Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 40

kap all covers

6/9/03

9:49 am

Page 15

Student Workbook

LV08
Cooling
Systems (1)

LV08/SWB

Student Workbook for Technical Certificates in


Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair

MODULE LV08
COOLING SYSTEMS (1)

Contents
Page
Cooling System:
Principles of heat transfer
Ways of transmitting heat
Flow of heat
Conduction of heat
Convection
Radiation
Progress check 1

3
3
4
4
5
6
7
9
10

Liquid Cooling System:


Construction of the liquid cooling
system
Coolant flow when the engine is cold
Coolant flow when the engine is warm
Radiator
Radiator core
SR type radiator
Expansion tank
Progress check 2

10
11
12
13
14
15
18
19

Pressure and Temperature Control:


Radiator pressure cap
Engine heating
Engine cooling

20
20
21
22

....Page
Thermostat
Bellows thermostat
Operation of the bellows thermostat
Wax thermostat
Progress check 3
Water pump
Drive belts
Cooling fans(belt-driven)
Electric motor driven fan
Operation of the electric fan circuit
Viscous fans
Antifreeze
Temperature sensors
Warning lights

23
24
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35

Air-cooled Engines

36

Maintenance:
Liquid-cooled engines
Air-cooled engines

39
39
39

-1Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

-2Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Cooling System
Principles of heat transfer

Heat
produced by
combustion

The internal combustion engine is a heat engine, the burning gas in the
cylinder raises the temperature, which in turn raises the pressure and forces
the piston down the cylinder.
The combustion gas may only be in the cylinder for a fraction of a second but
its temperature is higher than that of the melting point of aluminium alloy or
cast iron which is used in the construction of engines. It is therefore
necessary to remove excess heat to prevent damage.
When petrol and air mixture is burned in the cylinder it produces heat energy
at a temperature of approximately 2,500 C, only about 25% of this heat
energy (thermal efficiency) is converted into useful work. 34% of heat is lost
to the exhaust gas, 32% cooling loss, 3% pumping loss and 6% friction loss
(thermal efficiency of a diesel engine is about 40%.) Excess heat must be
removed from the metal parts forming the combustion chamber to prevent
damage caused by expansion and melting, leading to seizure.
The primary job of the cooling system is to keep the engine from overheating
by transferring the heat produced to the atmosphere.
In motor vehicles two main cooling systems are used:

air cooling which uses air only as a cooling medium

water cooling which uses air and water.

-3Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Ways of transmitting heat


There are three main ways of transmitting heat these are:

conduction

radiation

convection.

Heat is made up of molecules which consist of even smaller particles known


as atoms. Atoms vibrate faster the hotter they get. If they vibrate too fast in
metal it melts.
Heat is a form of energy and is capable of doing work, vehicle engines are
heat engines and do work by burning the fuel in the combustion chamber.
Flow of heat
Heat always flows from hot to cold, for example if a one pound coin was
heated and then placed in a beaker of cold water the temperature of the coin
would drop and the temperature of the water would rise until both coin and
water reached the same temperature, heat lost = heat gained (try it).
When we talk of temperature we are talking about the degree of hotness or
coldness of a body.
Temperature is measured using a thermometer.
There are two points on the temperature scale. These are fixed by the
temperature of steam from water boiling under normal atmospheric pressure
and the temperature of pure melting ice.
There are three scales that are used:

Celsius scale, this scale was introduced by Andreas Celsius in 1742 and is
similar to the well known Centigrade scale. This scale uses 0 degrees for
freezing and 100 degrees for the boiling point of water.

Fahrenheit scale, this scale was commonly used in Britain in the past, its
scale is based on the boiling point of water at 212F and the freezing point
of water at 32F, giving a range of 180 degrees.

Kelvin scale, this scale is the SI unit of temperature and is known as the
Kelvin. (This is the same as the Celsius scale but its zero is minus 273 C
(absolute zero). When using Kelvin the degree symbol is not used so a
temperature of 250 degrees would be shown as a value of 250 K.

