Cooling a Tiger
Mar 23, 2008 update to the Sunbeam Tiger project car
The Tiger is known for inadequate cooling. For an idea, combine a big engine with a marginal radiator. Now place them in a car with very little space under the hood for air to flow in and out. Cooling problems are sure to develop.
The factory formulated what they called the LAT (Los Angeles Tiger) fiberglass hood, which featured an air scoop. While the air scoop looked cool and was somewhat helpful, what was of perhaps greater help were the two big air ducts at the back of the LAT hood that let hot air escape the engine compartment.
The downside of the LAT hood was that they were rather flimsy, fit poorly and in some owner’s—including this one—minds, were a detriment to the smooth conservative styling of the Sunbeam Tiger.
So, we sought another remedy to the Tiger’s near legendary overheating problem.
We contacted Ron Davis Racing Radiators in Arizona. The shop builds a beautiful and rather large aluminum radiator for a Tiger. While initially we felt the radiator would fit wonderfully, when we actually got the car together, we were dismayed to find that the nearly one inch of additional thickness present in the Ron Davis radiator was barely going to clear the fan. Plus, it would absolutely not clear the revised MG Midget rack we put into our car to solve another Tiger problem, poor steering geometry.
So, out came the Ron Davis radiator and in went a Griffin radiator. Griffin, a respected radiator builder from Piedmont, South Carolina, has a beautifully made radiator that is only about 2.75” thick and fits a Tiger like a glove. While not as huge as the Ron David radiator, it has the advantage of fitting our car. We hope it improves cooling capacity.
The next cooling system modification we made was to change the mechanical fan. The original Tiger has a wholly inadequate four blade fan that doesn’t pull enough air through the radiator to cool much of anything, never mind the over 400 horsepower stroked 289 we built for our car. Back in the early ‘70s, certain Ford Mavericks with air conditioning were equipped with a very strong five blade fan. While somewhat rare today, we managed to find one of these fans at the Rootes Group Depot. Depending on how high your engine is located in the engine compartment, you may need to trim a quarter of an inch from each blade to clear the steering rack, but one look at this fan will tell you that it will move a lot more air.
To finish things off, we reinstalled the original fan shroud (a very important step in Tiger cooling) and added Redline Oil’s Water Wetter to our cooling system. This amazing product actually adheres itself to the water molecules in your radiator. According to the manufacturer, it doubles the cooling capacity of ordinary water.
Here is a very good article on solving the cooling problems of the Tiger - http://www.teae.org/cooling/cooling_article.html
I have implemented most of them and my car is running cool and happy. Blocking your horn holes will be a great benefit.
Great job with this car and I greatly look forward to my next issue of CM which will feature the car.
Good letter Tom (“wet noodle”),
There are some good corrados out there but as with any 20 year old car they tend to be overdue for a lot of TLC and parts replacement. My daily driver is a TDI Corrado and it’s a blast for what I use it for. No Corrado will ever be the fastest or best handling car on the road but it’s a fun fairly rare car that gets complements from other car enthusiasts.
Frank (skinny fat guy) ps: nice posting date
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All 1965 Sunbeam Tiger updates
United, We Stand
We hopped on a train to St. Michaels, Maryland, to enjoy some car and crab festivities with our Sunbeam Tiger in tow.
Preparing for Tigers East/Alpines East United
We charge our Tiger up and tweak the carb.
Are projects ever really finished?
Our Tiger has a few remaining issues we've been needing to sort out.
We made it home safe—and a little overheated—after an a/c-free road trip.
Tiger Trip Prep
A few tweaks make our Tiger a more pleasant steed for the New England 1000 Rally.
Making plans for the Tiger this spring.
Going to the Sun Shakedown
We give our Tiger a final shakedown at the Going to the Sun Rally.
Taming the Tiger
Another round of sorting for our Tiger project.
Hold That Tiger!
We test a prototype Wilwood brake kit on our Sunbeam Tiger project.
Time for a Checkup
A chassis dyno is a great testing and tuning tool, and soon our Tiger will hit the rollers.
It's time to put down the wrenches and start enjoying the drive in our Tiger. But first must come the sorting process, a necessary step in any new restoration.
Tail(pipe) of the Tiger
Putting together a good exhaust system for a built-up Tiger takes a little extra thought and work.
Bluegrass 1000 Ends on a High Note
Tim finds he gets along really well with Tigers.
Day Three in the Tiger
Tim takes the Tiger to the National Corvette Museum. Despite his Ford power, he was greeted warmly.
Day Two in the Tiger
Tim continues to chronicle his Tiger tour.
10 Hours in a Tiger
Hitting the road with our Sunbeam Tiger.
Figuring out Sunbeam Tiger wheels and tires.
Installing a Tiger Top
Tigers are not known for their excellent top design.
Odds and Ends
Little things mean a lot to a Tiger.
We wire up our Tiger and bring it to life for the first time since 1974.
We work through the finer points of keeping clean, cool oil running to our Tiger V8.
Cooling a Tiger
Hunting down the elusive cool Tiger.
Systems of a Tiger
Systems are everything on a project. Have a system, and tackle the reassembly system by system.
Restoring the Tiger's Interior
Tim redoes the Tiger's interior with a little help--and a few upgrades.
Tim starts in on the fun work of a restoration--putting things back together.
It's all about the wheels as the Tiger finally gets on four of them, and gets a new steering wheel, too.
Tiger Front Suspension Rebuild
With the engine finally in place, our attention turned to the Tiger's front end.
Headers Aren't Headaches
The Tiger is slowly coming together.
A New Heart for the Tiger
Those who know these cars, know that the engine install is not an easy job, especially if you start changing stuff around.
Start Your Engines
Progress continues on our Tiger. This past week we spent a couple of days at Abacus Racing where we assembled and dynoed our Tiger’s engine.
Reassembling the Tiger
We are rolling along pretty nicely on our Tiger reassembly, despite being out of town for events.
Anatomy of a Tiger Body
With the rear end completed we turn our attention back to the body and paint.
Looking at a Tiger's Rearend
Putting together the rear end of our Tiger.
Body work on the Tiger continues.
Strengthening the Frame
Frame work begins.
Body work begins.
Tiger Restoration: Full Speed Ahead
Prep work in the cold.
Catch a Tiger by its Tail
A stripped Tiger.
Stripping the Tiger
Removing the junk to get to the bare metal.
Work Begins on Our Tiger
We have to start somewhere.
Birth of a Tiger Project
Here is where we started.