North American Turbocoupe Organization



Runs Cool No Matter What
AloofMaalouf Offline
Junior Member
#1
I'm going to try and keep this short but I ramble, 2.3 Turbo from an 86 Thunderbird in a 74 Pinto Wagon, I have always had an overcooling problem since I put this engine in, didn't really care because the car was hacked and cobbled together by yours truly but now I'm starting to care about the little things and fix them up. I know that it is not running anywhere close to peak efficiency at the temperature it runs at. Another reason why this has become more important to me is that I recently graduated from college (which was a long freeway commute) and got an office job (which is a 15 minute drive). I don't even get to 160 by the time I'm in the structure, which means I don't get to romp on it day to day as I am so accustomed to.  Sad

I know what most of you are thinking, at least one of two things, the first being exactly what my dad and other car guy friends have told me, "just be glad it's not overheating."  Dodgy The second response I foresaw would be obviously thermostat, this is my 5th thermostat that I just installed tonight, first I tried the stock 86 Tbird thermostat, discovered that the design was shitty from the factory to accommodate a stupid mistake that they made (they were supposed to run the heater core hose between the engine and the thermostat but they mistakenly designed it to be on the thermostat housing, where all it will get is cold coolant until the car fully warms up so they designed this special thermostat that doesn't seal properly due to it's shitty design to bypass that mistake, funny little piece of Ford history). After that didn't work twice, I tried an external thermostat on the upper rad hose, stupid idea, don't know why they even make and sell **** like that but I guess I'm stupid enough to buy and try it.

This was a whole other mess, long story short thermostat wasn't opening because it just wasn't getting a constant stream of coolant so the coolant would expand a lot mimicking a head gasket leak, thought this was my issue since I push as much boost as I can from what I have, around 20 psi. Changed the head gasket, dumbest waste of time ever, head gasket that I pulled looked perfect (at least I upgraded to ARP head studs so there's that). Anyway, then I tried two different generic thermostats that fit in the housing, as I found that other people have said that this works if you don't care about your heater a terrible amount, which I don't since I don't have a heater core anyway, I guess another important thing to note about my motor is that I have blocked off all hoses other than rads, so the stock turbo cooling system, the stock oil cooling system, the one that goes from the intake for whatever reason that is. I should mention that all the thermostats I've tried are 192 or 195 thermostats and I know how to bleed the cooling system, interestingly enough it seems to swallow up all the coolant around 150 on the gauge, but why? Always the same with all these thermostats. Also I use a new thermostat gasket each time with The Right Stuff gasket sealer on both sides and a little around the thermostat's sealing point, I'm very careful not to get any sealer anywhere near the functioning part of the stat.

Either way both those thermostats didn't warm the car up to my utter shock because literally what else could it be... I'm at a total loss at this point, I've spent pretty much every day after work trying different **** to get the thing to work correctly. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated but honestly at this point I think I need a break from looking at thermostats and getting coolant on my hands, not really, I just want a plan for what to try when I recover from this trauma lol. Thanks guys.
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vegas_ss Offline
Senior Member
#2
How are you determining coolant temperature?  The stock gauge can be quite inaccurate due to the IVR.  Mine always reads low (just above the C mark) although I get good heat and am sure it is running at the proper temp as the fans cycle normally.  I've found that the stamped steel type thermostat outlet will seal with the thermostat O ring better than the cast one.  Either one should work well enough to get to operating temps within a few minutes.  The stock 192* motorcraft thermostat would be a good choice.
1987 TC, 5sp, Boport Stage 3 Head/2.1 Cam
1996 Impala SS, DCM, Borla Cat Back, too much other stuff!!!
2009 Pontiac G8 GXP 6M, 6.2l LS3, Kooks Long Tube, Hi Flo Cats, Mild Cam
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BradM Offline
Member
#3
Agree on the inaccurate temp gauge. Mine shows the engine is barely warm but my digital gauge shows the proper temp. I changed the 5V cluster regulator and it didn't change anything. I'd use an infrared temp reader so you can visualize what's happening ($20 on AMZ). The coolant flows from the lower rad hose to the water pump, through cylinder one to the rear and up through the rear of the head and out the front through the thermostat (top rad hose). You should be able to see any hot/cold spots. I run 185 degree thermostat since the coolant is used in the oil cooler for the turbo.
1965 Mercury Comet Caliente; 1968 Mercury Monterey; 1969 F100 Ranger; 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
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AloofMaalouf Offline
Junior Member
#4
Temp gauge was something I should’ve mentioned because it was one of the first few things I thought about, since the pinto didn’t have a temp gauge stock I’ve always used a Bosch mechanical gauge, before and after the swap, plugs into the same place for both motors, rear drivers side right under the head on the block. I’ve also been using my harbor freight infrared thermometer to check if maybe the temp gauge is inaccurate but I’ve found that from what the readings are the thermometer agrees. You guys mentioned a Motorad thermostat, is that the stock design weird looking one? I’ll give it a shot if you guys have had it work before.
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spittinfire Offline
Member
#5
It's funny to see two people say their gauges read on the cold side because I have two different cars and they both read on the hot side. I remember when I first got one and I was driving it last summer. It was hot, I had the A/C on and got stuck in traffic...I watched the temp gauge slowly move up and thought I was going to overheat but never did. Everything did exactly what it was supposed to do but the needle on the gauge was covering the N.

