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It Takes Two! – Ford 6.7L Super Duty Secondary Radiator R&D, Part 1: Factory Review and 3D Models




Whether we’re talking about turbochargers on an F-150 EcoBoost, V8 engines in an offshore powerboat, drummers in the Allman Brothers Band, or pieces of Carvel™ Ice Cream Cake for dessert on my birthday, sometimes two is a better option than one. This was very much the school of thought that Ford’s engineers adopted when designing the cooling system on the 2011+ F-Series Super Duty trucks, including the F-350, F-450, and F-550. These trucks feature two systems that work in parallel to handle all of the cooling needs in your truck, and both are equally important.

Our engineers at Mishimoto also see the value in the “two can be better than one” mindset. When we bought our Mustang GT, we didn’t stop there – we bought a turbo model, too. Many of you may know that we have already released a high-performance primary Ford 6.7 radiator, but I am excited to announce that we have been busy developing a Mishimoto Super Duty radiator for the secondary system as well.


The front of the 6.7L; The Secondary radiator is front and center, behind the AC Condenser

Before I go into too much detail on how we will be upgrading this system, let’s review the factory Super Duty radiator setup, so we can understand what’s going on under the hood of this truck to keep everything from getting too toasty.


Wait, the 6.7L has TWO cooling systems? What the…

The factory cooling system on the 6.7L Ford Super Duty trucks is very elaborate, and it actually comprises two mostly independent cooling systems that use their own coolant pumps and are almost completely isolated from one another. The first, more conventional system cools the engine by sending coolant through passages in the block and to a heat exchanger up front, and also directs coolant to an oil cooler and the heater core. It incorporates a large radiator (the primary Ford 6.7 radiator) mounted forward of the engine, but behind the other heat exchangers (secondary Ford 6.7 radiator and AC condenser). This system is similar to those found on most other vehicles.


The front of the 6.7L with the Secondary Radiator removed

Ford exercised some real ingenuity with the secondary cooling system, which is relatively complex compared to what one would typically find on other vehicles. The secondary Ford 6.7 radiator, mounted in front of the primary, is responsible for heat exchange within the system that feeds coolant to anything else in the vehicle that is not the engine block itself or the oil cooler. This includes the transmission cooler, the EGR cooler, the fuel cooler, and perhaps most importantly, the charge-air cooler (but more on this later). A degas bottle is also present within this system, and the AC condenser is mounted on the front of the secondary radiator with four bolts.


Interesting. Well how does the secondary cooling system work?


Schematics of the secondary Ford 6.7 Radiator system (© Ford Motor Company)

The exchanger itself is unique in its design; it uses two thermostats – one incorporated into each end tank – that direct the flow of the coolant as it flows among the numerous passages. Additionally, the heat exchanger utilizes three rows of internal coolant passageways, but one of the aforementioned thermostats opens and closes one of the rows, giving the unit the ability to function as a two or a three-row radiator. When the third row is closed off, coolant is directed to the other side of the Ford 6.7 radiator via a pipe that travels across the front of the unit. This design element presumably allows the truck to heat to operating temperatures within a more reasonable amount of time, and to begin cooling more effectively once conditions are appropriate and the third row is open.


Cool! (ha). So why would I need to upgrade my secondary Ford 6.7 radiator?

Now you might be wondering what exactly the benefit would be in upgrading this secondary radiator. If it already adequately cools all of these accessory components, what good would any marginal efficiency increases do, and how would they make this Super Duty radiator worth upgrading?

First of all, lower coolant temps will certainly prolong the life of all of the aforementioned supported accessories, making your truck even more tough than Ford advertises it’s having been built. Additionally, there is one key component this system services that could see some performance gains after this radiator upgrade, particularly if coupled with a tune.



