Mishimoto 2013+ Subaru BRZ / Scion FR-S Direct-Fit Baffled Oil Catch Can System, Part 3: Prototype 2 Development

Second Prototype Bracket Fabrication

Now that we had our catch can ready to go, it was time to select mounting locations, and fabricate the mounting brackets. First, we will start with the PCV line we initially targeted with the large catch can we had. Check out some initial mock-up shots!

Prototype PCV Catch Can mounted
Prototype PCV Catch Can mounted
Prototype PCV Catch Can mounted
Prototype PCV Catch Can mounted

Compared to the previous mounting point, we have moved this catch can to a more centralized position. We are no longer using the battery tie-down as a mounting point. This provides a cleaner install, and it also provides space for the brake booster/master on RHD vehicles. The lines shown in the image are purely for mockup and routing purposes.

We will likely offer these lines in our standard three colors; black, blue and red. We also use silicone lines for all of our direct fit kits. Silicone provides improved resistance to heat and pressure compared to a rubber counterpart. Additionally, silicone is more resilient in terms of degradation due to oil/fuel contamination. In short, these lines will last quite a while, and are much more durable than a standard rubber line you would see included in another kit.

Next, we tackled the crankcase breather lines. On the FA20 engine, only one line exists and runs from the driver’s side valve cover to the intake. To keep line lengths as short as possible, we made our best effort to locate the can around the port located on the cover. Check out a few shots of what our team came up with!

Prototype CCV Catch Can mounted
Prototype CCV Catch Can mounted

And take a look at the line routing to the port and intake!

Prototype CCV Catch Can lines
Prototype CCV Catch Can lines

You will notice that the line on the bottom of the image seems to disappear into the engine. This goes to the port we referred to on the valve cover. Access to this is rather tight, unfortunately the compressor will have to be unbolted from its position in order to fit the line into position. Once in position, the compressor can be reinstalled. Evacuation of the system is not necessary. There is no way around this. We will be providing full instruction on how to do so in the install guide, it is far easier than you think.

Now that we had both mounts fabricated and our lines routed, the prototype kit was complete. Take a look at the engine bay with this kit fully installed.

Prototype Catch Can system installed
Prototype Catch Can system installed
Prototype Catch Can system installed
Prototype Catch Can system installed
Prototype Catch Can system installed
Prototype Catch Can system installed

Product Testing Details

Alright, so we are done with the project right? Wrong. We still need to test this kit before we can begin manufacturing the brackets and lines on a large scale. Luckily, like we mentioned earlier, we have two easily accessible test vehicles. We selected the BRZ owned by a member of our sales team (due to his longer commute) and we installed the kit. Our plan was to check back with the vehicle at 1,000 and 2,000 miles to evaluate oil collection in the cans. We gave special instruction for our test vehicle owner to beat on the car a bit so both lines get use.

Check back with us next time for details from our testing and completion of this project!

For those interested in purchasing this kit, we will likely be launching a discounted pre-sale for the first few units we complete!

Thanks for reading.

Mishimoto 2015+ Ford Mustang EcoBoost Direct-Fit Oil Cooler Kit, Part 3: Testing, Results, and Project Conclusion

Interested in purchasing this 2015 Mustang Oil Cooler Kit? Check out the product page for more information!: http://www.mishimoto.com/ford-mustang-ecoboost-oil-cooler-kit-15.html

Prototype Testing Equipment and Setup

Time for the fun part: product testing! Once we had the brackets mocked up, our lines in place, and our sandwich plate installed, it was time to install our sensors to collect data. We would be collecting both temperature and pressure data for the stock setup and for our installed kit. Check out a shot of our testing sensors installed!

Mishimoto temperature sensors installed
Mishimoto temperature sensors installed

And then our sensor wires are routed back into the cabin.

Mishimoto temperature sensors in vehicle cabin
Mishimoto temperature sensors in vehicle cabin
Laptop setup for testing
Laptop setup for testing

Everything was now prepared for a few runs on the highway! Our testing conditions are listed below.

Ambient Temperature: 70°F–75°F (21°C–24°C)

Sensors: PLX temperature and pressure sensors

Variable: Mishimoto 19-row Stacked-Plate Oil Cooler Kit (non-thermostatic)

Process: Vehicle was heat-soaked at idle, then driven on a highway at a steady-state condition (65 mph) for approximately 8 miles. Special attention was given to the space in front of the vehicle to ensure that proper airflow was reaching the cooler.

Note: The active shutter system was removed during testing. This would provide accurate comparisons without additional variables.

Once we had our testing plans in place, we hit the road to capture the data for both setups.

Road testing the Mishimoto prototype oil cooler
Road testing the Mishimoto prototype oil cooler

Testing Data

After the completing data collection, our engineers compiled the data and plotted it into an easy-to-digest format. The primary target of any oil cooler kit is reduced oil temperatures, so this is the first chart we will evaluate.

Comparison of oil temperature data
Comparison of oil temperature data

First, let’s take a look at the plot (gray) for the stock engine, without any oil cooler installed. The temperature is quite stable, sitting right around 210°F–212°F (99°C–100°C). This remained basically unchanged during the entire test run.

