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Old 06-13-2017, 08:11 AM   #1
Frank Miller
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Default Cooling observances and hypothesis

Driving home in 90 degree heat with a 49 convertible, stock 8ba, skips pumps and factory thermostats with larger opening my car was routinely running on the H but not boiling over. I could cool it down running below 60 mph. Running 70 on the downhills did not help but coasting the downhills and then engaging the clutch would cool it down. In other words blowing a lot of air through the radiator with the engine at idle would cool the water. The gauge did not drop until I raised engine rpms and circulated the coolant into the motor. This actually make me think water flowing too fast through the radiator is a real thing.
Memorial Day I did a mile and a half parade and it got to the H but as soon as I pulled away the temp came down. I am not sure if this is due to lack of flow at low rpms or lack of air flow. I would need to check temps in different places to figure that out.
Running at 55-60 in all temps usually has it about 3/4 of the way so I am eliminating any blockage issues. It is obvious the radiator can cool properly. It is a recore when I restored the car about 12 years ago. In the end I can live with it like this but appreciate any ides and thought some of you might appreciate my observations.
One other thing. On my cross country trip I did not experience any issues but temps were a bit cooler and I was running a chevy dist for the modern advanced mechanism. I went back to stock as I installed a pertronix. Cause condensers suck. Just adding that because I know bad timing can make an engine run hot. It can make a woman run hot too but that's fro another thread.
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

I think you've discovered the problem, timing. Why not put the Pertronics in the Chevy distributor?
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:35 AM   #3
Frank Miller
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

Thought of that but would have to set it up with a 6v pos grnd unit.
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:44 AM   #4
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

Thought that in order for Skip's pumps to operate correctly his recommendation is not to use thermostats.
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:52 AM   #5
Seth Swoboda
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

I'm interested in the thermostat or no-thermostat question. I have a '47 tudor, all stock and I have Bob Shewman's higher flowing thermostats installed & skips pumps. I thought about removing the thermostats in this hot summer weather to see how it affects cooling. I know someone has tried this already, please opine.
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Old 06-13-2017, 09:11 AM   #6
Frank Miller
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

My observances are consistent with good flow at speed with thermostats. I have heard people say you need to run restrictive washers and never believed it until I made the observance as noted above. A thermostat will ensure the engine runs at the proper operating temperature. If you're running ok down the road leave the thermostats in. Once it opens you can shoot it with a laser thermometer to determine flow or lack of it.
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Old 06-13-2017, 09:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

Frank
Flatjack gave you the answer.
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

Quote:
Originally Posted by 51 MERC-CT View Post
Thought that in order for Skip's pumps to operate correctly his recommendation is not to use thermostats.
True. Skips pumps have his "multi-flow" impellers which move more water if there is less resistance to flow. In other words - higher flow but less pressure - kind of like a fan compared to a compressor. Has never made sense to me to sacrifice the necessary benefits of a thermostat just to move more water. I did a real world test of that here comparing stats vs. no stats: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=113979
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Swoboda View Post
I'm interested in the thermostat or no-thermostat question. I have a '47 tudor, all stock and I have Bob Shewman's higher flowing thermostats installed & skips pumps. I thought about removing the thermostats in this hot summer weather to see how it affects cooling. I know someone has tried this already, please opine.
Here is my real world test of Bob Shewman's "high flow" stats vs. Stant stats for anyone interested: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=143576
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

I got tired of trying to figure out what my coolant temperature really was from the stock gauge so installed a mechanical gauge sender in place of the left stock sender and put the gauge in my glove box out of sight until temperatures got critical that I wanted to watch closely. I left the stock gauge monitoring the right side for general information, which is about all it's good for.

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Old 06-13-2017, 11:15 AM   #11
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

So perhaps there's someone aboard the forum who can tell me what the underlying design is for various combinations of thermostats, radiators engines and pumps. That said, here's an extreme case:

My brother and I raced his Superformance Cobra on a number of occasions. Without making a cooling test out of the event, we ran in uncomfortably warm summer temperatures (Danville, VA). The car always ran at stable temperatures around 200 degrees F. It has a single unmodified thermostat. The engine is a Windsor 350 modified to produce around 450HP. The cooling system maintained stable temperatures at high to low revs and lots of full throttle operation.