Sometimes with older, inaccurate gauges it's just easier to find out what your gauge reads when things are operating normally and make note of that. If you get much outside of what is "normal" for your car then you can start being concerned. The other option would be to go to a set of aftermarket gauges or have your cluster sent to a place like Classic Instruments to have them rebuild them with modern parts.
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BradM Offline
Member
#6
There's only one OEM thermostat design that I know of for the 2.3 turbo. If you're on your 5th thermostat, it's not the thermostat IMHO. Even if you had the heater core connected, the coolant path and thermostat operation would remain the same. Is the thermostat in backwards by chance? The rubber seal end drops into the outlet housing and you should see the two metal ears facing you.
1965 Mercury Comet Caliente; 1968 Mercury Monterey; 1969 F100 Ranger; 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
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AloofMaalouf Offline
Junior Member
#7
(09-29-2022, 05:49 PM)BradM Wrote: There's only one OEM thermostat design that I know of for the 2.3 turbo. If you're on your 5th thermostat, it's not the thermostat IMHO. Even if you had the heater core connected, the coolant path and thermostat operation would remain the same. Is the thermostat in backwards by chance? The rubber seal end drops into the outlet housing and you should see the two metal ears facing you.

Same what I’m thinking, there’s no way I’m that unlucky, every time I’ve installed it has been the proper way, spring into the motor, gasket up against the housing. Same with the new generic thermostat, it’s just so crazy to me, feels like it’s defying the laws of thermodynamics lol.
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BradM Offline
Member
#8
Where is your ECU getting it's temp reading from? The OEM way is via the temp sensor on the heater hose and you said you removed all of that.
1965 Mercury Comet Caliente; 1968 Mercury Monterey; 1969 F100 Ranger; 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
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vegas_ss Offline
Senior Member
#9
(09-30-2022, 12:28 AM)BradM Wrote: Where is your ECU getting it's temp reading from? The OEM way is via the temp sensor on the heater hose and you said you removed all of that.

I believe that sensor is for the Auto temp control and will prevent the hvac blower motor from running until the coolant is up to temp.  The ECU coolant temp sensor is on the intake manifold.
1987 TC, 5sp, Boport Stage 3 Head/2.1 Cam
1996 Impala SS, DCM, Borla Cat Back, too much other stuff!!!
2009 Pontiac G8 GXP 6M, 6.2l LS3, Kooks Long Tube, Hi Flo Cats, Mild Cam
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BradM Offline
Member
#10
Ahhh, you are correct vegas-ss. There are actually 3 temp sensors. The auto temp control on the heater hose, the ECU sensor on the intake, and the gauge sensor on the block. https://turbotbird.com/old/faqs/engine.jpg

He said he blocked off "the one that goes from the intake for whatever reason that is". Doesn't the intake sensor need that line (coolant flow) to read temp? Otherwise, the coolant just sits there in the intake.
1965 Mercury Comet Caliente; 1968 Mercury Monterey; 1969 F100 Ranger; 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
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