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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a '68 El Camino w/ a 350 from a 70-ish Vette (or so I'm told- a little research says its a possibility so that's what I'm going with). The clutch for the fan seems to be worn out and I have a couple of extra clutches hanging around in the garage.

Are the clutches application-specific or can I bolt any one of them up to the new fan? Do I even NEED a clutch for this fan?

Thanks for any help -Tim
 

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Go electric

If you'd consider this....I just happened to replace my belt driven fan (non-clutch, it was always spinning) with an electric fan i bought for $60 from O'reiley auto parts (my local auto parts chain.) It was an S-type, low profile stock replacement fan that i just wired up, and installed a switch on my dash. The fan zip-ties directly to the radiator and is built in to its shroud, so you can remove your stock shroud, and have allot more room in your engine bay, especially if you mount it in front of your radiator. I switched to an electric fan mainly to free up horse-power, but it also draws ALLOT more air through the radiator since it is mounted right up against the radiator. My '65 is just my toy, so i don't mind paying attention to my engine temp gauge and flipping on the switch when i see the temp rising, or while sitting at a long intersection. You can also get a temp actuated switch(which is a bit more pricey) and the fan will kick on and off at pre-set temps, and there is still no direct draw on your engine. I actually hardly have to turn on my fan, and it gets well over 100 degrees out here lately, and when i do turn it on, my temp drops well below 190, which is below normal operating temp and my electric choke sometime doesn't turn off. Anyway, food for thought...
 

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I have a continuous running 18" flex fan on my mild 350. How much horsepower is that robbing from my motor. Seems to cool well. I stay between 190 and 205 degrees even in hot weather.
RTT
 

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factory fan clutches are application specific. non factory replacements are rather general in application.the only thing that scares me about all electric fans is the fact of failures at no warning in the middle of nowhere
 

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There are several problems with electric fans, and sudden failure is only one of them.

An electric fan is usually, as is mentioned above, secured close to the radiator. For that reason, they often actually reduce airflow throw the radiator at highway speeds, especially if they have a shroud tightly fixed to the radiator.

The parts securing the fan to the radiator can, over time, wear through the radiator tubes and cause a big leak.

Thermostatically controlled electric fans are great, but the thermostats are the weak point in the system.

And that's just a few problems. Most of those problems have been solved by the OEM's, but those aren't the fans most of us would use.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So basically, the clutch is designed to improve efficiency and decrease the horsepower loss of a conventional fan? I've been kicking around the idea of going electric but that was more like something I would do after taking care of the necessities. Doesn't really seem like such a bad idea to do it now. I do, however, have a tendency to agree with CCC that I don't completely trust electronic substitutes over mechanical.

Thanks for everyone's help- makes the process quite a but easier!
 

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You have to take into consideration how you mount the electric fan and where you mount it. It can easily be done without compromising your radiator core and fins. As far as it being not 100% reliable, well, nothing is a sure 100% reliability. Your fan clutch might go out on you....you might break a belt, and have no fan, water pump or alternator all in one pop. Unless you are driving your elco in bumper to bumper traffic inching along for a length of time, you most likely will not even have to turn the fan on (like i said, i mounted a switch and turn it on and off when i feel the need, which is hardly ever, and its well into the 100 degree range out here in the california central valley). Generally you will have more than enough air flowing through the radiator while driving around town that having an electric fan as backup while prolonged idleing is more than adequate. Its also really nice to hear my exhaust soo cleanly without that obnoxious fan noise from my old belt driven fan. You cannot even hear the electric fan while the engine is running, and even barely when the engine is off. I had the problem of my motor never getting up to temp when i had my belt driven fan, and my electric choke would stay on and the motor would sputter and spit unless i was gunning it (F.Y.I. That is a really good get out of a ticket for taking off too quick from a stop light excuse! Especially if the cop is a car guy too! lol) Anyway, MY problem was running TOO cool, so the electric fan was a plus that free'd up noticeable throttle response and hp. My "butt-O-mometer" felt the difference.....And so did that 72 ranchero i whomp'd on the other day by 2 car lengths with my little '65 with a 283 against his hopped up 351. If you are anything like me, you know EXACTLY how your engine feels, sounds, vibrates, and accelerates, and you know when something feels different. Removing my belt driven fan and going electric made a noticeable difference in enjoyability. Do 10 things that free up 5 hp each, and you just gained 50 hp
 

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But also, my '65 is not my daily driver (well, actually, i DO drive it every day, but just for fun after work, and before the misses gets home) But, no, its just a toy that i don't need to depend on every day for transport to and from work, so i am inclined to do the more high performance modifications forsaking bullet-proof-reliability for gains in hp and fun.
 

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I think that the "reliability issue" is somewhat solved by the fact that pretty much 99.99999999999999999% of the cars on the road today have electric fans....that tend to last the life of the vehicle........hundreds of thousands of miles with no issues. If you want to do it on the "extra-cheap", yet still reliable, do some measuring of your radiator and workable dimensions, then go to your pick and pull wrecking yard and pull a fan/shroud assembly out of the latest model honda or toyota you can find there (the two japanese auto makers with the highest quality components in the world). Its not rocket science, its just cooling your engine from such-and-such-degrees to such-and-such degrees.Don't be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to hot-rodding. Thats the definition of the term. Pull it, piece it, build it, fab it, run it, enjoy it. Every time you do something unique that you come up with, you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride of "I did that". It feels good.
 
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