View Full Version : Overheating? 1963 GT 289

08-01-2006, 10:13 PM
Not sure if I have an overheating problem. Gauge read 230 today. My belief is that it is faulty - do these things start to give false readings?

My digital temperature gauge was all over the map reading temperatures around the engine. e.g. rad and rad hose 190, exhaust 500, intake 150.

Last year, all frost plugs were removed plus the two pipe plugs and tons of guck was removed. I believe I got it all. A new water pump was installed, and the system was flushed. I may have completely removed the thermostat. I do not believe the water pump is one of the faulty ones.

Suggestions - is there a best way to really check it, given I have this neat digital temperature gauge tool? (It puts out a little red laser light to point to where it is measuring the temperature.) Are these gauges accurate?

Paul R

08-01-2006, 10:32 PM
Check the temperature of the water coming back to the radiator and compare it to the gage reading. That will tell you how accurate the dash gage is.
I've heard that it is a bad thing to run the car with no thermostat. I think it has something to do with the water not circulating properly in the engine and hot spots developing or something like that.
Another thing that can contribute to hot running is the condition of the radiator. The tubes can be clogged which will restrict the flow of coolant and the fins can become detatched from the tubes which cuts the efficiency of the heat transfer from the coolant. You may need to take it to a radiator shop to have it checked.

Tim K.
'64 R2 GT Hawk

08-01-2006, 10:38 PM
Pahl, I do not know the answer to your question. I have heard that the digital thermonter is great. Now to me 190 degrees on top radiator hose should be ok. What does it read on the head at the rear of the engine? I would THINK the head would be the hot area, well exhaust should be hotter. A 185 thermostat would have temps of water in that range of 189 /190, as the high end, in my opinion. It is 100 + here today and 190 radiator hose reading would be OK with me ( with a 190 degree thermostat and 100+ temps out side.)

08-01-2006, 10:45 PM
Short and simple... without the thermostat, the coolant won't stay in the radiator long enough to cool. The thermostat is a very important part of the cooling system. Also make sure you don't have the antifreeze mixture too strong. Unless you live in the way up north, it is not nessessary to have it mixed 50/50 (which equals -34 degrees). You'll find it will run cooler at a -10 degrees mix and will still provide the same rust protection. The "thicker" the mix is, the lower the ability for heat transfer is. Hope this helps.:)

Road Racers turn left AND right.

08-01-2006, 10:58 PM
I still have a problem ( I do not agree or disagree) with the coolant passing too fast to cool. The fan will remove so many BTU of heat in a given time. The total heat removed is = , running fast or running coolant slow. I have heard the comment made in relation to the flat head V-8 Fords, water circulates too fast to cool. Then someone came along and said no, there is a crack in the V-8 blocks that is the problem. [?][?] A good subject, hope more people respond to the issue.

08-02-2006, 12:08 AM
Well, you do need a thermostat, and you should get different temperature readings at different places on the engine. The temp sensor for the gauge is at the rear end of the driver's side head, about as far from the radiator as you can get. If you are running 180 - 190 degrees there, you should be good. The temp at the top of the radiator is the temperature of the returning coolant, and may be a little hotter than the gauge.

08-02-2006, 08:07 AM
Without a thermostat I understand the engine does run cooler. This can lead to more carbon build up due to a lack of heat in the combuston chamber, the cooler mixture will not bur as completely as a thermostat controled environment, that is a hotter engine burns cleaner.

08-02-2006, 12:31 PM
Just a sidebar on this... all of the nascar motors do not run thermostats...in its place is a plate with a specific diameter hole that restricts the flow of coolant to the radiator. They use plates with different size holes depending on each track and expected temperature conditions. That restricts the flow of coolant forceing it to remain in the radiator longer. The thermostat does the same thing but automaticly regulates the flow of coolant to mantain a specific temperature. Normally a car will run cooler with no thermostst...case in point...in winter, without a thermostat, or with one that is stuck open, the heater barely works, if at all. Also, if the thermostst is stuck open, the temp guage reads lower than normal. Just from personal experiences repairing many makes of cars.;)

Road Racers turn left AND right.

08-02-2006, 02:14 PM
The thermostat is critical to the cooling system operation in a Studebaker V-8. I have the Engineering Report that was published by the engineers that developed the Studebaker V-8 and it talks about how they needed the thermostat to ensure coolant flowed to both heads evenly. Without the thermostat one-side received all the coolant due to the way the water pump worked. Have your radiator bench tested for flow rate; just a slight reduction in flow can cause a significant increase in engine temperature. Don't underestimate the level of sophistication of engineering that Studebaker used to determine the best way to make something work. My 49 Commander with a properly operating cooling system runs right at 170 degrees even in this 90+ degree temperature we are having in Indiana. If you have a re-cored radiator does it have the same number of tubes as the original design? With everything set to original design specís your car should not run at more than the setting of the thermostat you have. The exception to this would be if you are in slow traffic or climbing steep grades at 90+ degrees then you may see temperatures as high as 212 deg which wonít be a problem as long as the system holds pressure as designed. This will keep the coolant from boiling which is what you must avoid since boiling coolant cannot remove the heat from the engine. [B)]

Hope this helps

Restore it, don't replace it.Keep the Studebaker reproduction industry going

08-03-2006, 10:15 AM
With coolant (inhibitor) and pressurised cap, the boiling point is higher than 212ļF. The thermostat has 1 more important function - it is supposed to keep the engine at the designed correct operating temperature. I expect the Studebaker engineers calculated the thermal expansion and selected the optimum op temp.
I was taught that removing the thermostat would lower the op temp for much of normal driving, and thereby increase engine wear. Additionally, I was also taught that removing the termostat in a hot-running engine, is addressing the symptom, not the cause.

