Oil cooler yes or no

Discussion in 'Oil' started by Mavagrand, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Mavagrand

    Mavagrand Senior Member

    Here's my question. Are there any studies out there comparing the longevity/reliability of an engine that has an oil cooler installed verses one that doesn't, all other things being equal?

    I run quality synthetics in my crankcase and tranny while running HD Formula + in the primary and I have Xieds installed to richen up the AFR. This is on my stock 96" with factory exhaust and no stage 1. From everything I've read an oil cooler will lower the oil temp around 25*, not really noticeable to the rider. Would that 25* really make a difference to the life of the engine??

    I ask because I want an oil cooler but am hesitant to buy one because of the expense.


    I deliberately did NOT state what type synthetic I run because I do not want to turn this into an oil debate. There are plenty of threads on that. I am looking for hard evidence that an oil cooler will extend the life of the engine.
  2. Bud White

    Bud White Well-Known Member Retired Moderators

    My Opinion is anytime you can lower the temps of the oil on a air cooled engine the better for the engine and its like 25* might not seem a lot to you but in a temp range of 200 + degrees 25 is a lot
  3. 59Panhead

    59Panhead Member

    Oil in any Motor has to reach a certain Temp. to burn off impurities and water or Moisture that always show up when a Motor is hot...then sits overnight or for days before it is run again and fully warmed up ! An Oil Cooler should have a by-pass to allow the oil to reach the proper temps....then direct the oil through the Cooler when it becomes to Hot! And All TC 88 96, 95, 103, 110 are set up from the factory as emissions compliant motors and run very lean.....and to darn HOT! So that being said...A Well tuned Motor needs the right air/fuel mix for it to run better.....so Good Syn Oil like Redline or Amsoil not Harley or Mobil None is a good step in Heat Managament and adding life to the motor! The Finding right Oil Cooler is the Key! The problem with ALL oil coolers is they 'dont work' when the bike is Running, and 'Standing Still' in Traffic and other things we run into when its 90 + out there AND WE WANT TO KEEP MOVING.....Ya Right! Anyway I have tested a few from Jagg, and Harley, then I got to try a Cooler from UltraCool out of Calif. and they have the best looking and best working Oil Cooler on the Market....It has a Little Fan just like one that is in every computer in the world that kick in & out as needed ! This setup works, you cant here it running, and it keeps the oil temp around 220 even if it's 115 F outside temps and you are stuck in traffic ! Check them out ! UltraCool.com I wish they made one for my Old Panhead....right now there made for the E. Glide chassies and the Softails only
  4. Mavagrand

    Mavagrand Senior Member

    Here's my question. Are there any studies out there comparing the longevity/reliability of an engine that has an oil cooler installed verses one that doesn't, all other things being equal?
  5. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

    If your just looking for studies I would contact the companies that manufacture oil coolers. I am sure they can point you in Many directions for that info because that is how they stay in business.

    But if you are looking for INDEPENDENT studies, I not have seen any. There are so many variables involved in a test like that. And if you found a study, it would have to apply to your exact air/oil cooled engine to be of any help. In a water cooled engine, oil provides a small amount of cooling in comparison to what we are dealing with. In my opinion all oil studies in water cooled engines don't count since water is cooling the cylinder heads.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    Mavagrand, I do not have that answer, but I can tell you that a lab study is probably NOT the method of choice and here is why. HD probably is the only place where longevity statistics exists and it is done by miles driven on host of different models over a variety of conditions probably across the country...and very likely on going. Why? because the mean time before failure if testing were conducted would have multitude of failures minor and major...electrical, mechanical, and yes some engine problems and such. Having HD motorcycles come STANDARD with oil coolers have only come on touring bikes in recent years, so that statistic is still being collected by pulling all the work orders for those bikes so equipped globally.

    Now, did the failure occur because of lack of oil cooler, hot running or just a new model change i.e. that new electronic module this year that combined ABS, ECM and TSSM functions together, or bushing/bearing change or scissoring crank.... Who is going to sort out this data, and make the assumption that it was heat? Too many variables...but HD does have statistics of running an engine on a stand at high stress, until it starts to implode. But how does that relate to day to day, where we have different static temperatures, mileage and running times, service schedules etc.? Oil companies have determined the oil breakdown can occur if temperature goes over 280 degrees F, so all they say is "--don't keep running the oil there" i.e. they only make recommendations." Having an oil cooler is good sense, just knowing the high stress and lean mixtures today's engines run at...
  7. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    To actually do a study that controlled ALL independent variable except the existance of an oil cooler or the type of oil cooler would be pretty expensive. Not sure who would undertake that kind of effort. For the most part, I think each of us makes our own mind up based on concern over high oil temperatures. No doubt that the top quality coolers decrease the temperature of the oil. Big debate over whether they help during low speed operation. I'm not joining that one. That is up to those folks pushing a particular agenda or product.

    I have a Jagg 10-row low mount on my '03 UC. It reduces the effective oil temperature as measured by the oil temp gauge sending unit in the tank. The exact amount of oil temperature reduction is not know to me since the gauge is not a precision instrument, and the conditions of comparison are not identical. But the temperature is lower. That is what I wanted when I installed the cooler.

    Nuff said!

  8. The4opps1

    The4opps1 Junior Member

    Like many of the posts have pointed out, it is probably going to be hard to find an independent study on oil coolers and engine longevity. I can say that the $200 some odd dollars I paid for my HD oil cooler was worth every penny. The cooler and running suynthetic definitely drops my oil temp by at least 20 to 30 degrees. I hear what you are saying about the expense, as a dollar is a dollar, especially in today's economy. But, IMO, the cooler is money well spent...
  9. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    Everyone else has addressed the existence or non-existence of the study you're looking for.

    Here's what I say - if you can afford it, do it. It's obvious from your posts that you're worried about it so why not spend a bit of $$$ and help yourself sleep better at night?
  10. BlackRoadKing

    BlackRoadKing Member

    my local harley service guy told me that they were great in the hotter months and did their jobs just as well in the cooler months and kept the oil too cool when tthe temp were fall-like, october, november etc.

    the oil was being kept 15 degrees cooler regardless of the temperature outside.

    he convinced me that they werent necessary unless you were in a year round warm weather climate.