When building a dedicated drag car everything must be considered; not just suspension, transmission and ridiculously powerful engine. Everything must work together to enhance the overall goal of running the desired ET without having a ton of issues. One area of great importance in any race application is the cooling system; this is something that cannot be ignored on the street, road course or the case of our 4th Gen, the local drag strip. With the naturally aspirated LS between the fenders of the former anemic ’00 V6 Camaro, the cooling system needs to be up to the challenge – all-motor combinations are especially sensitive to heat soak, and we need to keep the weight down while still rejecting sufficient heat from the system. Two major names stepped up to the plate for assisting in the cooling needs of our project car: Meziere and AFCO.
Meziere is a San Marcos, California based company that is well known in the industry for making some of the finest high-flow electric water pumps on the market. Along with water pumps, Meziere manufactures cooling system accessories, thermostat necks, recovery tanks, expansion tanks, radiators and billet flexplates. With their vast experience and knowledge, Meziere is a solid choice for high-flow electric water pumps.
For our purposes, Meziere suggested using part number WP362, which is a dual-outlet radiator mounted water pump. Space is always at a premium underneath the hood of the 4th generation F-bodies – during the engine installation mock-up, our shop manager Sean had to cut out a section of the cowl and windshield to make room for the carbureted LS. In cases like our Camaro or other applications where space is limited, using a radiator-mounted water pump may be a lifesaver. In cases where an engine mounted pump or a remote pump in the chassis seems impossible, radiator mounting is an excellent option.
Included with the WP362 water pump are all of the necessary components to complete the installation along with a detailed set of directions.
Meziere Dual Outlet Radiator Mounted Water Pump
- Part Number WP362
- Total weight: 6.2 pounds
- 3000+ hour life expectancy for street or drag use
- 55 gallons per minute free flow rating
- Normal draw of between 11-12 amps
- Compatible with 16V electrical systems
- Radiator mount weld plate included
- Stainless steel large diameter main shaft with high performance ceramic seal
- Dual outlet ports accept -16 AN fittings
As part of the installation instructions, Meziere recommends having a qualified welder weld the mounting flange into place on the radiator. This flange should replace the lower hose connection on the radiator tank. Once the flange is placed with the flat side facing out and the larger rounded part is facing the inside, the qualified welded should carefully weld the perimeter of the flange. Once everything has cooled, Meziere recommends checking the welds just in case there are any leaks.
Once it has been determined that there are no leaks, the pump can be installed using the supplied hardware. In our case, the AFCO radiator we selected was already modified to accept the Meziere pump, making this part of the assembly a cakewalk.
Electric Versus Belt-Driven
High-flow electric water-pumps offer many advantages for racers, such as consistent cooling regardless of speed. When compared to a factory mechanical belt-driven pump, the electric pump the same flow rate regardless of speed or RPM, and with a high-flow electric pump the overall volume is increased and keeps the car running cooler. Another added benefit of using an electric pump is being able to cool the car more efficiently in between rounds; the electric water pump can be hooked up to a toggle switch allowing it run without the engine on, unlike factory pumps.
To give our pump a place to live, we sourced an AFCO radiator. Based on the demands of our Camaro’s intended purpose and space constraints, AFCO recommended using part number 80104NA. This particular offering features the “Scirocco-style” or double pass design, which provides extreme cooling capabilities in a compact size. Thanks to the all-aluminum construction this is a very lightweight unit (just 8 pounds when empty), and weight savings are always beneficial in drag racing applications.
- Part Number 80104NA
- 100% TIG welded – no epoxy
- 2 rows of 1-inch cores
- Stainless hardware included
- 2-inch foot mounts
- Four 1/4″-20 mounting bungs
- 1/4″ brass drain cock included
AFCO’s radiators benefit over two decades of experience and knowledge in the aftermarket performance industry. The AFCO 80104NA radiator is a 2-core unit that is entirely TIG welded, meaning there is no epoxy to fail and cause leaks. All of the included hardware features stainless steel construction for added strength and resistance to corrosion and rust.
Custom Features From An Off-The-Shelf Design
Since we knew we wanted to radiator-mount our water pump, when we placed our order with AFCO, we started with the 80104NA design, but asked them to omit the lower hose fitting and sent them the Meziere pump and mounting plate to TIG weld to the tank. Thanks to modifying one of their off-the-shelf designs, we got a radiator that fit our needs perfectly, without having to step up to a full custom piece. If there’s nothing in AFCO’s catalog that is exactly what you want, they can do custom cross- or down-flow radiators to the specifications you provide as well.
Once we had our new AFCO radiator in-hands, it was time to fabricate up some mounting brackets to give it a home in our Camaro’s nose…
When the mounts were secured in place, Sean test-fit the radiator once again to ensure proper alignment and fit. After it was clear that everything was seamless, the radiator and water pump were mounted into the car. However, the work was not complete yet; the wiring harness needed to be installed in order for the water pump to function.
The final addition to our cooling combo was an 8-inch electric fan, also from AFCO. Part number 80176 draws 6.9 amps and moves 421 CFM – not a whole lot of air, but for the purpose of drag racing, it’s perfect. We can run the electric fan and water pump together in the pits between rounds to cool the engine down, and we have enough heat rejection capacity to keep the needle in the green during burnout and idle without carrying around a lot of excess weight we don’t absolutely need.
With our new cooling components installed, we’re ready to run plumbing and finish up the wiring. Thanks to Meziere and AFCO, the Camaro will keep its cool without lugging around a lot of excess weight, and we know that we’ve got dependable components that won’t require a lot of attention or maintenance; always a plus when you’re hustling in the pits between rounds, or thrashing in the shop to get ready for the next race.