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Thread: Driver Cooling

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Default Driver Cooling

    I'm not sure if a thread like this exists, but now that the Spec Miata minimum weight has been increased on NA8s, I now can entertain the idea of a driver cooling system. I had been using a phase change vest, and I'm glad to have it, but I don't think it's as effective as a circulating system.

    So, what I'd like to know is what systems work best? I don't mind spending money to get a good system, so I don't want a parts list to make a homemade kit.

    Let's throw helmet cooling systems in here, too, because that's the part of me that sweats the most. In fact, I could probably be fine with a helmet cooling system and my phase-change vest if there's a helmet system that works well.

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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Can't help you with your head, but I've been using this:

    Donjoy iceman classic 1100 therapy cooler. Find it on ebay for $20-$40. It has a gasket and won't leak. Lasts about a session or two. Add a cig to DC adapter. Fab a bracket and tie down.

    then get a shirt from somewhere for about $100-$150.

    Done! I like to have it passenger side within reach so I can troubleshoot on grid if there's a malfunction of any sort.

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    I've used CoolShirt and F.A.S.T. systems (courtesy of Mark @ Iron Canyon) and they're both excellent systems. They're comparable in performance. Both systems have been equally reliable and trouble-free - going on 10 years.

    These systems are an advantage on warm days where cockpit temps can easily be 30 degrees greater than ambient. 7-10lbs of ice will last all day @ 75F ambient. On 110F+ September Buttonwillow days I can melt through the ice midway through a sprint race.

    Consider it secondary safety gear. I've seen people get faint when getting out the car a few times. Heat stroke is real. On hot days I'm also counting on other drivers to fatigue, lose focus, and fall off pace.

    Few Tips...
    - Great place to keep a water bottle for after the race
    - Add a few drops of dish soap with the water/ice to keep the pump happy and the tubing clean
    - Buy some spare CPC connectors to help tubing/shirt stay clean and mold free. Connectors are valved (dry break) so you'll want some non-valved connectors to help with draining/drying. You can gently push some compressed air through to dry it faster.
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    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
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    Awesome thread. I stopped early at my last HPDE because I was overheating.
    Yer pal,
    Force

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Are all the connectors the same? Can you hook a Momo shirt up to a FAST system or a Cool Shirt box? What about the 986 stuff? Is that company still around? Was the 986 stuff work the price?

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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    connectors vary, but no big deal to order some that will match up with what you have

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    The Real Captain Slow Red_5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    Are all the connectors the same? Can you hook a Momo shirt up to a FAST system or a Cool Shirt box? What about the 986 stuff? Is that company still around? Was the 986 stuff work the price?
    I think 986 was bought by Sparco. I have one of their shirts if you want to try it.
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    Agree w/ Rob - connectors are easy.

    See this thread for part numbers: Driver Gear - Common Quick Connects (Cooling and Hydration)

    For example - I use the same shirt with CoolShirt and F.A.S.T. systems. All I do is swap the connectors.

    On the subject of shirts, consider one of the synthetic versions. I'm not a fan of the cotton t-shirts options.
    - Cotton has little wicking ability and doesn't breath well - it can get stuffy. Synthetic materials have a wicking (cooling) effect that's much more breathable.
    - Cotton t-shirts can feel baggy because it stretches and the tubing is stiffer than the shirt.
    - White color cotton shirts will quickly stain. Consider a darker color.

    The synthetic shirts are unfortunately much more expensive. I use the system just about every time I race and I plan to replace my older cotton cool shirt with something made from the equivalent of my more comfortable Sparco RW shirt at some point - CarbonX options look appealing.
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    They make this for your helmet to put inline your cool shirt. I don't own one.

    Cool-A-Clava | COOLSHIRT SYSTEMS

    I did DIY coolshirt ice chest for about $100 not including shirt.
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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    I've never run a water based cooler for the head, but I would really give that a try. Gotta be the best place on the whole body to pull heat out. Only catch is how it might interfere with helmet fitment.

    If Wilson was still around he would sing the praises of the taint cooler. He's famous for racing with a bag of ice under his sack. I'd be worried about ice burns doing that though. May need an insulated bag.

