Electric vs mechanical fan? - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 16th, 19, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Electric vs mechanical fan?

Did a search and never found a real comparison. Building a cruise /show car with this 66 I have. I am looking at the cold case rad and debating on a clutch fan or twin electric. Not building a numbers matching car but more of a fun car enthusiast thing. What are the opinions on electric fans vs mechanical.


Thanks in advance.
Kevin

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post #2 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 2:57 AM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

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Originally Posted by ss/gn View Post
Did a search and never found a real comparison. Building a cruise /show car with this 66 I have. I am looking at the cold case rad and debating on a clutch fan or twin electric. Not building a numbers matching car but more of a fun car enthusiast thing. What are the opinions on electric fans vs mechanical.


Thanks in advance.
Kevin
This is MY opinion: When I drive a muscle car, I want to hear the ENGINE, and NOT an electric fan motor when I'm at a traffic light on a summer day. If I wanted to hear an electric fan motor cyling on and off, I would just rip the big V8 engine out of the car and replace it with a blender motor, or one from a singer sewing machine.
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post #3 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 8:43 AM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

These cars were designed to have continuous under hood air flow.. The clutch fan is such a well thought out part, I would keep it...
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post #4 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 9:17 AM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

You are going to start a Ford vs. Chevy debate. They both can be made to work. Both have pros & cons.
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post #5 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 9:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

I agree on both opinions. I guess I am old and trying to look at this as a modern project. I have read lots on mechanical fans cracking, exploding. Now I realize when we buy off shore reproduction pulleys, brackets and fans they are usually (never) as good as originals. I have none of these parts because I am building a car I bought in boxes and it was a SB and I am doing a BBC. I like the thought of freeing up a few HP like the new cars. Thanks again for the input, appreciated

Kevin
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post #6 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 9:30 AM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

If you decide to go electric, make sure you choose a large enough alternator and upgrade the wiring.
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post #7 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 9:35 AM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

If your 66 is a BBC with a short water pump you could look at electric fans. If it is a BBC with a long water pump you may need to look closely at the room you have. I have a 1965 with a BBC and a long water pump with very little room. The 1966 may have some more room up front. The problem is with the lack of room is it forces you to get electric fans that might not be up for the job. If you have a small block you have even more room. If you can fit the fans spend the money on a good set don't be fooled by the cheap ones saying they can pull a bazzilion cfm once you put a radiator in front of them they fall on their face. Amperage draw will tell you what you really have. For 2 fans look for at least 25-30 amps total draw or more. A thick radiator you may want to be close to 30 amps. I think I am like 27-28 amps on mine and they seem to work pretty good. AC will throw another dynamic into it. A pre-done kit might be the way to go as they have compartmentalized everything into a smaller space and already tested (ie custom shroud).
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post #8 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 9:49 AM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

The mechanical setup flat-out works and is super reliable.

Anytime you add electronics into a reliable mechanical system, the reliability goes down.
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post #9 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

Thanks again,this is a short WP and I am looking at the cold case set up, rad,fans ,harness and switch. Alternator was upgraded to internal regulator and all new wiring harness front to back.

Great info and helpful

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post #10 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 10:18 AM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

I also split the operation of my two e-fans. Each has its own power, ground, adjustable thermostat, temperature sensor and relay. This gives me redundancy and dependability with my fans.

They also have different temperature set points to keep the alternator from receiving a kick in the teeth with both fans kicking on at the same time.

And with an LS engine and 4L60E transmission that had to have the engine moved forward to clear the floor pan, I had to go with electric fans. There's not much room up front now for a big metal fan and shroud but two Cold Case E-fans keep things cool very nicely even with air conditioning.

Rick

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post #11 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 1:37 PM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

I'll state my opinion in the form of a picture. That fan was brand new and properly installed.
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post #12 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 2:12 PM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

I have a one owner with an LS-5 and a 4 speed. It also has Factory A/C. For the last FIFTY YEARS with the factory VO-1 cooling system. NO issues so far!
SO,,, When I built my / Driver//Cruiser (1970 Nomad Wgn.) I stuffed a 468 in it and a 700R4. I went back to the 1970 Chevrolet VO-1 Cooling system, WHY? Its easy, My LS-5 / M-22 car has been just fine for fifty years. YES,,, A lot of " NEW and IMPROVED " items on the table to work with.
My Silverado has TWO Electric fans, They are wonderful. My Silverados engine bay was designed and has the proper ductwork for the fans. NOTE: Both of my 70s ( 454 & 468 ) have the 1970 style VO-1 cooling system, With EVERY PART & PIECE in place! ( NO after market ANYTHING in my cooling system) ALL parts O.E.M.-Pulleys,,772-fan blade,,clutch,,811 pump,,shroud,, 4 row Cop/Brass,,ALL the rubber pieces.
I can park my 1970 468 driver in the sun on a hot day, Turn on the converted factory A/C to ( R-134) and let it sit and idle untill its out of fuel and does not get hot and boil over.
A mechanical or an electric system will KOOL your chevelle "" IF "" It is DESIGNED for your car.
When you get old like me you figure it out... " Good parts aint CHEAP, AND Cheap parts aint good." Do what makes you happy!
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post #13 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 7:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

Guys thanks for the interest and opinions to help me out. Good points and I am considering them all. I actually put the purchase off until I can decide exactly what I want.
Big thanks, great group on here.

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post #14 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 7:35 PM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

Cheap fans do that, come right through the hood, and, other parts.

I am another fan of stock steel fans and A/C fan clutches, they work the best, and, looking at the setups frequently to make sure nothing is cracked, breaking.

Now, in my 1991 Toyota Camry, I support the factory mounted electric fans in it, as the engine is an emissions engine, set up to use its electric fans correctly...and, the engine sits sideways in the chassis, not good to try to mount the electric fans on one side of the car.
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post #15 of 92 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 19, 8:39 PM
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Re: Electric vs mechanical fan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyGman View Post
This is MY opinion: When I drive a muscle car, I want to hear the ENGINE, and NOT an electric fan motor when I'm at a traffic light on a summer day. If I wanted to hear an electric fan motor cyling on and off, I would just rip the big V8 engine out of the car and replace it with a blender motor, or one from a singer sewing machine.
I've long been a mechanical fan proponent and I agree 100% with not wanting to hear an electric fan cycling. But since having a new fan go through my hood and destroy basically everything in front of the engine to include both front and rear brake lines, my stance has changed. I'm installing electric fans from now on and if they don't keep up I'll find a way to make them work. I'm not risking my safety again.

But that doesn't mean you have to hear the fans engage. I'm installing a PWM controller with the electric fans that keeps the water at the set temp not by cycling on ad off but by varying the speed of the fan. This is easier on the fans and charging system and doesn't cause the noise of a fan that is just on or off. And I'll be able to lean over a running engine without worry of being sawed in half...
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