-4Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Conduction of heat

Heat travels
through the metal
rod (hot to cold)

Heat will travel through a metal by conduction. If a metal rod is heated at one
end heat is conducted through the rod to the other end (remember hot flows to
cold).
Some materials are better conductors than others; aluminium for example is a
better conductor than iron or steel. Some materials such as asbestos resist
the passage of heat and therefore are said to be poor conductors of heat,
whereas aluminium is classed as a good conductor of heat.
If a large amount of heat is required to flow, then a material with a good
thermal conductivity is required. Aluminium has a higher thermal conductivity
than steel. Copper is a very good conductor of heat which means it will
transfer heat readily.
Liquids and gasses are very poor conductors of heat and normally transfer
heat by convection.

-5Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Convection
Water level

Cold water falls

Hot water rises

Glass convection
tube
Potassium
permanganate
crystals to
colour water
as it moves

Heat is transferred by convection currents in a liquid or gas. When a fluid or


gas is heated it becomes less dense therefore it rises and cooler gas or liquid
takes its place.
When water is heated it expands, becomes lighter and rises. This principle is
used in water-cooling systems.

Radiator
header tank
Hot water rises
through the
engine

In the early days of the motor vehicle design some manufacturers did not use
a water pump and relied upon the thermo-syphon system of cooling e.g.
convection currents.
The hotter the water became the quicker the water circulated. This system
required a very large radiator and header tank. Examine some radiators in
the workshop and note how small they are in modern vehicles.

-6Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Radiation

The sun
Heat can be transferred by radiation, one of the best examples of this is the
heat from the sun which is radiated to earth over 93 million miles.
The rate of heat transfer depends upon the temperature of the source, the
area of its surface and the nature of its surface.
Increasing the area that the heat source is acting upon increases the rate of
heat transfer (better cooling). If the surface is dull it radiates heat better and
also absorbs heat at a faster rate than a bright polished surface.

Fins around an air-cooled engine cylinder increase the surface area and
therefore increases the rate of cooling.

-7Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Exhaust
manifold

Battery

Exhaust
front pipe

Shield to reflect
heat away from
the battery

Sometimes it is necessary to shield components from heat radiation by


placing a shield in the path of the radiated heat. Exhaust systems are a good
example, where a heat shield keeps the heat away from the battery or
electronic control components etc.

-8Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Progress check 1
Answer the following questions:

1.

2.

Heat can be transmitted in three ways these are:

______________________________

______________________________

______________________________

Temperature is the degree of _____________and_______________


and is measured by a ______________

3.

Celsius degrees can be converted to Kelvin by


adding________________

4.

Fins around an air cooled engine increases the___________________

5.

A thermo-syphon system relies upon ______________for cooling

-9Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Liquid Cooling System


Construction of the liquid cooling system.

To
radiator
Water
pump

From
radiator

Thermostat
Water jacket

A liquid cooling system consists of a water pump, radiator, thermostat, cooling


fan, water jackets and rubber hoses.
The simple cooling system consists of water jackets in the cylinder head and
the cylinder block. A radiator provides the main cooling and rubber pipes
connect the radiator to the engine. A thermostat is used to control the engine
temperature, a cooling fan to cool the water in the radiator when the vehicle is
stationary and a water pump to circulate the water.

- 10 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Coolant flow when the engine is cold

When the engine is cold the coolant flows only through the by-pass hose, the
thermostat is closed, which shuts off the water flow to the radiator. Water is
pumped only to the cylinder block and the cylinder head. It returns through
the by-pass hose, continually circulating around the engine but not through
the radiator, the radiator is by-passed this ensures a quick warm up time.
Modern engines use a by-pass valve for controlling the by-pass circuit which
is normally incorporated in the thermostat.

- 11 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Coolant flow when the engine is warm


When the engine becomes hot the thermostat opens, allowing the heated
water to be pumped through the thermostat to the radiator to be cooled by the
fan and an air ram is created by the forward movement of the vehicle. It then
returns to the water pump to be circulated around the engine.

- 12 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Radiator

The water absorbs heat from the engine as it circulates around the cylinders.
It then passes through the radiator where it loses the heat to the atmosphere.
The radiator is designed to expose the water contained in the tubes to as
much flow of air as possible with a small frontal area.
Materials used for radiators are brass, copper, aluminium, and a composite of
metal and plastic.

