Mishimoto Ford 6.4L Powerstroke Aluminum Radiator: Version 2 Details

After jumping into the diesel truck market a few years ago, Mishimoto designed and released an aluminum radiator engineered specifically for the Ford 6.4L. We identified a serious concern with stock radiator failure. Numerous enthusiasts on a variety of online boards were experiencing extremely frequent failures, with some folks replacing as many as 3 radiators within the first 60,000 miles. In fact, this issue in combination with others that plague the 6.4L were enough to make a few truck owners revert to the previous 6.0L or upgrade to the newer 6.7L, swearing off the 6.4L after repeated issues with their trucks.

Being experts within the automotive & diesel cooling world, we immediately saw an opportunity to provide a solution for this problem. Our engineers designed an aluminum replacement radiator which provided a far more rigid construction, full aluminum, and still incorporated all of the stock quick-disconnect fittings. Our initial investigation regarding the stock radiator showed that most were failing near the end tank connection which was a plastic crimp-style connection. From our understanding, either this stock unit was not equipped to handle the pressure created by the 6.4L cooling system long-term. Another possibility was a poor material choice for the stock radiator end tanks and/or crimp connection components. By manufacturing our radiator from aluminum, we were eliminating any of the concerns we saw with the stock radiator.

Thus, the Mishimoto 2008-2010 Powerstroke radiator was born. We began shipping these units out to customers and immediately had a ton of great feedback. Our customers were very pleased to rid their truck of the stock radiator. Additionally, as with all our products, we included a lifetime warranty with this radiator.

Over time we continued to receive great feedback from a high percentage of our customers. For all of our products, we keep a very close eye on defect rates to ensure that our products are falling within our standards (which are far below industry standards).

Enhancing Our Existing Design

We began to see a few warranty claims trickle in for this particular radiator. It appeared as though a small portion of our customers were still experiencing issues even after switching to our product. We honored our lifetime warranty and had numerous failed units shipped back to our HQ in DE to inspect the failures and see if we could identify any concerns or common trends.

During our investigation of defective units, we researched the stock radiator system and failures a bit further to see if we could make any correlations between the failures of our units. We also brought several trucks into our facility to inspect the cooling system and chassis. Several other sources indicated that chassis flex may be playing a role in radiator integrity. Soon after this, we put together a radiator checklist which provided insightful tips for folks experiencing repetitive radiator failure. This list included a variety of Ford issues TSB’s, inspections of several components, and replacement of failed or outdated parts. This report is linked below.

http://engineering.mishimoto.com/2014/07/mishimoto-6-4l-powerstroke-radiator-analysis/

One of the more prominent concerns within this list was in terms of the body/cab mount bushings. From our research and vehicle inspection, we saw that these bushings are quick to degrade over a very short period of time. Additionally, we saw that once these bushings were compromised, chassis flex was being transferred to places it shouldn’t be, primarily the radiator support beam. This flex would then torque and twist the radiator even during normal driving conditions. As you can imagine, flexing of the radiator in such a way is not particularly a good thing. Take a look at some of the images below showing the mounts we pulled from out test truck compared to stock mounts.

Stock body mount degradation
Stock body mount degradation
Stock body mount degradation
Stock body mount degradation

Several of our customers replaced these bushings along with our radiator and were able to solve their particular radiator failure concerns. That being said, a small percentage of customers who had completed our checklist and had intact cab bushings were still showing failures with our radiator. This news necessitated immediate action and we began to tackle a new prototype radiator which featured a more rigid design internally, yet provided greater flex at the support contact points. Even though this sample of customers was small, we wanted to be able to offer a solution for all 6.4L trucks on the road.

Our design changes effected three different portions of the radiator.

  • Upper radiator mounting points
  • Internal radiator tubes
  • Radiator core support plates

Each change is described in greater detail below.

Upper Mounting Point Modification

The first goal with this redesign was to better isolate the radiator from flexing due to chassis movement. Although the stock upper mounts use a rubber bushing to connect them to the radiator support on the truck, the posts are a solid component. To produce greater flex here, we decided to utilize a rubber mounting post instead of the solid aluminum post on our first design.

For initial design stress testing, we made a few prototype units to install to verify fitment and evaluate the amount of additional flex and movement we would see with the revised post.

Radiator upper mounting point modification
Radiator upper mounting point modification
Radiator upper mounting point modification
Radiator upper mounting point modification

We evaluated several durometer rubbers to ensure we were providing an ideal blend of flex and rigidity.

