TWIN AIR CRF450 OIL COOLER MXA TEAM TESTED
WHAT IS IT? An oil cooler that lowers the operating temperature of your bike’s engine while increasing the oil volume.
WHAT’S IT COST? $449.95.
CONTACT? www.twinair.com or (800) 749-2890.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Twin Air oil cooler. (1) Theory. By dramatically lowering the temperature of your engine’s oil and water, you can help your engine produce maximum power longer and increase the longevity of the engine’s components. Most AMA factory bikes have custom-made oil coolers outfitted for the AMA Nationals. ( 2) Heat exchange. If you think of a radiator as thin tubes with multiple zigzag fins, the Twin Air cooler will look more like a heat exchanger. But don’t let the lack of finning confuse you. Twin Air’s three-chamber design uses 6082 aluminum tubes and champagne anodizing to maximize airflow. The decision to go with round aluminum tubes instead of small flat tubes with fins is based on the fact that air will flow over round tubes better than over aerodynamically messy radiator fins. The spacing between the tubes means that the oil cooler is less likely to be clogged by mud or damaged by roost. ( 3) Fitment. MXA decided to test the Twin Air oil cooler on a 2011 Honda CRF450 because it runs the least oil of any modern 450 four-stroke engine. The YZ450F, KX450F, 450SXF, and RM-Z450 share their engine oil with their transmissions and have large pools of oil to draw from. Not so with the CRF450. Instead of 1300cc of shared oil, the CRF450 only has 650cc of oil for the engine (and a separate 650cc for the tranny). That 650cc of oil in the CRF450 gets very hot during a long moto, especially in sand or mud. Twin Air makes oil cooler kits for all five major brands (both 250 and 450 models), but we felt that the best test would be on the CRF450—
although the Kawasaki KX450F and Suzuki RM-Z450 are also known to run hot. ( 4) Installation. The Twin Air oil cooler kit includes all the parts you need: heat exchanger, mounting hard- ware, oil filter cap, hoses, stud, clamps and step-by-step instructions. On the CRF450, the oil cooler fits behind the left radiator. (You have to install a stud in the frame to hold it in place.) You must also notch your left radiator wing for clearance. The oil is pumped through the cooler by replacing the oil filter cover with an inlet and outlet cap—the stock oil pump provides pressure through the two 6mm rubber hoses. ( 5) Cooling. The big plus of the Twin Air oil cooler is that it lowers both the oil and water temperatures by anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees, with the differences most notable the longer motos. Additionally, on the Honda CRF450, it adds 150cc of oil to the engine. This is almost 25 percent more oil in the CRF450.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have three major complaints: (1) On our CRF450, we had to space the oil cooler outboard from the frame—by putting spacers on the stud—to keep the corner of the oil cooler from hitting the CRF450’s coil wires and shorting it out—which happened to us. ( 2) The $450 price tag pushes this product into the critical zone for local racers—who don’t typically race long motos. ( 3) The hoses are exposed to damage, but thanks to a swiveling inlet tube, they can be moved inboard.
This is a five-star product for an aspiring AMA National Pro, WORCS, GNCC or cross-country racer and a three-star product for a local racer. It does what it claims; it’s just a matter of whether you need what it does.