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Art & Inspiration Mechanical fan or clutch?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hotrod54chevy, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,589

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

    Ok, guys. In my '54 Chevy 210 I'm running a stock 283 with a 2 barrel, and I'm currently using a 5 blade clutch fan that's working fine, but I was thinking of changing over to a mechanical fan for looks. This is a car that's driven only to shows, and if it's a lateral move, I wouldn't mind doing it, but if it's a huge difference in keeping the engine cool, I'll scrap the idea. Just thought I'd ask what you guys would do. Thanks.
     
  2. town sedan
    Joined: Aug 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,290

    town sedan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What do you mean by "Mechanical Fan"? -Dave
     
  3. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,590

    117harv
    Member

    I would go with the fixed blade.
     
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  4. I agree with harv,'54 Chevy's were not equipped with a clutch fan. HRP
     
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  5. 69fury
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,420

    69fury
    Member

    You'll be fine and see no climb in temp as long as the new fan still pulls the same CFM as the old one. -rick
     
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,135

    squirrel
    Member

    Chevy didn't need to use clutch fans until the engines got bigger, they started using AC, etc later in the 60s. Should be fine with an original Chevy 4 blade mechanical fan.
     
  7. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,589

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

    Town sedan, just that. Not electric :p HOTRODPRIMER, Yeah, but they weren't equipped with 283s either! Squirrel, you're always helpful! But what if I eventually put an under dash AC in? Would I need a different fan? Like I said, it's for looks, mostly. Should I get one of those "high performance" ones with a steep pitch or would a stock V8 fan work? Thanks, guys!
     
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  8. The 'high performance' fans can be very noisy...
     
  9. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,529

    aaggie
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    I try and use the K.I.S.S. system whenever possible and the fewer parts the less can break. In your case where it is only driven to shows it comes down to looks.
    An old style fixed fan will be shorter and you will not be as close to the radiator as with the clutch fan. You may end up with a cooling problem with the fan back too far. To fix that you will have to build a fan shroud.
    What I'm saying is that there is never a reason to change what you have as long as it works. Maybe having the clutch fan chrome plated would make it look better for shows.
     
  10. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,589

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

    Aaggie, I agree with KISS! I already have a fan shroud, and was just thinking of stuff to do for looks that'd be cheap and wouldn't hinder performance. I'll just leave the clutch fan black if I'm leaving it, just to keep the whole stock engine theme, I suppose. But thanks for the suggestion!
     
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,135

    squirrel
    Member

    If you put AC on it, then you will probably need more than the old 4 blade fan. I would keep the clutch fan around to put back on with the AC.
     
  12. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,589

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

  13. Not necessarily,I have a summit 6 blade steel fan on both my deuce sedan and the Ranch Wagon,no more noise than any other engine fan and a darn site quiter than a electric one! :D HRP

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,135

    squirrel
    Member

    one thing about a fan that actually moves air...it's gonna make some noise.
     
  15. fordor41
    Joined: Jul 2, 2008
    Posts: 911

    fordor41
    Member

    and the clutches have been known to go bad....
     
  16. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
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    from Chino, Ca

    How many HAMBers does it take to change a light bulb?
     
  17. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,163

    gimpyshotrods
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    None! Candles are traditional!
     
    36 ROKIT, David Gersic and clem like this.
  18. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
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    from Chino, Ca

    LOL
     
  19. Pheaton193
    Joined: Apr 7, 2011
    Posts: 337

    Pheaton193
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    Do you have air?
     
  20. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,243

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    A clutch fan doesn't necessarily move more air.
    It just has a viscous coupling to give it less engine drag while accelerating and also can vary its amount of coupling resistance depending on the temperature.
    Because of those features...many times more aggressive fans are used with the clutch setups, but I've also seen them with mild blade configurations as well.
    If I had one that worked well I would just leave it alone.

    ...and now I notice this thread is 6 months old. Oh well....
     
  21. I like fixed-blade fans. This is a leftover from my stock car days, 17" and out of a Chrysler product.
    3-4-7.JPG
     
  22. prpmmp
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,056

    prpmmp
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes old thread but I have a question! I thought the clutch more or less disengages at highway speeds for the reason that more air in going thru the radiator and the fan would have less drag on the engine. Is that close? Or is it how Hackerbilt explains? Pete
     
  23. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 4,605

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    I have a fixed blade six bladed fan on my 65 belvedere , no shroud, with A/C, does have a three row alum radiator though. NO cooling issues on a 100 deg Ks day. Lippy
     

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  24. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,243

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    They can't sense air volume itself.
    They sense the air temp at the fan...with a bi-metal spring usually.
    If the air is cool coming thru the rad they disengage as required and if the air is hot they engage as required.
    Highway use would mean a lot of cool air flowing thru the rad, so the fan will basicly freewheel and cut drag on the engine until the temp starts to rise again and the fan is required.
     
  25. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,834

    indyjps
    Member

    I prefer clutch fans, but I also build stuff to turn rpms. It just makes sense to me to use them, free wheel the fan when it's not needed.

    Fixed blade does fine if it's working, why change it, I paint the fan low gloss black to try to make the fan disappear, not draw attention to it. Good part of the fan is hidden in the shroud if it's set up correctly. Dressing up the shroud is an option.
    Some makes of fixed blade ate better looking than others, some clutch fans have aluminum clutch that could be polished. Chrome would make it pop too.

    Whatever you do don't use one of the aluminum fin anodized aftermarket "racing" fans, I swapped one on years ago and the engine ran hotter, they're known to come apart. Just not a good option.

    Let's see some pics of the engine compartment.
     
  26. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,475

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    Hayden says: Two types of clutch fans, Thermal and Non-Thermal..

    1)Thermal is built to run sort of locked up ["locked means 60% of pump speed] when cold so there is air flow for the AC..As it warms up it lets the fan slow down but by then you usually tooling down the road and it so it is in slip mode until you slow down /stop and the unit will heat up and spin the fan faster, again locked mode is no faster than 60% of pump speed.....No matter if the engine boils over the unit never ever locks up and will only spin the fan to about 3000 rpm no matter what the engine turns...5,6,7k, don't matter

    2)Non-Thermal is built to run the fan at about 50% pump rpm , never locks up and won't spin the fan faster than bout 3000 rpm, regardless of engine rpm..

    3)Mechanical fan...A good one will have staggered blades, sometimes the blades are different sizes also and that is done to make them pretty darn quiet and guaranteed air flow...
     
  27. I have air on the wagon with this setup. HRP
     
  28. Jimmy2car
    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,707

    Jimmy2car
    Member
    from No. Cal

    I have thought of adding a Thermal clutch fan to my 32 with Flathead. Just haven't figured it out yet
     
  29. Pheaton193
    Joined: Apr 7, 2011
    Posts: 337

    Pheaton193
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    Will keep you posted as I investigate. First order of priority is Unisteer Electric Steering which I just ordered.
     
  30. On a street car I always use a viscous drive fan if I have the room. They're quieter but move a lot of air when needed. Yeah, they wear out eventually and need to be inspected occasionally.
    I found out the hard way they can cause problems on a high winding small block when I sent one into the radiator of a 64 corvette at about 6500 rpms. Conversely I've seen fixed blade fans come apart at high RPMs too.
    If you can put up with the "Hoover vacuum cleaner" noise of a fixed fan, swap it out. I wouldn't. Function trumps form in a street driven 54 chevy.
     

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