Was the SR Swap a Mistake?

Was the SR Swap a Mistake?
Or is the GA a hidden gem that was simply overlooked?

By Frank Ewald

Here in Canada our winters can get quite frosty, but during the track season temperatures in the 90's combined with high humidity are common, especially in this era of global warming. For example, the temperature yesterday was 34 degrees Celcius or 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

Overheating is an ongoing issue with an SR20DET stuffed into an NX1600, but the NX GTiR is getting there. A significant addition to combat this challenge is a G-Spec oil cooler. This is a monster and that's what I needed to keep things cool. However, the capacity and size posed its own issues regarding where to locate it. The initial plan was to fit it in the nose where it would be open to new, cool air but that would have require fitting holes into the nose frame. Tough stuff to drill and, based upon Ontario Time Attack's rules would have cost me a performance improvement point that I did not want to spend.

The high temperatures created by the SR20DET mandated an oil cooler.

Removing the windshield washer reservoir and placing it in the right wheel well is another common spot for a normally sized cooler, but since I bought the ginormous version that was out of the question. It would just fit behind the rad, but that led to the ‘borrow from Peter to pay Paul' discussion in that it was just an exchange of heat. For example, in the nose the cool air would hit the oil cooler then the hot air hit the rad. Behind the rad the cool air hits the intercooler first, then the rad, and then the oil cooler. These ideas just do not make sense but in a crowded FWD engine bay they are often compromises that have to be made. With the NX GTiR we came up with an alternative plan – we mounted it horizontally in the stock battery location. This creative location had lots of room, relatively speaking, and provided a clear and easy path to route the braided hoses. This is not to say that it was clear sailing, because if anything has been learned on this conversion from a 1.6 litre economical momentum car to a tire-shredding 2.0 litre turbo it is to expect complications. The hoses with the G-Spec kit simply did not fit this application. The hoses themselves are truly awesome, beefy units, but when you custom mount the cooler in a unique location then expect the need for custom hoses.

Braided steel lines and industrial strength couplers mean my oil cooler hoses could be used on a bulldozer.

Off to my favorite heavy truck mechanic at Platinum Diesel, for some hoses only to find that his supplier could no longer supply the necessary fittings. He sent me off to PACA, an industrial hose supplier, who had almost everything and could make the hoses on the spot.

They just did not have the fittings in stock. That gave me time to get out some short lengths of garden hose to ensure that I knew the needed route for the cooler hose and could get the exact length required. Then I clocked the fittings. This is a new term that I learned is absolutely necessary for braided lines that do not like to twist and flex very much. Unnecessary when you have a hose with a straight end then a 90 degree end; mandatory when your hose requires two 90 degree slow bends. These angles are fixed and your life will be much easier when you clock the ends by having one at 12 o'clock and the other at 9 o'clock. Tight 90 degree bends are flexible and do not require clocking but they create more turbulence in the flow. I used one of those right at the remote oil cooler adaptor as this location already was dealing with impeded flow, turbulence, and I would not need to worry about waiting for back-ordered radius 90s. In other words, it was a faster way to get on track. My choice was validated when I went through scrutineering for the first time. OTA Chief Scrutineer, Derrick Cormier, was blown away by the 2000 lb pressure rated hoses he instantly recognized under the hood. No hesitation about passing that.

Coming down the side straight at Toronto Motorsports Park.  Image courtesy of Change CRAFTER services.


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