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      02-12-2013, 11:58 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Designing a lower cost, higher performance oil cooler solution

Hi friends. As the subject states, I'm prototyping an oil cooler solution for N54 cars that come with a factory cooler.

<request for information deleted>

I'm hoping if this works I can give back to the community a much less expensive option that performs as good or better than other solutions on the market.

Some preliminary expectations and design plans-
- Will use a class leading Setrab core that you can buy from many retailers directly for a competitive price
- Will optionally use a 180 or 190 degree Mocal high flow thermostat instead of the factory ~240 unit (highly recommended)
- High quality AN lines and fittings of your preference- choose what fits your budget!
- Mounts in the stock locations

Preliminary estimates put the cost around $585, but that could go up or down depending on configuration and final core selection. This is all preliminary at the moment and I will be making an effort to find the most cost-effective solutions that do not compromise performance or reliability in any way.

Updates during this project development will be made here, but if successful I will post a detailed thread separately on the kit contents, all options and their additional cost/benefit, and installation notes. This will not be a kit that I sell as a complete package- I'm not interested in marking up products you can already buy for a great price off the shelf.

Why am I doing this? Oil coolers are not rocket science. Some would want you to believe they are, but it's a matter of picking the right core, using lines and adapters of appropriate diameter so as not to drop pressure, running the right thermostat for your application, and most importantly *keeping it simple and therefore reliable*.

Last edited by ashmostro; 02-13-2013 at 07:04 AM.
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      02-12-2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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Also can I see a show of hands from those who are seriously interested in such a solution at the price point I stated. Gauging interest.

Thanks
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      02-12-2013, 08:36 PM   #3
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Make one for the n54 535i and I'm in.
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      02-12-2013, 11:22 PM   #4
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What price do you have in mind?
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      02-12-2013, 11:32 PM   #5
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Read the end of the first post. I will keep it updated.

I just bought most of the parts... Will fit/fab it up over the next month.
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      02-13-2013, 12:26 AM   #6
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Why can't you measure your own?
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      02-13-2013, 12:41 AM   #7
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Yea shouldnt you be looking into exactly how it sits in the fender well and how the oil lines are ran, what kind of hardware are you going to use to secure the lines, ect...??? Just a question since I would be interested but your asking some of us who have no knowledge or little knowledge in making a custom oil cooler nor care as long as its keeping our oil temps under 220-230 with spirited driving
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      02-13-2013, 02:54 AM   #8
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So $600 for a DIY oil cooler, or $700 for an ER oil cooler that is engineered? I'll take the ER
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      02-13-2013, 05:16 AM   #9
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Folks,
I havent yet pulled the bumper off but some of you may have, thats why. That answer was going to inform the dimensions of the cooler i would try to fit up. No matter though, i went ahead and bought the biggest I think should fit based on other research.

I will be mocking up a few different mounting solutions for the cooler... the rest of the kit is a no brainer though there are a few options to choose such as stock or aftermarket thermostat, line and fittings type, etc.

Sorry if that request didn't make sense or otherwise bothered anyone I guess I'm just excited to do this. I'm not going to be selling any of the parts except maybe the brackets, if they require fabrication beyond the average mechanic's. The rest of the components can be purchased off the shelf- it seems more complicated than it is. I'm not interested in profit off this kit since the whole point is to get a maximum performance option out there that isn't absurdly priced.

As for lack of interest because its not backed by a brand name, I understand the sentiment. That said, the Setrab cooler core is the very best and most efficient on the market, and the biggest size that can fit in there probably. The core is the most important part. I'm not trying to convert anyone here, its just another option for those that have been looking for one and are familiar with the component quality from Setrab and Mocal.

I will continue to update this thread as I make progress. Feel free to follow along if you want.

Thanks
Ash
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      02-13-2013, 06:49 AM   #10
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This is quite useful for many of us and the best way to increase the oil cooler capacity.
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      02-13-2013, 07:06 AM   #11
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Update: I edited the first post to remove the request for information as that is no longer relevant, and was clouding the overall goal. Again, apologies for any displeasure that may have caused.
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      02-13-2013, 09:30 AM   #12
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As far as big Setrab cores go, the Stett kit used a 634 and the Advan kit used a 920. These cores are rated by Setrab at 400-475HP and 300-400HP, respectively. Mounting loacations were different, so they both looked like the biggest cores that would get direct airflow where they were positioned.

