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Defeating the design

Winter fronts can increase the aerodynamic characteristics by directing ram air around the hood. Additionally, some of them look great, even in the spring and fall. But are they needed in these months?

Without the winter front, the engine coolant remains cool resulting in a cold heater core. The design intent of a winter front is to restrict cold ambient air flow under the hood, increasing the temperature in the engine block. The result is restricted air flow through the radiator, power steering cooler, fuel cooler, etc. depending how the OE configures the design.

However, we need to consider that the charge air cooler requires ambient air to be efficient, regardless of temperature. The small openings affect performance, plus increasing stresses on the cooler. The temperature delta from negative ambient to 400 degrees intake, can crack the cooler via thermal fatigue. This can create leaks beyond manufacturer recommendations, ultimately affecting fuel economy and performance.

(See attachment)

The front can also cause mechanical stress with the engine fan, moving from loaded to unloaded areas as it rotates. The cooler is generally designed to reduce temperatures to approximately 40-degree F above ambient, so the restricted air flow reduces the cooler’s effectiveness.

The winter front should only be used on a limited basis in extremely low ambient conditions.

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