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How To Pick The Right Earl's Oil Cooler For Your UTV

Author: Harry Wagner | 12/09/2020 < Back to Motor Life Home

Oil is the lifeblood of your engine. And when it gets too hot, your engine can go into cardiac arrest. Temperatures in excess of 240 degrees can cause oil to oxidize and lose its lubrication properties, which is exactly why an oil cooler is so important. When building his Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo for the rigors of desert racing, Alex Baker knew there was no time to do an oil change in the pits, so he added an oil cooler to maximize his odds of reaching the finish line.


Oil Cooler Construction

Earl's Oil Cooler fitting

Earl's new UltraPRO oil coolers are ideal for high performance applications. These durable stacked plate style coolers are made from aluminum using state of the art brazing techniques, making them highly efficient with minimal pressure drop. UltraPRO coolers are available in three sizes and feature a premium cooling fan and aluminum shroud.


Earl’s UltraPRO cooler lineup uses state-of-the-art brazing techniques and large collector tanks that ensure minimum flow restriction and make them the most thermally efficient liquid-to-air heat exchanger available. They are perfect for cooling engine oil, transmission oil, power steering fluid and for many other specialized uses.


Oil Cooler Sizing

Given Baker's build is intended for desert racing he opted for an UltraPRO oil cooler. UltraPRO coolers are available in 30 sizes, so Baker had plenty of options to choose from for his side-by-side. He opted for P/N FP820ERL, which is 16 inches wide, 6 inches tall, and 5.5 inches thick


Once you have decided on a style of cooler, the next choice is sizing. Space constraints are often the biggest concern, and there are few downsides to having too big of a cooler according to Earl’s engineer Kirk Davis. “As long as there is a thermostat in the cooling system you can go as big as you want with an oil cooler. The Can-Am Maverick X3 has a thermostat so there are no worries about the oil getting too cool. You also want to make sure the inlet and outlet are large enough so there is no pressure drop. -8 or larger will be sufficient to cover this.” Without a thermostat, over-sizing an oil cooler can make it possible to cool the oil below the recommended range where it operates at maximum efficiency.


Fans Or No Fans

Earl’s UltraPRO oil coolers are available with Spal electric fans. The dual 4.8-inch diameter fans have integrated shrouds and pull 342 CFM each to ensure your oil remains cool even with high ambient temperatures or low speeds on the trail.


Earl’s UltraPro oil coolers are available with or without electric cooling fans. If you are mounting your oil cooler in an area where it has access to plenty of cool air, or plan to build a scoop to direct air over the cooler, you might be fine without electric fans. If the air flow is less than ideal, or the application is one where the vehicle will be operated at low speeds, such as rocky off-road trails, fans are a definite advantage to keep your oil cool. Budget is always a factor, as well as amperage draw if you are at the limits of your charging system. The dual Spal fans used on the oil cooler that Baker selected only draw 4.8 amps, so charging is not a concern, even on a race vehicle equipped with light bars and a host of sensors and gauges. Space is also a factor, but the low-profile design of the Spal fans used on the UltraPRO coolers result in a total depth of only 5.5-inches, including the dual fans and shrouds.


Oil Cooler Mounting

Earl's oil cooler mounting

Even the most rigid of chassis are vulnerable to flexing when subjected to the rigors of off-road racing. For this reason, Baker chose to use rubber isolators when mounting his Earl’s UltraPRO oil cooler. The isolators allow for a small amount of movement without concerns about cracking the oil cooler should chassis flex occur.


Unlike most conventional automobiles, the engine in Baker’s Can-Am is mounted in the rear of the vehicle. The first decision for mounting location was whether to put the UltraPRO oil cooler in the rear near the engine or up front. Space constraints were not an issue with their location, but both had their advantages and disadvantages. Mounting the oil cooler in the rear would be the easiest and keep all the plumbing short and simple. Placing the UltraPRO oil cooler up front would not only provide optimum air flow, but also improve the weight balance in the UTV, which has a mid-mounted fuel cell and rear mounted engine. After weighing these factors, the cooler was placed in the front of the chassis, behind the front tube work where it would be protected from harm.


Oil Cooler Plumbing

Earl’s makes just about every fitting, hose, and hose end you could ever imagine for any application in any size and configuration. Baker used Earl’s Pro Lite 390 hose and Swivel-Seal hose ends in a -8 AN size (PN AT804608ERL and PN AT809108ERL) that allow a full 360 degrees of rotation after installation. The Swivel-Seal ends are precision machined with a dual plane anti-seepage seal to ensure they are free of leaks. Pro Lite hose is constructed in the USA and can be used with Swivel Seal, Auto Crimp, and Auto Fit hose ends.


Mounting the oil cooler in the front of the Can-Am required longer hoses than if the cooler was mounted in the rear. The UltraPRO cooler holds 0.55 quarts of oil, and the -8 Pro-Lite hose (PN 390608ERL) adds approximately another tenth of a quart. This provides more volume of oil for an engine that only has 3.7 quarts of fluid to keep the 195-horsepower turbocharged 900cc Rotax engine cool. Weight is always a factor in racing applications, and Earl’s Pro Lite 390 hose is perfect mix of stainless under braid and fabric outer braid. The added stainless braid under the cover and over the liner, adds additional hoop strength for higher pressure ratings and added strength for tight radius applications. It also adds needed strength for high suction and vacuum conditions. The Pro Lite 390 hose was covered with Earl’s Heat Guard sleeve (PN 571010ERL) for another layer of safety.


When taking all of these factors into consideration, Alex Baker was able to increase the reliability and efficiency of his Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo UTV with quality components from Earl’s, giving him every possible advantage in reaching the finish line when racing across the Baja peninsula.


Alex Baker Can Am

Alex Baker bought a brand-new Can-Am Maverick and completely disassembled it to prepare it for the rigors of desert racing. Upgrades and modifications to improve performance and reliability include reinforcing the chassis, TIG-welded chromoly control arms from Geiser Performance, and cooling and plumbing from Earl’s.

Earl's oil cooler fittings

Adapter fittings (PN AT585108ERL) are necessary to transition from the O-ring fittings of the UltraPRO oil cooler to AN fittings (-8 in our case). Note that these fittings are not included with the oil cooler, so you will want to order them at the same time as your cooler. This particular part number IS required as other O-ring style fittings may be too long and bottom out in the cooler.

Earl's Hose ends angle

Earl’s offers over one thousand different hose ends for any application. While this can seem overwhelming, the best way to determine the correct hose end for your application is to start with the type of hose you are using and the angle you need, which will narrow down the results significantly. From there you can select crimped, push on, twist on, or field serviceable fittings.

Mounted UltraPro oil cooler

Baker mounted the Earl’s UltraPRO oil cooler in the front of his Can-Am Maverick X3 in front of the shock towers. This is far enough back that it is protected from impacts but receives maximum air flow to ensure his oil stays cool, even during prolonged racing at wide open through in the blistering heat of the desert.



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