-specific downflow or crossflow LS swap universal radiators for the budget-minded enthusiast, which is our new Bone Yard Series. These radiators are dual one-inch cores with .80-inch wall aluminum tanks, flanges, billet necks, and drain petcock. These are a lot of different dimensions you can choose from, from as small as 26-inches by 17-inches, to as large as 31.5-inches by 24-inches, and everything in between.”
It’s important to note that the Bone Yard Series modules are universal radiators only, and do not include the Direct-Fit LS swap components such as fans, wiring harnesses, etc.
Keeping Cool 100 Percent of The Time
The type of coolant used will also play a critical role in the cooling of any engine. Larocque comments, “Obviously your choice in coolant will play a major role in the health of your cooling system. A mistake we commonly see is the type of water that individuals will use to mix with their coolant. Tap water is the absolutely worst type of water an individual can allow into their cooling system. This is due to the minerals and other additives found in tap water. The proper mixture should be 50 percent deionized water and 50 percent antifreeze. Electrolysis can also damage your cooling system. A good recommendation is to check for clean and proper grounds.
“We’ve simplified this process by manufacturing our own coolant, which is the Be Cool Super Duty Coolant & Antifreeze. Be Coolant is available as a premixed 50/50 coolant, which uses deionized water and propylene glycol. Our coolant has a recommended life span of seven years, or 300,000 miles, of extended-life protection that is ideal for all performance and severe duty applications. And, most importantly, our coolant is made right here in the USA. Keep in mind: if you do choose to fill your cooling system with Be Coolant Super Duty Coolant & Antifreeze, it will extend your warranty an additional year.”
We’d like to thank Justin Larocque with Be Cool again for giving us a hand when it comes to LS swap cooling components. Don’t forget to check out Be Cool’s website for all of your application needs.