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Cooling Problem -- Need Help

2274 Views 20 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  sg465
I am just about at my wits end. I have a modified 88gt mustang. My mods are as follows:

347 stroker kit from Coast High

Edelbrock Performer Heads that have been worked

Trickflow Track Heat intake w/ 70mm TB

AOD with 3000 Stall and Shift Kit

3.73 gears

24lb injectors

trick flow cam (mild) if I remember 221/225 .499/.510 ? also have 1.7 roller rockers

These are not all of my mods but just trying to give you an idea of what I have.

My issue is COOLING or lack thereof. It does't matter if I am sitting still or running 75 down the interstate.. it doesn't cool very well at all. I even have a friend at Ford, built my motor and tranny, very sharp guy who has pretty much the same problem and we need a solution. I almost said affordable but, at this point I would be willing to pay whatever just so I can cruise and not worry about overheating.

We both put in Granatelli aluminum radiators --- 3" thick, 38" wide, 1.25" extruded aluminum cores.

We both have tried a series of different thermostats( 160,180) and cooling fans. I currently have a 160 degree thermostat with the Flex-a-lite Black Magic EXTREME. This is their mack daddy cooling fan. Suppose to move like 3600-3800cfm. I have tried the water wetter, tried cooldex to see if it cooled better. Just don't know. I've heard my thermostat is too low and the water doesn't stay in the radiator long enough to cool. I need someone with greater resources than I have to give me a solution. Please help.

I'm sure someone has a combination that works. BE Cool has a kit, Radiator, Cooling fans (Dual) but I think it is over $1000.00. I have considered pulling off the Black Magic fan and trying to fit a Dual fan system in place. I heard SPAL has one for the mustang. Also, I am running a factor type water pump. Do you think one that moves more water would help?

Lastly, I have underdrive pullies in place which could explain the overheating while idling but like I said even when I'm going down the interstate, it gets what I would call hot. my temps in the summer with the A/c on are 230-240 while idling and 210 while going down the interstate. These figures are with the a/c on, which is a must in South Carolina during the summer. I have even heard the aluminum radiator may be an issue. I might try putting the factory radiator and fan on to see what happens. I just have invested a lot into the motor and don't want to warp heads or crack anything. I am really looking for a proven combination; water pump, radiator, cooling fan etc. that WORKS. Anyone who has dealt with and overcame this problem, I would love to hear what you did.


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It looks like you have all your ducks in a roll with everything else. You might be barking up the wrong tree thinking it’s the radiator or fan. Are you sure the head gaskets are installed correctly? You might have a radiator hose collapsing if it doesn’t have a reinforcement spring inside.
Are you running a 50/50 solution of low silicate antifreeze with a bottle of redline water wetter? (low silicate is better when combining cast & alum engine components)Sometimes the simple things matter.
I would double check the head gaskets. Remember you can read FRONT on one side and on the other it will be face down. Been There!
I would also check to make sure the temp gauge is reading the correct temp.
Verify the gauge, but head gasket screw up is a serious possibility. I turned my engine stand around 1/2 way through the build and almost did it. It doesnt take much to distract and then they are backwards. Check the gauge first though
I had the same kinda problem with cooling... I did all sorts of upgrades (electric fan, thermos, switches etc) and still it ran HOT...
I finally pulled the head gaskets off and found one was bad.
Sounds like you've done the same kinda stuff... its probably time to pull the heads and see whats happening.
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I run evans coolant in my mustang and its worth every penny.
I'd say head gaskets as well
i say he has the standard rotation fan on and his is a reverse rotation water pump
Did you fella's pay attention? He said his Buddy the FOrd Mechanic has the same issue with HIS motor... I can't think that the both of them will have put the head gaskets backwards....

Try this....

Ensure the rotation of the electric fan is making the air flow T'WARDS the engine... *note* "Underdrive pulleys will NOT help your engine cool, even at normal speeds."
Put a 190* thermostat back in it.

Finally, if your waterpump, and his, are both new, ensure the direction of rotation is correct. (simple enough if you know the original direction of flow, make sure that the new serp/v-belt, routing is making it turn the original direction. If you have underdrive pulleys you have a diffrent belt route or diffrent belts all together, make sure once again that the waterpump is going the correct direction. If it is NOT, then you are pushing the hot water that should exit the block and enter the lower portion of the radiator, back into the block and up into the heads and throught the thermostat the wrong direction and out into the radiator the wrong direction..... Don't seem likely but It can happen.

