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Old 10-11-2021, 04:11 PM   #1
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Electric Cooling Fan Conversion - 2000 Endeavor DP

Since buying our Endeavor last year, one of the items I've considered doing on my RV has been an electric fan conversion. Conventional wisdom is that rear radiator diesel pushers can't operate without some sort of mechanical fan that's spinning all the time. In stock form, I think that's true, but with some other system re-engineering on the RV, I think it will work.

First, some background on what I've done and observed in the past 15 months and 20k miles or so of driving.

1) The first issue with any sort of higher load electrical demand system is making sure you have enough power generation capacity. Earlier this year I replaced the stock 160A alternator with two alternators, a 200A 28si and a 270A Leece-Neville. The 270A powers the house and the 200A powers the engine. I've driven around 8k miles with this setup now (maybe a bit more) and it's worked very well. Thread is here: https://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/eng...or-529456.html

2) I also divorced the transmission cooling from the main cooling system. I found while driving that the stock cooling system had trouble keeping the transmission temperatures under control, especially on long uphills. And since the transmission cooler is located first in line after the radiator, it impacts engine cooling, rather significantly. The transmission now has its own (oversized) cooling setup that keeps the temperatures exactly where I want them. I probably have around 6k miles on this setup so far and no problems. Thread is here:
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f125/ext...up-550351.html

3) On my drives (including after the transmission cooler getting divorced), it's become apparent that the stock oil cooler isn't able to keep the oil temperatures down when under heavy loads for extended periods. The highest I've seen is 240F. Although this isn't necessarily too hot for the oil or other components, it's not optimal. Limits aren't goals when it comes to engines. And on this engine, the oil cools both the pistons (piston oil squirters) and turbo (oil fed turbo), which will impact some level of efficiency and demand on the water cooling system.

To address 3, my plan is to add an external, in-line oil cooler that will have a thermostatically controlled fan to keep the oil temperature at a more optimal amount.

4) It's pretty clear to me that the intercooler and radiator aren't flowing as much air through them as they should. This is commonly reported, and I have no idea if these have ever been pulled to inspect for debris between them or cleaned. So I'm going to do that.

The overall cooling system performance is pretty decent. I noticed a significant improvement after divorcing the transmission from the rest of the cooling system (not surprisingly) and on our long trip out west, the cooling system overall was performing well. It seemed that most of the time, the temperature was driven more by the requirement for coolant flow than anything else (as noted by engine temperature, since the thermostats start opening at 190 and are fully open at something around 200-205). Once temps get to 85 or below, the engine temp is generally at or below 190F, briefly going up (again, more coolant flow) for a climb and then back down. Cat says that the optimal engine temperature is 200F for efficiency.

I have a fan setup ordered that I'm going to work with to start out, at least that's the plan assuming my basic checks for it are good. A friend of mine is going to help out with machining the adapters to produce the external oil cooler. With the cooler months coming and a few trips planned over that time period, now's a good time to work on it as that will give me an opportunity to make changes if the initial observations make me think I'm going to need more cooling.

When I pull the intercooler and radiator I want to look at them closer and then decide if I want to reuse them/have them inspected and cleaned or if I want to go with something different/upgraded. My assumption is the latter, but I'll worry about that a bit later.

Why do this? Few reasons. First one is "because I'm Ted doing Ted things."

The bigger driving factor(s) behind this have to do with increasing the available horsepower to the wheels and reducing some of the load on the engine. The 3126B in the Endeavor towing our Land Rover Discovery toad is pretty marginal. When you figure I have a 330 HP engine, I don't think it's out of line to say that this big mechanical fan is probably consuming around 10% of engine power at max RPM. It's taking that whether you're going up a mountain in the summer or on a slight downgrade in winter.

Yep, there's a possibility it won't work. But, I'm looking forward to trying and seeing what the results are.
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Old 10-11-2021, 05:31 PM   #2
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I commend you for thinking outside the box but it is impossible. In other forums engineers gave determined how may come have to pass through the rad. You would need some serious motors. These would draw a tremendous amount of power. There is no free lunch and the alternator will be putting a load on the engine. That will reduce your available power and kill your mpg. You can contact the mfr. of your diesel and they will tell you how many cfm is needed. Then you need to figure how many HP is required to run the fans. You will be shocked. If your mh has an engine driven fan there are 2 options that might work. You can install a thermostatically controlled fan Or you can contact Source engineering. They make a fan for your unit where the blades straighten out at high speed. Your existing fan probably uses 30 hp. How many amps will you need to run a 30 hp motor. I am not an engineer and some of the above may need an engineer to explain.
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Old 10-12-2021, 06:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moisheh View Post
I commend you for thinking outside the box but it is impossible...

I am not an engineer and some of the above may need an engineer to explain.
You've hit on the other reason for me wanting to do this. I am an engineer, and I understand heat transfer and cooling pretty well. Having studied the system on my bus over the past 15 months and 20k miles or so, I don't think it's impossible. It does require significant systems re-engineering which I've already been working on.

Prevost also doesn't think it's impossible, they have 50k+ lb coaches running down the road with electric fans exclusively. Their setups are much larger and more complicated than what I'm doing, but as an OEM you'd expect that both because they have more capability to do so, and because they are trying to build a product that is still cost competitive and meets the reliability metrics for a bus that can go 500k+ miles reliably.

