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Old 09-01-2004, 06:42 AM   #1
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Question Thermostat differences

I have a 1989 370 LE MH with a Ford 460 engine. I am debating changing the existing thermostat to a lower temperature thermostat. I am assuming I have a 185 degree in place now and want to change to a 160.

Is anyone aware of any issues I should consider before swapping them? I'm trying to lower my operating temperature. After flushing, filling and adding NAPAs version of Water Wetter, I still run 215 on the road. I'm wondering if a lower temp thermostat will help.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-01-2004, 07:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Danger
I have a 1989 370 LE MH with a Ford 460 engine. I am debating changing the existing thermostat to a lower temperature thermostat. I am assuming I have a 185 degree in place now and want to change to a 160.

Is anyone aware of any issues I should consider before swapping them? I'm trying to lower my operating temperature. After flushing, filling and adding NAPAs version of Water Wetter, I still run 215 on the road. I'm wondering if a lower temp thermostat will help.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
REPLY: As long as the thermostat is open, the temperature of the engine is determined by the cooling efficiency of the system - i.e., ambient temperature, condition of engine, radiator, water pump, and about 100 other things. Once at "operating temperature" (in your case, 215) the thermostat opening temperature is no longer a factor. The thermostat generally stays closed (or mostly so) until 165 or 185 or whatever to help the engine warm up quicker. It also helps regulate flow volume to make sure the coolant stays in the radiator long enough for the heat to get stripped off, so removing the thermostat won't necessarily make the engine run cooler. Here are a couple of ideas I hope may help. Check the fan clutch. Make sure the radiator fins are clear. Flush cooling system if you haven't already. Check hoses for collapse/interior deterioration. Is there a system bleeding procedure? Make sure your engine timing is correct. Put a mechanical test gauge to make sure you really are running hot. Hot running engines can be really tricky to diagnose, so don't take anything for granted. Hope this helps! Sincerely, Andy.
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Old 09-01-2004, 07:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Danger
...Is anyone aware of any issues I should consider before swapping them? ...Any input is greatly appreciated.
There is always the possibility that your temperature gauge has gone out of calibration. If it has, it is probably the sensor as opposed to the gauge.

You may want to consider checking the accuracy of your gauge. The easiest way to start is to install a new sensor. If it still reads hot, see if you can round up another gauge to hook to the sensor.

When you did the flush, did you pull the block screws? If not, since you may have a hot engine problem, you may want to consider doing that.

Tom
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Old 09-01-2004, 07:35 AM   #4
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A higher coolant temperature helps evaporate moisture and burn off contaminants in the oil. It also is important to properly atomize the air fuel mixture. '89 Ford should be TBI. With a lower engine temperature the ECM will richen the mixture (lower mileage and more cylinder/ring wear).

John
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Old 09-01-2004, 07:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Danger
I have a 1989 370 LE MH with a Ford 460 engine....I am assuming I have a 185 degree in place now and want to change to a 160......After flushing, filling and adding NAPAs version of Water Wetter, I still run 215 on the road. I'm wondering if a lower temp thermostat will help.
Nick:

What does your temp guage indicate at idle, and how quickly does it get there?

On my 345, a steady "idle" temp (indicated on dash guage) of 200 degrees is reached after only two minutes of idle. Road trip temps (60-63mph, 3000 to 3100 rpm, level ground) are fairly steady at 205 to 220 degrees. You may well have a 200 degree thermostat in your engine, as I believe I do.

I would appreciate your posting of your steady "idle" temp, as I am anticipating (or at least thinking about) dropping in a lower temp thermostat.

Thanks,
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Old 09-01-2004, 08:23 AM   #6
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A few thoughts, though I don't have a MH.

In my prev tow vehicle, I went from the 185 degree stat to the 160. Most of the waters and such will burn off at 160 degrees and frankly in normal non winter temps, the engine will no doubt still reach 180 degrees, however your overall temps will be lower, so if you were sitting at 200 before, 180 would be normal.

Now for the fun part. Some cars with electronic engine mgmt freak out if they are not reprogrammed. I would assume that your 1989 has some sort of engine mgmt. On my '96 Chevy I found a place the would reflash my PCM to work with the approx 20 degree difference. Another difference in my 1996 is that it is Gen 2 block which uses reverse cooling whereas the heads get cooled first, then the block and down the line to help with pre-detination running 10:1 compression ratios. This makes the 160 stat a bit more tolerable from what the car club folks have found (as well as myself). I placed several years ago a 160 stat in my 1980 Olds (no computers or electronic engine mgmt) that had standard cooling (not reverse cooling) and it didn't like it all that much. It ran, but it ran much better as it got warmer.

The new '04 Suburban I just bought bases a ton of stuff on the engine temps which have been designed for 210 degrees. Trans shifts being just one that come to mind. Not sure I will play with that one like I did with my other vehicles, but then again, in your case, your using 1989 gear so far less picky.

Bottom line is that it's hit or miss unless you can find folks that have been there and done that like I did when I modded my '96. One perk however if you can do it and your trans goes through the radiator for an oil to water cooling first before going to an external cooler, the 20 degrees drop in coolant temps will also effect the trans in a positive way, by keeping it a bit cooler as well as I found on my '96 both when towing and not.
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