08-03-2006, 04:33 PM
I also have a 63 GT Hawk and have a excess heat problem with it. My radiator is a new HD unit, I have a new clutch fan and a clean block. I was talking to Phil Harris of Fairborn Studebaker (Ted Harbit's old business) and he mentioned that he and Malcomb Barry dicovered that all the new water pumps you buy have the impeller clearance set to pre 1962 specs. In other words the impeller does not go into the water pump manifold far enough to efficiently move water. It does a lot of spinning but not much pumping. It appears that the factory modified the water pump manifold in 1962 and therefore requires a late pump. I believe this is my problem and I intend to change it as soon as I get a chance. Since you said you changed your pump recently maybe that's your problem. Phil's number is in Turning Wheels under Fairborn Studebaker. He modifies all pumps he sells in order to sell the correct application.

08-03-2006, 06:55 PM
If you are measuring 190F at the thermostat housing and you are running a 180F thermostat (you should be running a thermostat IMHO,) you don't have a problem. I've seen quite a few Stude gauges read high when they get old and/or lose their ground connection (does the backlight come on with the other dash lights?) I'd say that the thermostat housing is probably the spot to get a good idea of what temperature the engine is running at, but I'd also "shoot" the back of the head where the sender screws in, or the same plate on the other side if it is easier to get at. The rear of the engine gets less water flow than the front as the water jackets clog up, so if it's significantly hotter back there, you might want to consider another flush. Studebaker was kind enough to put the temp. sender at the place on the engine likely to get the hottest, so you'd know if there was a problem right away.


55 Commander Starlight

08-04-2006, 11:15 PM
I have a 160 'stat in my Avanti....I found that the car ran soooooooo much cooler with no anti-freeze....I ran distilled water and put in "Water-Wetter(sp)..with one can of water pump lube....it was great....but then I had to drain and refill due to the winter...I now run af year round due to the hassle of constant change with seasons..I did obtain from Thibeault an alum pulley set and different ratio water pump belt.

08-05-2006, 08:08 PM
I grew up in southern Arizona in an area where the water was so bad it quickly destroyed thermostates and radiators, usually within a year. If we simply removed the thermostat, the farm trucks (in the early 50s, Studebakers, later F*rds) would run too cool on the road, and the heaters would not work in winter when it got down to the low 60s and we were all freezing. Also they would heat up quickly if left idleing, winter or summer. On the F*rds, just gutting the thermostat then reinstalling it worked but I seem to remember my dad using a home-made plate with a half or three-quarter inch hole in it for the Studes. In any case, a thermostat, or at least a restrictor of some sort is needed to bring the engine to a reasonable operating temperature.


08-05-2006, 08:25 PM
quote:and the heaters would not work in winter when it got down to the low 60s and we were all freezing




55 Commander Starlight

08-05-2006, 10:10 PM
"and the heaters would not work in winter when it got down to the low 60s and we were all freezing"

Around here, when the temperature gets up to 50, the top goes down on the convertible.:D

Brad Johnson
Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
33 Rockne 10
51 Commander Starlight
53 Commander Starlight
previously: 63 Cruiser, 62 Regal VI, 60 VI convertible, 50 LandCruiser

08-06-2006, 09:01 PM
I would think if no thermostat caused over heating it would be related to the water going so fast it caused 'caviated'. Ever have an outboard get air around the propeller( cavation)? Boat will not go.

Lived in State College,PA mid 50's to mid 60's.

08-06-2006, 09:18 PM
Thank you all for your excellent suggestions. I did have a thermostat in, although in the past I probably have driven cars without thermostats because I didn't know any better, and it seemed to work. However, it probably hid other issues.

I am convinced that the gauge is reading higher than it should. Temperatures using the the temperature gun were all consistent with a good reading - around 190 degrees.

Yesterday, I was able to take it, trouble free, (except or an errant hubcap) to a wedding for other Studebaker friends - Roger & Marg Hill - and look on as their son, Graeme, got married. There were several other Studebakers present to witness the happy occasion, as well as their owners - all long time other Studebaker friends.

So, happy ending, and hopefully a few wedding pictures will make the TW cover!

Paul Revell
1963 289 GT TT a.k.a. "Mighty Hawk", ordered new from the factory in Hamilton, and delivered by my dad in November, 1962.