Our coaches are overall not very well engineered, at least mine isn't. It's built to a cost, with a lot of shortcuts taken to attain the cost and weight goals. It's not hard to look at them and find simple improvements. This isn't a simple improvement, but I don't consider it impossible.

And if I'm wrong, then at least someone on here will have tried it as opposed to the conventional wisdom that "It must be impossible." But I don't think I'll prove unsuccessful. If I am, everyone is welcome to say "I told you so."
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:47 AM   #4
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I'll be following this thread. Keep us updated.

The fan does require quite a bit of horsepower (more then most would think).
According the CAT RV Performance guide https://www.rvtechlibrary.com/engine...erformance.pdf it can take 50HP to turn that big fan (that's for my 525HP C13).

Good luck with your project.
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Old 10-12-2021, 12:25 PM   #5
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While I'm somewhat of a skeptic I am reminded of some outside the box
thinkers of our recent past.

Nikoli Tesla, what a mind, and don't forget Bill Lear, yep of Lear Jet.
Bill was not an engineer but obviously very smart.
The experts of the time had already proven that a car radio was essentially
impossible. It would require the whole trunk, not practical.
Bill didn't know that and built one that would fit behind & under the dash
We all know the name of his radio, Motorola.
Bill made and lost many fortunes.

When Bill found out he had terminal cancer he is said to have remarked
I knew we all would die, but somehow I thought I would be an exception.
He was not an exception though, sadly.

I could go on and on, there are so many among us right now doing things
my little brain can't even begin to grasp.

Ray 03 Windsor
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Old 10-12-2021, 02:21 PM   #6
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I like your ambition. I don't know enough about the requirements or the CFM or the feasibility of out-shooting thousands of man-hours of engineering bankrolled by CAT or Cummins. But I can appreciate the effort.

That said, I'd order the Source engineering fan and starting there. I believe it reduces off-idle power requirements by 90%.
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Old 10-12-2021, 08:37 PM   #7
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I appreciate the comments, interest, and skepticism.

I went by a friend's house who owns a CNC machine and has offered to help with making the oil filter relocation plates (which will allow me to add the remote/extra oil cooler). Brought him a 1R-1807 filter and he's going to start working on the design for it. When my fans show up I'll start the measurements. I haven't removed the mechanical fan yet as I want to wait on that for the moment. Those should arrive Thursday, so depending on other projects and work I'll probably start digging into it more next week.

Mike, that chart is very interesting, I wish I could find something similar for my engine. I'm sure the gearing is different on my little 3126B vs. your C13, but I do notice that it seems around 2000 RPM the fan horsepower demand is enough that the only real reason to rev the engine is because the transmission gear ratio spacing isn't very good, and you don't want the engine to upshift to too soon. Like I said, I think that saying the fan consumes 10% of engine power at higher RPM isn't an unreasonable guess, plus or minus some.
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Old 10-13-2021, 06:21 PM   #8
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Just thinking about the electric fans. Do the Prevost use 12v fans or More voltage? Motor technology is pretty cool these days. I imagine brushless frequency driven motors at 24v could move a lot of air...

Most of us do tend to think only of 12v zip tie on fans from the air freshener store as add on cooling fans. Would be interesting to explore options. For example, was thinking about Tesla, and how they do AC with their cars, and found 800v compressor systems. I know for the same size induction motors when the volts go up the amps drop.
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Old 10-13-2021, 08:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wadell View Post
Just thinking about the electric fans. Do the Prevost use 12v fans or More voltage? Motor technology is pretty cool these days. I imagine brushless frequency driven motors at 24v could move a lot of air...

Most of us do tend to think only of 12v zip tie on fans from the air freshener store as add on cooling fans. Would be interesting to explore options. For example, was thinking about Tesla, and how they do AC with their cars, and found 800v compressor systems. I know for the same size induction motors when the volts go up the amps drop.
I don't know many technical specs about the Prevost system. The pictures I saw showed 8 modern fans on their side-mounted radiator setup. One of my friends said he Googled and saw a rating of 20,000 CFM, although I'm not sure if that's accurate (it certainly sounds plausible). The literature I read said the bus can run with one bank of fans not working, although it's also not clear whether that means the bus running at full capacity and just a check engine light, or with some reduced power.

The system is very advanced with sophisticated algorithms from what I can tell, definitely more than I'm doing. And with the controllers not only controlling variable speed but also direction, the voltage could be anything.

My initial idea had a setup that would be 10k CFM of air, but keep in mind that my transmission and oil cooler fans also move their own air (transmission cooler fans are 800 CFM each, so 1600 CFM there), I haven't decided on the oil cooler spec yet but I think it will be similar. Still, what will matter most will be the airflow through the radiator.
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Old 10-18-2021, 07:26 PM   #10
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Today my first set of cooling fans arrived. I'd ordered a Dorman replacement assembly for the electric cooling fans for a 2005-2007 Suburban/Escalade. I suspect that once I got my hands on the unit I would find that I could fit a second one, and sure enough, it will. There will be a slight overhang that goes with it, but not too bad. I'll have to look at it a bit more to figure out what the ideal mounting setup will be once the second one comes.

Between the two, that will flow 10-12k CFM of air dedicated for the intercooler/radiator. I already have about 1600 CFM of air for the transmission coolers, and I haven't figured out what I'll be doing for the oil yet but I imagine it will be similar. End result should be plenty of cooling capacity.

I'll start pulling the mechanical fan next time I have an opportunity to work on the bus.
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