Quick Hit: Flex-A-Lite’s Electric Fans Equip Diesels For Long Hauls

In our day in age, saving money is of the utmost importance. Diesel fuel isn’t the cheapest as it could be, and doesn’t look to decrease in the future. With that in mind, we’re all looking to improve our mileage. Yet we also want to unleash more horsepower and torque and cool our engine to the maximum potential. We went to the electric fan experts at Flex-A-Lite for the details of their dual electric fan kit.

This dual electric fan kit fits 2003-2009 Dodge Ram trucks equipped with the 5.9-liter or the 6.7-liter Cummins. With this, users can recover up to 27 horsepower and boost fuel economy by up to 6 percent by replacing the stock clutch fan assembly with this dual electric fan system. It features two 15-inch S-Blade electric fans and a Flex-A-Lite adjustable temperature controller. These powerful fans move up to 5,500 cfm of airflow.

So, who does this fan appeal to? “It has benefits for both street trucks and built trucks that may be more focused on racing,” said Flex-A-Lite’s marketing representative, Cole Quinnell. “In both cases, you get an effective increase in rear-wheel power by removing the heavy, belt-driven clutch fan and replacing it with the Flex-A-Lite electric fan.”

Street trucks receive more benefits from converting to a Flex-A-Lite electric fan. “The reduced parasitic losses caused by the belt-driven fan result in better fuel economy, as well as more rear-wheel power,” Quinnell said. “The electric fans let the engine warm up quicker, which gets the truck heater working sooner on cold days. The electric fans also provide more airflow at idle and slow speeds, so the A/C blows colder air on hot days.”

Other features and benefits include a direct-fit bolt-on design, up to 5,500 cfm of moving air, and quicker engine warmups. Although this fan is for improved performance, disconnecting the factory fan clutch may set off a check engine light. With certain tuners, you can clear the code to lose the pesky light.

Belt Driven Fan VS. Electric Fans

The debate has been around for years on which would be better for trucks. On the one hand, electric fans completely remove the mechanical load of spinning the fan from the engine. Yes, it places an additional draw on the electrical system, but this is more efficient than the engine having to turn it over. Users are sacrificing that much-wanted horsepower and torque with the belt-driven assembly.

Removing a belt-driven fan that mounts on the water pump reduces the load on the pump, which leads to a longer-living water pump as well. Essentially, you’re reducing the load on the water pump and also losing total weight overall. “The weight varies according to the application: the new Flex-A-Lite fan weights between 20-25 pounds, while the factory clutch fan can weigh 25 pounds or more,” said Quinnell.

In this picture, you can see the size comparison to the new electric fans versus the factory belt-driven fan. 

Another huge advantage to the electric fans is flexibility when they are on or off. With the adjustability of an electric fan duo, your engine can come up to operating temperature more quickly, due to you controlling when they come on. This feature is nice in the winter time to warm up your engine quicker, and it’s critical in drag racing when you want just the right amount of engine heat for desired performance.

Also, an electric fan can cycle on and off, reducing the electric load. You can wire your fans to come on when the air conditioning is activated, maximizing the efficiency of your air conditioning system. For a four-wheel-drive, you can also add a manual kill switch. This will turn the fan off during a mudding experience or low water bridge, and reduce the amount of contaminants coming in.

This kit comes equipped with a detailed wiring instruction manual for ease of installation.

Among other great advantages to electric fans, it also offers a lot in a small package. If you’re making engine or cooling system changes, the original belt-driven fan isn’t a small package by any means. These fans are designed to mount directly on the radiator, usually providing the most compact, easy installation as possible, where a belt-driven fan will usually require at least 3.5 inches between it and the engine.

Flex-A-Lite also offers a Low Pro electric fan that requires only 1.09 inches at the center, where your pulley is. Finally, if you’re installing a custom radiator, adding an electric fan is easy and will clean up your underhood considerably. In fact, Flex-A-Lite offers several aluminum radiators that are available with an electric fan, and are optimized for the radiator.

Closing Questions And Thoughts

The Flex-a-lite Variable Speed Controller turns the electric fan on and off at the desired temperature. Fans turn on at 60-percent power and fan speed increases as the temperature rises. You can easily adjust the activation temperature between 160-240 degrees Fahrenheit. It also turns the electric fan on when the vehicle air conditioner is engaged. The fan will run for up to 25 seconds after the vehicle is turned off.

But are these fans on a thermostat, a switch, or both? “Our electric fan conversion kits for turbodiesel trucks include the Flex-A-Lite Variable Speed Controller,” Quinnell said. “This controller senses the temperature of the coolant in the radiator and turns the fans on and off. The customer can adjust the fan activation temperature with a pot screw in the controller. The controller reduces the initial electric load by turning the fans on at 60-percent power, and then increases the fan speed as the temperature increases.”

So, what is it going to run you to get your own set of electric fans? “Typical retail prices range from $525 to $755 depending on the application,” said Quinnell. “That is a complete kit: two high-powered electric fans mounted in a welded aluminum shroud with high-speed air flaps and the Flex-A-Lite Variable Speed Controller.”

For more information on Flex-A-Lite fans, be sure and check out their website. What are your thoughts on this dual fan kit? What would you put them on? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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