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 Thermostats, Radiators, And Overheating

Swamp Cooler


Richard Grover wrote: Lesson on engine cooling from a non-mechanic:

The thermostat controls the warm-up of the engine. It stays closed, preventing any cooling, until the engine reaches a decent operating temperature. A stuck thermostat will cause overheating, but a 165 vs. a 185 will only affect the warm up. Once the engine reaches 185, which it will do under most conditions, there should be no difference. If you are running in really cold weather (sub-freezing), the radiator may overcool the engine to below optimal temperature, in which case, the thermostat should close to bring the engine back up to the spec of the thermostat.

I've replaced my thermostat twice, under the suspicion that it wasn't opening. I have also run with a "punched" thermostat, with the center removed but the housing forming a flow restrictor that is better for proper cooling than an absent thermostat. My truck had no thermostat when I got it, so I would guess the previous owner was struggling with the temp also, or was really careless when the head was off last. I also drilled a small hole in the flange of the thermostat to allow air to bleed out of the head before the thermostat opened. The hole eliminated some early boiling that would blow out coolant in the first few minutes in cold weather, but my solution was elsewhere.

I had my radiator rodded for some minor benefit. I put a fan spacer on to bring the fan up to the shroud for some benefit. The fix that finally put the overheating to rest (I hope!) was valve lapping and adjustment. This may be obvious to some of you real mechanics, but it was an eye-opener to me. Apparently, when the valves are leaking, the engine runs hotter. As a guy at the radiator shop explained to me when I was worrying about how hot my gauge was showing, if it isn't boiling over, there is no problem.

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Dave and Robin Samuelson wrote: Years ago you used to see car window mounted devices that you put water in--an evapoative cooler or "swamp cooler" that worked by yoou driving forcing air through the system. Are they still available? I think it would be cool to have one.

Dave wrote: Yeah, Rob. It's called a misty-mate, and you can pick them up at truck shows and the like hee in AZ for about 20 bucks, or you can order through their website. I don't have the URL handy, but I'm pretty sure you can find it easily enough. I have 2 of them, and I use them in tandem with the AC in my Mustang in the summer for a pleasantly cool ride in town. My Father in Law has one for his truck, one for his Harley, and one he puts on his pup to keep him cool. They are indispensable in the desert, and I swear by them.

Richard Grover wrote: If you find that URL or an address, please post it.

Tom Jacoby wrote: List, I've seen that window-mounted swamp cooler - maybe in "Cars & Parts" magazine. Misty-mate (located in Tempe, AZ), doesn't appear to have an automotive product:

Swampy has a floor-mounted 12-volt portable swamp cooler:

The ultimate hot-rod air conditioner:

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This page last updated 18 September, 2000

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