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Thread: 51 Commander Overheating question

  1. #1
    President Member lelshaddai's Avatar
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    51 Commander Overheating question

    My 51 Commander was overheating. It would be fine for 15 miles then peg hot. Thought maybe the thermostat. Took the thermostat out and tested it and it opened up right at 180. Pulled radiator out and flushed it. Replaced water pump with rebuilt one I had on hand. I flushed the engine out. I am running straight water in it right now. After running around the block a few times and letting it idle in the garage for 20 minutes, this is what the gauge shows. it was 75 out today. Is this OK temp for this? Is still seems warm to me. It may get better after I add the antifreeze.
    51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
    53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
    62 Volvo PV544 Sport



  2. #2
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    Looks fine. If you are really unsure take its temp with a candy thermometer -but don't scald yourself!. I have an IR thermometer that wasn't expensive and is very accurate.

  3. #3
    President Member Kurt's Avatar
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    That’s where my 51 runs when sitting idle. When you flushed the block, did you pull the plugs and dig all the crud that accumulates in the block out? If not, you may still have heating problems. If you didn’t swap the thermostat out, I would. Sometimes they randomly stick.
    1962 Champ

    51 Commander 4 door

  4. #4
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    I think the manual calls for a 160 thermostat try that and see if the temp comes down. When I flushed my block I removed the plugs and removed about a quart of sludge.

  5. #5
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    My 52 Commander in Tucson would always be at the half way mark. That was with a 50/50 water and antifreeze. I don't remember the pressure of the radiator cap but it was to old style flat radiator cap.

    What pressure radiator cap are you using? Sometime something small like that can make a difference. Check the condition and replace if bad with the correct pressure cap before changing the thermostat.

    Bob Miles

  6. #6
    President Member lelshaddai's Avatar
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    I am running a 4lb cap. When you say pull the plugs are you talking about taking sludge out of the cylinder?
    51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
    53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
    62 Volvo PV544 Sport



  7. #7
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    No, remove the welch plugs. Also called core plugs and soft plugs. This way you can get out the sludge that settles in the bottom of the cooling system. Once it's cleaned out, then be sure to use 50% antifreeze, so more rust and sludge doesn't form.

  8. #8
    President Member lelshaddai's Avatar
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    OK, that makes more sense. Removing freeze/welch plugs I understand. I have done that before. Just was not thinking that way. Age is creeping up on me.
    51 Studebaker Starlight State Commander Coupe
    53 Studebaker Starlight Regal Commander Coupe
    62 Volvo PV544 Sport



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