5.3L Chevy Motor Swap – Jeep Cooling System Upgrades

I did a bit of research on this subject and decided that it was obvious that I was going to need a new radiator…so I searched and researched, and found a great deal on an aluminum 3 core (.75″ thick cores) radiator from “RAND” on ebay.. I figured it was only a couple hundred bucks so i would give it a try, I called and emailed a couple other people that I knew that had bought these for their Jeeps and Pickups running big V8 motors and asked them about it and they ALL said it was a great buy and they never had problems.  So, I dropped the coin and got the unit… from initial inspection, it looked great to me, we’ll see in the long run how it holds up to this 375 HP 5.3L I’m putting in my rig. Here is what I did to get it mounted, and what I used to help with cooling for this shiny new addition.




If you read the “82 CJ-7 Buildup” section, then you know that I purchased a Ford Taurus electric cooling fan for my Jeeps motor…  Well, I never was really happy with the way that I had chosen to mount the fan (hayden radiator holding zip ties). I decided that when I got my new radiator, I was going to use that fan again, but mount it to where it was much more stable and would NOT ever move around so as to damage the fins on the new aluminum radiator…

Before I could actually mount the fan to the radiator/grill, I had to put the fan where I wanted it to sit on the radiator…here’s approximately where it ended up:


Now that I had it placed, it looked like it would be pretty easy to mount it with a couple of pieces of bent sheet metal using the same bolts that mount the radiator to the grill.  I headed to Lowes to grab a piece of sheet metal and cut out a couple of pieces to match on each side…one side I bent by hand:





The other side I marked up and gave to a buddy of mine to bend on his familys sheet metal break… then I took both sides and painted them black to match the fan and not stick out like a sore thumb….bolted it all together, PERFECT!





If you came here looking for information about how to “wire” your Taurus fan, using a controller circuit or something similar… please checkout my Taurus Fan Install page to get the specifics of how you can wire this fan up in your Jeep, especially useful if you’re trying to wire it up in a stock type 6-cylinder motor, and using a Hayden Imperial fan controller circuit.

I plan on using the PCM with my new Chevy motor to actually decide when to turn on this fan… but I’m going to use it in conjunction with the imperial circuit relay system so that I have the ability to manually turn it off and force it on if I so choose.

The last thing I needed to do for this part of the project was to run the plumbing for the cooling lines from the transmission into the tranny cooler section.  I got some Russell NPT connectors for the stainless braided lines to run from the transmission to the new radiator.  I kinda like how this turned out:





Another thing I was going to need to do here was hook up a crazy bend for the top radiator hose.   But on top of that, in my research on this motor I found out that one of the ports coming off the heads is for a “steam pocket” relief… this meant I had to come up with something to run that to that was part of the cooling circulation system. My solution for BOTH of these issues was to get some pre-curved radiator hose that was close enough that I could chop it up and then insert something in the middle that would act as a “T” that I could then run the steam vent to.   Solved!  Here’s what it ended up looking like…I’m pleased with the way it looks and I think it will function just fine.    UPDATE 12-15-12 – this setup did NOT work well, what I ended up doing was going around the air filter system instead of over it.  I will post pics of this change as soon as I can.

On to 5.3L Chevy Motor Placement…