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Old 12-01-2004, 09:43 PM   #1
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Electric Radiator Fans

Hi,

I guess I'm the "new kid on the block". I've been following skoolie.net for several months and finally decided to come on board. I've got a TC2000 (flat nose) Blue Bird and want to increase the mileage. For those that aren't familiar with this bus, it has a Cummins 5.9 engine--the same one that powers the pick-ups. Attached to the front of the engine is a great, big fan. How much horsepower does it use? Probably, it isn't needed at higher speeds. The fact that I'm getting about 8.8 mpg tells me that I am using more fuel per mile. More fuel per mile means more heat is created and that means a higher cooling capacity is required. So, here is the question from the new guy: Could several electric fans replace the mechanical fan and free up some horsepower?

Herb in Utah
1990 TC2000 with 105,000 miles
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:31 PM   #2
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Dont quote me

My personal opinion on electric fans is to use them as auxillary or when nothing else will work. I would only forsee you saving .3 mpg max if you switched to an electric fan. You would most likely need 2 or more electric fans to provide the same amount of flow that your engine driven fan has. The problem is that eventhough you are not directly loading the engine you still have to power the fan which is powered off the alternator/battery depending on charge level of batt and other loads. Basicly I dont think its worth the effort.

Not that this is related subject but i have worked on a few s-10 with small blocks in them and the use of an electric fan just doesnt provide enough cooling.

Any way that is just my 2 cents
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Old 12-02-2004, 02:11 PM   #3
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I do a lot of racing during the summer in SCCA and SAAC events. On the 66 GT Mustang Fastback we race in SAAC using an electric fan makes a HUGE difference. In fact you really don't need a fan that much at speed (which is when the mechanical fan is doing you the most good). But an electric fan will always be blowing a lot of air through even if you are sitting at a stop sign at idle. Installing an electric fan on that 66 made all of our heat issues go away.

Now before I ever took my school bus on a long trip I installed an electric fan in front of the radiator (and left the mechanical fan on also) this is because I didn't want to risk blowing up a radiator hose because of pressure build up. I also installed a thermostat on the fan so that it runs whenever the radiator is getting too hot.



I got the largest fan that would fit between the radiator and grill (could have used a larger one on the other side if I took the mechanical fan off)

The thing that you will notice if you do add this on to your bus is that once you have got to where you are a going and turn the bus off, even if the mechanical fan had been keeping temps down just fine so that the electrical fan hadn't even been running. Within about 5 minutes of turning the engine off the electric fan will pop on because of all the built up heat in the engine, it is actually getting hotter. So the electric fan will turn on, cool down your engine and won't have to worry about heat soaking anything or blowing any hoses even when your not driving anywhere.
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Old 12-04-2004, 12:33 PM   #4
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Are you sure your engine driven fan spins all the time? Or does it have a clutch mechanism built into it. The engine driven fan on my 1991 6.6 liter ford only spins when things begin to heat up. It's a very simple clutch mechanism. No electrical wires or anything going to it.

At idle, the fan appears to spin all the time, but when the engine is up to speed, the fan doesnt' spin much at all. When the fan kicks on, it makes more noise than the engine. If the fan ever gets stuck on (yes, this has happened) it's so loud that it'll drive you insane after listening to it for a while.

hope this helps
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Old 12-04-2004, 01:22 PM   #5
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electric radiator fans

Thanks to those who responded. I got to thinking about this idea of putting electric fans on my bus after looking in a catalog that showed a CYCLONE POWER FAN. It is for Ford V-10's and 7.3 Diesels. They say that at 3000 rpms a fan is pulling 35 horse power from the engine. I'm skeptical about that figure but it is using some.

I just went out to the bus and looked at it doesn't appear to have a clutch mechanism on the fan. There is just a stamped, metal pulley with a somewhat cone-shaped part between the blades and the pulley. Every clutch fan I've seen has some aluminum parts with fins of some sort. Also, the fan doesn't spin freely when the engine is cold.

This bus never really saw "school service" . It was a military bus used to haul soldiers around. The federal govt. probably was too cheap to spec. out a cluth-fan. I might investigate getting a Cummins 5.9 clutch fan if they are available. Anybody know if these are available.

Herb in Utah
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Old 12-05-2004, 02:38 AM   #6
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We have a Blue Bird FC at work with a Cummins ISB & a clutch fan. It's VERY noticeable when it turns on: a very loud roar & a noticeable power loss in this somewhat underpowered bus.
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Old 12-05-2004, 05:27 PM   #7
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I use a flex-fan on my race cars, as do most in this area right up to Late Models, and it takes very little power from my engine. When at high rpm's (and moving through the wind) the fan flattens out but at idle (when more cooling is needed since there is no wind passing through) it gives a lot of cooling since the blades round out again. Just a suggestion.
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Old 01-03-2005, 11:43 PM   #8
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electric radiator fan

I've been away from the Skookie.net for a while. It's the Christmas thing. Anyway, here I am a month later and still haven't come up with a way to cool my engine with an electric fan. I investigated the idea of a fan clutch for my 5.9 Cummins and came up short there, too. There was one on ebay, but it said it was for a "non-intercooled" engine. I ask the seller if it would work on an intercooled engine and he said, "no". I got caught up in Christmas preparations and never did get back to him to ask why. I'm wondering if it is because the intercooler doesn't have the same needs as the engine cooling system. When you stomp the throttle, the intercooler needs to get rid of heat. If the fan clutch is idling, there isn't a rush of cooling air going across the radiator where the intercooler is disapating it's heat. That is my guess--any comments?
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:31 PM   #9
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Why is an electric fan not going to work, if you have a mechanical fan taking it should leave plenty of room for an electrical fan.

If you want to keep your mechanical fun but have several radiators in the front such as an oil cooler, trans oil cooler, intercooler, etc then maybe several small fans would work better each with a temperature sensor so they can deliver better cooler exactly where you need it.

I think an electric fan with a temp sensor is one of the best things you can do for any car.
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Old 01-08-2005, 05:09 PM   #10
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Electric Radiator Fans

Steve,

I've been thinking along the lines of your last post. It is too cold here in Utah to really enjoy working on the bus. I'll be investigating it when it warms up and I can get my sons working with me. For moving air to cool the intercooler, I've wondered if it would be possible to have a switch on the throttle that would start an electric fan. Then I could run the rest of the cooling duties on a thermostat. Just some speculation--I really need some research on this subject.

Herb in Utah
1990 Blue Bird Flatnose
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