Are you planning to drill and tap the existing thermostat housing or use a remote t-stat with a housing delete plate? I would definitely be interested in a housing delete plate that had AN10 fittings...
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      02-13-2013, 09:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CUTigers View Post
So $600 for a DIY oil cooler, or $700 for an ER oil cooler that is engineered? I'll take the ER
I didn't notice the price he mentioned in the OP. I'd take the ER any day as well.
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      02-13-2013, 09:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyguy View Post
As far as big Setrab cores go, the Stett kit used a 634 and the Advan kit used a 920. These cores are rated by Setrab at 400-475HP and 300-400HP, respectively. Mounting loacations were different, so they both looked like the biggest cores that would get direct airflow where they were positioned.

Are you planning to drill and tap the existing thermostat housing or use a remote t-stat with a housing delete plate? I would definitely be interested in a housing delete plate that had AN10 fittings...
There will be a thermostat delete option, but it won't be a plate. Instead it will be a passage block that forces the secondary route at all times. That would then be paired with a Mocal inline 180 or 190 degree (up to the user) thermostat, similar to what other kits use. And again, it's an option- if you prefer to just use the factory thermostat, you can do that and save about $150-200 in the process.



To the others- to compare apples to apples on cost, you need to look at kits that use 34-row Setrabs cores (only a few do). Those kits are priced more like $1000-1200, not $700.

Again though- I'm not looking to compete with anyone on the open market. I'm not going to be selling a kit- this is just another option for enthusiasts who want the most bang for their buck and aren't afraid to think outside the box. If you feel more comfortable spending your coin on a one-source kit with markup, that's your call and I am not trying to change your mind about that at all. Please keep that in mind as you read this thread.

Thanks for the feedback so far- I appreciate it.

Last edited by ashmostro; 02-13-2013 at 10:00 AM.
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      02-13-2013, 10:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazze90 View Post
I didn't notice the price he mentioned in the OP. I'd take the ER any day as well.
Which core?
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      02-13-2013, 10:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashmostro View Post
There will be a thermostat delete option, but it won't be a plate. Instead it will be a passage block that forces the secondary route at all times. That would then be paired with a Mocal inline 180 or 190 degree (up to the user) thermostat, similar to what other kits use. And again, it's an option- if you prefer to just use the factory thermostat, you can do that and save about $150-200 in the process.



To the others- to compare apples to apples on cost, you need to look at kits that use 34-row Setrabs cores (only a few do). Those kits are priced more like $1000-1200, not $700.

Again though- I'm not looking to compete with anyone on the open market. I'm not going to be selling a kit- this is just another option for enthusiasts who want the most bang for their buck and aren't afraid to think outside the box. If you feel more comfortable spending your coin on a one-source kit with markup, that's your call and I am not trying to change your mind about that at all. Please keep that in mind as you read this thread.

Thanks for the feedback so far- I appreciate it.
I'm with you. Why not have a proper upgrade. Doing it once properly is the best.
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      02-13-2013, 10:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CUTigers View Post
So $600 for a DIY oil cooler, or $700 for an ER oil cooler that is engineered? I'll take the ER
ER is $800 last time I checked, and doesn't come with a shroud.

I'd be very interested if you can keep the total build cost under 600 and include an intake shroud of some sort.
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      02-13-2013, 11:03 AM   #18
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Shroud and fender exit vent would be the second phase of this project. First would be to get the basic core, thermostat, and lines kit set up.

Custom shrouds and vents is where things can get pricey given it's shop time to fab up complex parts. I would look at that as an option for buyers that want the most possible performance and an OEM-level integration.

Definitely interested in doing that, but not out the gate.
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      02-13-2013, 11:09 AM   #19
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How about work on a retrofit kit for those of us that don't have oil coolers? All you probably need to add is the oil cooler housing and bolts/seals nescessary to install it for another 2-300
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      02-13-2013, 12:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psmitty95 View Post
How about work on a retrofit kit for those of us that don't have oil coolers? All you probably need to add is the oil cooler housing and bolts/seals nescessary to install it for another 2-300
Indeed that would be all that would be needed. I'd also look into whether there is a way to exclude the built-in thermostat to reduce the cost for those that intend to run an external. There's a few things to consider there. But, since I wouldn't be supplying the parts and instead only providing part number advice, it's not a lot more incremental work.

Thanks for the suggestion!
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      02-13-2013, 12:19 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashmostro View Post
Indeed that would be all that would be needed. I'd also look into whether there is a way to exclude the built-in thermostat to reduce the cost for those that intend to run an external. There's a few things to consider there. But, since I wouldn't be supplying the parts and instead only providing part number advice, it's not a lot more incremental work.

Thanks for the suggestion!
No problem. If you make a retrofit kit that's better than the oem oil kit you can put me in line to buy one
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      02-13-2013, 12:22 PM   #22
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Cool man!

I'm hoping more people find this promising as they think about it more. Just like intercoolers, not all cores are created alike, despite their size. The value prop is both cost and performance.
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