The charge-air cooler (aka intercooler) on this truck, unlike many others you may be familiar with, is a liquid-to-air heat exchanger. This means that it uses coolant rather than ambient airflow to cool the charge air. This is a highly efficient method of lowering air temps in turbo applications, but it limits the efficacy of upgrading the size of the intercooler to boost power, as one would do with an F-150 EcoBoost or a Subaru with an air-to-air exchanger. So if upgrading the intercooler’s size doesn’t do all that much for this truck, how do we further cool those charge air temps to make our trucks quicker?

That’s where the secondary Ford 6.7 radiator comes in. Dropping coolant temperatures with a larger, improved heat exchanger will allow the factory charge-air cooler to operate even more efficiently by doing a better job at cooling metered air coming from the turbo, which could provide power gains when coupled with a tune to optimize the ECU to the colder, denser air.


What does a better secondary radiator look like?

Having thoroughly explored the factory design, let’s take a look at some 3D models of the Mishimoto 6.7L Super Duty Radiator design.


Front view – Mishimoto Secondary Super Duty Radiator

As you can see, we will be retaining all associated factory functionality, as is standard for all of our performance parts.


Front 3/4 View – Mishimoto Secondary Ford 6.7 Radiator

We have included two custom engineered external thermostats in the design to ensure that our radiator preserves the factory ability to toggle between two and three-row operation.


Custom Engineered Mishimoto Thermostat and Housing

The Mishimoto secondary Super Duty radiator is designed with all factory attachments in mind, meaning that the AC condenser will attach to it just as securely as it attaches to the factory piece.


Side view – Mishimoto Secondary Ford Super Duty Radiator

A word on factory fitment – Our secondary radiator is designed to work with the primary factory Ford 6.7 radiator as well as the Mishimoto upgraded primary radiator. This means that you can have the Mishimoto primary, the Mishimoto secondary, or both Mishimoto radiators, and all factory components will still be compatible regardless of your setup. We want to accommodate all of your performance needs!


Great! What’s next?

Now that we’ve outlined the factory Ford 6.7 radiator system and laid out the Mishimoto plan for making it even better, you can expect some prototype images in the not-too-distant future. That, of course, means that a discounted pre-sale will follow not long thereafter!

View this post and much more about our R&D process on our Mishimoto engineering blog.

Thanks for reading, and keep your eyes peeled for updates on this exciting project.

Best,
-Gardiner
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
PRE-SALE ACTIVE: Mishimoto 6.7 Secondary Radiator

Love Is in the [Charge] Air – Ford 6.7L Super Duty Secondary Radiator R&D, Part 2: Prototype Testing and Cooling Data



Last time, we took a look at the unique design of the Ford 6.7 secondary Super Duty radiator and its accompanying thermostats. Our last post was only about two weeks ago, but I come bearing some good news – plus, great things come in twos.

You can now order the Mishimoto secondary system Super Duty radiator at our limited-time discounted price!

Mishimoto’s Ford 6.7 Super Duty Radiator (secondary system) Discounted Pre-Sale



Why does my primary rad need a companion?

As a recap, this heat exchanger, found in 2011+ Ford Super Duty trucks, works as an integral part of a mostly independent secondary cooling system that manages many of the truck’s auxiliary cooling needs, including those of the liquid-to-liquid charge air cooler. Cooling these engine components more efficiently should not only prolong their useful lives, but also may make for some nice performance benefits if coupled with a tune – who doesn’t love colder charge air?

The secondary system allows the primary radiator to more exclusively and efficiently cool the torquey Power Stroke motors found in these trucks. For more information on the intricacies of this complex, clever system (and the benefits of upgrading it), check out our first post on the R&D process for our secondary Ford 6.7 Super Duty radiator.


The Dirty Details

To improve the heat exchanger’s cooling ability, we made several important improvements to the construction and design of the radiator. For starters, the core itself is thicker than the factory core by about nineteen percent. This allows for coolant to be distributed through a wider network of cooling tubes, amounting to a total increase in fin area of twenty-seven percent over the factory Super Duty radiator.


Thermostat housing mount on the passenger side end-tank of our Super Duty radiator.

