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HOWTO: Oil Cooler Install

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Please note that this topic is still very much under construction, but feel free to add any comments or feedback in the meanwhile. It's moreso a step through and breakdown/pictorial of the installation rather than an in depth tech article, but it may be beneficial to some of you. Once complete I'll move this into the articles section.


Parts used in this installation:

Earls 19 Row Oil Cooler  ........................................ : $295  

Earls Oil Filter Bypass Adapter  ................................ : $70

Earls Remote Oil Filter Mount   ................................. : $90

Perma-Cool Remote Oil Thermostat with 1/2" NPT Ports ............ : $120


8 x #10AN to 1/2" NPT adapters @ $10 each ....................... : $80

3 x #10AN Straight Hose Ends @ $20 each ......................... : $60

4 x 45° #10AN Hose Ends @ $45 each .............................. : $180

3 x 90° #10AN Hose Ends @ $45 each .............................. : $135


3m #10AN Braided Hose @ $50 per metre ........................... : $150


Total .......................................................... : $1180

Obviously there are much cheaper kits available to purchase, however I think the overall quality of this setup justifies the price. That said, if I had my time again, I would have probably spent around the same money on a kit from HKS or Trust, not because the quality is any better or worse, but merely for ease of installation. But hey, it's all a learning experience!


Most of these parts can be obtained through Autobarn or simmilar outlets, but for the fittings and lines I went to OG Speed Shop which specialise in V8 dragsters etc. I later found out that Autobarn also sell the fittings at a more competitive price, but unfortunately they had none in stock at the time. In any case, expect to pay more $$ for any non-straight fitting.


sillbeer was kind enough to draw up a diagram of what the end result looks like. This also comes in handy for working out which lines go into which ports on the thermostat, as it is not really clear on the thermostats packaging as to what goes where.




Installation notes and procedure




Given the location of the stock oil filter, it was going to make life much easier to completely remove the inlet plenum and fuel rail assembly before installing the plumbing for the cooler. Before doing this make sure to drain the coolant and oil. Getting all this off should only take around 45 minutes, and I left the oil to drain overnight while I assembled the components.


First of all you will need to attach the #10AN to 1/2" NPT adapters to the bypass adapter, remote filter mount and thermostat. Smear a 1cm wide bead of thread sealant around the bottom of the adapter and finger tighten each of them. These types of fittings are prone to leaking when under-tightened, so I always throw the piece I'm attaching them to into a vice and use a long handled shifter to tighten.




The Earls oil cooler kit comes with some adapter fittings of its own, fortunately these have a rubber O-Ring so it's not necessary to use any thread sealant, still, they are known to leak so the tighter you do them up the better.




For ease of installation I've assembled the entire unit, except for the bypass adapter, outside of the car.




Once assembled I do a trial fit to make sure that everything falls into place as expected. As it happened I was planning on using a straight fitting for the return line into the block, however I cut the line too long and given that I wanted to get this over and done with in one night (and not having access to the drop-saw at that time), I switched to a 45° fitting and bent the hose somewhat. I then finger tighten all the fittings to their correct angles.




To mount the relocator I've simply cut and bent an alluminium bracket into shape. There is a nice little spot on the S14/15 drivers side strut tower to mount this to, so you wont need to drill any additional holes in the engine bay.


Now we know it's all going to fit and what angles the fittings need to be at, I remove it all from the car again to do a final tighen on the fitting. How well you tighten and seal the fittings at this point is critical, as they will definately leak if not done properly. I can tell you now that there is nothing worse or messier (besides maybe a blown engine due to oil starvation) than having to potentially pull apart your entire installation because of some poorly tightened fittings.




Before tightening the fittings I always like to use some thread sealant around the tip of the male fitting. Some people will tell you that this is not neccessary, but after being given the same advice myself and having fittings leak, I've always used thread sealant and never had a problem.


An important point to note is not to get any of the sealant inside the actual fitting itself. Given that it is a teflon based product with a high heat resistance it can do more than simply seal your threads, such as foul up your oil galleries and pump.