The next two lines show the Mishimoto oil cooler inlet (red) and outlet (blue) temperatures. Inlet temperature readings are collected after the oil leaves the engine, but prior to reaching the cooler. Outlet temperatures are collected after the heat exchanger, prior to re-entry into the engine. As you can see, at the start of the run the oil temperatures for the Mishimoto cooler were similar to those of the stock engine. As the run progressed, temperatures on both the inlet and outlet sides began to drop. By the end of our 8 mile run, outlet temperatures dropped to 170°F (77°C), a 40-degree (F) difference compared to the stock setup. These are great gains, similar (if not better) to what we see with most of our other oil cooler kits that feature the 19-row cooler. Now, 170°F is a bit colder than we would like to see for a street-driven vehicle. Normally, we try to regulate temperatures between 185°F (85°C) and 200°F (93°C).

For this reason, we will be offering this product with our thermostatic sandwich plate, which restricts oil flow to the cooler until a specific temperature is reached (optional thermostats of 160°F, 185°F and 200°F). This setup would give you complete control over fluid temperatures. For those with a more track-oriented vehicle, our non-thermostatic option should be suitable for long-duration, high-rpm, and high-load driving situations. We would not recommend the non-thermostatic sandwich plate option on vehicles that will frequently see street use.

During our testing, we also collected pressure data. We wanted to ensure that the addition of our cooler would not result in a significant loss of pressure. Check out the plot, captured from the run shown above.

Comparison of oil pressure data
Comparison of oil pressure data

The plot above is quite interesting; no, we did not mislabel the two lines. The Mishimoto oil cooler setup is indeed increasing pressure within the system. The stock oil pressure ranged from 50 psi to 60 psi, while the Mishimoto setup ranged from 58 psi to 62 psi. Why would this happen? Well, because the temperatures drop so significantly, it is likely that the viscosity of the oil is increasing, which would explain the increase in pressure. However, this slight increase in pressure is of no concern at all for engine operation or wear. More great news for out kit!

Wrapping up, we saw some really impressive gains, which should help keep temperatures under control for those who will be pushing their EcoBoost on the street and track.

Time to recap our goals!

Goal Recap

  1. Must be entirely direct fit, requiring no irreversible modification to any component on the Mustang

This goal was easily met. Our team designed a unique bracketing system that utilizes existing mounting points on the radiator support and bumper support beam. Our kit does not require any vehicle modification, and it can be easily removed if the vehicle owner wishes to revert back to stock.

  1. Include all necessary components for installation

This kit includes all components needed for installation: oil cooler, powder-coated steel brackets, all hardware, braided stainless steel oil lines, and an oil sandwich plate.

  1. Must install with basic hand tools, and require basic mechanical skill-set

We have designed this kit with ease of installation in mind. No major vehicle components require removal for the installation process. The only requirements are basic hand tools (ratchet, sockets, wrenches, etc.) and some mechanical knowledge. If you can change your oil, you can certainly install this kit. Additionally, our video team is currently working to finalize our installation guide, which will assist you through the process.

  1. Must have thermostatic oil temperature control option

We will be offering this kit with either a standard or thermostatic oil sandwich plate. As mentioned above, the thermostatic option will provide greater fluid temperature regulation, and it is ideal for use with street-driven vehicles.

  1. Product should be robust enough for both street and track use

Our team designs all our products with a “worst case” scenario in mind. All components included in this kit are designed to handle the stresses resulting from track driving. Additionally, our products are constructed from high-quality materials that have proven to be durable for long-term use.

  1. Provide data from real-world testing

Our real-world data showed a 40°F temperature drop compared to the stock setup. This kit provides extremely efficient heat transfer and is ideal for both street- and track- driven vehicles.

Well, that wraps up another successful project from the team at Mishimoto. We are planning to release this kit very soon, so keep an eye out for more information about that.

Feel free to follow up with any questions regarding our products or development processes!

Thanks for following along with our progress!

Interested in purchasing this 2015 Mustang Oil Cooler Kit? Check out the product page for more information!: http://www.mishimoto.com/ford-mustang-ecoboost-oil-cooler-kit-15.html

Winterize Your Diesel: How to prepare your truck for the coldest of enemies!

Truck

If you’ve faced a winter or two with your diesel truck, you are probably aware of the challenges that lie ahead for this coming season. Proper vehicle preparation is key to reducing vehicle downtime and making sure your truck survives subzero temperatures. Although modern trucks are fairly well set up from the factory for cold climates, there are always preventive measures that will make your life a bit easier when the temperature drops. Our team has prepared an in-depth checklist, with the goal that your truck makes it to spring without incurring too much wear.

This is an in-depth article, so we have included a table of contents. Each title will link you to the appropriate section. Thanks for taking a look at our article!

Table of Contents

  1. Battery Maintenance
  2. Belts and Hoses
  3. Coolant Care
  4. Thermostats
  5. Glow Plug Inspection
  6. Engine Oil
  7. Fuel Filtration
  8. Tire Inspection
  9. Windscreen Damage
  10. Preventive Measures
  11. Emergency Supplies
  12. Vehicle Cleaning
  13. Enjoy the Weather

Battery Maintenance

1. Battery Maintenance

Cummins dual-battery system
Cummins dual-battery system

Always challenging, cold starts have long been an enemy of diesel engines. An unreliable battery can cause a no-start and leave you stranded. When the terminals on a battery are connected, a chemical reaction generates electrons to supply power. Lowering the temperature of the battery slows the chemical reaction, which results in less current output. This is why battery failures commonly occur just as the ambient temperature begins to drop. Battery replacement occurs mostly in late fall to early spring. At freezing temperature, battery capacity is reduced by an astounding 20%.

In addition to reduced battery power, the oil in your engine will thicken as the temperature drops. This means the engine will produce more resistance to cranking, thereby contributing more load on your battery system. More on oil selection later in this article!

These days, auto and truck batteries are sealed units that are not serviceable. If your battery isn’t taking a charge, you are likely going to be ponying up for a new one. Batteries tend to display their faults at the worst time. If possible, have your battery (or batteries) tested prior to the cold weather snap. If it tests poorly or is on the line between acceptable and bad, you should consider replacing it. Preventive maintenance such as this could save you from being stuck somewhere or missing a work day.

Battery load tester
Battery load tester

Most auto parts stores have some form of battery testing service, and it is normally free. This is the ideal way to test your battery and usually provides a fairly concrete answer. Simply checking battery voltage is not an indicator of health; only a load test will accurately show the capacity and condition of your battery.

Multimeter
Multimeter

However, if you must use a multimeter to determine battery life, this simple procedure will provide a general idea of capacity:

  • Check the voltage without the vehicle running. An adequate voltage is between 12.5 and 13.5 volts.
  • Have someone start the vehicle with the multimeter still connected.
  • Observe the voltage drop. It should not drop below 11.5 volts.
  • If the voltage drops below 9.5 volts, your battery likely is weak or failing.

Depending on vehicle use and battery quality, you can expect a battery to last anywhere between three and eight years. Be sure you check the battery (or batteries) and replace as necessary before the cold weather hits.

Preventive Maintenance

Electric battery warmer
Electric battery warmer

A cold battery is significantly less powerful than a warm one, so a battery warmer is a great addition to your truck’s accessories. A battery warmer is a simple sleeve that slides over the battery itself. It uses an external electrical source to heat the battery as the truck sits unused. The warm sleeve will reduce the chances of a no-start condition and will ensure that your battery operates at its best.
Belts and Hoses

2. Belts and Hoses

Two other components prone to wear include your engine drive belts and rubber engine hoses. Both of these components are also likely to leave you stranded at the worst possible time.

Cracked serpentine belt
Cracked serpentine belt

Belts drive vital engine systems such as the charging system, power steering, and water pump. At times, a vehicle with a broken belt can be limped to its destination (water pump being the exception). Fortunately, a visual inspection of belts will normally reveal any concerns.

Take a look at your belt(s) with the vehicle turned off. Check the rubber for any cracking, especially at areas where the belt turns over a pulley. Also check the edges of the belt for any torn strands. If you see any evidence of this wear, it is highly recommended that you replace the belt. Belt replacement is normally a quick process, so you don’t need to set aside a full weekend for the job.

Radiator hose leak example
Radiator hose leak example

Rubber engine hoses can present issues when cold weather comes around. These hoses include: radiator hoses, crankcase ventilation (CCV) hoses, intercooler hoses, power steering hoses, and transmission cooler hoses. A blown coolant hose can cause serious engine overheating if not immediately identified. This can result in a compromised or blown head gasket, or even internal engine damage.

Working on components that carry fluids can be an absolute nightmare in cold weather, so be sure to look over these hoses before they become a problem. Check all lines for cracking in the rubber. Check to see if the texture of the hose is soft and flexible; the hose should be slightly spongy and should return to its original shape after being squeezed. Check all hose connections for seeping or leaking, and address these with a new clamp or hose as necessary. Some modern systems use plastic quick disconnects that utilize O-rings for sealing the surfaces. If a connection is leaking, replace the O-ring or hose with a new component. If you have any doubts about a line or hose, you would be wise to replace that component with an OEM equivalent or upgraded part.

Replacement Options

If your radiator hoses are compromised and could use replacement, now is a great time to upgrade to a silicone replacement hose. Silicone is far more resilient to temperature deviations compared to EPDM rubber, and they feature much higher tolerances to pressure and temperature. Mishimoto offers replacement silicone radiator hose kits for a variety of diesel trucks, including Ford, GM, and Dodge. If you want a radiator hose that will last, go with a silicone replacement product, and you will not be disappointed. As with all Mishimoto products, our silicone coolant hose kits include our signature Lifetime Warranty.

Mishimoto 2011+ Duramax silicone coolant hose kit
Mishimoto 2011+ Duramax silicone coolant hose kit

Coolant Care

3. Coolant Care

Ensuring that your coolant system is in proper working order is vital. Vehicles require a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze for proper cooling, protection of internal passages and components, and ideal protection against fluid freezing. Check the cooling system to ensure that it has the correct mixture of antifreeze and water for your vehicle. If the fluid in your cooling system freezes, serious damage can occur. Your engine is designed with numerous press-fit plugs (freeze plugs) that are made to rupture if the internal fluid freezes. If a plug does rupture, you will be treated to a leaking coolant system, and this is the best-case scenario! If a plug does not function, freezing water will cause damage to the engine block and cylinder liners, and this requires an engine replacement.

Cracked engine block and dislodged freeze plug
Cracked engine block and dislodged freeze plug

Hopefully these potential problems will cause you to at least pop the cap on your radiator (when cold) to check for antifreeze coloring. A coolant tester is the quickest and most accurate way to test this system, and you can find such a kit in any parts store, typically for $5–$10. The test involves drawing a small portion of coolant into a testing tube and then viewing the flotation of several small balls within the tube. (Each test kit will differ slightly, so be sure you follow the instructions.) This test should provide an approximate percentage of the coolant mixture, as well as the ambient temperature above which your truck will be protected.

Coolant tester
Coolant tester

Most coolant manufacturers will include a freeze-protection chart on the back of the bottle, which can be used to determine your desired ratio of coolant to water. A typical 50/50 mix should provide protection down to around -25°F (-32°C). Increasing the coolant-to-water ratio to 70/30 can provide protection down to around -75°F (-59°C). Use these charts to determine the mixture you will need for the winter you are preparing to face.

A brand new introduction to our product line is Mishimoto’s synthetic engine coolant. Our coolant is designed for use with both gas and diesel engines, and is safe for all radiator types (stock and aluminum). A chart of our recommended mixtures is shown below.

 

Mishimoto Liquid Chill Coolant Bottle
Mishimoto Liquid Chill Coolant Bottle
Mishimoto Liquid Chill coolant mixing chart
Mishimoto Liquid Chill coolant mixing chart

While you are testing your coolant for proper mixture ratio, inspect the core and end tanks of the radiator for any leaks. The plastic end tanks on factory radiators are prone to fatigue and eventual cracking or splitting after years of repetitive temperature variations. Although this could happen at any time, a small leak can turn into a complete failure when extreme weather is introduced into the equation. Determine the cause and address any leaking point appropriately.

This is also a good time to check for potential future leaks. Check for any seepage along the tanks or visible hairline cracks. You may need to clean the surface with a solvent to more easily identify any concerns. Check nipples for crack damage; these areas are usually a bit thinner and more prone to failure. Last, check the connection point between the core and the end tanks. This connection is normally a metal crimp with a rubber gasket. If this connection is leaking, you need to replace your radiator.

If the radiator requires replacement, do so before the problem becomes more serious. Overheating on the road is never fun, and it can result in serious engine damage if the high temperatures are not caught quickly enough.

Cracked radiator end tank
Cracked radiator end tank

If you are in need of a radiator, an aluminum replacement unit can provide improved durability and reliability compared to the plastic unit supplied from the factory. An aluminum radiator is not only more efficient for cooling, but it also provides peace of mind for those who are tired of replacing plastic end tank radiators on a regular basis. Additionally, all Mishimoto radiators include a Lifetime Warranty. This will be the last radiator you purchase for your truck!

Mishimoto 6.4L Powerstroke Aluminum Radiator
Mishimoto 6.4L Powerstroke Aluminum Radiator

Thermostats

4. Thermostats

Thermostats function to regulate coolant temperatures. As the coolant warms up, they begin to open and allow fluid to reach the radiator. Once the engine is up to operating temperature, the thermostat should be completely open to allow fluid flow throughout the entire cooling system. Some modern diesel engines use a dual thermostat system for even greater protection against temperature spiking.

Thermostats can fail in a few different ways, none of which will be an enjoyable experience. If the thermostat fails to open, the truck will take a long time to warm up. Coolant will be circulating through the system and cooling in the radiator at all times. Although this is unlikely to cause any engine damage, you will likely see a check-engine light (CEL) on the dash when the coolant takes too long to warm up. Additionally, you will not have proper cabin heat until long after the truck has been running.

The thermostat can also fail in the closed position, and this situation can be more harmful if not identified quickly. A closed thermostat will not allow coolant to flow through the system, resulting in overheating. Luckily, modern electronics systems will notify the driver of this problem prior to it becoming detrimental to the engine. As we know, an overheated engine can result in blown head gaskets or even internal engine damage if temperatures get hot enough.

Mishimoto 6.0L Powerstroke High-Temperature Thermostat
Mishimoto 6.0L Powerstroke High-Temperature Thermostat

If your thermostat has failed, you will know it. If you are suspicious of its operation, there are a few ways to inspect this component.

First, you can check the temperature of both radiator hoses once the vehicle is warm. If the vehicle coolant temperature gauge is showing that the truck is warm, touch both the upper and lower radiator hose to ensure they are both warm. If one is cold, the thermostat might not be opening. If the thermostat is stuck closed, you should experience an overheating condition as noted above. Be cautious when touching the hoses; put on a glove to protect your hand from burns.

If you are still not convinced that your thermostat is functioning properly, it can be removed for testing. Once removed, place the component in a pot of boiling water and watch to see if the thermostat opens. If it does not open, consider your thermostat nonfunctional.

Thermostat boiling water test
Thermostat boiling water test

Age plays a role in the wear and tear on your thermostat. Keep in mind that this component is in direct contact with engine coolant, and it frequently experiences quite substantial temperature fluctuations. If you have a lot of mileage on your truck and the thermostat has never been replaced, you would be wise to consider doing so before winter.

If you do intend to replace your thermostat, you should consider upgrading to a thermostat with a higher activation temperature. Why would you want that? Well, by nature, diesel engines are more efficient at operating at higher temperatures. If you raise operating temperatures by a few degrees, fuel efficiency will increase slightly. Often times, this increase will quickly pay for the cost of the upgraded thermostat. Another benefit is cabin heat. Because the thermostat takes longer to activate, the vehicle will warm up faster, providing you with heat more quickly on those frigid days. If you live in a reasonably cold climate, we highly recommend upgrading your thermostat to a high-temperature unit, if one is available for your truck.

Mishimoto currently offers a high/low temperature thermostat for all Duramax engines, Ford 6.0L Powerstroke models, and all 1994–2012 Dodge Cummins trucks. We are working on finalizing our thermostats Ford 7.3L, 6.4L, and 6.7L thermostats as well!
Glow Plugs

5. Glow Plug Inspection

Glow plug
Glow plug

One of the leading causes of a diesel truck not starting, other than battery issues, is the failure of engine glow plugs. A glow plug functions to heat the combustion chamber for cold starts. The plug threads into the cylinder head, with the tip making its way into the combustion or pre-combustion chamber. Once energized, the plug heats up to more than 1880°F (1000°C), providing a significant improvement in speed for cold starting a diesel. Modern glow plug systems continue to stay active for some time after start, in an effort to improve cold-weather emissions.

A failed glow plug will not normally present itself in warm weather, but once temperatures drop, the vehicle will be difficult to start, or not start at all. A glow plug can fail in many ways, but it usually involves damage to the heating rod that is exposed to extremely high temperatures during the combustion process. An overheated rod can melt and degrade over time and is also susceptible to carbon deposit coking. Additionally, the case of the plug can be damaged due to improper installation.

Testing glow plugs can seem like a daunting task (especially since you will have six to eight plugs). However it is not as detailed as you might imagine. One of the best (and easiest) ways to test glow plugs is by using a testing device specifically for these plugs. This device provides an accurate answer as to whether you will need to replace one or more plugs. Additionally, this device normally operates with the plugs still installed in the engine, saving a ton of time. The only downside is the cost; a good unit comes in around $150–$200.

Glow plug tester
Glow plug tester

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can save a few bucks. You will need a multimeter and some time. First, check each plug for resistance from the connection to the body of the plug. Place one connection point on the power post, the other on the body of the plug. Depending on space, you might have to remove the plug to conduct this test. Your multimeter should read between 0.6 ohms and 2 ohms. A bad plug is normally identifiable by an extremely high or infinite resistance reading. Once you check all plugs, an outlier should be easy to identify. Remove the offending plug and inspect it for damage. If you are still looking for further confirmation. You can hook a 12V source to the power and ground the body of the plug. After a few moments, the plug end should glow, indicating it is functional. If it does not, you have a faulty unit.

Now that you have identified any faulty plugs, be sure to replace them with quality components. Removing a poor-quality unit in the future can challenging, and you really pay for what you get as far as glow plugs are concerned. Follow all manufacturer torque spec recommendations during install to ensure that you do not damage the component or engine.
Engine Oil

6. Engine Oil

Oil is the lifeline for your engine’s bearings and needs to be taken seriously during weather changes. As you know, when oil becomes cold it thickens. This provides greater resistance to engine operation, creating concerns during starting. It also poses an issue with oil flow when cold. Because it is so thick, the oil will have difficulty circulating quickly enough through passages and galleys to lubricate the proper components. The greater the flow when cold, the less dry-running engine wear or your vehicle.  Additionally, the added viscosity of the oil during cold weather conditions will raise system pressure.

Although all vehicles will differ (check your owner’s manual), many recommend switching to 5W-40 during the winter months. This oil weight will provide greater flow during cold temperatures compared to 15W-40, yet it will retain the same properties once warmed. If you are in an extremely cold climate (consistently below -25°F, -32°C), a 0W-40 will provide even greater protection.

By switching to a more “winter friendly” oil, you can reduce wear on your starter, battery, and injection system. I recommend considering this if you are nearing an oil change or anticipating a service interval occurring during the winter months.
Fuel Filtration

7. Fuel Filtration

Diesel fuel contains paraffins, similar to the component in wax candles. This material has a rather high freezing temperature that can cause a “gelling” of your fuel, making it a solid material. Gelling can result in a clogged fuel filter, clogged lines, and likely an engine shut-down situation.

Additionally, diesel fuel systems are susceptible to water and moisture buildup that can then freeze, clogging the lines and the filter.

Gel clogged diesel fuel filter example
Gel clogged diesel fuel filter example

Diesel owners have been dealing with this issues for years, creating a fairly clear-cut way for reducing the incidence of fuel concerns at low temperatures.

Dry Your System

Before winter arrives, ensure that all water has been removed from your fuel system. Several additives are available that utilize isopropanol to remove existing water. These products are normally inexpensive, so treating your system is recommended.

Additionally, if you are concerned about the persistence of water in your system, several companies offer separator kits that are easy to install and work well. These devices can then be easily drained for fluid removal.

Change Your Fuel Filter

This part is key. A dirty fuel filter will clog much quicker than a clean unit. If you have not serviced this filter in some time, you should replace it before the winter season.

Use a Winter Additive

For some additional protection, you can treat your tanks of fuel with additives that prevent both water and wax issues. These additives are normally inexpensive and certainly worth the small investment.

Keeping your fuel system in proper order is important for consistent reliability. The colder your climate, the more difficult this will be.
Tire Inspection

8. Tire Inspection

Bald tires example
Bald tires example

Tires are one of the most overlooked maintenance items on a vehicle. Tires will have an impact on grip, ride quality, braking, and of course safety.

Your tire selection will be dictated by the conditions you anticipate experiencing this winter. All trucks can benefit from snow tires, but your type of new tires will depend upon what conditions you will need to endure.

First, you will want to perform a basic inspection of the integrity of your tires, regardless of size or vehicle. Inspect the sidewalls for any cuts, bubbles, gashes, or damage. The sidewall of a tire is normally not repairable, so if there is a nail (or any other debris) penetrating this portion, the tire will need to be replaced. Additionally, a bubble in the sidewall indicates a failure of the internal liner. Each of these failures create a tire that is more prone to a blowout or loss of pressure. Also inspect the tread for any debris lodged in the rubber itself. These holes can normally be plugged or patched. The most effective solution is the more modern plug-patch repair, which involves removing the tire from the rim but is much more effective than a simple plug or patch.

Bubble in tire sidewall
Bubble in tire sidewall

Age is another important factor to consider, despite how much tread remains. Tires will be more prone to aging if they are not used, such as if a vehicle sits for a period of time. Typical tire compound life extends from 6–10 years, depending upon storage conditions. Most drivers will wear the tread out in a much shorter time frame (3–4 years). Chemical reactions within the tire compound will degrade the rubber, resulting in reduced grip and an increased chance of failure. Mileage wear will of course vary based upon the type of tire on your vehicle. You would be wise to obtain some information about the age of your tires and then make a decision as to whether they should be replaced. This practice is recommended during any season of the year and not just as a winter preparation.

Once you have determine that your tires are not ancient, take a look at the tread depth to ensure they will make it through the winter and continue to provide the grip you need. Low-tread depth will increase your chances of hydroplaning during rainy or snowy conditions. The function of the tread is to compress the snow and release it as the tire rolls. If the depth is not great enough, your tires will not grab as effectively as they should. In dry conditions, 2/32” tire tread is the absolute minimum for using your truck. Snow tires require greater tread depth; normally above 6/32” is recommended and will not sacrifice mobility. Typical starting depth of the tread is around 10/32” to 11/32” for all-season tires, while winter tires will be slightly above this. Checking depth is easy if you have a pocket full of change. Check out the guide at the link below!

www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=51

So, with these two factors (age and tread depth) in mind, you might consider tire replacement. For those facing extreme winters, an upgrade to snow tires will provide a night-and-day difference in grip and vehicle control. If you are expecting only a small snowstorm or two, you can likely press on with all-season tires, assuming you take it slowly and drive in a respectable manner. In other words, respect Mother Nature and keep your truck out of the ditch! Snow tires can be quite a big expense, so many will opt out. If you intend to perform any towing or hauling during the winter months, the addition of snow tires would be extremely beneficial. As with any tire purchase, check for independent online reviews before jumping into the purchase.
Windscreen Damage

9. Windscreen Damage

Cracked windshield
Cracked windshield

The windshield on your vehicle is rather robust, but any small damage can easily spread during huge jumps in temperature. Consider how quickly your windshield goes from freezing temperatures to warm. This effect is compounded by the use of defrosters blowing air directly onto the glass. You have probably heard that more frequent window cracks occur during the winter months. The crack was likely already present in the form of a small chip. The drastic temperature change can cause a small ship to spread in great lengths across the windshield, necessitating a replacement of the glass. The price of replacement glass and installation is staggering for most vehicles and is not something you want to be paying for out of pocket.

So what can you do to keep your wallet full? Before the weather spikes, clean off your windshield and inspect it carefully for cracks and chips. Minor damage like this can actually be repaired as part of a preventive maintenance routine, reducing the chance that it will spread to a greater size.

Many kits are available to repair cracks yourself, and professional services (for repair) are also available. Either option is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of replacing glass on your truck.

Also check out the condition of your windshield wipers. Any torn ends or wear should prompt you to install replacements. Vision is key when driving in extreme weather; do not risk using poorly performing wipers.
Preventive Measures

10. Preventive Measures

The two items to be discussed in this section can be considered supplemental vehicle upgrades that will provide great benefits to improve the reliability of your truck in cold weather and reduce overall wear.

