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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I sent Tabio42 (Forum vendor Pinnacle Performance) a request last week for an underhood coolant reservoir, as I have abandoned my trunk tank setup due to weight, complexity and the nuisance of smelling antifreeze in the cabin on a regular basis. Since I almost never make it to the drag strip and never use ice, it seemed like time to switch back. So he sent me one out for a fair price, and no accommodations were made for this review - in fact I just decided to do one today as I get ready to install it.

Both my trunk tank and previous BMR reservoir comparison threads are listed in my signature below, but the BMR reservoir (being the first review) is a little outdated.

I tried to just run the OEM line setup without a reservoir, but the max-speed EMP I got from Ruskiyab (Forum vendor 0FX2GV) is too damn strong: instant foam from all the turbulence and there's no where for the water/air to separate without a reservoir using such a strong pump. It literally just pushes coolant out of the stock T pressure cap! So, back to an under hood reservoir we go!

Big Picture:
* It's priced well, at around $315 or so. Coated black by default. The other units are all going for around $450+ now.
* No instructions in the box, but Tabio includes some basic nylon fittings and a ball-style petcock. The basic fittings are inexpensive and not worth using IMHO, but it's nice that they're there in case you don't plan ahead and just want to get the thing installed in a hurry.
* Inlet/outlets are similar in orientation to the NorCal tank of yore and are 3/4" NPT thread - so you can use the "norcal" installation instructions that are floating around or reference my BMR thread in my signature. However, Tabio has made some improvements as I'll note below.
* I like the knurled cap with thick o-ring; it's gritty and rough when screwing it in but it works. I absolutely hated the CNC lid of the BMR version that required a specially made handle to tighten and release (it cost extra when I bought mine).
* It's made of relatively thin gauge chinese aluminum and had some superficial rust spots on the uncoated internal surfaces; it also was full of manufacturing debri but no big deal - a quick rinse with the hose solved that problem and it holds water; which is all we need. BUT, I would not just hook up hoses and turn it on with all of those metal shavings going through a $400 stewart either. The BMR uses thicker, CNC'd materials but costs significantly more. I don't believe this to be an issue either way once installed.
* I really like the perforated tube drain, it looks to offer very little flow resistance and looks superior to the original NorCal style mesh screen. It' also superior to the BMR style - which only had a perforated tube on the side outlet - effectively limiting the orientation of your hoses if you wanted to run ice. This tank has filters on both inlet/outlets so you can hook it up however you like, BUT the upper "inlet" tube only has three holes drilled in it (see pic) and that doesn't seem like enough to me.
* The size looks to be a bit smaller than the original NorCal or BMR tanks, however I prefer that! I want more clearance over the ECM as I was getting some hard faults when running the BMR tank that have not recurred since I removed it. I don't know if it was heat soak or vibration/contact from the tank (or just bad luck), but the short of it is I prefer Tabio's version over the others.

Conclusion: I like the tank and will recommend it. It has to be the best value out there at around $315 or so; although there are a few little things relating to the cost-savings of what I presume to be Chinese manufacture and the nylon fittings, but changing those things would make it as expensive as every other $450 tank out there. It's a well thought out piece and should work well, and I really like the internal baffle design and the knurled cap.

Here's the tank with the included ball-type petcock, and my own locally-sourced brass fittings:


Here's the bottom of the tank with one of the two included petcocks, showing the orientation of the two 3/4" NPT outlets:


I really like the knurled lid with thick o-ring. The threads are gritty and not as clean as I'd like, but a little silicone lube will solve the problem.


Here's the top tube filter: it literally has only these three holes on the "left" side for flow.



Here's the same tube after I drilled another 7 holes from inside the fill opening and inside the outlet:


Here's the bottom outlet and perforated tube - along with a healthy amount of metal shavings that came along for the ride.


The included fittings have the narrowest ID of any I've seen, including other plastic/nylon types and are not fit to use unless as a last resort IMHO. So pencil in another $20 to buy your own brass (3/4" NPT x 3/4" male barb, and one as a 90 degree elbow).


The included nylon fitting as shown here against the equivalent brass fitting and 3/4" hose for comparison.


Again, there are a few small quirks relating to the cost-savings / value driven pricepoint, but I like it and I think it's a solid option at a very competitive price.


ETA: I sourced some brass fittings on eBay in 3/4 and 1" barb sizes and measured the ID with calipers.

 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Alright, so here is a run-down of how I installed the Pinnacle Performance coolant reservoir tank. There are many ways to do it, but this is what I wound up with.