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    Sir flink
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    Don't underestimate the value of adding some ducting to blow air onto the driver. I added a 3" duct to the right-hand window and a 1.5" duct to the left window and now I don't need the coolshirt system until it's 85F+ outside. Previously I was using it on 50F days.

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    Senior Member ELO168's Avatar
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    Block ice will last thru out the whole race vs the the small cubes one.
    http://touringcarclub.net/

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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Another good thing is to make sure your seat isn't conducting chassis heat into the driver

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robburgoon View Post
    I've never run a water based cooler for the head, but I would really give that a try. Gotta be the best place on the whole body to pull heat out. Only catch is how it might interfere with helmet fitment.

    If Wilson was still around he would sing the praises of the taint cooler. He's famous for racing with a bag of ice under his sack. I'd be worried about ice burns doing that though. May need an insulated bag.
    I have used the taint cooler and it does work. Wilson and I started an enduro at 6 p.m. at Buttonwillow and it was still 100 degrees out. No ****. I stuffed a half melted bag of ice in my suit and went for it, and it wasn't terrible. I was soaked to the bone at the end of my stint, but I made it.

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    I am not affiliated, but this seem like a great deal. just passing it along.

    this is on sale. it is $299 including shipping (Cali need to pay sales tax) including the cool shirt !! I do NOT know how well it works (but another SuperMiata driver do use it), and I do NOT know if UltraChiller will still honor this price. I bought one a week ago, but haven't got it yet.
    400 Series Cool Suit System, Ultra Chiller
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    Quote Originally Posted by robburgoon View Post
    Can't help you with your head, but I've been using this:

    Donjoy iceman classic 1100 therapy cooler. Find it on ebay for $20-$40. It has a gasket and won't leak. Lasts about a session or two. Add a cig to DC adapter. Fab a bracket and tie down.

    then get a shirt from somewhere for about $100-$150.

    Done! I like to have it passenger side within reach so I can troubleshoot on grid if there's a malfunction of any sort.
    Did you have to buy different connectors for the shirt or lines from the pump? Looks like the CoolShirt lines are male - I can't imagine they plugged right into the Donjoy Lines, but that would be even better!

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    Old timer craZee's Avatar
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    My buddy runs the Cool-a-Clava and he says you have to have the valve to regulate the flow or it will give you a brain freeze. LOL

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    Junior Member GregT's Avatar
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    I have been using the Cool Shirt Systems for many years. I prefer the larger 24 quart cooler as I know I will never run out of COLD, even when sitting in grid for a long time before getting out on the track.

    I also have the "cool pants" to match the shirt and along with the speed control for the pump life is so much easier on track. I have the Cool-A-Clava but haven't used it yet.

    Using the pants and the shirt uses more ice than just the shirt so go with the largest size cooler you can fit, it doesn't weigh much more than a smaller one. The mounting bracket for the cooler makes a complete system.

    I got my Cool Pants from Welcome to Apex Performance, Premier Racing Outfitters

    The owners are PCA club racers from the east coast. Terrific service.
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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonb94112 View Post
    Did you have to buy different connectors for the shirt or lines from the pump? Looks like the CoolShirt lines are male - I can't imagine they plugged right into the Donjoy Lines, but that would be even better!
    I think I yanked off fittings and stuck on old fittings I had on the shelf. Not positive though.

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    Occurs to me, if any manufactures stumble across this thread...

    Product update request on the shirts: Keep the tubes further away from the collarbone / shoulder area in the front. It's possible for belts and HNR devices to occasionally create pressure points in this area. Anyone who races knows the collarbone area is sensitive. This can happen if the shirt bunches up. The stiff tubes tend to push the shirt up when sitting. So while the shirt may sit naturally outside the car, it might not when it comes to belting in. Most of the effective cooling comes from the back area anyway.

    I have pads on my Hans so it could be worse. Fortunately, this issue is only a problem when first belting in and I can tug on the suit and/or belts to dislodge any initial pressure points. I wear the belts tight and the tubing doesn't seem to migrate after that.

    It doesn't help that the cotton shirts fit a little bigger than I prefer. I normally wear a L t-shirt size, but something about the stiff tubes makes the shirt feel a little baggy and awkward. Wish I had got the M. I suspect the compression shirt versions are less prone to this issue. And the compression shirts likely hold the cool tubing closer to the skin, which is a plus too.
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