Lastly, with all the MODERN parts you have on the mustang, don't be afraid of 220* to 230* F, 99% of the car's on the road since the 90's have electric fan's that do not get the "ON" signal until the 230* F mark.
THey cool it to 210* to 215* and turn off again. If you built it right it will not hurt it.

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WOW! Thanks for all the replies. First, yes there is an external transmission cooler. I do know that the AOD with a stall will generate heat and it was mentioned by my mechanic at the time that an external cooler was a necessity. Secondly, I know that everyone makes mistakes, but I was present when the heads were put on and the gaskets were put on correctly. My mechanic friend is very meticulous and has probably over the 20+ years working on fords and almost exclusively on Mustangs has built over 100 5.0's. I really trust this guy! The system has been bled, I put the thermostat in with the spring towards the engine, and it has about a 50/50 mix of antifreeze. I have the timing at about 12-13 degrees and I do run a high output alt out of a Cobra Mustang. Lastly, I don't think that my friend can't get his to run cool, he is just always busy and he has like 3 other cars that he drives daily. He kinda races this 88 convertible and just don't think he has a real interest in fixing it. I do know that he said he has tried a couple different thermostats and has tried a cooling fan or two. Lastly, I even put a Cobra front grille insert thinking it would allow more air. No real difference noticed. Thanks everyone for the help. Just wondering if strokers run hotter?
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FEandGoingBroke was reading my mind while he was typing.

Only other things to look at are making dead sure you have all the factory air deflectors, dams and channels in place. A lot of times they are in the way, look bad, or there are other air dams and parts that you want to use instead. So we just toss them ... and wonder why it runs hot. As long as the air is going thru your core, that should be good enough to keep you from running so hot.

Who makes the radiators for Granatelli? Is it a lightweight racing piece? Thickness of the core is only one measurement of the ability to transfer heat, fin densitiy and the number of rows are much more important.

How are your fans switched? Did you check your temp sensor and verify they come on at the right temperature?

How much of the surface area of the fan is actually pulling air thru it? What type of shroud are you using with it?

Personally, I doubt it is the stroker kit, there are plenty of them that run just fine.

Did something wierd happen like switching heater hoses?

Good luck!
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I still don't think that 220 and 230 degrees is too much! Not if the motor was built correctly
Thats one of the reasons modern cars don't have numerical gauges on them - people would think their car was about to explode.
That's exactly right Wes! People would shart if they knew the redline on their gauges now-day's is 260* to 270* instead of the old 220* redline.


I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have ourselves!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: FEandGoingBroke on 4/7/06 4:12am ]</font>
What about using those oil filter adaptors that coolant goes through? Ya know the ones on the police interceptors and Turbocoupe T-Birds?

Also, what coolant pump are you using?
heres my 2 dollars worth,you might have a head gasket fitment issue with the head only,that goofy eyebrow on the deck side of the head will play hell on gaskets,i used factory
ford oem gaskets,one side is a full graphite type the other side has a steel shim about 1/8 wide around the fire ring to make it stronger,problom is if that steel shim is on the same side as the eye brow on the head,it will blow combustion gas thru that shim into the eye brow into cooling sys,i screwed up one time doing this,went with the fel pro steel wire ring race gasket,dont remember the part#,one last bit of info,make sure the rms surface (finish)on the head and the block arnt to course,coolant will blow thrue the surfacing grooves on both sides,found that out also,i had my heads smooooothed back down used the felpr gaskets,arp bolts,never looked back hope thsi helps.
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230*-240* is way too hot. What's the turn-on temp for the fan? What's your FP set at? Are you running a custom chip or a tuner? Which EEC puter are you using?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: 1 Bad 88 GT on 4/7/06 10:40am ]</font>
At risk of repeating...maybe additional info...

1. Make sure fan is properly shrouded so that it pulls air from all corners of radiator (I am not familiar with Black Magic set up, but make sure it is not directly mounted to radiator, mount it about 3/4" off of radiator and onto the shroud).

2. Get high volume (anti cavitating) water pump.

3. Get rid of underdrive system.

4. Use mostly distilled water, maybe as much as 25% coolant.

5. Get tranny lines out of the radiator.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: 63SportsCoupe on 4/7/06 11:44am ]</font>
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