View original topic: Vanistan oil cooler and pushrod tube shield install Page: 1, 2  Next
Aryana Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:40 am

I am such a Vanistan fanboy! Chris (tencent) makes such nice stuff, I thought Iíd share some pics of the install of his oil cooler and pushrod shields into my 205k mile Ď86 2WD the hopes that some of you see how easy it is and take the plunge!

Of course, the instructions that come with the kit are what you should use. This thread is for entertainment purposes only. The kit is subject to change as Chris makes improvements as he sees fit, so you might receive something that is different than what you see here.

It took me 3 hours from start to finish, but that included taking pics and writing the posts. Iím pretty sure I can do it in less than 2 hours now. I always become proficient and master it when the job is over :lol:

Hereís the oil cooler kit (forgot to include the pushrod shields in this photo, sorry!)

Remove the tail light

Aryana Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:43 am

Remove the intake hose

Remove the clips that hold the D pillar baffle in place.

Remove the baffle

Remove the D pillar grill

Pry the snorkel off the attachment brackets

Aryana Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:45 am

Pull the snorkel out of the D pillar through the bottom cavity. And replace the D pillar grill.

Pull the ICU vertically off the mount and move it aside.

Remove the screws and the mount

This is a good time to clean up all the dirt

Aryana Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:50 am

My marker light had a frayed wire. I spliced in a good wire.

Remove the left side pushrod shroud. There are four fasteners and you should remove the oil filter for access to the rearmost one.

This is a good time to inspect the wiring for the oil pressure switch and clean up everything.

Aryana Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:55 am

The front bracket for the oil cooler is easy to identify

Line it up with the holes where the ICU mounted and temporarily mount the bracket in place. Mark the 3rd hole above with a punch.

Remove it from the van and mount it to the oil cooler as shown.

Drill the hole you marked with a 1/8Ē bit

Maneuver the other bracket into place

Then slide the oil cooler and bracket assembly into place and use a couple screws to secure the rear bracket to the cooler. Also install all 3 screws into the front bracket to permanently mount it in place.

Aryana Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:05 am

Thread the hoses on the cooler. The longer one goes on the bottom.

Route them through the engine compartment in front of the left cylinder bank, and secure them so they donít chafe or interfere with anything.

Install the sandwich adapter and thread the hoses on. Make sure they donít chafe against anything and route them carefully.

Install the oil filter and tighten the fittings once youíre happy with the hose position and routing.

Pushrod shields go on so easy...only 4 clips and nuts per side.

You canít use the stock left side shield with the oil cooler kit.

Drill an extra hole in the ICU mount

And mount the ICU next to the power steering reservoir by drilling some holes and using the original screws.

Install the air intake duct and thatís it!

*Not pictured is the installation of two long screws that secure the rear bracket to the D pillar. Itís easy and the instructions in the kit show it well.

tencentlife Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:42 am

Thanks for showing your install, Aryana. I need to bring you out to shoot pics of all my stuff. 20 years behind the camera you'd think I would have the patience to get better pictures, but I'm just waiting for them to call "wrap!"

I've made a couple changes to the kits over the winter:

The support panels are all 18ga metal, the fan-equipped stainless and the non-fan are painted mild steel.

There's no need to drill thru the body gusset inside the taillight opening anymore, there are clips that clamp the rear support panels in place instead (Arash mentioned this at the end but didn't show a picture).

The intake air duct connections saw minor changes.

If anyone's curious about how this works, feel free to email me and ask for the installation guide PDF, I'll be happy to send it.

dougass Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:26 am

I am very happy with my oil cooler! (not that anybody asked...)

Actual running temps are noticeably lower, 10-15F. I typically cruise a bit faster than I should, 65-70mph so long as it's not too windy or hilly (2.1L automatic).

Previous running temp on a long highway run on a hot day would hit 235F
Current running temp has been just over 220F in the same conditions.
When I'm not pushing it for extended periods of time, temp settles in around 210F.

tjet Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:48 pm

Yeah I like my cooler too. I really believe it saved my motor when my wp belt broke while driving through SLC...

BTW, I've discovered an oil filter that allows the oil pressure to rise much faster after an oil change vs other filters. Its a Mann filter, part # W 719/14.

It may be a non-issue, but the /14 filter gives the engine almost instant oil pressure vs a Mann /12 or /15, which can take 7+ seconds...

Aryana Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:04 pm

Iíve been really happy with the cooler since installing it.

Iíve been cruising all over CA at 80+ mph with my sliding door wide open and a 500 lb motorcycle inside.

tencentlife Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:23 am

Glad your coolers are working well for you guys, thanks for the reports!

