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Some general cooling system questions.
#1
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John
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First off which temp thermostat is best to use on a 1951 288 engine. I know in their time they used 160-degree thermostat if using alcohol because of its lower boiling point. But with modern glycol anti-freeze would you still use the 160 or go to a 180-degree?
Second on the heater hoses, are they all 5/8"?
Third, if checking the automatic transmission cooler in the lower radiator hose, what would be a safe pressure to use to check it for leaks?
Thanks John

Posted on: 8/15 19:05
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Re: Some general cooling system questions.
#2
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HH56
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160 degree was the standard with a 180 and a 151 degree as options. A service letter said in very cold climates where extra from the heater was needed it would be advisable to install the 180 degree in winter and back to 160 in summer. With that logic the 151 was probably for places like the desert where summer temps can routinely go over 100.

I don't believe alcohol antifreeze was used that often post war but in the early 40s when it was common because of the ethylene glycol shortages they issued thermostats in the 140-150 ranges and cautioned not to run the alcohol antifreeze at regular temps because its boiling point was considerably lower than the ethylene type and it could boil away at higher temps.

All postwar heater hoses are 5/8.

The trans cooler is in the converter return to pan line and since fluid just returns to the pan, one side is essentially open. Original Ultra manual does not have a spec or test for converter out pressure but the TU info does and that lists a max of 40psi with the average in use pressure being lower and changes depending on certain conditions. Since the plumbing between the units is very similar and cooler is in the same place in the path I would think 40 would be the max you would want to use. In reality 10-20 psi should be more than enough to find any leaks.

Posted on: 8/15 20:34
Howard
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Re: Some general cooling system questions.
#3
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Fish'n Jim
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With the age of parts, want to keep the pressure as low as you can. Watch the gauge. Stop a 1 psi increments and see if it holds or goes down. I wouldn't go above 7 psig, which is the cap rating most likely. Essentially doesn't have to hold more than that anyway. Could be a costly pressure test otherwise.

Posted on: 8/16 8:48
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Re: Some general cooling system questions.
#4
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HH56
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Fish'n Jim makes a very good point and I may have misunderstood what portion of the trans cooler you were actually wanting to test.

If it is the internal oil cooler plate assy you are testing by applying pressure to a line fitting then my previous comments hold. If it is the outer coolant housing or the entire enclosure you want to test then the standard radiator cap was 7psi with 13psi as an option. If the car had AC or the heavy duty cooling fan option then 13# became the standard. 13# caps are not as common today so 15# is more often what you find in stores and are being used by many.

I have not heard of many entire enclosures failing. The usual issue is the hose connections rust out and become very thin or full of holes under the hoses or coolant runs out at the end of hoses and collects where the tubes are fastened to the enclosures. Corrosion sets in and that joint area becomes a fail point. There are many coolers now in use where the radiator hose tubing has been replaced or repaired by welding or brazing on a short length of exhaust tubing.

Posted on: 8/16 9:14
Howard
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Re: Some general cooling system questions.
#5
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JeromeSolberg
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I had never had any trouble with my trans cooler, but as part of rebuilding my engine I took it off and was cleaning it and preparing to paint it when I noticed that a large section of the outside had become paper thin from rust, and in fact broke through when I was cleaning it. I got one in much better condition from Max Merritt IIRC, and sent the core to them, perhaps they would be able to repair it for someone in the future. Ross IIRC recommends going to a modern (air) cooler on the radiator, because if the internal element (the part where the oil circulates) in the stock unit fails you might never know.

Posted on: 8/16 9:34
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Re: Some general cooling system questions.
#6
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Owen_Dyneto
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Based on my own experiences, I would never recommend going solely to an air cooler. If you get stuck in motionless traffic on a very hot day, due to the lack of road speed you'll have very little air moving across the cooler and transmission failure can result - speaking from personal experience here. Install an air cooler if it makes you feel better, but have it in series with a conventional unit.

Posted on: 8/16 15:13
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