With everything tightened it's time to go into the car. I've just left the core hanging there for the time being, more on that later.




After reinstalling the lower manifold runners you can really see how difficult it would have been to install the bypass adapter and tighten the fittings otherwise.




Fuel rail assembly is all back in place.




Plenum chamber is reinstalled and all plugs reconnected. It makes good sense to double check everything as it's easy to forget some of the better hidden plugs such as the knock sensor.




Oil filter screwed into its new home on the strut tower.




To mount the core I've made up some mounts out of alluminium and drilled them into place using some self tapping screws. While this will hold the core in place, its prefreable to try and mount brackets to as many of the corners as possible. You can already see in the pictures I've had to repair the core before as a result of poor mounting, but until I can get some more mounts the two at the top will have to do.




Time to refill the engine with oil and coolant. For coolant I use the genuine Nissan product diluted with distilled water about 60%C/40%W. For oil I only use Mobil 1 10W30. Given the added capacity the oil cooler provides, I initially fill the car with 3 litres of oil and start the car for about 10 seconds. I then check the levels, top up, restart, until it's at the right level, which in this case happened to use almost 4.5 litres of oil.


How To?


Cutting and assembling braided lines and fittings


To cut the lines, firstly wrap the area you wish to cut with some electrical tape, this will prevent the edges from fraying, then use a drop-saw or air-saw to cut the line. Once cut you should use an airgun to remove any rubber deposits from inside the hose, and I typically give the hose a good washing out with some water and degreaser just for good measure.


Attaching the hose ends




First remove the electrical tape from the tip of the hose taking care not to fray the edges of the braid.


Insert the red portion of the fitting over the end of the hose until the tip of the hose is inline with the begining of the thread as pictured.


To ensure that the fitting does not cause the hose to slip when tightened, wrap some electrical tape around the edge of the red portion to mark its location.


Apply some oil around the black tip of the fitting, this makes it easier to insert into the hose end, and then push the fitting into the hose end and finger tighten.


Tighten the fitting until you can no longer see the thread on the blue portion.


Given that these fittings are really easy to scratch when using a normal shifter, I wrap them in a rubber glove to avoid hard contact on the surface. I've tried using shifters with rubber ends but these tend to slip, and I've also tried the proper Earls spanners, but alas, these too will scratch the fittings.


Once tightened, check the electrical tape to ensure that the red portion has not moved more than say 2-3mm, if it has, you'll need to start again or risk a potential leak.


Thank you's and contributions


Thanks to Boxheadmr, STR8E180 and sillbeer for their contributions to this article.

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just a question regarding the oil filter relocation:


i know its common to mount the filter the way you have (ie. with the base at the bottom and the oil filter screws on from the top) but someone told me that it would be better the other way (base at top and filter screws on from bottom). this would prevent oil going everywhere when changing the filter as the filter itself will be filled with oil...


im a little confused on this issue. please clarify.

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given where it is mounted is out in the open it wont be that hard to change - you drain the sump and just hold a rag under the base plate while you unscrew the filter. Any oil that drops from the filter drops on the rag and you wipe it clean.


The remote oil filters are a great idea for adding extra oil capacity and cooling. Good to see it is working on a thermo as well



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when u take the inlet manifold off it....there are pipes and hoses that have coolant running through it, so your better off dropping the coolant

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3m #10 Braided Hose @ $50 per metre


is this 5/8in or 1/2in


just coz errols fitting are wierd. and if somone wants to get kit thats not errols wont be able to find out the sizes of things

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Sorry, I should have said it's a #10AN hose (pronounced "dash" 10). It's 5/8" hose.


The dash sizes follow the AN (Air Force-Navy) miliatry standard which specifies everything in 16ths of an inch. So #10AN = 10/16" = 5/8".


All the fittings I've used for my car are Speedflow which are more readily available in Australia, but given they follow the same standard you can mix them with Earls or any other AN/JIC/37° flare angle fitting, or so they say. Personally I would stick to using only Speedflow or Earls myself, which I know for sure are interchangeable.

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