Race Day Cooling Upgrades For Project DeadSpool Drag Truck

In drag racing, sled pulling, or even daily driving, the cooling systems on our diesel trucks work constantly. Most of the time, these engines maintain between 175 degrees and 190 degrees for operating temperature depending on the thermostat. This isn’t a bad thing at all, but when you start cranking up the power and holding that power level for some time, things can get warm.

For example, Project DeadSpool’s 5.9-liter Cummins engine sustains about 180 degrees of coolant temperature once fully warmed up. Once it gets it up to the line, spools up, and is held wide open for 5-7 seconds, it clocks in at a hair under 210 degrees. Again, not the worst thing in the world; but when I return to the pits to begin cool down, I have no way to cool the truck off.

I needed a cooling system for performance. I wanted better results and I wanted it now. What is on our “need” list? A better-flowing radiator, a controllable water pump system, and a solution for the old rubber coolant hoses.

I have exterior fans that help escape the hot air out of the engine bay into the atmosphere. But as for the fluids inside, they were basically stagnant. I had to have the truck running and allow the water pump to do its job and circulate fluid throughout. I’ve done this a million times and it does work, but as you know, I’m covering these events, too. I don’t have time to waste.

So, firstly – it takes too much time to cool off (to my liking). Secondly, it has been said that the factory water pumps can be dangerous while turning a ton of RPM. We’ve discussed with multiple people that the water pump at high speeds can cause pressure buildup in the cooling system, which will inevitably find a hole – or make one.

I decided it’s time to get rid of the factory water pump and quickly cool this engine down between rounds. With the water pump out of the way, I needing something to block off that port and keep the engine bay free of leaks. Thanks to Industrial Injection, they supplied us with one of their sweet aluminum covers that not only covers the hole but it also gives the engine some shine.

So, what are my options? I want a water pump that can be controlled on a switch, but reliability is also important. I’ve talked to multiple people and been told that the traditional “off the shelf” electric water pump will work, but it is safe to have a spare with you. This indicates a failure rate that is pretty high. Frankly, I don’t want to have to deal with this!

The search was over after I stumbled onto the Meziere WP361 water pump. I reached out to Don Meziere at Meziere Enterprises and mentioned our issue with potential pressure in the system and wanting to be able to cool this engine off. Meziere replied, “We have just what you need.”

The Solution

These pumps can be configured to use almost any size line and can maintain operation under the harshest of environments.

The WP361 pump from Meziere is an American-made unit with unbelievable quality and comes with a 2-year, unlimited mileage guarantee as well as a full-satisfaction money-back guarantee. When the engine-mounted water pump isn’t enough or space doesn’t allow the use of one, a radiator-mounted unit like this one is a great solution.

Features

  • Radiator Or Tank-Mount Design
  • Street And Strip Safe
  • 3,000-Hour Life Expectancy
  • Show-Quality Finish
  • Stainless Steel Hardware With Weldable Mounting Plate
  • Lightweight, 5.9-pound Construction
  • Stainless Steel Large Diameter Main Shaft With High-Performance Ceramic Seal
  • -20AN Threaded Ports
  • Available In #12AN, #16AN, #20AN, 1¼-inch, 1½-inch or 1¾-inch slip hose inlet fitings available.

Knowing I wanted this engine to accept as much water as possible and flow freely, I decided to use -20 braided hose and AN fittings. This would not only make my plumbing larger and freer-flowing than before, but the AN fitting/braided line combination will make under this hood look much better. Luckily for me, our friends over at Earls Plumbing had just what I needed.

Imagine coming back from a pass and in a matter of minutes, the truck is back down to the temperature it was before running. That’s the kind of cooling we need.

We needed some -20 fittings including a 180-degree, a couple 45-degree, a few 90-degree, and some straights. These fittings were all tied together using the Earls UltraPro Series hose. This UltraPro hose is engineered to withstand the most extreme forms of racing. It’s also impervious to all fuels, oils, and coolants in the automotive industry thanks to its PTFE inner liner.

I ordered up some weld-on aluminum bungs. Our connections for AN fittings are about to be made.

Although I’m not going crazy with drag racing and diesel fuel isn’t going to eat through my fuel lines, I still wanted to be covered with good quality parts. As you can see, I got the water pump mounted to the now-exposed radiator core support on the passenger side. I wanted to put the pump close to the radiator and make my connections short, straight, and clean. The last thing I want in a clean engine bay is 22 feet of hoses running everywhere!

