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Old 07-22-2009, 04:00 PM
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Pontiac 400 cooling issues

I have read a few other posts on this topic...saw some interesting things.

I need some replies tailored to a couple potential problems.

I am doing my engine break in...just started it up last week. When it got real hot I usually killed the temp at 230 to make sure I took it easy. I did my cam break in and such. Was constantly getting around 220-230. My old 326 would get hot in hotter weather...would run from 190-220. I am hoping to get that number down...my engine re-builder said I should be at 190.

I have a 16" permacool elec fan...I am wondering if that is enough????

I am looking into a dual Flex-a-Lite if what I have is not enough.I feel a good amount of air flowing through, I need to do some further tests. I am going to get my hands on a infrared temp gauge and check the temp difference from the top to the bottom of the radiator. I was told it should be about a 13 degree difference between the 2.

I added the prestone anti-rust into my Rad...Can I mix in the purple ice in along with it?? Has anyone ever tried having both in at the same time??

I have heard multiple responses about Pontiacs running hotter then other cars. I did notice that my old engine like to run about 200-210 in hot weather..sometimes getting hotter. What I am doing now is in about 95 degree weather...what is the general consensus on this??

I spent a lot of $$$$$$ on this and want everything to go as smooooooooooth as butter.

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Old 07-22-2009, 04:51 PM
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I just read the back of a bottle and it is compatible with anti-freeze, but I don't know about other rust inhibaters. You might need to call them.
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:55 PM
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I just sent them an email asking what they recommend. I will post on here when I get a reply.
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:25 PM
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FYI for anyone mixing coolant additives.

Purple Ice is compatible with the Prestone Anti-rust. I called Royal Purple to confirm that.

I also found another similar coolant additive. RedLine Water Wetter. I heard some good things about this one too.
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:47 PM
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Additives

All year long, I see people having overheating problems, as I go
to stock car races all summer. Everyone seems to go for the
purple ice, the water wetter, whatever to attempt to cool off
a motor that is running hot, and I have NEVER seen it make
much, if any, difference. In a case like yours, you need to bring
it down 40+ degrees, and regardless of what the bottle says, it's
not going to cut it. You have some other issues that need to be
dealt with, and if you can't achieve that last 5-10 degrees, maybe
the additive will help. But first look at your basics, radiator, fan,
a good shroud, correct timing, and a fresh water pump go a long
ways to making a car run a reasonable temp.
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:56 PM
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If your car is overheating in park then you need a bigger fan, if it overheats on the freeway then you need a bigger radiator.

Its the easiest rule to follow and will cure 98% of all cooling problems- provided your pump and Tstat are operating correctly.

If you had a cooling problem to start with and increased the output and size of the engine odds are very good that your cooling problem will get worse- not better.
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:02 PM
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Ponty:

Just went through an overheating issue, try looking through my "Pontiac 400 running HOT" post from a few weeks back. Like Plaintoast said, no magic in a bottle is going to get you to where you need to be temperature wise. Is the radiator new? If not then has it been boiled out? How many rows does the rad have? Is your gauge accurate? What temperature thermostat are you running? What is your total timing set at? Are you using the stock ignition? Are you using vacuum advance? Did you make sure you removed all of the air out of the system? Do you have the divider plate for the water pump installed? Do you have the rubber sleeves that are installed with the water pump? Is the lower rad hose collapsing when running the engine? Just some places to start.

My 400 runs at 205 while idling and about 210 while cruising and 220 when I am accelerating really hard a lot. I am running a 195 thermostat. I believe these engines run hotter because of the use of the 195 thermostat. I use the 195 thermostat because that is what the engine was designed for, and my 400 is fairly stock except for a more aggressive cam. Pontiac designed these engines to run hotter so that they would burn the fuel better, thus lower emissions. I've read somewhere that the idiot light on the dash for overheating does not go off until 260*. If I had a real nasty motor I might consider a lower temperature thermostat just for the fact that the engine is probably producing more heat. There is an article on high performance pontiacs website about a cooling system upgrade, but its big money. The article may give you a few ideas as to where to proceed if you cannot find anything wrong with your cooling system. Can you provide specs for your motor?
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:25 AM
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As for the additive, I wasnt expecting too much out of it. Its one of those things that every little bit helps. I put it in and it did help out a noticeable amount. The engine cooling is not to the point of being bad, i drove it around for 15 min yesterday(80 degrees at the time) and it only got a little above 210.

I am thinking that I need to get a higher volume elec fan for it....It is hard working out all the bugs on a new engine and new trans at the same time.