NOTE: My coolant flow is NOT ideal, as I have the coolant getting hot from the lid, then dumping into the tank before going through the heat exchanger. In a perfect world, we would have the lid feed the heat exchanger directly for maximum heat dissipation, and for cooler reservoir temperatures. However I settled on hose routing in this manner for a few reasons:

#1: It allowed an easier installation of the Stewart EMP pump, and a more desirable pump orientation.
#2: The improved pump orientation allowed me to directly "gravity feed" the pump from the reservoir using 1" lines AND avoid any unnecessary loops in routing the hose that contribute to air locking the pump, etc. I could have avoided the use of any fittings at all but chose to use the single 90* elbow to reduce the risk of kinking.
#3: Being able to use 1" ID lines meant no restrictive 1"-to-3/4" reducers, which made it very easy to route the hose behind the headlight, again reducing the risk of air locking the pump and generally made installation MUCH easier than the last time I did this.
#4: The system is still relatively small, and has a high circulation rate thanks to the `roided out Stewart, so I'm not too concerned about ideal efficiency when I can avoid the frustration of running several more feet of hose under the hood!

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The Installation:

Step 1: Again, throw out the included mounting hardware. Although it was sized correctly for the smaller hole, and would technically work - no locking nuts or lock washers pretty much guarantees they will loosen up and fall out over time IMHO. I had an M10 x 1.25mm bolt with nylon lock nut in the parts bin that I used for the larger diameter hole to carry the bulk of the stress; and I had a 5/16" self-tapping sheet metal screw that worked perfectly for the smaller hole (see next photo) just for fun.



Step 2: Trim the ECM bracket and cowl flanges at the firewall to allow the tank to sit flush (images pillaged from NorCal). I covered up the bolts at the firewall with duct tape to reduce the risk of noise / vibration.




Step 3: Test fit your tank and score the flange for drilling - remembering that it needs to be flush with the firewall to make sure you have room to reinstall the aluminum cross member. I clearanced the welds on the back surface of my crossmember to aid in making space.



Step 4: Drill out the mounting holes. The bracket we're mounting to under the hood has two differently sized holes in it. It was too cramped for me to even think about drilling out the second hole, so I improved as noted in post #1.



Step 5: Realize that in spite of your careful marking of the flange and using a center punch to get the drill bit started, shit still doesn't line up. Pull the tank BACK out, and elongate the second hole to fit!



Step 6: Right about now is when you realize it's really fucking tight in there (inappropriate joke omitted here), and you start wondering how the flying fuck you're going to feed two small bolts in from the bottom with your fingers - and how many times are you going to drop the fucking things before you try something else? Thankfully, we have magnetic wands!



Step 7: Now that the tank is mounted, you can run coolant lines. I wanted to use 1" ID hose to feed the pump (the Stewart has 1" ports), however if you are using a Varimax or similar you will want to stay with 3/4" ID hose and suitable fittings throughout.

Most heat exchangers, such as the Track Attack and most low-mounts also continue to utilize 3/4" barb fittings, which mate up well to all other components of the intercooler system, including the factory T pressure-relief fitting and ZL1 lids. Generally speaking, ONLY people who are running the Stewart EMP need to worry about 1" ID hose and/or adapters.

I like to keep the factory "T" fitting for pressure relief - I've had several instances where this has come in handy, versus the alternative of either rupturing an aluminum piece or blowing off a hose and spraying coolant everywhere!

As I mentioned at the top of this post, my hose routing is not technically ideal (you want the hot fluid from the lid / brick to run directly to the heat exchanger for maximum efficiency), I felt this routing was significantly easier and more beneficial overall:




Step 8: Reinstall the aluminum cross-member. You may need to grind down the welds on the rear of the cross member to get everything lined up properly. Get those bolts down to GNT specs (good and tight); although the factory torque specs are technically 83 ft-lbs.

Add coolant: either distilled water for you warmer climates or an appropriate amount of antifreeze for "normal" people.

All finished up:
 

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Nice review. I'm debating getting one as I don't/haven't raced mty car, and it's golden as it sits. HOWEVER, I might as well do it if i'm going for a max build with E85 and all the fixings. Hhhmmm...
 

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Nice review. I'm debating getting one as I don't/haven't raced mty car, and it's golden as it sits. HOWEVER, I might as well do it if i'm going for a max build with E85 and all the fixings. Hhhmmm...
Test and Tune Feb 15th.


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Discussion Starter #7
Nice write up, Very close to the Norcal tank.
Well it was the original. Just a few design improvements and... at least these are presently in production.

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I have this tank. No complaints at all other than the lid is extremely close to the rubber gasket that seals the hood. I have to remove the gasket a little to unscrew the cap. Not a big deal though.
 

