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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Overheating 390 engine

I have a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 with a 390 GT engine from a '68 Torino GT, 4 speed trans. Cant seem to get it to run cool. It will idle all day and not get hot. Driving about 50-55, doesn't get real hot, but the faster you go, the quicker it heats. Never got over 220, shut it down at that. I have a new 3 core radiator with an electric fan and shroud, have installed another new water pump, three different thermostats, from 160 to 195. Has a 180 in it now. Pulled the heads off to check gaskets, checked and double checked timing, also tru top dead center to be sure my balancer was right. Advanced the timing some (just moved the distributor, didn't check with a light) and it seemed to help, took it a little longer to get hot. Could weather does seem to affect it some, altho still had to drive at around 55 mph. At 65-70, the gauge still slowly comes up. Also, put a mechanical gauge on it, reads close to factory gauge Water is down a couple of inches in radiator, and seems to stay there. Have not had to add water, as it stays about the same in radiator. Don't know where else to go with it, thinking it is a water problem tho, and not air flo. It has an Edelbrock intake and a small Comp Cams Hyd cam in it. Could the cam be ground wrong? I degreed it in when it was instlalled it, running it straight up. I have used these 390 engines for many years, and this is the first one i have had a heating problem with. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 03:08 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

does it boil over? Have you tried a different gauge?
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post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

No, it has never boiled over, never heard it gurgling, really hasn't lost any water. I usually don't let it get over about 200 tho. Yes, i did install a mechanical guage
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post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 03:27 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

Had the same problem in my 352.

Turned out to be the radiator. Not enough flow at high speed.

Had the radiator recored; overheating problem gone.
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post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 04:12 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

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Originally Posted by jerrym3 View Post
Had the same problem in my 352.

Turned out to be the radiator. Not enough flow at high speed.

Had the radiator recored; overheating problem gone.
Ran into that with a J code 302 a couple years back too, I never would have believed it, you could see fast flow, but it wasnt cooling. A recore was magical

Also, be sure your fan is blowing the right direction...

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post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 05:12 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

Fan should matter at 70mph unless it is restricting flow. Did you check your fan belts? Could be slipping at higher speeds.

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post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 05:52 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

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Originally Posted by My427stang View Post
Also, be sure your fan is blowing the right direction...
No joke. A Hayden fan last year came out of the box with the wrong fan blade mounted. It had a part number and flow arrow sticker showing it was a puller fan, but had a pusher blade on it. I also saw a different brand with the power wires backwards. The effect to cooling would be like you're seeing - less flow through as you go faster.

Also, check your lower hose while holding rev's at full cruise speed in your driveway to see if it's collapsing from the pump suction.

If you advanced timing and it helped at highway cruise, your vacuum advance may be toast. The vac advance only works during part-throttle cruise. You can lose 8-15 advance at cruise, causing higher temps and crappy mileage. Do a vac diaphragm leak and function test, and a distributor plate motion test, then re-set your timing to spec's.

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post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 05:55 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

take a picture of your radiator and fan setup so we can see more exactlly what you got....
pull or push ....
could be that fans arent moving enuff air and also blocking flow at higher speed....
oem setups have have cutouts in shroud with rubber flappers that allows air to flow thru at higher speed if fans cant keep up with flow or fails to kick on...

anyway, does it cool down on its own at idle or do you have to shut down engine to keep temprature from rising even higher??

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post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 06:03 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

I took my car to a radiator shop. They confirmed the hoses were not collapsing.

I went home, pulled the radiator, went back a few days later, and they did a flow test.

Test failed, new core fixed the problem.

Mine was so bad that I'd run hot at high speed, pull up to a toll booth on the Jersey Pike, and before I even pulled away, temp was starting to drop.

But, it went right back up when I hit cruising speed.
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post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

Fan belt is good, plenty of tension on it, only pulling alt and water pump Fan is pulling good air at idle, don't think it would really need fan at higher speeds. I suppose it is working at highway speeds tho. The radiator is a new unit, came with elect fan and shroud. I was in doubt about it tho, contacted the manufacture, was told it should cool my car easiely. Still not sure, carried it to a radiator shop, had it opened up and rodded out, nothing inside, every flu was open. Hate to invest in another one if that isn' the problem. If can't come up with anything else, that is an option i will have to try
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post #11 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 06:16 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

could be a cracked head... if everything else has been done... Here's how I would check it...

I use the fittings from my compression gauge, it has a quick disconnect that fits my air hose... shove 120lbs of air into each cylinder through the spark plug holes and crank it over with the starter... leave the radiator cap off and if you have a crack or bad head gasket it will empty the radiator.. so stand clear of it.. works like a charm trust me..
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post #12 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 06:27 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by 393Clevor View Post
could be a cracked head... if everything else has been done... Here's how I would check it...

I use the fittings from my compression gauge, it has a quick disconnect that fits my air hose... shove 120lbs of air into each cylinder through the spark plug holes and crank it over with the starter... leave the radiator cap off and if you have a crack or bad head gasket it will empty the radiator.. so stand clear of it.. works like a charm trust me..
You could perform this test without injecting compressed air into the cyl. Just remove the rad cap, start it, and watch the rad. If water bubbles or "pops" out, chances are you have a blown head gasket. Or worse a crack somewhere.

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post #13 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

PSIG, the fan is pulling air thru the radiator, it is doing what it is supposed to do.. The lower hose has a spring in it, so don't think it is collasping. The advance you are talking fits mine, running hot and crappy fuel milage. It is hooked up to straight manifold vacuum, don't hav a port on carburator to hook to, so it at full advance all time, keeps it all up to about 3000 rpm, didn't check any higher. My centrifical has been reworked, comes in a little quicker. Can i just unhook vacuum advance, work the timing just thru the mechanical?
RAGGAREN, i am not real good with pictures, will try to get my g/daughter to help me get one on here. It is a puller fan, mounted between engine and radiator and is doing what it is suppose to do. It is wired correctly, and it does cool down as you slow down, don't have to shut the engine off. The shroud covers the complete radiator, with a hole cut in the middle where the fan bolts to it. Could be a problem there, maybe restricting flo at speeds. It does stay cool sitting at idle, and slower speeds, so that should elimate the fan

Last edited by poppy 4198; 12-27-2011 at 06:43 PM.
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post #14 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 06:44 PM
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

Some shrouds are louvered on each side of the fan to promote air flow at speeds.

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post #15 of 62 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Overheating 390 engine

I am really thinking the shroud may be the problem, am going to take it off, mount my fan to the radiator, and see if that will help. Will get back in a few days when i know for sure. Any more ideas, please keep them coming. thanks
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