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Old 04-08-2007, 10:02 AM   #1
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Hot 454

My 1988 290 always runs at 210 degrees. I tow a 3200 lb motorcycle trailer and in the hills in Tennessee we are getting up to 240. On the way to Sturgis last year "Tater" was inching up on 260. She never boiled over but I know that this is too hot. I have heard that during the 80's GM was putting a high temp thermostat in these engines to increase engine temps to burn off emissions. Has anyone had success by changing out the thermostat? If not, what do I need to do to cool this puppy down? I plan on owning this rig forever, so I don't want to screw up the engine. Thanks in advance. Mike
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Old 04-08-2007, 10:13 AM   #2
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Yes by all means change the thermostat to a lower temp one, check belt tension check your fan and fan cluch if you have one and also have the radiator inspected (or inspect it yourself) to make sure it is clean inside and out. Also with summer coming go ahead and flush and fill your coolant while you do the thermostat swap and perhaps even change the upper and lower radiator hoses as routine maintanence Also it is always a good idea to change the radiator cap during a thermostat change. Also if you have an optional electric cooling fan in front of the radiator make sure it is blowing the right way.

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Old 04-08-2007, 10:56 AM   #3
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put in a coolant additive like CRC or Water Wetter or such. This reduced my 280's op temps to 160-180 even in the hills in the summer.
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:07 AM   #4
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Are you losing any coolant?

My 454 started running hot last summer towing in 100 degF weather plus full air conditioning. When it happened again during a later trip in mid-eighties degree temps, I got suspicious.

Finally, during one pitstop, I found a pin-hole size leak in the radiator that was not allowing to system to pressurize, and hence keep the temp down.

One radiator repair later, everything was fine.

Tom
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:43 AM   #5
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Be sure your gauge is accurate. On my 1984 310 (with a 454) I fought high temperature readings until I replaced the sending unit with the proper one. Even if you use a 'laser' type gauge make sure your temp really is high. Does it smell hot when you stop? How quickly does it cool down if you park?

I never run above 200 now even when making long 6% climbs in 90 degree weather with a 2500 pound Scion in tow.

If you need a sending unit for the stock gauge, I got mine via mail from these folks: Home Page
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:51 AM   #6
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Mike---I also have a 1988 290 Classic that runs hotter than I think it should. I commonly see temps. of 205 to 215 degrees running in cooler temps. and 220 to 225 in hot conditions or when pulling long hills. I have not towed with mine yet, but, I just bought a jeep wrangler toad that weighs about 3500 lb. and expect to have additional heating problems.

I talked with my radiator man and he said that he could re-core my radiator and increase its cooling capasity by about 25 to 30% and suggested that I install a high output water pump and perhaps a lower temp. thermostat.

It has also been suggested that adding some shrouding in front of the radiator to prevent the air from dumping out the sides and bottom before it reaches the radiator, should help also (forcing the air through the radiator makes sense).

Not cheap, but should cure the problem-------You try it first-------If it works for you------then I will spend the bucks........

Bob
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:57 AM   #7
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Mike---On second thought-------Lets both try guy99s' idea FIRST----It sounds a hell of a lot cheaper than mine!!!

Bob
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:45 PM   #8
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I just had a new temp guage pu in and a new fan clutch.along witha 190 thermostat . temp now is 185.
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:51 AM   #9
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With so many ways to help keep your cool it's a matter of where to begin. Checking the guage is first.
You have three temp options with thermostats. Use the appropriate one for your type of travel. I switch to a 160 when the weather warms up as I get into the Western NC mountains.
Consider also adding headers which take heat away from the engine area better than stock manifolds.
A good idea is a transmission cooler too. Heat moves back to the tranny and as we all know heat is the killer. Synthetic trans. fluid is said to run cooler as well.
If you take out the rad for a recore or rod out then do change the water pump while you can get at it without giving blood. High flow types are available for our big blocks through the performance shops.
Digital laser temp guages are great for checking temps of tires, axles, and even engines. Watch for a sale and buy one.
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Old 04-09-2007, 04:30 PM   #10
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Actually, that's a close second

Quote:
Originally Posted by GlenCoombe
With so many ways to help keep your cool it's a matter of where to begin. Checking the guage is first. ...
Checking one's right foot is, to me, first. If climbing hills of any grade at constant speed is a priority, then Glen's got you covered with his good advice.

However, if you are inclined to make concessions to heat, drivetrain life, and gas mileage & don't mind occasionally caravanning with 18-wheelers up unusually steep inclines, then keep an eye on how far the accelerator pedal is being pushed.

Tom
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:53 PM   #11
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Wetter water, etc....

Hello all -

Wondering about the 'wetter water' comment made above. Can that specific product be used on newer cars - have an 01 burb.

Is there a similar product that can be added to the trans for temp reductions?

Wondering.

Axel
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Old 04-12-2007, 06:45 AM   #12
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water wetter works by reducing the surface tension of water or it's affinity for self. Remember water likes to bead and this reduces that and so improves contact with the metal of the engine and so then improve heat transfer. Be sure to buy a brand that can mix OK with antifreeze. I don't use the stuff anymore and can't recomend brands. There may be a limit to how much antifreeze U can use with it.
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