- 13 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Radiator core
The radiator consist of two tanks, an upper or header tank and a lower or
bottom tank joined together by tubes which are covered in very fine fins (the
core). The heat of the water is transmitted to these fins, which are cooled by
the fan and air ram as the vehicle moves forward.

Plate fin type

Tube
Plate fin

Corrugated fin type

Tube

Corrugated
fin

- 14 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

SR type radiator

Upper tank

Tube

Fin

Many modern vehicles carry the SR type of radiator. The core has only a
single row of tubes which makes it thinner and lighter. The SR type is
favoured for horizontal or cross-flow radiator installations.

- 15 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Cooled
water
No
turbulators
fitted so
hot water
passes
smoothly
through
the radiator
and is less
cooled

Turbulators
to cause hot
water to
contact cold
walls of
radiator
tubes

Hot
water

Some radiators have a turbulator fitted inside each tube which has the effect
of creating turbulence inside the tubes, thus ensuring that the water is agitated
and prevented from flowing smoothly through the tubes. The heated water is
therefore forced into contact with the tubes and the heat is then conducted
through the fins and is cooled by the flow of air, thus more efficient cooling is
achieved.

Radiator
mounting
bracket

Two radiators
back-to-back

Horizontal
tubes

There are basically two types of radiator installations, the down-flow and
cross-flow. Down-flow radiators tend to be taller and form a higher bonnet line
than the cross-flow type, which are more essential to the lower bonnet line
design of modern cars.
Shown above is a view of a cross-flow radiator of a Ford Ka. It has a very
small radiator but to make up for its lack of cooling area two radiators are
used back-to-back.

- 16 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

The radiator shown above has a large cooling surface area and is fitted at the
extreme front of the vehicle so that full benefit of air ram can be achieved.
Radiators fitted at the side or rear of the car require much more forced air
from the fan, and therefore a larger or more efficient fan is required. If the fan
is driven by the engine, power is absorbed in driving the fan.

Air is forced through the radiator by the natural forward movement of the
vehicle. This movement cools the water in the radiator as it passes over the
cooling fins.

- 17 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Expansion tank (sealed system)


This system employs an expansion tank, which is connected to the radiator by
the overflow hose.

Coolant cold
The level of the
coolant has
decreased due
to contraction

When the coolant in the radiator expands due to heat, excess coolant enters
the expansion tank (reservoir tank).

Coolant hot
Pressure
cap usually
fitted to
expansion
tank
Overflow
pipe

The level of coolant has


increased due to
expansion

As the temperature falls the coolant contracts causing a depression to form in


the radiator, (this must not happen otherwise the radiator would collapse).
Atmospheric pressure acting on the coolant in the expansion tank pushes the
coolant back into the radiator.
This system eliminates wasteful discharge of coolant to atmosphere and
constant topping up of the coolant.

- 18 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Progress check 2
Answer the following questions:
1.

Examine various vehicles fitted with liquid cooling systems. Use


workshop manuals to fill in the table below.
First vehicle

Second vehicle

Third vehicle

Model
Expansion tank fitted
yes or no?
Where is the radiator
filled?
What pressure does the
cooling system operate
under?
Check the condition of
the hoses

2.

3.

In a water cooled cooling system, which direction does the coolant


flow?
a)

out through the upper part of the engine down the radiator and
into the lower part of the engine

b)

coolant moves only in the engine

c)

up and down the radiator

d)

out of the upper part of the engine through the radiator and into
the lower part of the engine.

What is the main reason for removing heat from an engine?


a)

increase the output of the heating system

b)

prevent engine parts from seizing

c)

stop the exhaust from melting

d)

prevent an over rich mixture developing.

- 19 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Pressure and Temperature Control


Radiator pressure cap
When an engine cooling system is pump assisted and the engine is driven
hard pockets of steam may develop in the cooling system, especially in the
cylinder head water jackets where the heat is greatest. Steam is a very poor
conductor of heat thus local overheating will occur. Overheating leads to preignition and loss of power. By pressurising the cooling system overheating
problems are overcome.

