Electric Cooling Fan
I was asked to test and evaluate a prototype
electric fan being developed by Flex-a-Lite. This fan is
intended to replace the belt driven fan that is stock on the
engine. The idea is that it does two things, frist it reduces
the rotational mass of the engine assembly allowing it to accelerate
faster. It also reduces the load on the engine from turning
The stock fan is set up so that is will draw a
sufficient amount of air through the radiator at low vehicle and
engine speed to provide sufficient cooling. However, when the
fan is engaged and the engine speed is dramatically increased as in
full power acceleration, the fan will be spun much faster then
needed and it can consume a great deal of power. I have hear
of power consumption figures over 40 HP on some similar sized
engines at engine redline.
The electric fan will always turn at the
optimum speed for cooling and no faster so it will not over consume
power. So, by reducing unnecessary power consumption, and
reducing the rotational mass of the engine assembly we can fee up
more power that can be used to propel the vehicle and increase the
With this in mind I agreed to test and
evaluate the prototype fan kit.
The fan fits the radiator perfectly. There are
custom aluminum brackets that mount it to the stock mounting points of the stock
fan shroud. I used stainless hardware with nylon insert locking nuts so it
all will stay put.
The fan relay is also a prototype unit and I am told it is
one of a kind. It has a connection for the A/C compressor clutch so the
fan will activate with the A/C compressor, but the unique thing is the temp
sensor. You can see it in the picture of the relay on the end of the
wire. It mounts to a hole that is on the edge of the radiator. It
has a loop in the end and just bolts right to the hole in the lip. It does
not penetrate into the inside, get tucked into a hose, or stuffed in between the
fins on the radiator so there is never a chance of it leaking.
I have never seen this controller on any
production fan. Flex-a-Lite has recently released a new
controller that can vary the fan speeds and start the fan at a lower
speed and increase it as needed for additional cooling. This
further reduces load on the electrical system and I am considering
an upgrade to it.
I can not comment on any improvement in MPG.
The engine does feel more peppy, but I make to many mods to know
what is really impacting the MPG. Others that have installed
this fan have reported a slight increase. A nice benefit is
that the fan does not run with the engine is first started liek the
stock mechanical fan.
When this fan kit made it into
production as a vehicle specific kit for the Tacoma and
4Runner, and started hitting the market I saw some things I
did not like. First the skimped on the brackets. They
are not as nice as the ones you see hear. Next the fan
controller is not as nice at all. When you look closely at it
it just does not give that high quality feel and it has the temp
sensor that you have to tuck inside your radiator hose. Some
have reported leaks due to this.
Another thing is the price.
The vehicle specific fan kit for the Tacoma and 4Runner is priced a
lot higher then the generic fan kit. There is just no need for
you to spend the extra money on the vehicle specific fan kit.
If you want one of these get the generic fan kit. It comes
with some fiber filled nylon brackets that will work just as good as
the metal ones. You simply have to cut the extra bracket that
sticks off of the side of the radiator, that is it and you can save
yourself a lot of money on the fan kit.
others that have installed the fan kit have had to say: