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1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ Brute - Project Teal-Brute

Smoking Engine
Robin Stover | Writer
Posted June 1, 2008

Part 6: Beating Heat-11 Tricks To Managing High Temps

Managing heat is one of those subjects that people tend to overlook until they are out on the trail sweating bullets and wondering if a part of their rig is going to burn up, blow off, or break down-and once faced with this situation, attempting to control excessive thermal energy is a lost cause. The fault in this scenario typically boils down to a lack of preparation, motivation, or anticipation.

With our long-standing Teal Brute project, our oversight was the latter. We never thought to address the matter of excess heat created by the 5.7L Hemi V-8 we swapped in ... that is, until we had to deal with 120-plus-degree weather in Southern California's Death Valley one unforgettable summer afternoon. Somewhere between the lack of A/C (not working at the time) and the fact that ambient underhood air temperatures were capable of popping corn, we realized that we needed to address a few issues related to engine cooling, exhaust shielding, and thermal evacuation. The extreme heat generated by our V-8 was radiating into everything from floorboards to frame-rails, and as a result, the whole rig was fast becoming a furnace for occupants. It wasn't just a matter of discomfort, either; the high temps were actually damaging wires, burning the underside of our carpet kit and cooking the newly installed Rhino Lining. Yes, Teal Brute was in a state of meltdown. So we got to looking at what could be done to help dissipate our carbeque. We discovered a whole assortment of products designed specifically to prevent these troubles and we decided to take action. Follow along now as we resolve Teal's front burner issue-once and for all.

When addressing heat-related problems, an infrared laser thermometer like the one shown here is a very handy tool. We found this little unit at a local hardware store for under $40. Notice our Hemi engine is lacking a fan shroud? We planned to have a custom shroud built to fit our application. However, upon further investigation we've decided to swap out the beltdriven fan in favor of an electric fan with a built-in shroud. With electric fans you gain extra horsepower and mileage thanks to less engine load. We'll cover that in a future segment, but for now just keep in mind that a fan shroud is vital to proper engine cooling.


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