Which kind of oil cooler for my car?

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Apr 12, 2003
Irvine or Berkeley, Ca
I posted earlier about what oil to use in my car which is a daily driven and tracked 2001 Toyota Celica GT-S. I have learned that my car at the track reaches almost 300* F oil temp. This has prompted me to search for oil coolers. There are only two types available for my car. Both are Sandwhich type coolers. One is the TRD oil cooler which was originally designed as an OEM part, but removed before finalization of the design of the car. It is a oil/water oil cooler that uses the engine coolant to cool the oil. A friend of mine has seen oil temps of 220* on the track with this oil cooler. This cooler is usually around $300 and is somewhat hard to find as it rarley imported to the US. The other type of oil cooler is is a Perma Cool/Cool-tek oil cooler which runs for approx. $130. I only know of one Celica wit this kit and he has not tracked his car. This kit is also a sandwich type cooler, but instead of using the engine coolant to cool the oil it has a small radiator mounted in the front of the car to cool the oil. Oh also my car's engine has oil jets that cool the underside of the piston crown. I am sure that is one of the reasons of the high temperatures.

Here are some links to the different oil coolers:

Cool-tek/Perma Cool:
http://www.cool-tek.com/ (they don't mention the kit as available for my car on thier website, but I have seen prototype pics)

Pic of TRD oil cooler:

Thank You

PS: Can anyone reccomend high quality oil temp, oil psi, and water temp gauges?

[ May 08, 2003, 05:54 AM: Message edited by: rugerman1 ]
Check out Tru-Cool at Racer Parts Wholesale great product and you can't beat the price!

[ May 08, 2003, 10:57 AM: Message edited by: rugerman1 ]
I've been shopping an oil cooler for my restored 70 Mach 1 for some time now and haven't yet decided if I really need one or not. I was told by a tech at "Fluidyne" that it is better to run the oil a little warm rather than too cold. Most thermostatic sandwich adapters that I found open at 180 degrees which is an acceptable temp for an oil apparently. I would be using this type of adapter as space is an issue for my application as it may well be for yours. Otherwise an external thermostat is required elsewhere which adds more hoses and hardware. I would probably not use the water cooled type either but rather the heat exchanger variety of cooler. They will want to know your oil temps in order to recommend the right size of cooler for your application. Here are some of the links that I've been viewing. Can't comment on the gauges.


You will need some quality hoses and fittings too.

They also carry hose and fittings here http://www.racerpartswholesale.com/index.html
The Permacool sandwich is an adapter to get the oil to and from the separate cooler. Permacool also sells a 180°F thermostatic valve which is needed if you drive on the street...oil needs to be normally warm, not too hot and not too cold. Hayden's sandwich adapter includes the thermostatic valve.

You'll also find coolers by Long Tru-Cool (B&M brand is the same thing) and Hayden. The plate-type cooler takes up less space for the same cooling capacity than the fin & tube type cooler (like a little radiator).

If you don't think the TRD cooler is adequate, I'd suggest the biggest plate-type cooler that you can fit, along with the sandwich adapter and thermostatic valve. Will the cooler have air flow? Will you need to install a fan on the oil cooler if you don't drive far and fast enough after the track to continue cooling the oil?...the oil will continue picking up heat from the hot engine.


[ May 08, 2003, 05:51 PM: Message edited by: Ken2 ]
I will see if the Perma-Cool kit comes with a thermostat taht opens up at 180 degs. Yea I was wondering abotu overcooling and possibly damaging the engine that way. I'm currently leaning towards the Perma-Cool kit because of the possibilty to cool my car more than the TRD and not transfer any heat to my coolant. But I do not know as much about oil coolers as you guys do. The TRD kit is also hard to find and far more expensive. I sent an e-mail to Cool-Tek regarding their kit to check on pricing and availability. I should ask if it comes with the thermostat. I have heard good things about the B&M, but if the kit is similar to the Perma-Cool/Cool-tek I will go with them as they will have pre fabbed mounting for my car.

About the gauges what does everyone say about these?:

The water temp gauge is very cheap and electrical, but the oil cgauge is mechanical. If they are mechanical do I have to actually run a line with oil in it to the gauge? If so isn't this dangerous? Should I go with the water gauge or the CHT gauge?
1) Do you have ports on the cooling water system to get water to the TRD cooler?

2) If so, take a look at the stock oil cooler on the Tundra or Sequoia V8...they look very much like that TRD cooler, easier to get, and cost less.

Yea it is pre-piped for the TRD cooler. Hmm I'll go look and see if the Tundra oil cooler will fit. If it does this will be a cheap mod. Thanks for the idea.

I forgot to add the link to the pre production perma cool kit in my original post.

NewCelica.org Forum > Celica Discussion > Performance Mods > Perma-Cool - Engine Oil Cooler ! Prototype

there you go.

[ May 14, 2003, 04:42 AM: Message edited by: rugerman1 ]
That TRD cooler looks very similar to the ones used by Ford on the modular truck engines. Instead of a sandwich adapter, it uses cast passageways into the engine but other than that it too uses metal fittings for the coolant ports. It looks very sealed and efficient.
Well I asked about the Tundra oil cooler, and nope it won't work as they said they were different diameters. I called Cool-Tek about their cooler and it just sounds like a more expensive B&M unit and it doesn't have openings for oil temp or oil psi. I'll see what I can get from racerparts, are they part of the company racerwholesale ? If so thats good, they are a nice company. I'll also try to keep looking for the TRD unit, but yea it is a TRD Japan part and is hard to find. TRD USA doesn't even acknowledge the existance fo the product so getting support for it might be a little hard.

[ May 14, 2003, 04:43 AM: Message edited by: rugerman1 ]
Well here is a more descriptive picture of what comes with the TRD kit. Man 38,000 YEN, this ting is about $400. For this? Does this sound like a decent price?


One thing I forgot to add was that the Cool-Tek kit does not come with a thermostat.

[ May 14, 2003, 03:41 AM: Message edited by: 00 scrub ]
I think a thermostat should be mandatory with any oil cooler kit, at least if you're going to be driving in colder weather with it. Otherwise in the winter you'll run the risk of your oil being way too cold to burn off the moisture properly.

I don't know if they make them this way, but if I had an oil cooler in my car I wouldn't want the thermostat to open until the temperature reached over 225F.

Funny thing is, my Firebird is supposed to have an oil cooler, because in the 95 Firebird brochure it states that the 3.23 axle ratio option comes with an oil cooler also. But mine didn't get it. I found out that many 3.23 equipped cars didn't get the oil cooler that year for some reason (GM ran out of them for a short time?) Either way, many LT1 owners say those oil coolers are more trouble than they are worth anyways. And drag racing doesn't heat up my oil anyways, if I was road racing I'd need it more.
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