Find out how to install a Laminova oil cooler on your engine. Everything you need to know about choosing the right Laminova & the best place to install it. How to access your engines oil system & plumbing it up – all right here in this one website and all for free.
Hi and welcome to the Laminova Pro ‘How to Install a Laminova Oil Cooler’ page. Before we get started let’s go over some peripheral information, what I cover and the things you will need.
I created this website to help people who want to know specific information about installing a C43 style Laminova oil cooler to a car engine. If you are using the Laminova for transmission cooling, power steering cooling or even differential cooling you will still find a lot of this website useful so don’t go away. I also cover some associated areas that you may want to refer to for extra help – those pages are listed in the main menu shown and highlighted text links are included from within this page.
How To Install A Laminova Oil Cooler aims to be a one stop source of relevant, accurate and genuinely useful information.
After you install a Laminova oil cooler to your engine you will have one of the most efficient ways of managing oil temperature. The Laminova Oil Cooler will help harmonise oil and water temperature from cold start all the way through to those demanding track day sessions. This cannot be done with a regular oil to air oil cooler due to the fundamental differences between the two styles of oil cooler.
Areas Covered On This Page
On this page I cover the following areas, some will have links to other pages to cover specific details that may not be relevant to every reader and if I included it all on one page it would just be too much to read through.
- Before we start – your work area
- Which Laminova Oil Cooler?
- Connecting To Your Engine Cooling System
- Fixing Your Laminova
- Connecting To Your Engine Oil System
- Installing Oil Hoses
There is a lot of detail in this website, do not let it overwhelm you or put you off installing a Laminova oil cooler to your project. This website is about giving you information so you can confidently undertake this installation and ensure you get it right first time round. Mistakes not only take time but can be costly with wrong parts being purchased etc. This may be obvious but I want to broadly outline the main components needed to complete the Laminova oil cooler installation on your car. You will need:
- Laminova C43 style oil cooler – check, size, weight, specifications and flow rates here
- Parts and equipment to access the oil system of your engine
- Oil hoses
This is ‘big picture’ stuff not a nut, bolt & washer itemised listing. Every time you install a Laminova oil cooler it will differ one way or another. However I go into detail and try to cover the anticipated situations and tasks that will be encountered and as a result I cover quite a lot of the variables and explain why.
Before We Start
These are just some straight forward sensible things to do before you start to install a Laminova oil cooler. Don’t put yourself or others at risk by thinking safety doesn’t apply to you or that you’ll get away with it just this once.
- Have a clean and tidy work area.
- Let the engine cool down and be at a safe temperature so that any liquids (coolant or oil) will not burn you.
- Have the vehicle in a position that is safe for you to undertake such work.
- Don’t be in a hurry or rush to get this done.
Which Laminova Oil Cooler To Use
The most popular style of Laminova for engine oil cooling is the range referred to as C43. This is available in three core lengths and can also be made to a custom length. It has many options regarding the water and oil connections. It is import you have the right Laminova oil cooler for your application. In particular I refer to:
- Getting the right size (oil flow capacity)
- Setting it up
- Getting the right ports
Even if you have already procured your Laminova I really do recommend you read my article Laminova Oil Cooler Information. This covers oil and coolant flow rates, pressure drop, port size, weights and type options etc. There is too much information to include it on this page. Spending a few minutes reading it may be time well spent. I do think it will make things clearer and more importantly allow you to be pro active with any fine tuning or changes you may need to make. It will also help with ‘setting the stage’ for the rest of the content on this page.
Connecting To Your Engine Cooling System
Before you start to install a Laminova oil cooler to your car (or bike) drain your cooling system. Decide where you will be placing the Laminova unit in the coolant system. The two primary positions are in the water supply from the engine to the radiator (the top hose) or the water supply from the radiator to the engine water pump (the bottom hose).
It is not easy to say if either hose position is best by any significant degree. If you use the top hose with coolant flowing from the engine to the radiator then the coolant is at it’s hottest and will mean a lower heat transfer from your oil to the coolant. If you use the bottom hose with coolant from the radiator into the water pump then the coolant is cooler and you will transfer more heat from your oil to the coolant, however the now heated coolant offers less benefit to the engine.
As long as your coolant radiator is able to dissipate the combined heat of coolant and oil and you accept that temperature harmonisation will take place to a slightly lesser or greater extent in either hose then either is just fine. I would be likely to install the Laminova in the bottom hose as my preferred option but either really is just fine.
Why I Don’t Use The Heater By Pass Hoses
You can use the heater system by-pass hoses (if you have them on your vehicle) as coolant supply when you install a Laminova Oil Cooler. I personally would not even consider this as an option but I include it here in the interests of balance.The view* is that in most instances the coolant flow rate will not be high enough to allow the Laminova heat transfer to be as efficient when compared to installation in one of the primary coolant system hoses. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, what I am saying is that you may not get the full benefit of heat transfer in the heater by pass compared to one of the primary coolant hoses on the same engine.