AN fittings and braided hoses look so much better under the hood. These -20 fittings are enormous, so I used a big crescent.

Up next was a new radiator. Knowing my factory radiator was getting some age, I reached out to the cooling experts over at Mishimoto. This all-aluminum unit (PN: MMRAD-RAM-03) not only performs better than the original, but it also looks a million times better. I mean, how can you dress up an engine bay and leave in the ratty-looking factory one?
A great part about this new unit is that it is a direct fit for our trucks. In my case, a 2003-2009 Dodge with the 5.9/6.7-liter Cummins and it will bolt right up. Its full-aluminum construction is durable and offers tig-welded end tanks. Some factory radiators had plastic end tanks which inevitably cracked. This was, and still is, a big issue for Cummins trucks.
On the inside of the brazed aluminum core is an efficient two-row design that provides temperature reduction for all different scenarios. In my case, it’s drag racing, but these things aren’t limited to that. Towing, hauling, or just aggressive driving, these radiators can handle them all. Its increased fluid capacity and flow design are what you need if you’re serious about cooling performance.
Atop the radiator is the upgraded 1.3 Bar High-Pressure Radiator Cap, which effectively raises the boiling point of engine coolant, providing a safer and more efficient system. Other features include a magnetic drain plug that captures any metallic debris or fragments in your cooling system. What’s more, it comes backed by a Mishimoto Lifetime Warranty.

I was excited to showcase the new aluminum radiator because we wanted to weld aluminum bungs onto it to make cleaner connections with AN fittings. Thanks to the guys over at Maverick Diesel, they had the welder hot and ready for me to get the bungs put on. As you can see, this looks way better than the factory and won’t deteriorate like rubber.

Unfortunately, I got a little carried away on some of the fittings and ended up nicking them with the wrench. At least we know they still work perfectly.

This better, lightweight version of a factory radiator is exactly what I needed to pair with my Meziere water pump, but while I am at it, I need to finish it off with a fan. I’ve got the nose off of the truck, the water pump is running, flowing freely through the rad and now we just need a fan sucking the heat out of the radiator.

You guessed it, Mishimoto handled that, too. Now I’ve got all three situations covered. We can circulate the water, we can get the heat out of the exchanger, and we can freely flow water through the new aluminum radiator.

Talk about bling! This thing shines.

Holy Cooling!

A few weeks later with all of our new parts installed, I finally had a chance to see how this new water pump/radiator/fan combination worked. Remember before? I mentioned the truck would sustain that 175-180-degree temperature and then at the finish line we’d be tipping into the 200+ range. If I was below that by any degree, I would be pleased.

I am pleased to announce that it has certainly helped. I am monitoring my water temperature with the new Edge Products Insight CTS3 and I can see that when the day’s starting, the temperature is riding around 110 degrees. After it runs for a few minutes, it will climb up to 140 degrees and maintain that. I actually shut the water pump off to let it get warmer and then turn it back on when I’m in a happy spot.

Just seeing that, I know that this pump is moving some serious volume versus the prior setup, and I’m liking what I see. Spooling it up and pouring the power on down the track is where I’m curious how it will help. After a 6.38-second pass at nearly 116mph, my water temperature was at 174 degrees. That is ridiculously cooler than it was before.

Whenever you’re ready, just hit the buttons and you’ve got maximum cooling potential.

So, the testing continued. Pass after pass, cycle after cycle, it maintained the same increments and impressed me, to say the least. What about after the passes, though? Like mentioned before, I wanted to be able to cool this thing off in between rounds so it wasn’t just sitting with stagnant hot water in it. Once I pulled off the track and shut the engine down, the water pump stayed on. Within five minutes of the water pump running and circulating water throughout the system, the water temperature was already down to 125 degrees.

On these hot summer days at the strip, these water pumps are the difference-maker. I can confidently say that I wouldn’t have it any other way now that I’ve had this combination. If you’re wanting the best way to cool off your engine fast, say no more.

For more information about this water pump and plumbing combination, be sure and check out the Meziere Enterprises and the Earls Plumbing and Mishimoto websites. What are your thoughts on these pumps? Do you see yourself upgrading and taking care of these heating issues? Let us know in the comments below. For more parts reviews, installs, truck features, and event coverage stay tuned right here to Diesel Army.

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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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