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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellas! I was going to make this a simple post on the 'what have you done to your cougar today' thread, but I thought better of it. I went to the local pull yard today to pick up a nicer front bumper cover for my V6 ATX.

when I went to my car afterwards I noticed a black plastic bracket that was just... wrecked. it's the bracket that mounts the upper end of the bumper and the grille. I noticed that the rubber piece above it, that bracket, and the bumper seem to make a pretty good duct for the radiator. I figured it'd be best to fix it, and I've been dying to try out my fabrication skills.

TL;DR : I'd like to design and build a steel or Aluminium bumper bracket to replace the original one. Has this ever been done? does the aftermarket have any solutions?

if you guys are interested, I can upload sketches and google sketchup data once i'm done, hence why I posted this thread in this section.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
two year bump because I might as well resurrect this instead of making a new thread about the same thing.

Factory, we have a plastic undershield (a 'skid plate' as it were) that goes from the bumper's lower fascia all the way to the front subframe's crossmember. we also have a small contoured plastic piece running vertically, just behind the poly bumper, on either side of the front grilles. this 'U' shape gets completed by that weird little piece that hooks into the smaller upper grille and gets snapped to the rad support.

Issues with this :
  1. the skid plate doesn't direct straight to the rad; it closes off the airflow, but doesn't guide air to the radiator, really. it would need a slight slope to the radiator to do that.
  2. the two side pieces and top work well enough, but could be improved upon.
other improvements that can be made :
  1. besides replacing the skid plate area with something that slopes straight to the radiator instead of below, we could add a small chin spoiler to 'scoop' up airflow from the underside of the car.
  2. there seem to be about two inches on either side of the radiator that is taken up by vertically oriented sheet steel, below the rad support. this, trimmed, would both allow ofr a larger radiator to *maybe* fit, and, if the stock rad is behind those, allow for more efficient cooling.
  3. we have a big, stinkin' steel support, about 6 inches high with the ribs, RIGHT in the middle of the dang rad.
  4. there's a big, 5x5'' hood latch, with ribs going down to that support, in the middle of the dang rad.
  5. ducting alongside the headlights could be slightly improved on.
Also, while there is 'in-flow' to the rad, there doesn't seem to be a very coherent 'outflow' FROM the rad. I imagine it dumps out through the fan shroud, hits the engine, and dumps below the car. when the fans run, at idle, you can feel a big wall of heat coming out from behind the wheel well. to me, that means that the engine bay must retain serious heat if the path of least resistance when the fans are running is.. the wheel well and the underside; heat rises, right? so a hood vent would help quite a bit with heat retention and the fan's airflow path.

lastly, the fans only kick on at 220F. why not 200? and why not get the fans to just evacuate residual engine bay heat after shutdown, for like, 60 seconds?

What I'D like to do :
  1. install a hood vent on the driver's side, above the brake booster; it seems like the safest spot, rain-wise, with a appropriate precautions taken.
  2. move the battery to the back to encourage airflow to that vent.
  3. remove the hood latch and replace with hood pins.
  4. trim away the ribs on and around the hood latch, rad support, and central support, and widen the opening below the upper rad support, to allow more airflow directly to the rad.
  5. create new ducting all around the radiator.
  6. make a note to modify the fan controls in the ECU eventually.
I'll take pictures when I'm done, and hopefully have lower temperatures at idle and cruise, and less heat retention after turning the car off and coming back to it.

right now, according to the diag screen, it likes to cruise at 195F, or 203-204F if it's following another vehicle, and will hit 225 in no time at idle. I have no metrics about time vs coolant temp after shutoff yet. if I can improve on these, I'm happy. because improvements in those means improvements in performance and reliability / longevity of parts, right?
 

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I never try to discourage out of the box thinking, but there doesnt seem to be a lot of value here. We dont typically have overheating issues unless something is actually wrong.
Air flow to the radiator is a balancing act against aerodynamics. That "Skid plate" serves aerodynamic as well as cleanliness purposes so modifying it may have some unintended consequences. A tiny drop in mileage, you probably wouldnt even notice, but the excessive amount of road dirt and moisture you force feed into your engine bay might get tiresome, especially in a harsh winter climate.
Hood vents will certainly have an impact on cooldown rate after shutdown, if thats important to you. And no doubt they would encourage stronger airflow through the engine bay when at speed, but again your creating a dirt problem by sending that airflow across the whole engine bay. Thats not to say it cant or shouldnt be done, just be aware of the consequences. I'm a big fan of finding things that the engineers left on the table, but you need to be sure you understand why they left it there.
You could try tracking down an SVT radiator if you want to add a little extra cooling. You may even be able to find a cooler thermostat, or figure out how to fool the fan sensor into thinking its warmer than it really is, or install an after shutdown fan run circuit. Hell, you could theoretically add another heat exchanger altogether underneath, where the turbo guys put intercoolers if you really wanted to. Maybe find a used transmission cooler at the junkyard and plumb it in series with the radiator...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Joey,
Don't forget, the engine is tuned to run like that (hot). It's in the design (more efficient for the most part in regards to fuel economy and such). They want 'em cooking - they work better that way.
Gord, I don't know if you're on the book of faces as you call it, but if you are, you really need to join Malaise Motors. you'd have a Ball with the conversations, pictures and such going on in there. case in point : one of the admins, Chuck Sherman, has a wealth of experience in the automotive industry. he's another gray-haired guy Like - erm, not like you, I'm sure. he states that modern EFI cars like to run between 193-197 F, and will mess with the curve below that until it gets to temp, and mess with the curve above that. this matches what I experienced and.. you know, what you've all been (very politely) screaming at my head. so it'll be my sweet spot, and I'll try to keep coolant temps there. while improving underhood temps. :biggrin:

This being said, I chopped a small reinforcement panel out of the front end, disabled the cable latch (but kept the second, safety lever) and gave it hood pins. I yanked the hood cable because without it's reinforcement, I was worried it might flex itself jammed after a few hood slams. it has the net effect of opening up the radiator some, which is good. after that, I... repurposed an election sign (I asked, the candidate said yes via Facebook! I'm a good boy, I am not a lawbreaker!) into three, horizontal sheets as a proof of concept. one on the upper side of the plastic bumper cover, at the level of the headlights. and two on the lower opening of the bumper : one right above the skid plate, straight to the rad, in order to funnel the airflow right in instead of around, and one more up top to clean up the dead air pockets between the bumper and that weird beam. I have no real comparison, but it feels good to have it there. I'll keep an eye on coolant temp once temperature goes down, to make sure it isn't being overcooled.

the idea is to widen the exposed area of the radiator, to funnel the front bumper's openings directly to the radiator (and a bit to the intake.. a bonus of having a fender drawing intake) and to improve or increase flow through the engine bay, to keep it moving and hopefully lower the temperatures. I just don't want to overdo it.

if this thing works out, the hood may find itself with a small vent near the driver's side A-pillar, as long as I can ensure water won't cause problems. I'd rather have incoming air leaving through the top than the bottom, and it might exhaust excessive engine bay at low speeds too.

I understand this may cause a little bit of headshaking, but I figure if I'm doing it I Might as well document it. thank you for your advice, Gord!
 
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