*= I contacted the manufacturer to try to get a firm ‘on the record’ view from them but they do not appear to be able to reply on this subject. I then asked the same of Think Automotive (the UK distributor) and they say they would advise installation into one of the primary coolant hoses over a heater by pass hose.
Install A Laminova Oil Cooler In To A Hose
I have seen installations where the owner has cut out a section of the standard radiator hose to allow the Laminova to be inserted. This is OK, but not suitable in all instances. I make this comment based upon two observations:
- A factory fitted or after market hose may not have a uniform inside diameter. It is not unusual for O.E.M. preformed hoses to have variations to the cross-sectional shape or size throughout its entire length. This is because it is only important for the shape and size to be correct at the two ends. As a result, when you cut out a piece of original hose you may have a section of hose that is not a good fit to your Laminova coolant port.
- Fitting a Laminova into a standard hose by removing or cutting out a section will restrict the overall ability of the hose to flex. This is one of the key features and requirements of a hose.
If this is what you plan to do then make an assessment on how the Laminova oil cooler may impede or restrict the ability of the now modified hose to accommodate movement between the engine and the radiator. In such instances extra loading or stress can sometimes be exerted onto the now modified hose and the fixing points.
A suitable installation will place the Laminova unit in a position around the engine whilst being mindful of maintaining easy connections to the coolant and oil ports. Try to use just two pieces of hose / silicone to do this, thus avoiding extra joining pieces and reducing the risk of leaks. Angled silicone with a ‘long leg’ is available although sometimes to special order. This may be worth ordering in if it means you do not need to join an angled section with a straight piece.
When using silicone I suggest you use the hose clamps that have a rolled edge to avoid cutting into or damaging the silicone hose, they are more expensive but well worth it. Your silicone hose supplier should be able to supply them.
Before you make the final commitment to install a Laminova oil cooler in any position check access. Be sure you will be able to fit your oil hoses to the oil connection ports and that it will not get in the way of or interfere with other items. The Laminova oil cooler will be a long term addition to your vehicle and you will still need to be able to do maintenance, repairs and the like.
Fixing your Laminova
When you install a Laminova oil cooler it is important the Laminova unit has its weight supported by more than the hoses. Consider the weight of the unit and the effect of inertia (accelerating, braking & cornering at speed) upon it.
The actual forces placed upon the Laminova, or more specifically the fixings holding it in place, could be two or three times its static weight. As a guide the C43-92 (small size) weighs 600gms, the C43-182 (medium size) weighs 900gms and the C43-332 weighs 1,500gms (1.5kg). These are static dry weights that will be multiplied by the amount of force being exerted upon them. If you experience ’2G’ in a corner then the weighs are doubled, and so on.
Laminova Pro has designed and manufactured Laminova Oil Cooler fixing brackets. These are laser cut profiles, folded and plated. The brackets that were on offer (by others) didn’t fit too well so I made these (see above image).
When fitting this or any bracket you should tighten the coolant port bolts to the correct torque of 12Nm.
What we have covered in this section should give you enough information to install a Laminova oil cooler into your cooling system. Now you are ready for connecting to your oil system. I suggest you do not refill your cooling system just yet – you never know if you may need to remove the Laminova for what ever reason before we are finished.
Connecting To Your Engine Oil System
To install a Laminova oil cooler to your engine oil system we need to get access to it (the oil system) first. Then we use two hoses to join the engine oil flow and return to the Laminova oil cooler. That’s the overview. But before we start this is probably a suitable place to mention that you do not need a thermostatic control on the oil feed to your Laminova.
I read forums where people ask about the need or potential need for thermostatic sandwich plates or controls, they are not needed in respect of controlling the flow of oil to a Laminova cooler. I go into a little bit of detail about the thermostatic controls in the article that outlines the fundamental differences between a Laminova oil cooler and a regular oil to air oil cooler.
Now lets look at the detail
Most engines have a spin on type oil filter and these offer a simple and easy way for us to gain access to the engines oil flow. In the vast majority of cases we will install an oil filter sandwich plate between the engine and the oil filter to divert oil away to the oil cooler and accept the cooled oil back to the engine.
The returned oil is then filtered before entering the engine. The picture above shows two different types of oil sandwich plate. One machined from billet aluminium and one cast aluminium. Apart from the billet version also having extra ports for oil take off to a turbo etc, they both do the same job.
Which ever sandwich plate you use it is important to have it supplied with the correct size (thread) centre bolt. Your supplier should be able to confirm the thread size for your engine if you contact them.
Some engines have specific characteristics that mean other devices or engine specific parts need to be used instead of a generic oil sandwich plate.
For example if you have a Chevy LS engine then you could use an oil sandwich plate between the oil filter and the engine. However on the Chevy LS engine it means the oil filter would be proud of the bottom of the sump and at risk of damage, as a result a specialist take off adaptor (pictured) is available that interrupts the engines oil system to gain access for oil cooling. Think Automotive will be able to advise you regarding oil take off adaptors for your engine.
