I would like to thank Erik (DetroitAC) at Detroit Thermo for providing a production sample of the D5 top for testing purposes. Erik was a pleasure to work with through the testing process and even sent a final production sample for updated photos to be included in the test report. A big thank you goes out for their generosity and the opportunity to test and review his creation.
The Detroit Thermo D5 Top is custom top, designed and built by DetroitAC. A thread on XtremeSystems.org was started back in early September regarding DetroitAC’s creation, since that time a lot of buzz has been growing around the use of D5 tops and the Detroit Thermo top. DetroitAC is regular contributing member on XtremeSystems and has been a pleasure to deal with through the testing process here at skinnee labs.
The Detroit Thermo top fits the Laing D5, which is re-branded by Swiftech (MCP655) and Koolance (PMP450). This top is a full replacement for the stock top that we all have become used to on the D5. Aftermarket tops have become standard for the Laing DDC series, but the D5 is new territory, and I am happy to see another aftermarket top enter the ring as a viable replacement to the stock top for the extremely popular D5.
The Detroit Thermo top arrived in a near perfectly sized USPS box, that I was surprised to find in my mailbox rather than on my porch. Both the top and the bag of parts were carefully packaged inside of bubble wrap. The image below shows the contents of the unpacked USPS box.
When I first started emptying the contents of the parts bag I was somewhat puzzled on how all of these parts were going to be used, but once I started the installation everything was clear and logical.
Here we see the business side of the top, sorry for the dust specs on the image, I did not realize they were there until I was processing the image. You can see the pronounced spiral shape that leads into the outlet. The portion of the pump housing that leads to the outlet is known as the volute, I am sure you have seen this term thrown around quite a bit on forums and may have been puzzled as to the meaning. The volute is last section before discharge or outlet on the pump housing.
One other thing I would like to point out in the picture above is the pre-installed and lubricated o-ring, this may not be obvious at first glance of the image, but this caught me by surprise. Instead of having to reuse the stock o-ring and wrangle it in place, Detroit Thermo has taken care of the o-ring for you.
As with all aftermarket pump tops, you will have to remove the stock impeller housing. On the D5 this is quite easy, twist the large collar and slide it off the back of the pump motor. Now gently pull the motor away from the stock top…see, simple.
The Detroit Thermo top installation was slightly more involved than other D5 pump tops, but was still extremely simple. For the extremely simple installation, I set the top on the desk, face down. Take the motor and impeller and place it into the top, don’t worry about it being perfectly level, the mounting system will level the motor/impeller out. Now, take the 4 triangular tabs and 4 screws and place them in the drilled holes around the motor. Use the provided allen wrench for tightening the screws down, I used the cross pattern that is the same as tightening an cpu cooler. Tightening the screws takes a couple minutes, but I wanted to ensure I had them properly seated and tight.
The last and final portion of the installation is putting the pump with its new top back into the mounting bracket, thanks to the design of the top, the stock mounting bracket can be re-used. Take the four blue gromets and place them in the four holes around the top. Place the top with the gromets in the holes into the mounting bracket and push the 2, 2.75″ inch screws through the holes in the bracket and gromets. Once the screw is through the opposite side, take the 11/32″ OD nut and screw it on. To fully secure the nut I used an 11/32″ nut driver and philips screwdriver.
Upon submitting the review to DetroitAC, he pointed out that my installation method was different than what we had anticipated. For securing the 2 2.75″ screws with the 11/32″ OD nuts to the stock top here is his recommendation.
The two long screws and nylock nuts should be tightened down only until the nuts are just snug to the bracket, such that the blue grommets are still visible from the front view of the pump. If this is done correctly the stock bracket will not be bent at all, and the pump will be supported entirely on the grommets, with no parts of the top touching the bracket.
One of the best features of the Detroit Thermo is the ability to use the stock mounting bracket from the D5. Because of the ability to use the stock mounting bracket, this opens another popular option to use the (UN)designs mounting bracket. You can see how the pump and top mount to the stock bracket and (UN)designs bracket in the images below. Please note, the images below are not the final revision top as pictured in the previous images.