Gen V LT1 / LT4 / LT5 Engine Oil Cooler Delete: Do I Need It?
Gen V LT1, LT4 and LT5 oil coolers. Do I really need it?
Some C6 and all C7 Corvette’s have an oil cooler attached to rear driver’s side of the block / oil pan. Often times, these are in the way of our engine swap headers into retrofit swaps. Do you really need it?
In my opinion, no, but let me explain!
The factory LS / LT oil coolers are supplemented by engine coolant. Therefore, the oil temp is somewhat influenced by the engine coolant temperature. Additionally, in the OE applications, the catalytic converter is right next to the oil cooler. Most modern cars have limited airflow in the engine bay, making underhood temperatures fairly high. Muscle cars have much more open engine bays, therefore less heat soak on everything.
These several factors initiate the need for an oil cooler from the factory… Minus the catalytic converter part. That’s just crazy to have it so close to the oil cooler!
Now before I get further into whether or not a cooler is NEEDED for your conversion, I will state that engine wear is increased when it is cold. Meaning, you should let the oil heat up before really beating on your car. This includes burnouts, autocross, road racing, drag racing, etc.
Okay. So if you are building a “driver”, regardless of the outdoor temperatures you’re driving in, you do not need an engine oil cooler.
If you are more of a spirited driver (like me!) and plan on autocrossing, or just being a crazy person on interstate on ramps, then you should probably keep an oil cooler.
“BUT WAIT, MY HEADERS HIT THE OIL COOLER!”
Alright maybe I was unclear. DITCH THE STOCK COOLER! PUT IT ON EBAY! SCRAP IT! SOMETHING!
If you are building just a “driver” and I’ve convinced you to not run a cooler, you will need to cap and plug a few areas in order to get rid of it. We have all the pieces for you. It’s easy.
If you would like to run a cooler, Improved Racing makes a beautiful oil cooler thermostat that bolts onto your oil pan, and integrates #8, #10, or #12 AN adapters so you can run a REMOTE oil cooler up ahead of your AC condenser, heat exchanger, or somewhere with decent airflow. We are a dealer for Improved Racing and stock some of their products!
On the LT engines, there is a hole in the block after you remove your oil cooler (coolant passage), and also a nipple on the bottom of the water pump that will need a cap. Yup we’ve got you covered.
As a general rule I like to run #10 AN for engine oil coolers. Running a remote oil cooler will increase your overall oil capacity so remember that when filling and checking oil.
Hopefully this helped you make up your mind… Let us know if you have any questions!