Skunk2 Ultra Radiator Install and Review! Track Proven!


Hello 86 fans! Its been a while since we reached out on our blog but today we have a good read for you! We have known since the beginning that the twins have horrible oil cooling capacity. Going out on a high speed race track for twenty to thirty minutes you know your going to be getting that oil really hot even on a bone stock car. Well they didn’t fix that either on the new 2017 models. We have been tracking a 2017 Subaru Brz since early February and immediately we realized that we can’t go all out for twenty five minute sessions.


On February 4th we took the car out to Willow springs at the Streets of Willow course. That day our oil temps hit low 260°F high 250°F with outside temps around a nice 80°F.  Which we didn’t see that too critical due to most synthetic oils don’t start to break down till 275°F and above but it was an issue we had to address since it was only the beginning of the season. Especially for those hot summers coming up! We also changed our oil after 1000 miles to Motul 0w-20.

On our second track day at Buttonwillow Raceway, the outside temperatures were also in the low 80°F. It is also a higher speed track than Streets of Willow. The temps would stay in the 250°F but would peak in the mid 260°F. One time it did hit 270°F and then I knew the car was being pushed to hard due to not having an oil cooler. So backed off after that and kept from shifting above 6500 rpm to help the engine out.

Even on some spirited driving I was able to record some data and got the oil temp to a 252°F during night time in mid 70°F weather!!!!

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We reached out to our friends at Skunk2 and we found out they were working on a complete kit for the Ultra Radiator. Which is a triple core radiator with built in oil cooler. We told them we need one! We explained our oil temp issues we had on track and what better way to put something to the test than real life data. They had sent us the Ultra Radiator before our next race.

First impression, it was massive, well built and it’s massive!Who said Size doesn’t matter?! Here we have matted the Ultra Radiator with low profile fan shroud and Spal 1328 CFM fans. The stock oem fans fit an function perfectly but we wanted that extra room in the engine bay for future endeavors!


The kit comes with oil sandwich plate adapter, both lines preassembled and all the required fittings.  The oil adapter sandwich plate which was some height to it, gives room around the intake, supercharger or any other item which might take up to much room. Some of the other oil cooler kits don’t give as much room for intakes and the lines hit the intake depending on which one your running. Which you can see below the 2017 intake is different from the older stock intakes and utilizes more space. Leaving less room around the oil filter.

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This brings us to the install. If I had to rate it in difficulty from 1-10 I’d give this a 7-8. Easy enough for someone who has some mechanical skills but also difficult enough if you don’t have the patience and understanding on how to install this part, it will be too much for a beginner. As always if you are not comfortable and have the know how, Please take your quality parts to a qualified installer.

First you want to start by pulling out the bumper and intake. Then by removing the top radiator support bracket. There are 6 12mm bolts total. Then you will have the entire radiator exposed.


Go ahead and drain fluid at this point. The drain plug is on the passenger side bottom of the radiator. You can connect a hose to the end so the fluid doesn’t splash everywhere. You want to loosen the drain plug but not take it all the way off. Then while that drains. Take off the two radiator brackets holding radiator on top of radiator and the four AC condenser brackets to back of radiator. Make sure not to disconnect the actually AC line.

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Then after all the fluid is drained you’ll want to take off the radiator hoses from the engine side.

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After the radiator is out. You’ll have to assemble your stock fans on the new radiator. The OEM fan shroud fits perfectly on the new radiator. It does not clip on, it will be bolted onto the Skunk2 radiator. Here you can see some differences between the two radiators.

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Here you can see the radiator with stock fans fits perfectly fine in the engine bay. The radiator does not push the fans forward. In fact the mounting points is in the same place as oem but instead the radiator pushes out to the front of the car. Making the AC condenser fit closer to the crash beam.

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Once you fit the radiator in place you’ll notice the top AC line sits really close to the top oil fitting on the side of the radiator. You’ll have to play with that a little bit to make sure the radiator sits in the appropriate place. The radiator is massive so you will have to work the radiator into its place. Its a tight fit. Before you start bolting down the radiator, you’ll want to put the oil lines on.

Here you can see how close the AC line sits to the top fitting. It can be moved enough to not hit the hose once its installed.



To tighten the bottom fitting you’ll need to move the washer reservoir and fit an AN Wrench in there.  Once we tightened all the AN hoses, we marked the fittings in case they ever start to back out we can tell they have moved. Either paint marker would work or a razor blade makes a fine line.

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The passenger side radiator bracket you will need to flip the rubber grommet in order to fit the bracket into place. This part requires some finesse to get the radiator into the right place. But bolts on no problem.

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The top radiator hose with bracket will require some wiggling into place. Take the clamps off and twist the hoses into place until the bracket fits into place. It is a tight fit. If you don’t have radiator into place this bracket won’t go on correctly.


Your almost done! Next start bolting on the condenser to the radiator. Now this is where the radiator is pushing the condenser back a bit. So it will be tighter space to work in.

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Once you get that on you can start bolting on the T-bracket back on and all the intake components.


Now go ahead and fill your coolant and bleed out any air bubbles at this point. You want to make sure there’s nothing leaking. Once its all done go ahead and finish assembling the car back together and go out for a drive!


Now after some spirited night driving temps stayed at a low 205°F. Even the coolant runs a bit lower. That is partially due to a lower temp racing thermostat. Which made it gave it too much cooling. The OEM thermostat opens at 203°F and this new racing thermostat opening at 168°F. For a weekend warrior/daily driver this can be low especially during winter months. In Las Vegas it has been ok due to the hot temps in the summer. The fans activate at 213°F which hardly reach those temps on the street.

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At the next event the car ran great. This was at Spring Mountain Motorsport Ranch in Pahrump. The oil temps maintained perfect operating temperature. This was taken coming off track. On track oil temperature maxed out at 220°F and coolant temps at 210°F. We have done 6 more track days after this event at different West coast tracks such as Buttonwillow, chuckwalla, and a few more. The radiator has held up great even with daily driving. The cooling power of this radiator is second to none. It gets the job done!

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We do not yet have this listed on our website but we will add the link below as soon as we do.  If you are interested getting signed up and want introduction pricing before we make this available please get in touch with us.

To view all Skunk2 Related products, please Click > Skunk2 Racing


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