Operation of the radiator pressure cap


The pressure cap allows the coolants boiling point to rise above 100C, which
is the normal boiling point of water. The cooling effect of the radiator
increases in proportion to the difference in temperature between the outside
air and the coolant. This means that the radiator can be reduced in size and
still maintain the necessary cooling effect (see Ford Ka).
The radiator pressure cap is seated in the top of the radiator and contains two
valves. These valves have different functions, one valve lets pressure out,
and the other lets in atmospheric pressure. The larger spring loaded valve
prevents the release of pressure until the designed opening pressure is
reached. This pressure is usually about 0.3 to 1.0kg/m at 110C to 120C.
The cooling system operating under pressure prevents the coolant from
boiling and forming steam. The engine therefore will be able to operate at
higher and more efficient temperatures than with a non-pressurised system.

- 20 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Engine heating

Water
pressure
controlled by
the relief
valve

Pressure
released to
atmosphere

When the engine is running the heat from the coolant causes an increase in
pressure. This pressure lifts the large valve or pressure release valve off its
seat against the action of the spring, the coolant escapes down the overflow
pipe to the ground or into the expansion tank, depending upon the system
used.

- 21 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Engine cooling

Vacuum
valve opens
allowing air
into the
radiator from
atmosphere
or returns
coolant from
the
expansion
tank

Air or coolant
entering the
radiator to
replace the
vacuum

As the engine cools the small losses of coolant results in the formation of a
partial vacuum or depression in the system. This is relieved by opening the
smaller valve (vacuum valve) which allows air to enter the system, or, in the
case of the expansion tank type system coolant to re-enter the radiator,
ensuring that there has been no measurable loss of coolant.

WARNING
TAKE CARE WHEN REMOVING THE RADIATOR CAP
THERE IS A DANGER OF SCALDING BY BOILING WATER AS
THE PRESSURE IN THE SYSTEM IS
REDUCED WHEN THE RADIATOR CAP IS REMOVED
ENSURE THAT THE ENGINE HAS COOLED DOWN BEFORE
REMOVING THE RADIATOR CAP AND LOOSEN SLOWLY

- 22 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Thermostat

Thermostat
An alternative
position for the
thermostat

By-pass

Water pump

Generally engine efficiency is highest when the temperature is between 80C


and 90C.
The thermostat is fitted to control the flow of coolant through the radiator and
engine, to ensure that this temperature is reached as quickly as possible
when the engine has been started. It then maintains the engine at operating
temperature.
The thermostat acts like a valve that automatically opens and closes
according to the temperature of the coolant. The thermostat is fitted between
the radiator and the engine, either just above the water pump or just below it.

- 23 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Bellows thermostat
The bellows thermostat has been superseded by the wax pellet type. The
thermostat has a valve attached to the top of a bellows which is filled with a
volatile liquid such as acetone or methyl alcohol.

Operation of the bellows thermostat


When the engine is cold the valve is held tight onto its seat by contraction of
the bellows, therefore preventing coolant from passing from the radiator to the
engine. This ensures a rapid warm up of the engine.

Jiggle pin

Valve
opens
here

Expanding
bellows open
valve
Bellows
containing
volatile liquid

When the engine becomes heated the volatile liquid in the bellows vaporises
(changes state) causing the bellows to expand, thus lifting the valve off its
seat allowing coolant to flow through the engine and the radiator.
The cooler coolant entering the engine causes the thermostat to close. For
the thermostat to close the volatile vapour must change state and become a
liquid again this is dependent on the needs of the engine to maintain its
temperature.
Note: The bellows thermostat does not have good temperature control when
compared to the wax pellet type, which is more responsive to temperature
change, this is why the bellows thermostat is now little used.

- 24 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Wax thermostat
The cylinder in the thermostat is moved by the thermal expansion of the wax
when the engine reaches the desired temperature. The wax is contained in
the cylinder which causes the valve to open allowing coolant to flow through
the engine. Note: The wax is impregnated with copper to enhance its
expanding characteristics.
Some thermostats have a by-pass valve fitted, which operates at the same
time as the main valve (when the main valve opens the by-pass valve closes).

