Brian's Bug Screens: Screens The Bugs That Can Plug Up Your Radiator!
Text and photos by Ron Bramlett
Reprinted from Restomod Magazine, September 2008
I met Brian Steinmacher this past February while Cindy and I were on the Mustang Lovers Cruise with the Mustang Club of America. He and his wife. Barbara, were also a part of our group. During one of our conversations, Brian told me that where he lived, the bugs could be so thick that they could actually plug the cooling fins on the radiators of their cars! He then told me that he had developed a product to stop the bugs from being smashed into their radiators cooling fins and that it was very easy to clean. His product, appropriately named, was Brian's Bug Screens.
Brian told me that he was selling them to people from all around Michigan and asked me if I thought they were something that Mustang owners in other states would be interested in. Loving to see another new product for our beloved classic Mustangs, I told him I thought so and that Mustangs Plus would do everything we could to get his product to our customers and help him build his business. You see, I knew exactly what he meant about bug problems. Living in the San Joaquin Valley here in the middle of California. I've had the displeasure of running through a swarm of gooey, sticky bugs while driving my Mustang, usually at night. The next morning, I would have to clean the mess out of my radiator! Granted, the hood, headlights and grill were also covered, but once your radiator cooling fins get plugged, it's hard to clean them without bending them. It's the cooling fins that separates the water tubes and actually does most of the cooling on radiators. As I listened to Brian, I thought about another good reason to install a Brian's Bug Screens on my Mustang. To help stop damage from rocks and other debris that can hit the radiator and bend the cooling fins or put a hole into the water tubes.
This can be a real problem. Many times I've seen customers buy a new radiator and then get a chunk of screen, or in some cases expanded steel, and cut it to fit between the grill and radiator to protect their radiator from debris, just like Brian's Bug Screens do. The appearance of a nice aluminum radiator is spoiled by this, although it does save the radiator from damage and makes it look newer, longer. So, after we returned home, I ordered a Brian's Bug Screen for the little 1966 EFI GT Mustang I'm building in my home shop.
I was amazed at how easy it was to install. If I hadn't been taking pictures, it would have been an easy 15 minute job. The outcome is that now the new radiator I installed a few months ago is now protected, not only bugs, but from a wide variety of other things that could hit and damage my radiator. And, at a very reasonable price, I might add. As for cleaning, well, a few seconds to pull the screen out, hose it off, and a few seconds to put it right back in is all it takes.
I told you that I took pictures and they're below. Read on as I show you how easy a Brian's Bug Screen is to install on your Mustang!
Brian's Bug Screen Kit for my 1966 GT came with no hardware because you use your existing radiator mounting bolts.
Here's a picture of one of the brakcets that holds the screen in place. As you can see, when the brakcet is bolted in place between the radiator support, the channel that the screen will sit in is offset forward so that the screen can be reoved easily for cleaning by pulling it straight up between the radiator top tank and radiator support.
To give you an idea how it works, here is a picture of it in front of the car. As you can see, 4 bolts is all that you have to remove in order to bolt it in place.
Let's get started on the install! Honestly, 15 to 20 minutes is all you need. First, remove the two bolts that hold the left side of the radiator in place.
With both bolts out, carefully push the radiator towards the engine to create enough space to slide one of the brackets into place. It will be sandwiched between the radiator bracket and the radiator support.
Line the top bolt hole up and start the bolt. But, don't tighten it up. Do the same on the bottom hole with the mounting bolts. Again, don't tighten the bolts. Both brackets need to be able to slide sideways to set the right width for the screen. Repeat the process on the right side of the radiator and install the bracket. Remember, leave the mounting bolts loose so the screen can slide the brackets sideways to the proper width as you install it.
OK. Now it's time to put the screen in place. Drop it into the brackets and gently push it down while at the same tie letting the brackets slide sideays to the width of the screen. The screen will slide all the way down and rest on the bottom cross member. Slide it up and down a couple of times to make sure there's a little clearance so you can remove it for cleaning.
The last step is to tighten the mounting bolts. Take out the screen so as not to damage it if the brackets should slip. Then tighten the mounting bolts. Make sure the screen will slide easily up and down for cleaning and you're done. Easy as pie!
With the installation complete, you'll he able to look down the front of the radiator and see the top of the screen as shown in these photos. Cleaning is as easy as lifting the screen straight up, hosing it off and sliding it back into place, Did I forget to mention that Brian includes easy to read instructions with every kit? Shame on me! It will take you almost as long to read them as it will to install the kit!
About Brian's Bug Screens At this time, only 2 part numbers are available. But, Brian tells me that he is working on other kits. Both kits are for bolt in style radiators and for Mustangs with out air conditioning. This product is great for high performance and Open Track cars that are very prone to having something thrown up and hitting the radiator. If you own one of these types of cars, this is a product you should have for it!
Mustangs Plus has these kits in stock and ready to ship. Order yours today!