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S1 Oil CoolersBefore going to the bother, first confirm you need one. Fit an oil temperature gauge or fit a new water temp sender into the vacant plugged hole near the oil filter, then run a wire up to the proper water sender and you can swap between them and read the oil temp on the Stack unit. If the oil gets much over 110 you need a cooler of some sort. Just because the water temperature is OK, it doesn't mean that the oil temperature is. The two systems are basically isolated. The water temperature will drop when accelerating as the water pump is mechanical and pumps more water at higher the revs.
The Elise Sport 160 WVTA have an oil cooler fitted as standard.
Air to Oil CoolerThis uses the same principle as a car radiator and the oil is cooled by the cool air flowing throw it. Lotus fit these type of coolers at the front of the Elise which is good for airflow and cooling but requires long pipe lengths and is difficult to retro fit. This appraoch adds extra weight due to the pipes and the oil within them and makes oil changes a more complex task.
Most aftermarket supliers provide kits that fit in the engine bay behind the right hand air vent. This works in the same way as the Lotus one but the oil cooler is of slightly different dimensions. This is easier to install but increases the temperature in the engine bay. These kits usually consist of a sandwich plate that fits in between the oil filter and oil filter mount, air to oil cooler, 2 pipes to connect the two together.
Water to oil cooler (Doughnut Cooler)This type of cooler is generally less efficient. They look like a thick take off plate but they actually have the oil cooler built into themand require piping to get the coolant to/from the coller. The engine water coolant system must be capable of handling the extra heat this appraoch puts in to it and the Elise system is adequate on the standard car. higher power variants may not be. These coolers are small and but not easy to install in an Elise. Being about 60mm thick, fitting results in the oil filter being close to the standard exhaust manifold. A smaller filter would resolve this problem though. This type of cooler is the cheapest to fit.
Water to oil cooler (Laminar Flow cooler)These are two concentric tubes with fins between them to transfer heat between the water and oil. These coolers are expensive but result in minial oil pressure drop. They can be simply fitted by replacing a section of coolant return pipe. An advantage of water to oil coolers is that the water brings the oil up to temperature quicker when the car is started from cold.
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Copyright © Rob Collingridge 2009 - Last updated 06 Feb 2002