The increased core thickness also allows for a decreased fin height, meaning that cooling tubes can fill the space more densely than they do on the factory unit while retaining at least the same level of heat dissipation to the atmosphere, increasing the total effective cooling area. In our design, the thicker core allows for a sixteen percent increase in total cooling tube surface area.


Mishimoto’s secondary system Super Duty radiator.

Additionally, here are some photos of the thermostat housings we designed to retain the hybrid two/three row functionality of the heat exchanger.


Note: though the prototype housings are billet aluminum, the production version will be cast, and the finish will appear more brushed/matte than what is pictured.

The thermostat housings bolt to the sides of the Super Duty radiator. Here is the driver’s side view.


Mishimoto’s secondary system Super Duty radiator, driver’s side view.


Testing the Waters

To measure the magnitude of the performance increases gained with our upgraded heat exchanger, we installed our secondary Ford 6.7 radiator on a 2011 F-250 in order to do some testing on our Dyno-Jet dynamometer. Ambient temperatures in the testing environment were about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and we tested both the factory Ford 6.7 secondary radiator and the Mishimoto 6.7 secondary radiator under the same conditions and in the same session. We used AEM temperature sensors to monitor the inlet/outlet temperatures of both the coolant in the secondary radiator and the charge air in the intercooler piping (inlet on the hot side, outlet on the cold side). Measurements were taken for each sensor location once the truck shifted into sixth gear.


Our 6.7 F-250 Super Duty test vehicle on the dyno.


Talk Data to Me

Having run the truck on the dyno through numerous runs with both radiators, we were able to consistently observe a seven degree drop in outlet temperatures with the Mishimoto secondary radiator, which affected a six degree drop in charge air temperatures as compared to the factory Super Duty radiator. Not too shabby!






A Match Made in Heaven

One of the design objectives that we tout very proudly and adhere to on just about everything we make is our commitment to ensuring that each part is a direct-fit alternative to the factory part it replaces. Our Ford 6.7 radiator in the secondary system is no exception, and will hit it off quite well with your factory primary radiator. Of course, it has been designed also to find love at first site with our own Mishimoto 6.7 primary radiator. Check out some photos of our secondary radiator intimately snuggled before our Mishimoto primary radiator in the front of a 2011 F-250 test vehicle.


The front of our 6.7 Super Duty with Mishimoto’s primary and secondary system radiators installed.


Driver’s side view of our 6.7 Super Duty with Mishimoto’s primary and secondary system radiators installed.


Driver’s side view of our 6.7 Super Duty with Mishimoto’s primary and secondary system radiators installed. The thermostat housing is pictured near the bottom.


Passenger side view of our 6.7 Super Duty with Mishimoto’s primary and secondary system radiators installed. The thermostat housing is pictured near the middle.


But when can I get one?

I imagine it gets awkward when you walk into the garage in the morning only to find your primary Super Duty radiator quietly listening to James Blunt and perusing RadMatch.com – no one wants to be unhappy with their partner. You can tell your primary rad, however, to stop whining and put on some real music, because you can make its dreams come true today! Beginning right now, you can be the ultimate wingman for your cooling system and order the Mishimoto 6.7 Secondary Radiator at our limited-time discounted pre-sale price.

Mishimoto’s Ford 6.7 Super Duty Radiator (secondary system) Discounted Pre-Sale


Thanks for reading!
-Gardiner
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hello everyone! Just wanted to update this thread and let you know that our pre-sale looks like it will be ending towards the end of October, so you've got a month or less left to get in at this discounted price!

Thanks,
-Gardiner
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey all, just an update: If you want to pick up a secondary radiator at the discounted pre-sale price, act now! Our pre-sale will be ending very shortly.

Thanks,
-Gardiner
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hello, people!

Just wanted to let you all know that the pre-sale has officially ended. A special thank you to all of those who ordered - I think you'll be very happy with this radiator, and it should be in the mail shortly if not already.

Feel free to continue to use this thread as a forum for questions, comments, and feedback. In the meantime, enjoy your trucks and have a nice Halloween!
-Gardiner
 
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