This particular modification will work in conjunction with the design changes in terms of strength noted below to provide far greater reliability.

Internal Tube Revision

Our 6.4L aluminum radiator is a 2-row unit and provides a massive increase in core size and overall fluid capacity (capacity is doubled). These size increases were incorporated into our design to provide greater heat transfer and cooling efficiency. As with most of our radiators, our initial product utilized a standard oval shaped tube. For a majority of applications seeing the pressure of an automotive/truck cooling system pressure, these tubes provide ample support. For added strength, these tubes can be strutted creating what is called Harmonica tubes. This will provide greater pressure tolerance as well as a more rigid tube. The differences can be seen in the image below.

Radiator core tube example
Radiator core tube example

Although this is not the actual core from our 6.4L radiator, the tube style will be identical. We will be incorporating these strutted tubes in the top and bottom 8 rows of the radiator. These portions of the radiator incur the greatest stress, which explains why most failures happen in this area. We expect this change to make a substantial difference in longevity.

Radiator Core Support Plates

The core support plate is the portion of the radiator which envelops the core. On the 6.4L radiator, these are on the top and bottom being that the Powerstroke radiator is a crossflow unit. This is shown in the image below.

Radiator core support plate
Radiator core support plate

For added strength and to reduce the chance of the core torqueing and bending, we’ve increased the thickness of this piece by 33%, effectively increasing the rigidity. This modification along with the adjustment of the tube design are in place to strengthen the overall radiator design.

Testing

This is the portion of product design which caused a delay in releasing our revised design. We were making some pretty significant changes to this radiator and we wanted to ensure that these changes would solve the 6.4L radiator dilemma. Our customers experiencing failures with our first design were becoming frustrated, as were we, and we needed to provide them with a solution that would cease the frequent radiator replacements on their trucks.

To be sure we had a fix for the problem, we reached out to several of our warranty customers who were experiencing issues with our first design. We requested that they perform some on-road testing of our new prototype to help validate our design changes. We also worked with a few shops to acquire test vehicles for some additional data points.

Mishimoto prototype 2 installed in test vehicle
Mishimoto prototype  installed in test vehicle
Mishimoto prototype 2 installed in test vehicle
Mishimoto prototype  installed in test vehicle

Several months of road testing ensued, and we are pleased to report 0 failures with our new prototype. Keep in mind that these customers had already been through a stock radiator and at least one of our V1 radiator designs. We can accurately say that this radiator will provide far greater reliability compared to the stock radiator and our first version of this unit. As with our previous product, we still recommend ensuring all vehicle TSBs are up-to-date and the cab bushings are intact.

Product Availability

With months of testing in the books and some very pleased 6.4L owners, we are pleased to announce the release of version 2 of our 6.4L aluminum radiator. As always, we will be keeping our eye out for any warranty returns and we will be staying in-touch with our beta testers to ensure they continue to have leak-free operation.

Our first batch of units have already been shipped out to warranty customers and we are expecting a second batch of units in the coming weeks. All current products shipping from our warehouse will feature the revisions detailed in this article. For those who are expecting a warranty replacement within the next few weeks, it is very likely our revised design is on its way to your doorstep.

Below is a look at the new product!

Mishimoto 6.4L radiator version 2
Mishimoto 6.4L radiator version 2

Conclusion

We truly appreciate the support and patience from the 6.4L collective in regards to our radiator design changes. We have been working tirelessly to provide the absolute best radiator solution and we are very confident that is what our team has created. For those who were within the small group effected by continuous failures with the Mishimoto radiator, I  apologize for the inconvenience you experienced.

Thanks

-John

Developing A N54 Catch Can Solution, Part 2: Second Prototype Design

E90 Test vehicle engine bay
E90 Test vehicle engine bay

After evaluating the design of our first prototype and performing some additional research regarding customer needs, we were prepared to fabricate a second prototype. As noted toward the end of our last post, we would be relocating our catch can for easier servicing, and we would also be designing a new catch can lid to accommodate the larger ports for the N54 CCV system.

Catch Can Lid Prototyping

A teaser in our last post revealed the plans we had for our large-port catch can lid. Check out a few more shots of this 3D-printed unit below.

3D-printed prototype catch can lid
3D-printed prototype catch can lid
3D-printed prototype catch can lid
3D-printed prototype catch can lid

This lid uses exactly the same mounting bracket and system as our standard baffled catch can, which allows the can to swivel nearly 360 degrees and which provides some adjustment to its mounting. The ports are much larger than those of our standard catch can, which allows us to retain the stock hose diameter and eliminates any chance for flow restrictions due to necking down the lines.