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I have this tank and it has been a very nice piece. I route mine differently do to running ice at the track and the fact I only drive it to work maybe once a week. Very easy to drain and there have been no leaks in the fittings or lid. With my routing going from tank to lid to hx to pump and back to tank, when I do daily it, highway speeds are normally 20 over ambient and 30-35 over ambient when doing city driving without ice. With ice after a 7 second burnout, my iat2 is around 70 and finish the run around 115.
Random looking forward to your in depth review.
 

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good move drilling more holes in that tube, no way in hell only 3 would do it IMO. if you never intend to run any ice at all, I'd just cut the tube off totally and remove the restriction on that EMP all together. my2cents.
 

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I'm super happy with mine. The only thing I didn't like was the logo on the lid. I made a sticker to cover it up
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I added an installation guide on the second post.
 

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How did you tap into the tank on the fitting coming straight out the side? I see you have a flex fuel sensor, as do I, and I tried to tap into the tank using nice black -an fittings but it would clear that sensor. Wondering if maybe a 45 turned back toward the firewall would clear. Also mine showed up full of sand and beat to shit.


 

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How did you tap into the tank on the fitting coming straight out the side? I see you have a flex fuel sensor, as do I, and I tried to tap into the tank using nice black -an fittings but it would clear that sensor. Wondering if maybe a 45 turned back toward the firewall would clear. Also mine showed up full of sand and beat to shit.


I used a 90 on mine and ran it up to the lid on the passenger side. I just had to rotate my flex fuel sensor up a bit
 

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Discussion Starter #15
How did you tap into the tank on the fitting coming straight out the side? I see you have a flex fuel sensor, as do I, and I tried to tap into the tank using nice black -an fittings but it would clear that sensor. Wondering if maybe a 45 turned back toward the firewall would clear. Also mine showed up full of sand and beat to shit.


Mine was the same (sandy) but packed well and no scratches - you might have just been the lucky winner. I'm sure Tabio42 will take care of you if the aesthetics are important, OR you could just touch it up with a can of krylon and be done with it. With that said, it is "economically orientated" so quality control is often first to suffer. But how fancy does an aluminum box need to be?

BMR makes a higher end box, but it's around $450 I think all in.

Also, those 90* brass fittings I posted about come in either 3/4" or 1" barb sizes (depending on the size hose you run) and cost about $12 shipped on ebay.
 

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Mine was the same (sandy) but packed well and no scratches - you might have just been the lucky winner. I'm sure Tabio42 will take care of you if the aesthetics are important, OR you could just touch it up with a can of krylon and be done with it. With that said, it is "economically orientated" so quality control is often first to suffer. But how fancy does an aluminum box need to be?

BMR makes a higher end box, but it's around $450 I think all in.

Also, those 90* brass fittings I posted about come in either 3/4" or 1" barb sizes (depending on the size hose you run) and cost about $12 shipped on ebay.
Yea it pissed me off when I first opened it up but I’m over it, I’m not going to even bother contacting weapon x (who I bought it from) or the manufacturer. Like you said, it’s an ice box that’s under the hood, tucked behind the strut brace. It’s just annoying when shit like that gets thru, seems so easy to fix but obviously it’s not uncommon. I have a small leak on the bottom fitting, not sure if it’s the threads on the bung or my fancy an fitting leaking. I’ll have to drain it and pull it out, also need to do something with the hose on the driver side of my hx, it looks like it’s getting pinched
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yea it pissed me off when I first opened it up but I’m over it, I’m not going to even bother contacting weapon x (who I bought it from) or the manufacturer. Like you said, it’s an ice box that’s under the hood, tucked behind the strut brace. It’s just annoying when shit like that gets thru, seems so easy to fix but obviously it’s not uncommon. I have a small leak on the bottom fitting, not sure if it’s the threads on the bung or my fancy an fitting leaking. I’ll have to drain it and pull it out, also need to do something with the hose on the driver side of my hx, it looks like it’s getting pinched
Try some automotive thread sealant - it gets tacky but shouldn't harden. Antisieze would probably also work. I'd suspect the can threads over the fitting, as mine were rough and I chased them before final installation.

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Try some automotive thread sealant - it gets tacky but shouldn't harden. Antisieze would probably also work. I'd suspect the can threads over the fitting, as mine were rough and I chased them before final installation.

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Yea I should have cleaned the threads up better than I did but I didn’t have s lot of my tools there and that damn box was the only thing keeping me from starting the car. Shouldn’t have rushed it.. lesson learned
 

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I will say the lid was a little gritty in the threads, had plenty of time to clean everything up an it works smooth.. I would say if it was 3/8" to a 1/2" smaller on a couple of the sides it would fit easier. Ive just come to the realization that EVERYTHING is in a tight spot on these cars and I'm lucky enough that I have a DD, so I don't get in a rush to do stuff. It must be the old man in me now.. lol.


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Any reason you didn't go with fasterprom's ice box
 
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