How Can I Protect My Radiator From Road Debris
Dali Racing SmartShield
[MJ – 99/2/15] The SmartShield* weighs in at 1lb. 4 oz., and will withstand steel bolts fired at it at over 100mph with only minor damage! and although damaged, it did not allow the bolt to penetrate the shield and penetrate the radiator. Mere small rocks and concrete bounced off or disintegrated on impact.**
Specs: 0.045 thick 5052 Aluminum perforated sheet. 15"X28" completely covers the radiator. Price: $39.95 (clear annodized), $49.99 (black annodized) each includes shipping. 5 minute installation. Pictures and the usual killer PDF installation file will be available from BZ.
* It’s called a "SmartShield" because you would be smart to install it considering the price of a replacement NSX radiator.
** The strength testing procedure was as follows. Since I was not at Holtville with DH in front of me spewing rocks every which way, I had to improvise. I borrowed a Soldier of Fortune hunting slingshot (advertised as being strong enough to use for hunting and self defense) and fired several projectiles similar to the ones I saw hurled at me at Holtville at the screen. Pieces of tires, a dead beetle, three rocks of sizes ranging from a medium sized pea to a large marble, and 2 pieces of concrete, finally culminating with a SS M8 hex head bolt off my strutbar.
[AT – 99/03/22] I finally installed my custom stone shield and it fits like a glove. Initially it wouldn’t go all the way down. I took the spare out which allowed more room to move the radiator back and this allowed enough clearance around the plastic side shields for it to slide in. Looks great and I’m sure it will work great as well. Another benefit you could bring up is that it also should make a great bug shield. Believe me I had to remove a bunch of dead grasshoppers from my radiator before installing the shield. These little critters make some nasty dents when they hit the radiator at 60 mph+. The idea and execution of the shield is simple yet sweet. I like your ideas of using the "KISS" principle in designing products. Your prices are fair as well.
[KJ – 99/6/18] One hallmark of a brilliant product design is that the product sees uses beyond the designers’ intent. Dali Racing’s Stone Shield is such a product.
Im my opinion, everyone should get either Dali’s or a similar product, not only to protect your radiator from stones, but to guard against road kill from insects up to birds. However, the biggest advantage of the StoneShield is how much time it saves you cleaning up the front end of your car.
Many of you read how my StoneShield handled several hundred grasshoppers on the way from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I picked up fewer than 100 on the return, but it was still plenty. In both cases, to clean up, I just unbolted the brackets on top of the radiator, slid the shield out, brushed it off, and hosed it out from the rear. In just a few seconds I could no longer tell which side of the shield had been the front. It takes longer to clean the rest of the front end than the radiator, and your radiator’s fins don’t take a beating either.
I photographed the amazing and disgusting sight of a grasshopper-laden StoneShield, and scanned it for Mark to put on his web site. I don’t have a web site, so I traded Mark 2.8 Mbytes of jpeg’ed grasshoppers for one of his new collapsible cup holders.
[No, Mark didn’t ask me to write this, and I expect that the other radiator protection screens will work as well, but I just had to write this after today’s belated cleanup was such a breeze. I hope that the not-yet-completed aid conditioner condenser covers are as easy as this to remove and clean.]
[BHA – 99/8/2] I installed the Dali Stone Shield in front of my radiator this Saturday morning. Drove the car around 150 miles city and highway over the next two days, which had temps of 102 and 104 degrees in Raleigh-Durham, heat index hit 115. The car temperature was exactly where it always appears to like (around three marks up). Therefore, under the hottest conditions encountered here in a long time, there was no cooling problem. I hadn’t thought there would be but was happy to confirm it.
Can I Modify A Nose Mask To Protect The Radiator?
[AV] I made some modifications to my NSX bra that does exactly what the radiator ding protector does. I brought the bra to an upholstery shop and I had them remove the flaps that go into the three vents under the bumper. Then I had them install a cloth mesh (exactly the type used by bras made for other vehicles) that were sewn at the edges to cover the vents.
This actually does two great things to the bra: it provides for radiator ding protection (that’s removable, plus the protection to your front end as well) AND it eliminates 15 or so hooks that you have to install when putting on the bra. Now, it only takes me 20 seconds to put on and take off the bra, with only about 6 hooks to install/uninstall.
It has no effect whatsoever to cooling. As to the amount of airspeed it can withstand, well, I guess the question should be, how massive a particle at what speed can it block? I dunno. How much drag? <shrug> All I know is that stability at high speed (145+ mph) is not affected.