Get To The Core Of Cooling: Why CSF Matters

Can we talk about cooling for a moment?

When most people look at upgrading performance parts on their car, and I know I’m certainly guilty of this, upgrading the cooling system tends to slip down the priorities list in favourite of more flashy or exciting upgrades. While you might find it hard to get excited about cooling components in the same way that you do a shiny new turbocharger or exhaust, upgrading your car’s cooling system not only brings with it improved and prolonged all round performance, but also extends the lifespan of all components connected to it.

This doesn’t just extend to track driving either. If you drive your car hard on the road, especially if you’ve introduced more power into the mix, then upgrading your cooling system really should be a high priority on the list.

Project RS4 Carbon Clean Regal Autosport by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-8064

Last week I spent some time at Regal Autosport in Southampton while they worked at freeing up some of Project RS4‘s lost ponies – more on that to come soon. Regal are a UK supplier for CSF Race, and whilst there I got chatting to Ash Stewart, Regal’s marketing guy, who took some time to show me around some of CSF’s products. Regal keep a large stock of CSF products, and keep busy installing them on customer cars on a daily basis, so they’re pretty well versed when it comes to the benefits. We’ve shared information about CSF Race with you previously on the site, but I wanted to pass on a few snippets of information as to why we’ve chosen CSF as an official partner to Speedhunters, why the Speedhunters team choose to run CSF products on our own performance cars, and what the benefits are of choosing CSF products for your own builds. So, now fully educated on snazzy CSF features, here are five of my personal favourite things about CSF’s range of cooling goodies…


1. More than radiators
It’s the first thing you probably think of when thinking about cooling, but CSF’s line-up extends to much more than just radiators. There’s a wide range of cooling solutions available for the most popular makes and models and, depending on application, alongside uprated radiators, you’ve everything from charge coolers, oil coolers, DCT coolers, PAS coolers and intercooler cores for custom fabrication to choose from. If you’re driving your car hard on the road, or going anywhere near a track, then upgrading as much of your cooling system as possible will ensure that everything keeps running nice and cool.

CSF E92 M3 Unboxing by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-8394
CSF E92 M3 Unboxing by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-8397

2. High efficiency core
When it comes to cooling systems, core design is everything, and CSF’s radiators boast a high efficiency core to ensure that that maximum cooling efficiency takes place within the limited space available. Take, for example, CSF’s E9X M3 radiators (shown above) – they feature a dual-core, triple-pass design, so the fluid passes through the radiator three times (rather than just once as with OEM). This significantly increases the cooling capacity of the unit over OEM, and you don’t even have to be taking your car on the track to reap the benefit.


3. The details
While you can admire the metalwork on the outside of CSF’s radiators, it’s on the inside where the attention to detail really counts. Using CSF’s B-Tube technology, CSF radiators are able to utilise thinner and lighter aluminium without compromising strength. This ‘B’ shape tube also increases the surface area of the tubes by around 15% over ‘O’ tubes, improving heat transfer capability. Even the fins within CSF products receive the same attention to detail; they’re individually louvred and precision-aligned under wind tunnel testing to ensure maximum air flow. All of these little touches add up to the unit’s ability to cool above and beyond competitors’ products.

CSF E92 M3 Unboxing by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-8372

4. Packaging
It might seem strange to single out a component of the product that’s going to end up in the bin, but attention to detail in packaging is important. First off, with components that are sensitive to knocks and bashes, taking care over packaging to ensure that the products are well protected and cushioned ensures that your cooling bits arrive in the same condition that they left the factory. To that measure, CSF actually drop tests its packaging from 10ft, just incase your courier wishes to do the same. Also, for me personally, there’s something about unboxing a well-packaged product that’s part of the satisfaction of purchasing it. Just like when you open a new iPhone, the experience of owning a new product should start from the moment that you pick up the box.


5. Fit & finish
Performance parts need to perform as an absolute priority, but fit and finish is another key factor in ensuring ease of fitment and longevity. If you can stop staring at yourself in the one-hour polished finish of its radiators, you’ll quickly notice that CSF’s products are designed to be a straight swap for OEM, using all OEM connectors and making fitting incredibly simple. I could probably manage it, and I struggle with the simplest of mechanical tasks. This spans across all of CSF’s products, from radiators to oil, transmission and power steering coolers. Even those with a larger surface area or greater capacity will slot straight in where they’re supposed to.

We want to hear you voice on cooling upgrades. Is it something that sits high on your list of priorities? What would you place above cooling upgrades on the list and why? What cooling components have you installed and what are the benefits you’ve seen?

Even better, let’s get really geeky – is there anything more you’d like to know about cooling system upgrades? We can delve into the more technical aspects of what each upgrade does for your car and what it means in terms of performance and put questions directly to the engineers at CSF. Drop a comment below and let’s open up the conversation…

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters



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Everett Jones

What up, I seriously just pick up CSF7042 w/oil cooler last week . Can't believe more people don't run them. I Don't really like the oil cooler thrown on randomly look. And needed to get the temps down ,So i went with the O variant. Ouality Product

Matthew Adkins

I would put Brakes and Tires before cooling because they give you an improvement in safety and performance. After that lubricants and brake fluid. Cooling would be next in line though. Cooling, lubricants and fluids are vital to performance and reliability. Once that is taken care of, power and suspension mods can finally join in.


You're not wrong John, I too share the 'ground up' approach to modifying. That is; following the path of force from the road. Tyres, wheels, brakes, suspension etc... that said cooling is right up there for me as without cooling some cars really struggle out on track and even fail. For example with my E92 M3 peak oil temps hit 127-130 degrees c with no effort at all, alarming levels. With the CSF engine oil cooler I rarely break past 120 even on a 30 degree day.

4 a certain level they all just work together. To try and itemize them is a bit silly without a case by case basis (i.e. GC8s tend to do this, GT-R tend to do that etc etc.) Cooling can be a huge priority depending on where you live too don't forget.

In general though on modern road cars it's not as important as you stated as tires / brakes. I'm not sure that i've used CSF products on any race cars I've driven / tested but they seem very popular.


Piss off John


*Includes paid promotion


Paid promotion keeps the site alive and keeps the adventures flowing. Official Suppliers like CSF are valued not only because of this but the insight and information they give. We are always open to suggestions in the comments as to what knowledge you guys would like our Official Suppliers to share. What would you like to know about cooling?


Oh, I'm sorry. Are you paying to view this site?


I'm no fan of product placement but this wasn't a sneaky effort worth your comment. It clearly states this is about a product partner, even the thumbnail made it apparent.
This site is sponsored but that's hardly a secret or a negative thing.


I'd like to know more about how to choose the correctly sized intercooler, to maximise thermal performance, while minimising lag. Also, how about air-to-water cooler, versus air-to-air.

Thanks in advance


air-to-water works very well, especially when you can't / don't have the space to put a massive air-air front mount in the set-up.
Air-to-water does required a lot more plumbing as well as a front mount heat exchanger to cool the water which is used as the cooling medium inside the enclosed intercooler.
Air-to-water requires a much more sophisticated fabricated enclosure as you need 4 end tanks, and not 2 like air-air (either cross flow side/side or vertical flow top/bottom tanks)

There are a lot of different factors & parameters that need to be addressed to properly to decide on what size intercooler and what core configuration specs (both on the ambient and charge pressure side) are needed for the application.. Such parameters include but are not limited to: horsepower rating, boost pressure, # of coolers in the system (i.e how many coolers stacked in front of each other), type of driving style (i.e drag racing high-velocity vs. drifting, etc), ambient temp and debris environment, etc


I will probably need an in-line fuel cooler when my car is running again, strugling to find one with AN8 connectors on opposite ends to make it easier to fit..:) If anyone got a tip, let me know (ps, I'm running E85)


have a CSF radiator for a BMW E36. works great but the expansion tank won't fit because radiator too thick.


Are you in the UK or US Alan? The expansion tank is a little different between the two but I believe CSF has a solution.

Thomas Foulon

HI, i'm driving a Fiesta ST150 track prepped on those cars temps stay relatively low on oem radiators.
I'm planning to go with a thicker radiator to be sure everything stays cool under hard conditions.
I've also got a PAS cooler because it's one of the illness of the little fezz.
Can we consider having a more efficient radiator will affect power?
I mean i'm not gonna get more HP's because of the car being cooler but will I feel things more constant power wise ?


You need to data log the ECU in order to see if you really need a radiator upgrade. Most of the time its a waste at stock power levels. Oil cooling is far more important with a race car. I really don't think that PAS cooler will do anything for you. With it being a Ford the cooler is not the weak spot but the lines/hoses are.


It is largely dependant on driving style and how 'busy' you are behind the wheel. With lots of steering input OEM PAS systems quickly overheat, lose functionality and spew their contents out over the engine bay. I regard myself as a fairly smooth driver but still the E92 M3 power steering system really struggles out on track and overheats. Since fitting the CSF PAS cooler I've had no worries


I had no idea CSF made the crossflow rad for 949 Racing until I took a peek at the CSF website. That radiator has held up incredibly well on so many cars.


CSF is a trusted partner for 100's of aftermarket brands, both for development consultation and as a manufacturer. You'd be amazed at where some of CSF's coolers end up!


Yes tell them to do a facelift 2011-2014 Mercedes C63 Amg full package like the m3. They suffer the same problems as the e90/92


I've driven Ben Chandler's C63 out on circuit and that gearbox is really easy to overheat, no doubt a transmission cooler will help out there.


Yep its even worse on the facelift Ryan, gearbox and engine ones could do with uprated ones. A few people have had problems with power steering too but no company makes off the shelf products to replace existing ones. Two companies offer an additional cooler for the gearbox but id rather replace what is there and have a full package like your M3

Stuart Jamie Burns

Are CSF cores brazed in house? What size tubes do you guys use? I've not seen these 'b-tubes' before, are they extruded or welded if you don't mind me asking? Cheers
P.s End tanks looking sexy :D


CSF are a true manufacturer, in that they make everything that goes into the radiator - including the tubes. There's some great IG stories on the CSF page showing the inner workings of the factory:
It is a shame to hide those end tanks! I've always got to make sure I take a picture before covering them up.