If anyone would like more details about these kits you can now go get my instructions files yourself, and if that doesn't cover your questions, feel free to shoot 'em my way:

Mark Lewalski Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:20 am

With this external oil cooler, is there really any need for the stock oil cooler utilizing engine coolant? Could that part be eliminated along with the four short coolant hoses and two coolant pipes?


Syncronoid Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:41 am

The stock oil cooler was in fact, as I understand, intended mainly for warming up the engine/oil/coolant. It provides minimal cooling impact.

Mark Lewalski wrote: With this external oil cooler, is there really any need for the stock oil cooler utilizing engine coolant? Could that part be eliminated along with the four short coolant hoses and two coolant pipes?


tencentlife Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:51 am

You can if you like, and that makes your 2.1 into a 1.9 installation, which costs $90 more for special plumbing required at the sandwich adapter. This is true for either my Basic or Deluxe oil cooler kits. The reason is that without the OWHX to lower the sandwich adapter 2", there isn't enough room to come off the adapter with straight fittings, so large banjo fittings are required.

But of course, as I've been pointing out for years, the OWHX isn't there for cooling, limiting top oil temps is a secondary effect and that is marginal at best (hence the need for auxiliary oil cooling). It's there for fast warmup to lower the engine's average emissions profile, and as a side benefit given that nearly all long-term engine wear in any combustion engine occurs when the engine is running below its design temperature, fast warmup is probably the best thing one can do on any engine to reduce wear and maximise longevity.

Mark Lewalski Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:59 am

Tencentlife, you obviously have much more experience and knowledge of these engines than I will EVER have.

If you would, can you tell me how engine coolant (which is cold at startup) will bring engine oil (which is also cold at startup) to operating temperature faster? I'm thinking they will both warm up together so using one to warm the other in order to bring up engine temps doesn't make sense to me.

Again, not doubting you, just trying to understand how this happens.


tencentlife Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:56 am

The engine oil will take about 3 times as long as the coolant to reach operating temperature from a cold start. The difference is a function of where and how heat is being produced inside the engine. Heat of combustion starts immediately with peak gas temps at around 2500ļC so the metal surfaces which contain it heat up very quickly and the coolant temp soon rises with them. Since the 80's most production automobile engines also recirculate the coolant round and round the engine coolant passages to bring the mass of coolant inside the engine itself to running temp more quickly, and to heat the mass of the engine itself more evenly (which reduces mechanical stresses). Only when fully warm is there any flow thru the radiator loop.

Meanwhile the oil is lubricating the moving parts, few of which are being directly heated by combustion (only lower cylinder walls are directly exposed; piston bottoms and valve stems conduct combustion heat to the oil), instead the oil is initially heated mainly by friction created in the oil itself as it is pumped and flows and is sheared within the bearing spaces and on surfaces such as the cam and lifter interface. So oil isn't being heated by an extremely high temp heat source as coolant is, it's main heat source is mechanical strain within the oil itself, so oil temp doesn't rise nearly as fast.

So for a time after a cold start, the coolant quickly reaches a substantially higher temp than the oil so it can be used to raise the oil temp faster. Eventually their temp difference narrows to where little heat is being passed from either fluid to the other.

The fact that mechanical strain (shearing) in the oil itself is the main agent heating the oil is also why oil temps go up with high rpms much more than under high engine load. And because Vanagons have unusually low gearing and run at high rpms when cruising, they are unusually susceptible to runaway oil temps during high speed cruising. Hence the need for auxiliary oil cooling.

hellenic vanagon Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:23 am

#1 The snorkel must not be deleted from the t3, since it is the only way for the air intake to take cool, and without road dust particles, air.

#2 The off road capabilities are affected negatively by deleting one of the most desirable characteristics: the OEM snorkel, a design which does not compromise the aerodynamics or the aesthetics, in a very unique manner.

The Syncro Heresy

Aryana Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:12 am

I donít know about all that.

hellenic vanagon Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:24 am

Aryana wrote: I donít know about all that.

The reception of the combustion air, for a rear engine car, is susceptible to the front wheels bombardment of dust particles.

This is the reason for this accessory, suggested especially as a part of the "desert" grand raid package:

Another use of this snorkel is the traditional use of a snorkel which is the increased ability to travel into flooded roads.

hellenic vanagon Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:51 am

Of course, a car which is coming from the next century, (as you can see here:, it is not, ever, possible to be equipped with a common, ugly and increasing the air resistance snorkel, like this:

but a stealth one, based on the inertia cleaning principle, (as the front fresh air intake for the heater), optimized for the highest air pressure point intake, with cyclonic inertia box dust trap, (usually), which will have no aesthetic or aerodynamic ill effect, exactly that it is on your Syncro.

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