A recent inspection on a Holden Commodore revealed that the power steering cooler was leaking. The standard cooler is a length of 3/8″ steel tube running horizontally in front of the radiator. These are known for rusting and splitting or leaking fluid. Below is a close up of the part that was removed.
What originally caught my attention was a patch of dirt partially blocking the air-conditioning condenser. This was caused by the leak spraying fluid over the fins and dust/dirt getting stuck in place. The dirt also camouflaged the damaged cooler.
A genuine replacement cooler is overpriced and would soon fail in the same way. Aftermarket coolers offer an improvement and can cost from $70 – $200AUD depending how larger you want to make it. Since this car is only being used for general commuting a slight improvement over stock was all that was required.
Since I had a piece of 2011-T3 alloy bar, access to a lathe and a gun-drill, this is the solution I came up with.
Although the length is about a quarter of the steel tube aluminium alloys are 4 to 5 times better at conducting heat. The fins also increase the surface area and the added mass can soak up any temperature spikes and then dissipate the heat into the airflow.The bead-blasted finish will resist corrosion a lot better than the original steel tube and a Magnafine filter was added inline to remove any contamination inside the fluid, having the extra volume of the filter also helps in keeping the fluid temperature down.
I was considering using a swage fitting and an 3/8″ aluminium tube for the return but didn’t have any on hand when repairing the car.
Maybe next time.