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An Overview on Thermostats....

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  • An Overview on Thermostats....

    Recently, I have been learning more about the thermostat in our Tbirds. Here is some information that I picked up that we often get questions about regarding our thermostats. Thanks to John ~ jopizz for providing some of this information. Here is what I have learned so far, from reading about thermostats on various websites, and from John.

    Difference between thermostats...

    WHY IS A SUPERSTAT SUPER?
    Superstat premium thermostats have:

    Heavier frames and springs
    Larger heat motors
    Patented Weir valves

    CAN A THERMOSTAT FAIL SAFELY?
    There is no such thing as a thermostat that will fail in a “safe” position.

    A thermostat will fail in either a closed or open position. One brand claims it fails in a safe position. This brand locks itself open when it is a full stroke open position, basically breaking the thermostat. It does not spring open if it fails in a closed position.

    OE & ALTERNATE TEMPERATURES
    OE recommended temperatures should be used in nearly all situations. Alternate temperature thermostats are available and can be used in some applications. Alternate temperatures are often applicated for older, pre-1995 vehicles where they can be used without causing problems. Alternate temperature are not applicated for most newer vehicles. Using an alternate temperature thermostat in a newer vehicle would require changing computer setting and possible additional modifications.

    Differences between thermostats.

    There are different ratings of Thermostats. Econmy or Standard (usually cheaper - $1.38 at Rock Auto); High Flow (a little more expensive - $2.95-$4.40 at Rock Auto);

    Professional; High Flow (around $4.70 at Rock Auto); Superstat (around $4.40 at Rock Auto); Premium Superstat ($5.31 at Rock Auto). There are also Fail Safe (at $4.74 at Rock Auto), but the above says there is no such thing as a Fail Safe thermostat. If it fails, it does so in an open or closed position....

    The 1966 Thermostat that one of our Tbird parts houses sells is Part #: 66-34460-1, a Standard 195F rated one for the 1966 390 & 428, Cost $7.49.

    Another Tbird parts house sells the RT352 (Stant 13076) 160F, the RT358 (Stant 13078) 180F, and the RT353 (Stant 13079) 195F for $7.95. They are all three Stant Standard Thermostats. Rock Auto sells the exact same Economy/Standard Thermostat for $1.58.... Plus you get your 5% discount from Rock Auto because they are a member of our Forum!

    John ~ jopizz tells me that according to Ford specs, here are the recommended thermostats for the following Tbirds: Squarebird 352, & 430, & Bulletbird 390 180F Thermostat; Flairbird 390, 195F, & 428 195F Thermostat. He also told me that if you are having an overheating problem, that changing to a higher rated thermostat does not generally fix the problem. It may just delay it. If you have an overheating problem it can be caused by a number of things. A radiator that is clogged, needs cleaned, re-cored, or replaced. Aged or collapsed upper or lower hoses, needing replaced. The engine block is full of gunk after years of use, and needs to be flushed out. An engine that has been bored to the point where the block is to thin to keep the engine cooler...

    Some fixes to cooling problems. IF running AC (or not), use a 5, 6, or 7 bladed fan for better cooling. Flush or replace the radiator if needed. Flush the engine block. Add an electric pusher fan, a single or dual Pusher fan (on the front of the radiator if you have no AC) - Add a single or dual electric Puller fan (if running AC - on the back side of the radiator). If the latter, you can take off the OEM fan on the car.

    Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
    '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
    "It's Hip To Be Square"
    Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

    Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

    http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

  • #2
    To add to what Ray has posted the Ford parts books as well as the shop manuals do not list one particular thermostat temperature as standard. Rather they list both a low and high temp (160 & 180 for Squarebirds). I imagine it depended on what part of the country the car was scheduled to be delivered to as to what was installed at the factory. The parts books that I have and Rockauto have the recommended temperatures that Ray posted so I would use that as standard although it's not guaranteed that's what the car was delivered with.

    John
    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

    Thunderbird Registry #36223
    jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

    http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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    • #3
      My Escort suddenly wouldn't make any heat (to speak of), the engine light was on all the time and my gas economy was terrible. This was in mid-winter in Michigan when we REALLY need heat. I suspected the thermostat right away but never dreamed I'd find, so check out the pictures:
      My latest project:
      CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

      "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
      --Lee Iacocca

      From: Royal Oak, Michigan

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      • #4
        Wow! What was have caused that to happen?

        Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
        '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
        "It's Hip To Be Square"
        Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

        Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

        http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          I have to admit, this broken thermostat is unusual but it is a problem that was not discussed. The far right hand picture shows metal fatigue where the two arms are connected to the base. They broke clean off, causing half the thermostat to rattle around inside the housing.

          I have had thermostat failures where they simply didn't open. That caused the engine to get too hot.
          BTW, the purpose of a thermostat is to HEAT the engine. When it comes up to temperature the thermostat opens and regulates the engine temp at the preset value. A common misconception is, If you run without a thermostat the engine overheats. My broken thermostat proved that theory to be very wrong. At the time, I was determined to change it myself but ended up going a month without heat in my car before the weather got warm enough to work on my car.

          My replacement thermostat came from NAPA and I consider the $20 spent to be inexpensive as it included a gallon of antifreeze. The older thermostats are cheaper. - Dave
          My latest project:
          CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

          "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
          --Lee Iacocca

          From: Royal Oak, Michigan

          Comment

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