When the
main valve
opens the
by-pass
valve closes
off the bypass port or
hose

The blue part of


the thermostat
moves down
when heated to
open the valve

The jiggle pin or valve is in use when the coolant is being replenished. It
allows air to bleed from the system when the valve is closed and when the
engine is running by the natural flow of the coolant.

T h e b lu e
p a rt o f th e
th e rm o s ta t
m o ve s
dow n w hen
h e a te d b y
th e c o o la n t
th u s
o p e n in g th e
v a lv e

Note: The wax thermostat is unaffected by the operating pressure in the


cooling system.
- 25 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003
All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Progress check 3
Answer the following questions:

1. Using a workshop manual determine the operating cooling system


pressure of a chosen vehicle.

2. Carry out a simple test on a pressure cap to determine its operating


pressure.

3. Carry out a pressure test on the cooling system and note the location of
any leaks.

Write your answers in the table below


Workshop manual

Operating pressure of
the radiator cap

Any leaks found and


where

4. You are carrying out a service on a vehicle and you discover the bottom
hose is badly cracked. What action do you recommend to the customer.
a) no action is required
b) swap the top and bottom hoses over
c) replace the hose
d) reduce the water pressure.

- 26 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Water pump
The pump circulates the coolant at a higher speed than in a thermo-siphon
system (convection currents).
Contrary to popular belief the pump does not build up a pressure, this is done
by heat and the radiator pressure cap, the pump is an impeller type and only
circulates the coolant.
Pulleys

A small
volume of
coolant forced
around the
cooling
system does
as much
cooling as a
large volume
of coolant in
an unforced
system using
convection
currents

Bearing

Holes

Impeller

An advantage of the pump is that heater systems can easily be accommodated


and coolant easily circulated to all parts of the engine as necessary.
When the engine is hot the impeller pump draws cool coolant from the bottom
of the radiator and passes it into the distributor tube or water jackets. The
distribution tube directs cool water through perforations onto the hottest areas
of metal surrounding the combustion chambers and the exhaust ports.
The coolant absorbs most of the heat that passes through the thermostat out
of the cylinder head to the top of the radiator core (header tank). The heated
coolant passes down the radiator core and the absorbed heat is removed by
the cool jet stream of air passing through the radiator core. The cooled
coolant is then drawn into the engine from the bottom tank via the impeller
pump, to be circulated again.

- 27 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Drive belts
Cooling fans/water pumps are often driven by belts. Use of these belts to
drive other engine auxiliaries is common practice. Belts do not require
lubrication and are quiet in operation.

V-belts have been used for many years and have a good record of
performance. They are called V belts because of their cross-sectional
shape, they wedge on the sides of the pulley but do not seat at the bottom
otherwise they would slip, making that well known noise fan belt squeal
caused by wear.

Pulley

V ribbed belt

Cog-type V belts are very similar to the normal V belt just described, but it
has cogs on the underside which increases grip of the belt on the pulley and
provides an increase in flexibility.
V belts have been mostly replaced by a V ribbed belt, the overall thickness
is less than that of V belts and have very high transmitting efficiency. These
belts have good heat and wear resistance and are less subject to stretching.
When replacing fan belts it is important to set the tension correctly to prevent
belt slap and slip noise if the belt is too loose. If the belt is too tight it will
damage the bearings of the water pump and other auxiliaries that are driven
by it. Belt tension gauges are very useful for adjusting the tension of the belt.

- 28 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Cooling fans (belt-driven)

The cooling fan is constantly driven by the engine absorbing power and the
fan speed changes with engine speed. The rotation is not sufficiently high
when the engine is running slowly, but can be too high when the engine speed
is high. High fan speed causes power loss from the engine and creates noise.

- 29 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Electric motor driven fan

Drain tap

The belt is replaced by an electric motor, which receives a signal from a


coolant temperature sensor, this is usually fitted in the cylinder head. When
the temperature of the engine reaches a pre-determined level the sensor
connects electric power to the motor and this drives the cooling fan. The
engine reaches its operating temperature quicker than the belt driven type. It
also reduces noise since it is not required to operate when air ram is in
operation (when the vehicle is moving forward at reasonable speed) and
better fuel consumption is achieved. This type of fan is highly efficient
especially at low speeds when under heavy loads such as hill climbing.

