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Electric Radiator Cooling Fans...What You Need To Know


When shopping for an electric radiator cooling fan, they may all look alike… with the only difference being the price. Are they really all the same…? Read on…

When shopping for an electric radiator cooling fan one of the first things you need to look at… is the pitch of the blades, and how many there are. As common sense would tell you the more blades the more air the fan will move. But that only works if the pitch of those blades is aggressive (or angled steeply) to move the air. But…the steeper the pitch and the more blades there are…the larger the motor will have to be to spin those blades. If a fan has a lot of blades but the pitch of those blades is flat… you will get the riverboat paddle wheel affect where the fan will make a lot of noise but not move much air, like a riverboat paddle wheel.

Be aware of curved blade electric radiator cooling fans. They are quieter than a straight blade fan but are also less efficient. (that riverboat paddle wheel lesson again). Your reason for adding an electric radiator fan in the first place is to move more air thru the radiator core to make your cooling system more efficient. Don't loose sight of your goal!


Which brings us to the fan motors. The majority of aftermarket electric radiator cooling fan motors are bushing motors. They are less expensive to manufacture will have slightly less horsepower and require more electricity from your charging system.

Ideally, an electric radiator-cooling fan should be built with a ball bearing motor. Ball bearing motors are much more efficient (less internal friction) so they develop more horsepower and require less electricity from your charging system. That means a fan can be built with more blades and those blades can have a more aggressive pitch to move more air, which is the purpose of installing an electric radiator-cooling fan in the first place.

Also be aware of CFM (cubic feet a minute) ratings of electric radiator cooling fans. Most of those ratings are established without the fan being attached to any radiator. But in the real world when you attach an electric radiator cooling fan to a radiator... the actual air flow you get on the output side of the radiator will be much less (sometimes as much as 50% less) depending on the radiator design, how close the fins are, how big the tubes are, and the thickness of the radiator.

A better judge of the quality of an electric radiator-cooling fan is the number of blades, and the aggressiveness or pitch of those fan blades. Also check to see if the motor is a ball bearing motor (which will provide a much longer service compared to a bushing motor) and will require less electricity from your charging system. This is especially important if your electrical system is 6-volts. If the motor is sealed and is water resistant that is also a plus, as radiators have been known to overflow and force coolant out the overflow. If your fan motor is not sealed the coolant will get inside and ruin the fan motor.

Lastly…the fan mounting is very important. Your fan should mount using metal brackets like these. Some fans use nylon wire ties that pass thru the radiator core. The weight of the fan and the vibration over time will eventually wear a hole in the radiator core.

All Fifth Avenue electric radiator, cooling fans, are built using sealed ball bearing motors, with ten blades and an have an aggressive pitch, and mount using adjustable metal brackets.

 They are available for both 6-volt and 12-volt applications, as “pusher” fans (that mount to the front side of the radiator, and as “puller” fans that mount to the engine side of the radiator.

When I talk to customers on the telephone about electric radiator cooling fans the analogy I use most often is  helicopter blades. Clearly...a helicopter blade is in the air moving business and if curved blades worked better to move air, helicopter blades would be curved. You add an electric fan to your radiator to move more air thru the radiator to increase the efficiency of the radiator and cooling system. So the helicopter are in the air moving business.

Like most things… you get what you pay for and when it comes to shopping for an electric radiator-cooling fan buying a quality, highly efficient electric radiator cooling fan will save you money in the long run and more important fix you cooling problem for good. And remember...Simple Is Good!

You will find Fifth Avenue electric radiator cooling fans under the "Cooling" section of the "Parts" Menu

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About Me

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Since 1987, Fifth Avenue owner, Randy Rundle, has been making antique, classic and special interest vehicles more reliable and fun to drive.