Bracket Fabrication

Our catch can mounting bracket was next on our list for this second prototype. We would be moving this component toward the front of the engine bay. Our goal would be to design a subtle bracket that would retain a factory-like appearance.

First, measurements were collected from the engine bay, and the mounting points were selected. We would be attaching this to the same bracket that secures the power steering reservoir. We mapped out our design on some plate steel.

Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication

Take a look at this prototype mocked into place.

Catch can bracket mock-up
Catch can bracket mock-up

As you can see we are placing this catch can at the front of the engine bay nears the power steering reservoir. This will provide a very easy servicing location compared to our first prototype. Removal of the cowl cover will not be necessary making emptying the can contents a much easier process.

We then cut out our first template!

Catch can bracket
Catch can bracket
Catch can bracket
Catch can bracket

Once complete we checked fitment again, made any necessary modifications, and began to put this piece into a 3D-model in our Solidworks program.

We decided to make a few adjustments to this design. First, instead of the slotted can mount shown earlier, we would be simply making three holes to mount the catch can in the proper location. This would require no adjustment necessary by our customers. We would also be putting a few bends into the bracket and adding bracing for an improvement in support and rigidity.

Check out this second design!

Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication
Catch can bracket fabrication

A splash of paint, and this bracket was ready for installation!

Catch can bracket, final design
Catch can bracket, final design
Catch can bracket, final design
Catch can bracket, final design

Coming Up!

Check back next time for a look at our CNC-machined catch can lid!

Thanks for reading!

-John

E46 3-Series Aluminum Expansion Tank, Part 1: Stock Tank Evaluation

Enthusiast groups’ feedback plays a massive role in our product development process. Not only is it a great way to bounce ideas off our potential customers, but it also allows us to see exactly what our customers want and need for their vehicles. This project is no different. Due to a substantial amount of demand via forums and social media, we decided it was time to get the ball rolling on this coolant expansion project.

Stock Expansion Tank

In typical BMW fashion, this tank was quite unique and featured some very interesting components, both internally and externally. First, a look at the exterior of the tank. Many of you are very familiar with this, based on the rate of failure reported for this plastic tank.

Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank

So, there are five – yes, five – unique fittings located on this tank, excluding the fill-neck connection. Check out the details noted on the shot below.

E46 Expansion tank ports
E46 Expansion tank ports

This certainly will not be an easy project, considering that the interior of this unit is probably just as complex. Only one way to find out!

Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank

To properly replicate the stock expansion tank, we would need to incorporate the internal passages and components. Check out a few shots of this!

Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank, internal passages
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank, internal passages
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank, internal passages
Stock E46 3-series coolant expansion tank, internal passages

We would also need to address the expansion tank cap, which is key for regulating pressure. We would be designing our tank to utilize the stock cap or a cap of our own.

Stock E46 3-series expansion tank cap
Stock E46 3-series expansion tank cap
Stock E46 3-series expansion tank cap
Stock E46 3-series expansion tank cap

The E46 tank also features a sensor mounted in the base, which monitors coolant level. This unit fits into the smaller connection point on the base of the tank.

Stock E46 3-series expansion tank, level sensor
Stock E46 3-series expansion tank, level sensor

Data Collection

With this unit fully inspected, we grabbed another OEM replacement unit and set to work gathering dimensions using our coordinate measuring machine (CMM) table.

E46 expansion tank on CMM table
E46 expansion tank on CMM table
E46 expansion tank on CMM table
E46 expansion tank on CMM table
E46 expansion tank on CMM table
E46 expansion tank on CMM table

Once we had our dimensions, it was time to sit down with a cup of coffee and knock out the 3D model for this piece using our Solidworks program. Check back next time for a look at our 3D renderings!

Thanks

-John

The Mustang EcoBoost Intercooler, Part 4: Final Prototype Design

Prototype Modeling

Now that we had a core that was functioning to our standards, it was time to finalize our end tank design and make 3D models to reflect our plans. After some lengthy modeling work, we came up with the renders you see below!