The point here is that the single thermostat passes a volume of coolant that allows the radiator to reject the engine heat at high output levels. Why would the much smaller output and two pumps and thermostats not be adequate for flatheads in street operation. I think the culprit is not enough radiator which is making the systems sensitive to minor variations in flow volume.

By the way, has anyone ever used a lateral balance pipe between the two upper hoses or lower hoses to equalize flow between the two sides of the system? Does the radiator itself perform that function?
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

Just my two cents worth. You should always use a combustion gas flow test prior to any work on stats, for overheat conditions. You must first prove the engine is not leaking combustion gases, Via a crack or bad head gasket. If you don't you will be chasing a ghost in the dark. JMHO Frank
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

First, sounds like timing to me and not sure I understand what would be difficult about wiring up the Chevy dist for 6v pos ground. Secondly, you really have no idea what the coolant system temperature is without an accurate temperature gauge. Get a gauge on it and get the timing under control and see where you are.
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

When I was using a 46 big truck I put in a 49 Merc, converted to dual ex, being cheap I used a muffler I had, a new one from a V8 mustang, when pulling up hills the gauge would flick to hot, eventually found that the mustang muffler was too restricted for the 1/2 a flathead, changed to original truck muffler and never got hot again----

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Old 06-13-2017, 05:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

Re the fan,
On a recent 6700klm trip away in our 33,we had days travelling in 42C,towing up hills some long pulls in 2nd ,NO overheating.
On our way home the generator stopped working,so I stopped and replaced it with the spare,as I,m carefull about damaging the radiator core, I take the fan off before removing the generator,and as I was only about 50 miles from my brothers place didn,t bother refitting the fan,well at 55mph the engine ran about 10deg C hotter,so I stopped again and refitted the fan,temp came straight back down to 78C.
I always thought the fan was not important at speed ,but it obviously is.
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Old 06-13-2017, 05:17 PM   #16
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt in NJ View Post
When I was using a 46 big truck I put in a 49 Mercedes, converted to dual ex, being cheap I used a muffler I had, a new one from a V8 mustang, when pulling up hills the gauge would flick to hot, eventually found that the mustang muffler was too restricted for the 1/2 a flathead, changed to original truck muffler and never got hot again----


Kurt is hitting on the problem.
Our beloved flatheads are super heating the coolant in the block because of the exhaust ports which we all know. Any exhaust flow restrictions will help increase engine temps. Also consider the lack of coolant flow caused by head gaskets with very small water holes that's another area that adds to engine temps. Because of these small water holes the coolant is not able to pass by the hot exhaust ports becoming heat saturated raising the temps futher. All the improved water pumps and high flow thermostats will never eliminate these issues only band aid them.
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Old 06-14-2017, 07:24 AM   #17
Frank Miller
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

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Originally Posted by JSeery View Post
First, sounds like timing to me and not sure I understand what would be difficult about wiring up the Chevy dist for 6v pos ground. Secondly, you really have no idea what the coolant system temperature is without an accurate temperature gauge. Get a gauge on it and get the timing under control and see where you are.
I do not think pertronix makes a 6 volt unit for that.
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Old 06-14-2017, 07:27 AM   #18
Frank Miller
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

Thanks for the tips. The exhaust gas test sounds like a possibility. I figured I was ok as I was not using any coolant but if the heated gas is seeping in it will heat the water and expel out the pressure cap.
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:04 AM   #19
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

There are a lot of opinions as to why these old flatheads run hot at high speed (65-70 mph). So, here is my opinion. These engines are generating a considerable more power at these speeds than at 55 mph. More power = more heat. I do not believe these cooling systems were designed to cool at the higher speeds.
I have had pretty good luck with Drake water pumps, clean radiator, and "Water Wetter".
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:38 AM   #20
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Default Re: Cooling observances and hypothesis

I run Skip's water pumps with no thermostats in all my Flatheads now. I did have thermostats in the '39 CS, using Skip's pumps, the thermostats failed on a road trip, causing the Flathead to overheat and blow a head gasket. At sustained highway speeds, they will run hotter but cool down when I slow down. I use water with one gallon of anti-freeze in all of them.
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