Block heater connection
Block heater connection

First, we have the popular engine block heater. If you own a diesel and have spent any time on an enthusiast board, I am sure you have been notified about the features of these devices. A block heater functions to keep the engine block and coolant warm during overnight parking, so when you are ready to drive the truck, it is already warmed up. This makes starting easier and also reduces fuel consumption associated with cold starts. A block heater normally utilizes a 110V plug. Plug in the heater just after vehicle shutdown, while the engine is still warm. A block heater can be either factory equipped or aftermarket (more common), and it is a great upgrade for reducing engine wear and making the winter just a bit more bearable. Block heaters are relatively inexpensive and normally pay for themselves in the form of comfort and convenience.

Grille cover example
Grille cover example

Lastly, a grille cover is a great way to warm your truck rapidly up to operating temperature and keep temperatures from over-cooling during idle conditions. If your truck is struggling to keep warm, a grille cover is an inexpensive way to block airflow and improve interior heat capability. Do a quick search online to find an applicable cover for your truck!
Emergency Supplies

11. Emergency Supplies

Vehicle emergency kit
Vehicle emergency kit

For your personal safety you should outfit your truck with some emergency supplies. This is especially important if you are traveling through extreme terrain or remote areas. Many people toss a bag of some items in their backseat for year-round use; however, your kit should include items you will need in a cold weather emergency. Below is a list of items you should consider putting into a tote for emergency situations. Costs of these items will range, but this kit is certainly worth having if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need it.

  • Small shovel
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Several water bottles
  • Snack food (energy bars, raisins, nuts, candy bars)
  • Waterproof matches and small candles
  • Extra hats, socks, and gloves
  • First-aid kit
  • Small knife
  • Any medications you normally take (small portion)
  • Blankets or sleeping bag
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Small bag of cat litter (for wheel traction in case you become stuck)
  • Jumper cables or jump box
  • Emergency flares

Many kits are available that contain a majority of these necessities. Be sure you do not leave anything out of your kit!
Vehicle Cleaning

12. Vehicle Cleaning

Washing under truck
Washing under truck

This simple tip can save you a bunch of trouble in long-term vehicle ownership. As we know, roadways are salted to lower the freezing point of ice and to prevent roadways from refreezing. Without salted roads, we would certainly see a higher number of traffic incidents and safety concerns.

Unfortunately, salt also works to quickly corrode any exposed metal surface on your truck. Most modern trucks feature some form of underside coating, but the truck is still susceptible to rust issues, especially if the underside coating becomes damaged or compromised. Salt works to speed the corrosion process, and works extremely quickly.

Vehicle rust example
Vehicle rust example

If at all possible, clean the exterior and underside of your truck after a snowstorm. If you can keep on-top of this maintenance item, you will certainly add a few years to your truck’s lifespan.
Enjoy The Weather

13. Enjoy The Weather

The last thing we want you to do is enjoy the weather. Yes, some of us see the cold months as miserable and uncomfortable, but snow makes many sports possible, including skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and ATV riding. Also, it’s a good time to catch up on some movies, books or other indoor activities – like reading your favorite blog!

Even if you are not interested in any of these activities, finding an open lot for doing snow donuts and sliding in your truck is bound to put a smile on your face. Take advantage of this while you can, and be sure to keep things safe and somewhat legal.

Truck doing donuts in snow
Truck doing donuts in snow

Thanks for taking the time to read our article. Check back soon for additional informative information as well as product development information.

Mishimoto 2015+ Ford Mustang EcoBoost Direct-Fit Oil Cooler Kit, Part 2: Second Prototype Development

Interested in purchasing this 2015 Mustang Oil Cooler Kit? Check out the product page for more information!: http://www.mishimoto.com/ford-mustang-ecoboost-oil-cooler-kit-15.html

Second Prototype Fabrication

Thank you for joining us for Part 2 of our oil cooler development for the Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost! Last time, we designed our first prototype and evaluated potential pitfalls. We are now prepared to develop a second design, with airflow as our primary target for improvement over the previous mounting position.

This time, we would be positioning the cooler in the center of the grille, in a horizontal orientation. This would ensure that the entire core is exposed to airflow during vehicle motion. Steve, the lead engineer for this project, grabbed some measurements from the vehicle, and began designing a few brackets in 3D. Using these dimensions, the templates were printed so we could fabricate the steel components.

Prototype 2 bracket fabrication
Prototype 2 bracket fabrication

Once we had all three brackets cut, bent, and drilled, the cooler was fully installed on the Mustang. Check out a few shots of this mockup!

Prototype 2 cooler mockup
Prototype 2 cooler mockup
Prototype 2 cooler mockup
Prototype 2 cooler mockup
Prototype 2 cooler mockup
Prototype 2 cooler mockup

This is a neat shot with the  front bumper reinstalled. The cooler we currently have installed is our black powder-coated unit, which is why the cooler is tough to see. One of our silver coolers would stand out a bit more, for those looking for a bit of flash.

Prototype 2 cooler with bumper installed
Prototype 2 cooler with bumper installed

Second Prototype Evaluation

As with the last design, our team got together and evaluated the cooler location, mounting brackets, and line routing. Overall, we are very pleased with this particular setup.

