Project SR E30: Part 3 - Radiator, Intercooler and Piping

by Nikita Rushmanov


Last time we ended with the SR20 all mounted up inside the E30. Now it’s time to start plumbing it. In this episode, we will be mounting the radiator, intercooler and condenser (yes, you heard that right) as well as making the intercooler and intake piping.

We decided to use our S13 SR20 radiator for this project. After a little investigating, we realized that if we used an E30 radiator, we would have had to cut, reclock and weld the water outlets on the SR to make it work. Using our SR20 radiator means that we can just trim and reuse the hoses we already have with no extra work. We also already have a nice radiator with big fans and a shroud on it, so we save a lot of money by reusing it. The dimensions ended up being perfect.


We start off by cutting out the stock lower radiator mounts using an air saw. Since the SR radiator is a bit taller, we have to mount it below these stock mounts, so they end up being in the way.


We quickly cut out these lower radiator supports out of 12 gauge mild steel. We used the stock S13 supports as a reference for the measurements.


After a quick mockup, we fillet welded the brackets to the lower core support. This isn’t particularly optimal since all the weight is applying a shear load directly on the weld, but it’s just a radiator, so it will be just fine.


Here is how the radiator sits. We were able to reuse the stock S13 rubber isolators. When mounting a radiator, it’s important to make sure there is no direct contact between the aluminum radiator and the steel chassis. If they make contact, the steel chassis will eventually abrade through the aluminum, causing a radiator leak.
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Tuesday, December 26, 2017 8:43 AM
Love the choice of footwear! :-)
Tuesday, December 26, 2017 11:12 AM
There is always enough room in an e30 to fit an intercooler and look stock. Lookout for turbo 2jz e30, there are quite a few (fitting the brake master cylinder is a massive pain though).

Keep going ! This is going to be a nicely balanced car.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017 6:44 PM
Isn't having the MAF that close to the filter going to cause problems?
Thursday, December 28, 2017 10:19 AM
@theneil, if the air filter has a nice velocity stack/air trumpet leading into the MAF, it should be fine. Way back in the day, I had a JWT Pop charger that the MAF bolted to. Used that on my boosted SR20 for like 80k miles before I sold the car. No stumbling issues or anything, auto-x'd, track days, and drag raced the hell out of that car.
Friday, December 29, 2017 12:14 PM
Won't the piping clang against all the chassis parts as the motor torques around under load?
Nikita Rushmanov
Nikita Rushmanovlink
Friday, December 29, 2017 2:59 PM
@CTK I think there is just enough clearance for it not to hit. If it hits, we'll just switch to polyurethane mounts.
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