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Scratchbuilding an Oil Cooler:

Oil coolers are a neat addition to a race car or even a street car. They can also represent transmission coolers, which perform the same function and are made the same way. This article is based on a tip from an SAE article by Jim Drew & Randy Derr.

I have been having a few problems getting clear pics of this procedure. I'll keep trying.

The main ingredient in this oil cooler is Evergreen ""Metal Siding" with .030" groove spacing. This is sheet plastic with grooves, made to represent metal siding. Cut 2 pieces of the sheet about 7mm by 14mm, with the grooves running longwise. Glue them "back-to-back", with the grooves facing out. This will represent the "heat exchanger" part of the cooler. Depending on the level of detail you want, you can stop here and just add inlet and outlet lines - but I'm going a bit further.

Grab some 24 guage bead wire. Bend one piece of wire over another to make a U-shape with a tight radius.
Cut the looped end off to make something similar to this. You will need at least 3 of these (more if you're making a larger cooler). That cool background is the palm of my hand.

Mark the plastic "cooler" with 4 lines on each end, spaced to fit your metal U's. Using a pin vise, drill holes on the centerline of the plastic using these lines as a guide. Drill from both ends, lining them up as well as possible.

Insert 2 wire U's on one end and one on the other (in the center 2 holes). Add inlet and outlet lines using the remaining 2 holes.


Once all the glue is dry, paint with a silver or dark gray paint. Flow some thinned flat black into the grooves to give it some depth.

That's one easy way. Instead of the grooved Evergreen, you can also use pieces cut from an unused kit radiator. I have a couple of other tips along these lines that I will try to get written up in the near future.

Also, stay tuned for "the hard way".