Last year, as I began piecing this hatchback project together after it came back from DTM Autobody for its color change, Chase Bays provided their Tucked Aluminum Radiator kit that caught my attention for a few reasons, the first being that rather than just a small radiator that would sit out of sight, it was designed to use up all of the available space in the Civic's front end, increasing its cooling ability. In addition, it uses a dual fan setup with an 8- and 10-in. fan combo, and they opened my eyes to not always going with a shrouded setup.
Since that time, I've added a swirl pot to the mix and needed somewhere for the coolant overflow to go once the temps call for it. There are a ton of universal options available but once again Chase Bays' version pulled me in because they made more than just a solid, sealable tank with a fitting.
Unscrew the heavy-duty cap on the 6061-billet aluminum tank and you'll spot a hardline about an inch under the fill opening. That line runs all the way to the bottom where it connects to a 1/4-inch hose barb fitting - right next to the other barb fitting that's fed from the radiator cap's neck.
Additional fluid that boils over inside can be directed by that hardline to a secondary tank or you can route it to the ground away from the tires in order to avoid any issues under spirited driving. That way it's out of the bay and out of the way, and it's a clever way to offer a compact design that can be mounted virtually anywhere and still leave room for expansion (see what I did there) in the future, if necessary.
With a very slim 8x3-in. profile, I found a spot for it next to the driver's side headlight. Chase Bays gives you five different bracket options, and I went with option one since I had more than enough flat space to get a solid mount with two bolts to really secure it.
If I have them available, I always opt for factory threaded holes, but in this case there were none at the height I wanted so I drilled a few holes, grabbed my rivet nut tool and added a pair of 6mm inserts.
Downstar's hardware, used on every corner of this project, was also brought in to mount the Chase Bays tank.
The sleek, matte finish of the tank looks good in any bay and I like how its slim profile allows it to tuck nicely next to the headlight.
I added a hose to the additional fitting next to the feed at the bottom of the Chase Bays tank and routed it under the transmission just beyond the rear subframe so that if does in fact need to evacuate, it won't dump anywhere near my drive wheels.
Based in Sweden, I took notice of Nuke Performance over the course of a few SEMA events after spotting their product being used in various high-level builds. The brand has actually been around and producing motorsport-related goods since 2004, though it wasn't until later that they transitioned into international distribution throughout Europe, Asia and Australia. In 2014, they opened the doors to a U.S.-based office and built a booth at SEMA and things really began taking off for them stateside.
The group offers a full array of high-end fueling products, from competition fuel cells to surge tanks, filters, regulators, as well as all of the fittings needed to build your ideal fuel system. There are other parts, like air jacks and blow-off valves, but for this build it was Nuke's oil catch can that I wanted after having noticed it on a few drift cars and realizing it wasn't your average catch can. Using a CNC aluminum alloy body, there are 2 competition versions available: half and full liter. I opted for the 0.5-liter version based on the amount of space I have at the front of the bay - opposite the Chase Bays overflow mounting location.
This version includes the -10AN fittings you'll need to connect to your outlet source, though Nuke has options for -8 or -12AN fittings as well. Each fitting uses Viton O-rings and you can configure this in a number of ways.
I have a pair of lines coming from the front of the valve cover that terminate in the dual Nuke Performance catch can fittings, with the third port venting to atmosphere with their slick, fluted filter opening.
Inside the can you'll find a billet filtration unit with replaceable media and a 300-micron filter disc tasked with trapping any particles that might think about escaping, and there's even built-in surge protection on the outlet port, which means you don't need a filter stacked on top of the catch can.
This not only frees up space but looks very sleek. Keeping tabs on the fluid level is easy with the included dipstick that actually screws all the way into place, so it won't pop out under pressure.
The mounting bracket is integrated into the two-piece canister and you can rotate it to your needs. I used the area alongside the passenger-side rail that allowed me to mount the Nuke can just under the headlight edge, and in order to bolt it firmly in place, I drilled a few holes and once again reached for the rivet nut tool.