If you have yet to check out our video outlining the kit a bit further, check it out below!

Now that we had a solid design in place, it was time to test this kit to see what kind of gains we could achieve. Check back next time for a look at our testing process and a review of our results!

Thanks for reading!

Interested in purchasing this 2015 Mustang Oil Cooler Kit? Check out the product page for more information!: http://www.mishimoto.com/ford-mustang-ecoboost-oil-cooler-kit-15.html

Mishimoto 2013+ Subaru BRZ / Scion FR-S Direct-Fit Baffled Oil Catch Can System, Part 2: Prototype 1

Welcome back to the build of our BRZ/FR-S catch can system! After laying out the guidelines from the last post, we were ready to get some hands on the vehicle and start piecing together some can brackets. Before jumping into product design, we will quickly cover the unique injection system featured on the BRZ/FR-S FA20 engine.

FA20 Fuel Injection

As many of you are aware, the FA20 is not what you could consider a traditional direct-injection engine. This specific system is identified as D–4S on the top of your intake manifold. The system utilizes four direct injectors and four port injectors for appropriate fueling. Yes, your 4-cylinder has eight injectors! The direct injection portion of the system is key for an efficient combustion process, and it allows for a high compression ratio without exaggerating the fear of detonation. Adding in port injection to work alongside this system promotes complete combustion and improves cold-start emissions.

D-4S System
D-4S System

At lower engine speeds, both the direct and port injectors are used, which help provide a smooth AFR and improved drivability. At high engine speeds, the direct injector takes over and handles all fueling. During a cold start, both injection systems work together to provide reduced emissions and rapid catalytic converter warm-up.

So with these systems combined, we get an engine that provides improved power output, greater efficiency, and reduced emissions. Additionally, the valves are still exposed to the atomized fuel from the port injectors. This means they are less susceptible to carbon buildup, just as you would see on an engine with only traditional direct injection.

Does this mean a catch can system is not needed? Not necessarily. Although the valves should remain reasonably clean, keep in mind that all points of the intake tract prior to the injector are still likely to get a coating of oil from blow-by in the CCV/PCV system. If there is a way to reduce or eliminate this oil buildup, it is certainly wise to do so. Our team will be installing our prototype kit on a test vehicle to gauge fluid accumulation. Stay tuned for this a bit later on in the development process. For now, let’s jump into the development and design of our first prototype unit.

Initial Bracket Design

Our first target was the PCV line. On the FA20, this line goes from the back of the block to the intake manifold. Take a look at an initial mock-up of our can bracket for this location.

Prototype catch can bracket mock-up
Prototype catch can bracket mock-up
Prototype catch can bracket mock-up
Prototype catch can bracket mock-up
Prototype catch can bracket mock-up
Prototype catch can bracket mock-up

You will notice that we are using different colored fittings on this can. The black fitting is our standard CNC-machined aluminum straight fitting. The top fitting is actually a 3D printed prototype unit. Due to space constraints, we needed a banjo style fitting to clear the hood. It also improves aesthetics of the can/lines when fully installed. Check out a more detailed shot of this banjo fitting.

Prototype 3D-printed banjo fittings
Prototype 3D-printed banjo fittings

At this point, you may be thinking exactly what our team was. This catch can is far too large for the engine bay of the BRZ/FR-S. In fact, we were finding that this catch can was proving to be a challenge to install in the smaller engine bays of more compact vehicles. Keep in mind, we still had to find space for our second can to install on the CCV lines. Although this project was not the only contributor, we now had more support to jumpstart a new catch can project. After evaluating our product line, we determined that a smaller, more compact, baffled unit was necessary to full flush out our line. This would provide support for more direct fit kits for vehicles that had tighter engine bay constraints. We also listened to feedback from interested customers regarding the release of our initial baffled unit, and the need for a smaller version was certainly evident. This does not mean the original product is negated, this unit is still perfect for vehicles with more space, and it provides a very large capacity.

New, Compact, Catch Can

With all of this in mind, the BRZ/FR-S catch can project was put on a slight hold until we could finalize a design for a more appropriately sized catch can. And so the Mishimoto Compact Oil Catch can was born!

I won’t dive into the detail regarding the design and development of that particular component, mainly because we already did in the form of a build-thread a few months back. Check it out at the link below if you want more information about the cans!

http://engineering.mishimoto.com/?cat=124

Check out a few quick shots of what we are working with!

Mishimoto Compact Baffled Oil Catch Can parts
Mishimoto Compact Baffled Oil Catch Can parts
Mishimoto Compact Baffled Oil Catch Can
Mishimoto Compact Baffled Oil Catch Can
Mishimoto Compact Baffled Oil Catch Can
Mishimoto Compact Baffled Oil Catch Can

Now that we had a new plan of attack, and some really nice new catch cans, we could move forward with a new design for this kit. Keep in mind, this project began months ago, with a larger break for the development and manufacturing of the catch cans. This break provided the time for our team to get a nice look at the engine by of the vehicle, and work on developing a plan for can placement.

Check back with us next time for the design of our second prototype!

Thanks for reading!

An inside look at the engineering of Mishimoto products.

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