Mishimoto prototype intercooler 3D model
Mishimoto prototype intercooler 3D model
Mishimoto prototype intercooler 3D model
Mishimoto prototype intercooler 3D model
Mishimoto prototype intercooler 3D model
Mishimoto prototype intercooler 3D model

A few quick notes about this cooler! We designed this unit to fit within the same space as the stock intercooler. We designed cast-aluminum end tanks, which will be mated to the bar-and-plate core we tested during the previous (Part 3) segment of this series. We are also retaining the stock intercooler connections, which are large enough for sufficient flow to produce rather high power.

For this cooler we were concerned with pushing air to the entire thickness of the cooler. During the design of this cooler we experimented with internal end tank diverters. We’ve used these diverters on a few of our taller coolers to help promote airflow to the full length of the intercooler. By doing so we can take full advantage of the large core.

First, check out the dispersion of air without any internal diverter, as demonstrated by computational fluis dynamics (CFD).

CFD of air dispersion in Mishimoto prototype intercooler without a diverter
CFD of air dispersion in Mishimoto prototype intercooler without a diverter

And the shot below shows the dispersion with a diverter installed.

CFD of air dispersion in Mishimoto prototype intercooler with a diverter
CFD of air dispersion in Mishimoto prototype intercooler with a diverter

As you can see, the diverter placement is making a fairly significant impact on the air dispersion to the rear of the cooler. We decided this was the route to go, and we will be including this feature on our next prototype. It will be very interesting to see the impact of this change on the outlet temperatures.

Here is a look at a 3D model cutaway showing the diverter.

Internal air diverter 3D model
Internal air diverter 3D model
Internal air diverter 3D model
Internal air diverter 3D model

3D-Printed Prototype

To verify fitment, we 3D-printed our end tanks to obtain the exact dimensions of our design so we could fit this to the vehicle and ensure that we were spot-on.

First, the tanks were printed.

3D-printing of prototype end tank
3D-printing of prototype end tank

And the result!

3D-printed prototype of end tanks
3D-printed prototype of end tanks
3D-printed prototype of end tanks
3D-printed prototype of end tanks
3D-printed prototype of end tanks
3D-printed prototype of end tanks
3D-printed prototype of end tank
3D-printed prototype of end tank

Once printed, we attached these to a prototype core and mocked up the unit into place to confirm all our dimensions and mounting points.

Check back next time for a look at our fully functioning final prototype!

Thanks

-John

Improve The Cooling Of Your Wrangler, Part 2: Prototype Fitment and Testing

Wrangler test vehicles in shop
Wrangler test vehicles in shop

Now that we had our initial shroud prototype prepared for testing, we installed it on the stock radiator and the Mishimoto aluminum radiator. We wanted to ensure that it fit perfectly and that it enclosed the full length and height of both radiator cores. Once complete, it was time to test the shroud within the engine bays of our test vehicles.

Mishimoto prototype installed on stock radiator
Mishimoto prototype installed on stock radiator

Jeep YJ Test Fitting

YJ test vehicle
YJ test vehicle

First, we removed the stock mechanical fan.

Mechanical fan removed
Mechanical fan removed

Once the stock system was out of the way we dropped our prototype into position.

Mishimoto prototype installed
Mishimoto prototype installed
Mishimoto prototype installed
Mishimoto prototype installed

The electric fan was then bolted to the shroud.

Mishimoto prototype installed
Mishimoto prototype installed

On the 4.0L we need to pay close attention to the clearance between the water pump pulley and our electric fan.

Mishimoto prototype fan clearance
Mishimoto prototype fan clearance

Clearance here is a bit tight. We will be making a few adjustments to the design to provide more space between these two components, but for testing, this will work just fine. Other than the clearance issue, the shroud fit perfectly and looked like a very clean upgrade to the stock setup.

Jeep TJ Test Fitting

TJ test vehicle
TJ test vehicle

Time to pop the hood of our TJ and sort out the fitment on this vehicle. It will be interesting to see how much additional engine bay space we uncover on the 4-cylinder model.

TY test vehicle
TJ test vehicle

We then removed the stock clutch fan and installed our prototype.

Mishimoto prototype installed
Mishimoto prototype installed
Mishimoto prototype installed
Mishimoto prototype installed

Plenty of clearance here!

Prototype Testing

Time to see if this setup can keep our YJ test vehicle cool at idle. We conducted several tests with the Jeeps at idle to ensure that our fan setup could efficiently regulate fluid temperatures. Here are a few shots from testing.

Mishimoto prototype testing
Mishimoto prototype testing
Mishimoto prototype testing
Mishimoto prototype testing

Check back next time for a summary of our testing results from!

Thanks

-John

An inside look at the engineering of Mishimoto products.

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