We had a dilemma in our 4X4REVIEW.COM sponsored, EKCO Racing pro rock crawler buggy. The rig used to have a 10-year old, all-aluminum, mystery radiator that wasn’t keeping the rig cool anymore, no matter what we did. When Rob Stapleton – driver – contacted me with his dilemma, I told him I knew just what to do. We put a call into the automotive heating and cooling experts at Flex-A-Lite Consolidated and explained our quandary. Their solution was the all-new Flex-A-Fit radiator and electric fan combination, which offers increased cooling performance and heat dissipation, decreased weight and a complete capability for custom or replacement installation. Two parts that really caught our attention was the new Black Magic XTreme electric fan (part # 180), and the all-new T-Bar fins that are part of the side-tank design of the radiator (see picture). The new T-Bar fins allow for an infinite number of radiator-mounting (and accessory mounting) options – perfect for our pro-rock buggy.
When we received our new Flex-A-Fit combination, the first thing we noticed was the exceptional quality of the radiator welds and overall construction. The fan was already mounted to the radiator right out of the box, along with the temperature control sensor – which you may or may not use for an auto fan cycle. The system also comes with a bracket kit which should be more that adequate for most vehicles and custom applications, especially given the new T-Bar mounting system – did we mention how cool that is?
Since we’re installing this on a rock-crawler buggy, the installation location is a bit unorthodox compared to the usual behind-the-grill location. Our partners at Xtreme Jeep in Tampa, Florida allowed us to use their shop for the setup, and the installation was a breeze! Even with our odd location for the radiator/fan combo, the Flex-A-Fit T-Bars made this a snap. Also with the “sidetank” design, the brackets allow for the radiator to be repositioned, both vertically and horizontally by simply loosening the bolts provided. We found this extremely helpful in mounting and the built in fastening points made the oil and transmission coolers mount right to the unit as well with little effort. Did we mention how much we love these new T-Bar mounts?
With our previous mystery radiator, we had to run without a thermostat to keep the temperature under 180-190 degrees. To compare how well the new Flex-A-Fit radiator worked, we completed our installation and ran without a thermostat once again.
With the new radiator installed, we couldn’t get our engine to run more than 140 degrees, netting us a 40 degree or better drop in temperature! EKCO Racing spotter, Troy Slaughter states, “We ran hard all season without one failure and honestly I believe it helped us and the EKCO Racing team go on to compete in the Supercrawl World Finals in Las Vegas and bring home a top 20 finish.” Rob Stapleton, driver, states “They really thought it out – from the mounting methods, to the kink free lines, to the way we ran it and how much cooler the rig ran – we couldn’t have made a better choice for the buggy”.
We thought so too – great product, well engineered for both product fitment and upgrades, and performance too. The New Flex-A-Fit combo is available in many sizes and configurations and with a variety of inlet and outlet locations as well. Our only complaint if any was that they didn’t include a radiator cap, but any universal one will fit.
|P.O. Box 580
Milton, WA 98354
Fax: (253) 922-0226
Web Site: http://www.flex-a-lite.com/