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Installing Integra Radiator into an EG

by Jeff Sloan from B-20.net

Finished

In my effort to keep my B18C5 cool, I decided to replace my Del Sol dual core radiator with an Integra GSR unit. I opted to keep and use both fans for maximum cooling efficiency.

Since I had already removed my AC system, I did not experience the space conflict that the Civic's side by side AC/cooling system presents. However if you have AC present, and you plan to do this mod, this is some thing you'll have to consider.

The first step of the radiator install is to remove the front bumper and splash guard. This allows access to the lower cross-member. Next, drain all the coolant and unbolt the hose clamps which hold the stock radiator in place. Remove the top bracket, unplug the right harness and lift the radiator out of the car.

At this point you will want to remove the four original brackets from the lower cross-member. There are two for the radiator and two for the A/C radiator. The cleanest way to do this is with a dremel and a cutting wheel. However a small pry bar and a hammer will work, and a hacksaw will come in handy as well. I found that different methods worked better for brackets that were in different locations on the cross-member. Once you have removed all the original mount brackets, you can begin to fabricate the new lower support brackets.

I used a steel bracket that was originally intended to be a woodworking strap. It measures 2" by 8" by 1/16" thick. It is thick and rigid, yet easy to drill and cut to what I need. You can find one at your local OSH or Lowes hardware store. Should be about a dollar. A drill and a hacksaw are all that is needed to modify the bracket for this application.

hacksaw time

Here you can see how we are going to modify the bracket. You can see the cut lines and drill points. We used a hacksaw to cut the main pieces and a variety of drill bits to get the proper diameter holes.

Then we installed the custom lower brackets onto the car. This is the interesting part. If you look under the front lower crossmember, you can see that thare are three mount points for the splash guard. These threaded and reinforced hole are perfect for mounting our new radiator support brackets to.

These are the three splash guard mount points

We used two 10mm bolts, one per bracket to secure the mount brackets. These holes have plenty of thread and are quite strong. They have no trouble securing the radaitor in position. As of release of this article, the radiator has survived three track events and countless hard drives without any hint of weakening. If, however, you want to secure the radiator permanently, you can take the car to a muffler shop and have the brackets tack welded to the cross member permanently.

Lower Mounts

This also does not limit your ability to retain your lower splash guard. You can still bolt up the center of the guard to the crossmember, in addition to the mounts in the wheel wells, it's more than enough to hold the guard in place. Again this is tested from my own experience. If that *still* isn't enough for you, the bumper mount bolts sandwich the splash guard against the crossmember. Bottom line, your splash guard is not going anywhere.

One we installed our lower radiator support brackets, it was time to start test fitting the radiator for clearance issues. 99.9% of the people who install Integra radiators in their Civics only use one of the two fans that come on the radiator assembly. Using only one fan is more than adequate for proper cooling of a Honda B series engine. However since I was having unrelated cooling issues, I opted to use both radiator fans. This WILL work, even with a JDM Type R 4to1 exhaust header with heatshields. It's just a real tight fit. Be sure to test fit all along the way and make adjustments accordingly. I had to shave the main cooling fan housing slightly (approx 1/4" deep by 3" long had to be removed) and remove the wind catch on the secondary fan. (Time will tell if that leads to early failure of the secondary fan motor.) The amount of clearance is about 1/4" at the closest points. These pics show the necessary mods that were done to the radiator itself to gain clearance around the 4to1, and the tolerances of the installed product (a little hard to see in these pics).

Tight fit Tiiight fit!!

One thing you will also want to do is be sure to put rubber bushings on the top and bottom of the radaitor. Leaving off a bushing, any type of bushing, will result in the plastic top/bottom sections cracking over time. The end caps themselves cannot directly handle to vibration and shock of driving. We used pieces of the A/C radiator mount bushings, but a piece of radiator hose would work. You will need something of this type on the top as well. In essence the radiator needs to 'float' beteen these rubber bushings.

Once all these things are ready, you are set to create the upper brackets. The upper brackets do not support any load, just hold the radiator in place. So a metal that is soft and pliable is perfect here. We opted to recycle some old license plates and use them to create our top brackets.

Cali Baby!!Top mount brackets installed

At this point you want to install the radiator permanently, hook up the hoses and electrical connections, and secure it with the top mounts. If you did everything right, if will feel solid it you try to move it, but have slight flex from the rubber bushings on top and bottom. It will also clear the hood without any issues. We have tested this on a EG with a stock hood and a CF unit. It works without issue. Here is several pictures of the preliminary install.

Final clearanceB-20.net chillin' in the background

One thing to also note is that installing the radiator at this height does NOT cause issues of air bubbles getting trapped in the head. The radiator hose and top of the radiator is definetly in a higher location then the heads outlet port, as seen in these photos:

Height is . . . . . .perfect.

After completing the installation and bleeding the coolant, I was ready to put this thing to the test. (It's important to note that as of yet, I have not connected the second fan.) These results are with only one fan operating.

I took the car to Thunderhill and raced it around the track for a while. The temps never climbed above 185 degrees. I couldn't believe it. This thing is great!! The engine runs nice and cool all the time now. The radaitor fan almost never comes on. Even in stop and go traffic, it doesn't warm up beyond 200 degrees. If you want your Hybrid to say cool in basically any circumstance, this is definetly the way to go!!

-Jeff

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