-The radiator was rebuilt 6 years ago.
-I had a 4 core put into it. Before putting it back in I sent it up to the Rad shop to have it tested and cleaned out. It came back good to go.
-As for the gauge, it is reading correctly. I used an infrared thermo to check it out.
-Timing I have set to 14@idle right now. I need to fiddle with it a little bit. I am having tuning issues, which are slowly being ironed out.
-Ignition is all MSD 6AL, Blaster 2, Pro-Billet Mechanical dist.
-I drilled a couple holes into the thermostat to take care of any air in the system. I also burped it and checked it several times.
-Divider plate is in and the pump is a brand new Edelbrock.


I am only getting a 4 degree drop from the top to bottom of the Rad while at idle. That has me leaning towards not enough airflow from the fan. My big problem is that I havnt been able to drive it enough to see how well it does at a higher speed.

Last edited by 66Ponty; 07-24-2009 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:28 AM
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For anyone that upgraded to an aluminum Rad, was it worth the money and did it make a huge difference??


I found the article you were talking about....

http://www.highperformancepontiac.co...ade/index.html

Here it is in case someone wanted to check it out.
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Old 07-24-2009, 04:38 PM
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Whoops, double post....deleted it.
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Old 07-24-2009, 04:39 PM
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Zipfactor,

what you said about the 195 thermostat rings true. I just got some interesting info on the workings of a thermostat.

I was told people assume getting a 160 thermo will make the car run cooler because it opens up sooner. It will work fine with a car that is required to have one. For the pontiacs, they require the higher temp ones to burn more efficiently.

Having a 160 thermo on Pontiac causes it to run hotter(then the 195) because it is allowing the coolant to flow too fast through the radiator and not let it cool long enough. The hotter thermostats regulate the water a little slower so it has more time to cool off to the proper running temp of the engine. Which on Pontiac is a bit hotter.

This was explained to me by a hot rod builder...makes sense to me. He said it was the same concept as running with out a thermostat...except not to the same extreme.

I just changed mine back up from the 160...Ill see how it goes.
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:04 PM
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"Having a 160 thermo on Pontiac causes it to run hotter(then the 195) because it is allowing the coolant to flow too fast through the radiator and not let it cool long enough. The hotter thermostats regulate the water a little slower so it has more time to cool off to the proper running temp of the engine. Which on Pontiac is a bit hotter."

That is BS! A 160 thermostat will flow the same as a 195 thermostat of the same brand. It just opens sooner.
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:48 PM
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I'm with WDCreech, a 160 flows just as much as a 195. The thought of the coolant needing to be slowed down is a myth. If you don't believe this, then why do they make high flow water pumps? The faster the coolant moves the better. I can explain the principles behind this if you want, but for now I will save me the typing and you the possible boredom. The thermostats job is to keep the engine at a specific operating temperature and to keep the engine from overheating, not to keep the coolant in the engine / radiator longer to absorb / dissipate heat.
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:27 AM
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Thats how it was explained to me. I have not tested the theory, but the info came from a very reliable source. I could have misinterpreted what was explained. Wouldnt be the 1st time . Not to say its right or wrong but it made sense to me because of what happened to an old car of mine.

I had a Jeep cherokee which I pulled the thermostat from because the old one seized up. I didnt replace it at the time because it was a beater car and thought it wouldnt hurt anything. It would overheat only while driving at high speeds. Took me a while to figure out why it would randomly overheat. Pieced it together with prolonged high speed. I researched it and found out that could be what is wrong. Put a stat back in and never had a problem with it after that. Again, something I did to fix a problem and it worked. Not something I tested other then that.

I guess I will see what the difference will be with the 180 stat I just put in.

Last edited by 66Ponty; 07-25-2009 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:52 AM
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I guess this is how I am thinking of the topic. Please correct me if I am wrong, I am all about learning new things. If I were to stick a cup of water into a freezer for say 1 second and pulled it out...It would warm up a lot faster then a cup of water I left in for 3 seconds. A small difference, but just as an example.

I would think it would be the same concept for coolant. It needs a certain amount of time in a cooling device to dissipate the heat gained from an engine. If it were to flow through the radiator too fast then it would not be able to dissipate the heat it had gained.

Say you were to slow that down, it would give it more time for the air to cool it down. Then again it could be the same for the engine. If it was flowing too slow through the engine, then it would heat up more because of the long time spent in the hotter area.

I would think it would be finding the balanced flow rate through the hot spot compared to the cooling spot. I guess then you would get into the basic properties of radiator fluid. Does it retain heat faster then it dissipates it, or does it dissipate heat faster then it retains it?? Or it is equal, it dumps heat just as fast as it gained it??

I am sure this is getting really confusing. At this point I am just thinking out loud.

LOL I need to take another physics class.
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