Technical Support: Suzuki Samurai VW Radiator Install


Tech Support

Mailing Address
PO Box 2258
Clackamas, Oregon

1982 Quantum 26 inch Radiator with Air-conditioning

Using the VW aluminum 26 inch cross flow radiator is the best cooling solution for your diesel conversion. We have had excellent results using this style radiator with absolutely no cooling issues for the 1.9 and 1.6 engines.

Using this radiator requires three basic modifications to your Samurai engine bay: reshaping the drivers side wheel well, drilling bracket holes and gluing radiator rubber pin style mounts. In addition to these modifications, you will need to cut a small recess in the hood cross member support for the radiator cap.

Fender Wheel Well Modification
In order to make the VW radiator fit your samurai, you will need to perform a minor reshaping of the drivers side wheel well. This is done to provide clearance for the lower radiator hose that travels to the water pump outlet.

The easiest way to do this is to start with everything out of the engine bay so nothing will be in your way. Begin shaping the front inside corner with the help of a large ball peen hammer and a block of wood. Whack on the edge of the wheel well where the radiator outlet is until there is hose clearance. Be careful not to crease the sheet metal to the point that it cracks and opens up. When finished it should look similar to figure 1.

Radiator Mounting
1) Remove the original stock Suzuki 45 degree support brackets;
2) locate the radiator in the center of the front grill area. You will know its centered if you line up the radiator tub crimping tabs with the opening on each side;
3) Take the supplied rubber mounts and glue them to the wheel well floor where the radiator pin mounts will rest, figure 2;
4) Install upper radiator support brackets (2 supplied) on radiator and mark where you will drill the holes through the sheet metal panels. Use a 1/4 inch drill bit and drill the holes in the headlight bucket area similar to figure 3. Finalize the radiator mounting by screwing in the 6mm bolts. Install the hoses when you have the engine in place.

Notes: 1) hose adjustments may be necessary for shortening or twisting for an ideal fit. 2) Be prepared to cut a small opening in the hood cross member support for your radiator cap, figure 4.

Acme recommends using dual high CFM electric fans, with 1400 CFM minimum per fan, and a 30 amp relay.

Fan Hook-up with Relay

The VW radiators use a threaded temperature sensor switch to turn fans on and off based on how hot your coolant is in the radiator. This sensor screws into the big 1 inch hole of your radiator. The sensor has two spade prong made for wires that slide on. One connector goes to ground on the body of your Suzuki and the other side goes to a standard 30 amp relay and to the ground side of your fans. The relay runs hot all the time from the battery. When the temperature switch reaches 190 degrees from the coolant, it grounds to the vehicle and turns the fans on.

Here's how you can hook it up using the numbers on just about any 30 amp relay you can buy at your local autoparts store:

85–Ground to fan side of thermoswitch (other side of switch goes to ground)
87–Blue wires on Fans (+)
87A–Not used

To test your fans, just ground the two posts on the thermoswitch together and your fans will come on.

Figure 1, Drivers side wheel well reshaped

Figure 2, Rubber stopper glued in place.

Figure 3, Hole drilled in headlight area
for radiator support bracket.

Figure 4, Hole cut in the hood to allow for
radiator cap clearance.

Radiator position is centered between
each headlight bucket when installed.
Note oil cooler in front of radiator.