The stainless-steel mount that Nuke uses is incredibly rigid and has no issue holding up the weight of the can, even from its high mount position. After mock-up, I placed the bracket in my vice and bent it just slightly downward for additional assurance that it would never make any sort of contact with the alternator, even if the engine rocked significantly.
On the bottom of the catch can is a -in. threaded plug that you can leave in place and drain when the can is getting full, or you can pick up Nuke's optional petcock drainage kit.
The -in. addition screws directly into place and stays sealed with a ball valve until you're ready to open it up, at which point the included hose can be attached to the push-lock fitting and routed to a bottle or pan to discard of.
This means the can will stay bolted in place for good. I just hook up the hose and drain it quickly and easily, and without any mess to deal with.
The amount of detail Nuke Performance puts into this catch can is pretty remarkable. Some might refer to it as overengineered, but I call it performance obsession - something I'll gladly add to my list of upgrades.
The Chase Bays tucked radiator setup that I installed previously gives you the option of using standard style hoses or AN fittings. I chose to go the AN route and that meant tracking down -16AN hose and a handful of fittings to plumb the cooling system. Finish Line Factory, the group that provided fittings and hose for the catch can setup on the Super Street AP1 engine bay revamp that I did last year, always has plenty of fluid delivery solution parts in stock and this time was no different.
FLF carries all sorts of AN, PTFE and push-lock fittings, as well as the hoses to work with them, available in both stainless steel braided and the nylon braided style that I'm using. Their ever-growing inventory also includes various adapters, couplers, aluminum piping sections, and for those who prefer getting their lines pre-assembled, they offer that service as well.
The quality of FLF's braided nylon hose is apparent both in appearance and actual feel. The braid is tight and uniform, and even when you bend it to direct your fluid path, it doesn't lose any of its integrity, and while I don't recommend getting too wild with your routing, these lines have no issue being formed to fit your application.
Fittings are every bit as important as the hose they're connected to. Cheap fittings with weak tolerances can equate to leaks and all out failure under pressure. Cooling hoses and fittings are essential and an area you don't want to take shortcuts with. The phrase "you get what you pay for" means everything here, and Finish Line Factory's 6061 aluminum fittings are CNC machined, use Viton O-rings for a complete seal and are entirely reusable in case you make changes later on.
I picked up Finish Line Factory's -16AN 90-degree swivel neck and three straight fittings. I'm using a TracTuff thermostat housing with a 90-degree fitting that came with it, and it's a pretty straight shot to the lower portion of the radiator, with only a slight curve involved.
After I assembled one end and connected it to the housing, I measured where I'd need to cut, keeping in mind that some of the space is taken up by the fitting itself and again, maintaining some slack.
Whenever I piece together AN lines and fittings, I tend to go overboard with tape as a protectant to avoid scratching the finish. I also add a strip of tape on the hose itself, just below the fitting end as a visual guide to make sure the hose isn't pulling away as I'm screwing the two ends together.
To get an even cut, I tightly wrap the area I'll be slicing with a piece of tape to keep the ends from fraying, and I use a basic cut-off wheel to cut to length before clearing the line of any debris.
The FLF hose braiding is tight enough that I was able to remove the tape entirely after my cut and work the hose end into place without any signs of fraying.
This makes it incredibly easy to seat the hose end properly.
I always add a little bit of lubricant to the fitting end before inserting it into the hose and I thread it on by hand as far as I can before placing it into the vice and using a wrench to finish up.
I'm going to get knocked for this and I do have a set of AN wrenches; however, -12AN is the largest I have on hand. I had to use a crescent wrench in this case, which I know is frowned upon.
However, with a little tape and taking your time, you can avoid massive scratching or gouging of those crispy clean Finish Line Factory fittings.
All plumbed up and ready to do work, the cooling portion of the project is finally complete.
Next up is picking up a new starter, fluids and trying to fire the VX for the first time since its tear down.