- 30 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Operation of the electric fan circuit

When the relay coil is grounded, (earthed) by the coolant temperature switch
at a temperature of around 93C the relay contacts close. This action
completes the circuit to the electric fan and it rotates. When the coolant
temperature falls to around 83C the coolant temperature switch opens and
the relay contacts also open and the fan then ceases to rotate.
On some vehicles especially high power types, two fans may be used, which
may operate together or be controlled separately (both fans working only
when required). Some manufacturers control the speed of the fan by use of
electronic control, this system serves to ensure quieter running and better
control of temperature.

- 31 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Viscous fans
Viscous drives for fans are made in two forms:

torque limiting

air temperature sensing.

The torque-limiting fan is able to transmit a varying torque, which depends


upon the viscosity of the fluid inside the casing.

The temperature controlled fluid coupling (air sensing fan drive) is a device
that controls the cooling fan speed according to the temperature of the air
passing through the radiator.
When the air temperature passing through the radiator is low the speed of the
fan is low so that the engine can warm more quickly, fan noise is also
reduced. When the air temperature passing through the radiator is high the
speed of the fan is increased which cools the coolant in the radiator more
effectively.
In the past manufacturers such as Rolls Royce and Lagonda used a radiator
blind or shutter which was operated by a thermostat on a lever. It was very
effective and ensured that the coolant heated up more quickly by preventing
air from flowing through the radiator. In the 1950s a blind could be bought,
which was operated by the driver with a pull on a string. Care had to be taken
to ensure the driver did not forget to open the blind when the engine warmed
up otherwise serious overheating would be experienced.
- 32 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003
All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Antifreeze
When conditions are extremely cold and anti-freeze is not used the thermostat
will remain closed for longer and this may cause freezing in the lower tank
(bottom tank) of the radiator. If the coolant does not freeze it may turn into
slush causing a restriction of coolant flow (the effect would be like having a
blocked radiator) this would cause overheating.
Because water is a very poor conductor of heat and can only transmit heat by
convection it is possible to have boiling water in the top tank (header tank)
and ice in the bottom tank due to cold air ram through the radiator.
Any impurity added to water will raise its boiling point and lower its freezing
point.
Antifreeze is used to prevent freezing of the coolant. Antifreeze is coloured by
using a dye and contains a mixture of glycerine and alcohol, or ethylene glycol
(ethylene glycol has a boiling point of 195C). A corrosion inhibitor, potassium
dichromate, is often used to protect the cooling system from corrosion.
Percentage of coolant additive
25%
33%
40%
50%

Protected down to C
-10
- 15
-20
-30

Before antifreeze is added to an engine it is important to flush out all the


sludge and other contaminants that may be present in the cooling system
after prolonged use and to ensure that all components are in good condition
such as hoses (antifreeze is very searching and will find the smallest holes).
Antifreeze should be mixed before placing in the cooling system, the normal
mix is 4 parts of water to one part of antifreeze, this mixture will provide
adequate cover for the British winter.
It is important that the strength of the antifreeze mixture is checked during a
service to ensure that it has not become diluted too much, due to topping up.
(Expansion tanks reduce topping up of coolant level.)

- 33 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Temperature sensors

The engine temperature sensor is generally fitted in the cooling system on the
engine side of the thermostat. It consists of a brass bulb, which is in contact
with the coolant with a thermistor housed inside it. The thermistor is a semiconductor, which has a negative temperature coefficient which means that as
its temperature rises its resistance falls, which is the opposite to most metals.
The resistance of a thermistor (temperature sensor) varies from about 220
ohms at 50C to 20 ohms at 115C (this varies and reference to the workshop
manual must be sought if a diagnosis is required).

When the coolant temperature is low the resistance of the temperature sensor
is high and a limited amount of current flows, the heat wire therefore
generates little heat and therefore the pointer on the gauge only moves a little,
indicating a low temperature on a calibrated scale.
As the temperature of the coolant rises, the resistance of the temperature
sensor decreases therefore reducing its resistance and increasing the current
flow through it, thus generating heat in the heat wire.