If you have an existing remote oil filter set up or a scavenger pump on your engine then you should access the oil flow before the oil filter. This means oil outlet from the Laminova enters the oil filter and then back into the engine. Any remote oil set up should be filtered as the final stage.
Some of you may have an engine that has a factory fitted water to oil heat exchanger (doughnut style) fitted between the oil filter and the engine. These are not as good as the Laminova, they cannot maintain oil and coolant temperature harmonisation across the entire operational range and serve primarily to help heat the oil from cold start.
I think almost all the versions I have seen use a long centre bolt that screws into the engine to fix the doughnut to the engine and at the other end screws into the oil filter. You need to discard this long bolt as well as the doughnut unit. You are then left without a spigot protruding from the engine that your oil sandwich plate needs to bolt up to. This isn’t a problem, you simply need a new spigot to fit your engine. Most engines are either M20 or 3/4 UNF these as well as other sizes are off the shelf items (see the suppliers page) and they cost around £6 or £7. The water connections should be joined or if possible replaced with one new piece of hose.
When you install a Laminova oil cooler or any remote oil system it is important to ensure the oil is filtered before it goes back into the engine. The main reason for this is to ensure that if the external system, in this case the Laminova oil cooler and oil hoses, should be damaged and debris or particles are released into the oil they are captured before they can damage your engine. This is standard practice (good practice) but many people do not recognise the importance of it. If you are using a sandwich plate from Mocal, MIH Performance or one that shares such a design then the returned oil is filtered before it re enters the engine and you should not be concerned. If in any doubt call your parts supplier, Think Automotive.<
This is the process of installing a sandwich plate and what to look out for. This is also a good time to discard the existing oil filter and drain the engine oil. You will replace both with new. First of all drain the engine oil into a large flat pan, leave the drain plug out for the duration of this exercise as it will allow a bit more old oil to drain. Remove the old oil filter and clean the face of the oil filter mounting surface (on the engine) with clean lint free (no loose bits of fluff) cloth. You should have a clean circular area that the oil filter gasket (the large O ring around the oil filter at the threaded end) would seal against and in the centre a short threaded tube (spigot) protruding with a hollow centre. I call this the ‘oil filter spigot’ or just the ‘spigot’.
Now lets look at the sandwich plate and all the parts that go with it. In broad terms which ever manufacturers sandwich plate you use it will need to have the same parts, these are:
- The sandwich plate itself
- Centre bolt – correct thread for your engine
- A rubber O ring gasket on one side of the sandwich plate
- Two adaptors to fit into the sandwich plate to give two male threaded ports for your hoses to fit onto.
- Two washers for the above adaptors to seal on.
Check all the parts, make sure they are clean with no debris or particles in them. The first thing to do is fit and tighten the hose adaptors into the sandwich plate before fitting it to the engine. Apply some oil to the threads first and use a washer to ensure a seal, do not over tighten as this may damage or weaken the adaptor and/or the oil sandwich plate. Note. It is important that the adaptors fitted to your sandwich plate, or what ever device you are using to gain access to the oil system of your engine, have the same connection style and size as the oil connection ports on your Laminova. The most popular choice of hose type and size is -10AN. It is the most used and arguably the best option in the majority of cases.
Check that the female end of the sandwich plate centre bolt fits onto the threaded spigot that the oil filter was removed from and in a similar way check that the male end of the centre bolt fits your new (replacement) oil filter. Now you are ready to fit the oil sandwich plate to your engine. But before doing so, wipe a few drops of clean oil around the O ring gasket on the sandwich plate.
Place the sandwich plate onto the engine where the oil filter would normally be and insert the centre bolt into the sandwich so that it can be hand tightened on to the oil filter spigot. DO NOT fully tighten just yet. You need to get the two hose connection ports in the right place, so that you have room to connect your two oil hoses without problem. Find a suitable position that gives access to connect the two hoses once the sandwich plate is in situ.
Once you have done this, tighten the centre bolt hand tight plus another three-quarters or so of a turn. Fit the new oil filter to the underside of the oil sandwich plate as you would normally do if it were an engine service.
If possible prime the oil filter with oil. Replace the oil sump plug that has been left out to allow all the oil to drain. You may add new engine oil at this stage but DO NOT START the engine at this time as all the oil will be pumped out of the oil sandwich plate. Do not block these off as a temporary ‘feature’ because the oil has to circulate between the ports (it has to be connected to your oil cooler) to avoid oil starvation and potential (probably certain) engine damage. We need to get the hoses fitted before we can do anything else.
Installing Oil Hoses
Any of the three suppliers we recommend will be able to supply you with custome made hoses using steel or lightweight aluminium fittings. It is important to include some slack in the hoses and to ensure any bends are greater than the minimum bend radius for that type of hose. Oil hoses, the types and properties they have are a subject in there own right – if you have any questions please talk with your hose supplier.