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Re: Coolant temp
LeeD #1382829 Fri Oct 30 2020 05:23 PM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 300
Unconventional Thinker
You'll be much more comfortable with the 180 in there. It's a quick swap, and if the 160 is still good, you can keep it for the next summer season.


Shane's Toys...
2007 Forester XT Limited (2nd Owner)
1991 Cherokee Laredo (2nd Owner)
1981 Chevy 3/4 Ton Fleetside 8,600 Camper Special (3rd Owner)
1965 Chevy 3/4 Ton Fleetside (3rd Owner)
Re: Coolant temp
LeeD #1382943 Sat Oct 31 2020 02:24 PM
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 4,217
Shop Shark
If its cold out, like 33* and the engine doesn't make a lot of heat, then reaching 180 with a 160 thermostat will be very hard to do. A proper working cooling system in winter should run right thermostat temp. It may climb a little if you really work the engine pulling a load of firewood, but normal driving it should run right at thermostat temp. 160 to some is hot, to others not so much, I drove a old Mustang 289 with 2 fan blades cut off out 4, and cardboard over the radiator just to stay somewhat warm and keep the windshield defrosted. The 289 was so worn out, it made very little heat and the air from the fan was enough to cool the motor!

Re: Coolant temp
LeeD #1382969 Sat Oct 31 2020 06:02 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,561
Shop Shark
The coldest morning I've driven my '48 to work was 20 below. I have a 180. After I retired, I chose not to go anywhere at 20 below.

Do I remember a small ~1/8" hole in the thermostat's plate?

1948 3/4-Ton 5-Window Flatbed Chevrolet []

28 Years of Daily Driving but now on hiatus. With a '61 261, 848 head, Rochester Monojet carb, SM420 4-speed, 4.10 rear, dual reservoir MC, Bendix up front, 235/85R16 tires, 12-volt w/alternator, electric wipers and a modern radio in the glove box.
Re: Coolant temp
Wally / Montana #1382987 Sat Oct 31 2020 09:07 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 30,812
ace skiver
Originally Posted by Wally / Montana
Do I remember a small ~1/8" hole in the thermostat's plate?

Yes, I remember that hole (or, I drill it).

Consensus of opinion is to drill the hole, if a hole is not already in the plate. []
Here are the results from another Internet search - on/in stovebolt engines. []

Tim []
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [] - part of the family for 15 years
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engines are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler. []
Re: Coolant temp
LeeD #1383053 Sun Nov 01 2020 11:13 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,720
Shop Shark
One other possibility is a slightly clogged heater core. At some point might flush it out. It can be clogged and still let some coolant to flow through. Just not enough to quite heat the cab.

My 58 never has heated the cab very well. Even when I was small and my grand dad drove it, in the winter it was a cold truck.

I have had the heater core redone many years ago, and still does not move a lot of heat.

Before the next winter I will be installing a new heating and a/c system so maybe I can finally get the beast warm. I run a 195 thermostat year round in my truck.

I drove a 1960 48 passenger Chevrolet school bus with the 261 in it, and in the winter time the engine could not generate enough heat with the inside heaters running.

Re: Coolant temp
LeeD #1383261 Tue Nov 03 2020 01:47 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 275
LeeD Offline OP
Shop Shark
I removed the thermostat, and it was a 160. Testing it in a pot of water showed it started to open at 160 and was full open at 170. So it is a good thermostat. Wednesday I’ll be in town and I’ll get a 180 to put in to see how much difference it makes in heating the cabin and I will see what the temp gauge reads in the dash. If I have any problems next summer, I may reinstall the 160. We’ll see.


1956 Chevy 3200, 235 w/3 speed
Re: Coolant temp
LeeD #1383596 Fri Nov 06 2020 01:19 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 275
LeeD Offline OP
Shop Shark
I did the temp sending unit in a pot of water trick and it looks like the middle mark is about 195, and the first dot is about 140. I put in the 180 thermostat and once it opened, the needle stayed in that range sitting just below the middle dot. And I could not keep my hands on the heater hoses. It was a warm day though too, about 80. We’ll see how things work next time it gets cold.
Thanks again for everyone’s help.


1956 Chevy 3200, 235 w/3 speed
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