- 34 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

The bi-metal element bends in proportion to the heat causing the pointer to
indicate a corresponding rise in temperature of the coolant. The voltage
regulator is used to compensate for changes in battery voltage to prevent
incorrect readings.

Warning lights

Warning lights are


frequently used to
indicate conditions
such as
overheating or the
one shown which
illuminates when
the coolant level is
low

Warning lights are used to warn the driver of impending trouble such as
overheating or low coolant level.

- 35 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Air-cooled Engines
This type of engine is used mainly in motorcycles and aircraft although a few
car engines are cooled by air. One reason why air cooling is not used for
multi-cylinder engines is the fact that it would be difficult to cool all the
cylinders equally, it would also be difficult to control the engine temperature
with any degree of accuracy.
Air cooled systems use heavily finned cylinder heads and blocks to conduct
the heat away from the engine. Aluminium is used extensively because it is a
good conductor of heat, it is certainly better than steel and iron.
Air-cooled engines run at higher temperatures than liquid cooled types
therefore greater bearing and piston clearances are necessary. Air cooled
engines are noisier than liquid cooled engines which have natural noise
dampening characteristics due to water jackets surrounding the combustion
chambers etc.
The cylinders of an air-cooled engine are enclosed by a metal cowling through
which air flows. The control of the air flow is by the use of shutters, which
are thermostatically controlled through a system of levers. The engine-cooling
fan operates continuously while the engine is running ensuring an adequate
supply of air under all conditions. Motorcycle air-cooling does not require a
cooling fan due to the continued movement of air around the engine while
travelling.
Air intake

Thermostat
Butterfly for
adjusting air
flow (shown in
max
temperature
position

Aspirated
air filter

Interior
heater pipe

Centrifugal
fan with
duct

Air flow to
cool oil in
sump

- 36 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Air-cooled VW
engine configuration

This engine configuration lends itself to air-cooling due to the cylinders being
opposite each other. This provides a large cooling area and allows the forced
air to circulate around the engine cylinders.

- 37 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Advantages of air-cooling over liquid cooling

simple and lightweight

very little maintenance is required

warms up quickly from cold

handles very high and very low temperatures (does not require antifreeze)

less complicated therefore is more reliable.

Disadvantages of air-cooling over liquid cooling

relatively noisy

larger and more bulky cylinders due to fitting of cooling fins

difficulty in keeping cylinders at an even temperature

larger cooling fan absorbs a good deal of power from the engine

more likely to overheat in extreme loaded conditions (towing a trailer or


caravan etc).

Advantages of liquid cooling over air-cooling

more even temperature

cooling fan quieter, wastes less power

engine block more compact

cooling system allows for more design flexibility

access to engine for maintenance is better

noise dampening due to water jacket

better cooling under extreme loads.

Disadvantages of liquid cooling over air-cooling

engine is heavier

takes longer to warm up

more liable to leakage therefore more maintenance is required

engine can be damaged if it freezes.

- 38 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1

Maintenance
Liquid-cooled engines
In hard water districts (large lime content in the water supply) use an inhibitor
such as potassium dichloride. If antifreeze is in the cooling system check the
strength of the mixture as antifreeze contains an inhibitor which prevents
corrosion.
Check the coolant level at weekly intervals and examine hoses and replace if
dry and cracked. If the hoses are oil contaminated to the extent of softening
or the hoses are becoming spongy replace them.
Before filling with antifreeze check all joints and hoses renew if necessary and
back flush the system including the heater. Check the coolant level after the
engine has warmed up. Check thermostat and radiator cap for correct
operation and renew if necessary. Note: The maintenance period of the
cooling system on modern engines have increased considerably in
comparison with older vehicles, due to antifreeze (with the inclusion of an
inhibitor being used all year round).
Air-cooled engines
The only maintenance required for air-cooled engines is to ensure that the
finning is kept clean and clear of debris.
Checking the ducting system and carrying out any repairs is essential for
efficient operation of the cooling system.
The drive belts need to checked more frequently, due to the heavier loads,
more fan blades more resistance to motion, which causes an increase in fan
belt wear.

- 39 Copyright Automotive Skills Limited 2003


All Rights Reserved

LV08: Cooling Systems (1) Issue 1