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Thread: Oil cooler for a zetec Caterham?

  1. #1
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    Default Oil cooler for a zetec Caterham?

    After trying many solutions to my persistently moderately low pressure at track days (40-50psi), I have decided to try adding an oil cooler. Even my former X-flow came with one. What system are people using, if any? Caterham has one available for Duratec engines, but not Zetecs. Thoughts, suggestions?
    '97 Caterham Super Sprint, 1700 Crossflow-sold
    '09 Birkin S3, Duratec-sold
    '03 Caterham Zetec track car

  2. #2
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    California
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    I don't have experience with running one on a Seven, but I am a fan of Setrab coolers. I used to run a big 25-row one on my previous track car and it did the trick (as well as adding 1.5qt of oil capacity to my engine, between the cooler and the lines running to it!). I ran it with an oil filter relocation plate that spun on where the filter normally goes (with a remote location for the filter). Back then I mounted the cooler in front of my radiator because there was plenty of room on that car, but the existence of these 2-in-1 radiators from Caterham and also from Radtec ( http://radtec.co.uk/products/595/Cat...il-cooler-.htm ) are intriguing...

  3. #3
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    Mine is in front of the radiator. I use a thermostat type of feed for it from the oil filter. The oil warms up about as quickly as the coolant. It seems to keep the temperatures under control even at track days in the nineties. I can check on the cooler size and see if it has markings, but it looks like this in the car:

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    2003 Birkin

  4. #4
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    Albany, NY
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    My Zetec came with one on the radiator. I can take a look and see what I can gather on it.
    2001 Caterham Superlight R

  5. #5
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    Default Zetec cooler needed

    Tell us what the operating conditions are. What is the ambient temperature? What oil temps are you getting?

    I've been running a Caterham with a Zetec and cooler (from Caterham) for 20 years. I almost always run a cover over the cooler in order to get higher oil temps. I target 200F as a minimum and like to see it more around 220F if possible. I live in the Pacific Northwest so it tends to be cool.

    I find your oil pressures to be rather low as well. How many miles on the Zetec? Unless it's really hot where you live, maybe other causes should be considered.

    John

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by johncg1 View Post
    Tell us what the operating conditions are. What is the ambient temperature? What oil temps are you getting?

    I've been running a Caterham with a Zetec and cooler (from Caterham) for 20 years. I almost always run a cover over the cooler in order to get higher oil temps. I target 200F as a minimum and like to see it more around 220F if possible. I live in the Pacific Northwest so it tends to be cool.

    I find your oil pressures to be rather low as well. How many miles on the Zetec? Unless it's really hot where you live, maybe other causes should be considered.

    John

    Edit: I realized I might have had a long week and completely mixed up coolant/oil temps. At this time I do not know what my oil temp is but the reference is, Zetec likes to run hot.
    Last edited by Vovchandr; 10-28-2018 at 10:08 AM.
    2001 Caterham Superlight R

  7. #7
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    Thx guys. My last event was chilly all day, never got above 50 degrees. I dont have an oil temperature gauge, just an oil pressure gauge(which I have replaced 2x). I can add an oil temp gauge though, that probably makes sense. What brand/model do you have?

    I dont know how many miles on the engine but since it competed (successfully) in events like the 25 hours of Thunderhill before I bought it, I will assume it is well used. I had the head, valves, etc., rebuilt 2 years ago.

    I know, as you suggest, low oil pressure can be the sign of more ominous issues-like a dying engine (oil pump is shot which often suggests other components are as well). And getting to the oil pump is not easy. So my search has been for superficial solutions first, in the hope of staving off an expensive rebuild or replacement. I have run 5-50, 10-60 and most recently, 20-50 weight fully synthetic oils the last three track days. It had the "highest" oil pressures with 20-50 weight oil, but by 5 lbs psi at most.
    Last edited by Kitcat; 10-28-2018 at 09:56 AM.
    '97 Caterham Super Sprint, 1700 Crossflow-sold
    '09 Birkin S3, Duratec-sold
    '03 Caterham Zetec track car

  8. #8
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    Oct 2018
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    3

    Default Zetec oil pressure gauge

    I have a high quality SPA temp/pressure combom gauge. More on this in second posting. Cold (15C ambient), I run 90psi pressures up at 3500rpm and mid-80s at 3000rpm. After full warm up, the pressures peaks in the 70s psi. I run Mobil 1 5w30, the recommended weight for Zetecs. You should investigate if your readings are accurate and, if so, investigate the cause.

    As for the Caterham oil pressure sensor I used for several years (2000-2005), it failed about once per year so I went thru at least 3 as I recall. I learned (from internet, so who knows) these did not like vibration so I mounted it remote using a brass T adapter commonly used in braking systems and a -3 braided brake line. The line runs from the oil port next to the oil filter forward to the frame remote mount next to the right front suspension mounting area.

    Here are some pics but note that these have a SPA sensor which I will talk about in my next post.
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  9. #9
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    Ok, so now more about the SPA gauge.
    It's a nice but expensive dual gauge (temp/pressure) complete with sensors. I've have had it more than 10 years without any issues. It's "programmable" in that it allows use of metric or standard units and low/high thresholds for pressure and temp. Best of all, it saves room on the dash. :-)

    Here are some pics.
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  10. #10
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    Thx John! I have ordered the dual gauge. I am using the oil pressure gauge I borrowed from my mechanic, so I had to buy a new one anyhow. As you say, not cheap ($300.00) but it's a 2fir and fits in the existing hole.

    Maybe lots of worrying over nothing. My Miata ran 35-45 pressures for 12 years of track days with no adverse effects. Or, I will soon need a new engine rebuild....

    I Googled and found nothing to confirm Zetecs like high oil temperatures. So dunno.We'll see what my temps actually are once this get installed. Since track day season is over, I likely wont be back on track for 4-5 months, so it will be while before I know anything. I also snapped off a half shaft at my most recent track day so am waiting for that replacement to arrive to become mobile again (Currently have 3 wheels and a jack). That's sidelined the car for now.
    Last edited by Kitcat; 10-29-2018 at 02:22 PM.
    '97 Caterham Super Sprint, 1700 Crossflow-sold
    '09 Birkin S3, Duratec-sold
    '03 Caterham Zetec track car

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