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1951 6 cyl cooling questions

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  • Cool/Heat: 1951 6 cyl cooling questions

    Hello all and thank you in advance. Picture is from my restored 51 coupe with 500 miles. I've only been driving the car four months so operating experience is low.
    1) is this normal temp? It will get to the far right of normal oval often with other folks in car or going up big hill.
    2) I've tried measuring coolant temp and verifying thermostat operation by running car with radiator cap off, coolant reaches about 180 in radiator and there is no flow but temp will not increase further sitting still at idle. Thoughts?
    3) IF I want to check thermostat as shop manual suggests, to remove the housing and get the thermostat do I need to loosen ALL the head bolts evenly or just the two holding the housing?
    4) approx engine temp indicated by the bottom and top of the "normal" oval?

    Thank you again

  • #2
    Hi Mark you have some good questions there. Some easy, some almost impossible.

    #1 and #4:
    We really don't know what was in the Studebaker Engineer's Heads when they designed those Temp. Senders and Gauges, but they did have to work with those at Stewart Warner as well.

    I could throw some "Logical" guesses out there on what that "Normal Range" means.
    We know that most if not all cars delivered to the Lower 48 got a Standard Factory 170 Degree Thermostat.
    So if I had to guess I would say somewhere pretty close to the Center of that range is what they would shoot for, but that is WITH the 170 that is supposed to "Maintain" the Temp there as much as possible, so probably 180 to 190 at 3/4 and above, not really overheated by Today's Standards.

    Some will probably say that like other types of Stude. Gauges, 1/2 of the full C to H reading is "Normal" and they may be correct, then IN the "Range Mark" is a little on the Hot side.

    But we know Wide Open is all it can do to help maintain Engine Temp and THAT is controlled by; the Flow efficiency of the Cooling System, including Block and Radiator, Air Temp, Air Flow, Humidity and to a very LARGE part LOAD on the Engine.

    Do you EVER Lug the Engine on Hills instead of shifting to a Lower Gear, especially when in Overdrive?

    #2 If there is NO flow in the Radiator and the Thermostat Housing scanned Temp is 180, there SHOULD be Flow and maybe the Stat is about to open or will not, since it should be a 160 or 180(I hope). if there is a 195 or 205 Degree in there, get rid of it.

    #3 No, do not loosen all the Head Bolts, only remove the Two holding the Thermostat Housing.

    The proper way to re-install it would be to re-Torque all in the correct pattern and spec when finished per the Shop Manual Head Torque Pattern Chart and Spec.
    If you un-torque them all and remove the bolts you will need to replace the Head Gasket.

    I am quite sure many mechanics even Factory Trained Studebaker Techs would just re-tighten the TWO removed to the Spec and call it good.

    There are checks you can perform like, buy a Harbor Freight Lazar Temp. Sensor and check the hot and running Temp. at the Top of the Radiator Tubes and Bottom for a differential of at least 20 degrees.

    Of course if you have no knowledge of a Complete Block Clean and Flush with the Core Plugs removed, THAT messy job could be done by someone as well.

    At this time of year even in Oregon, isn't it high 70's pushing 80's so really in the middle of that range could be perfectly Fine, so if it's not broken... Don't Fix it!

    If none of the above checks are abnormal, I probably should not have gone into "Overheating" situations and cures that you don't need. Maybe the discussion might help others here with serious overheating problems.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 07-22-2020, 07:41 PM.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      I made this. Still not sure if my problem is my sender or gauge, but this helps me sleep at night. Oh, it’s a ‘52 Champion. My water pump is bad, so I’m draining it yet again🤨


      • #4
        Brian, Great Idea!
        No offense, but this Post would have been SO much better on your original String, so we can connect the two and understand your situation better, and not confuse Mark's String at least until he answers.

        I think you CAN "Copy" it (Control "C"), then delete the Post and (Control V) Paste it in the other String after pulling it up on another Window (Tab).

        Click on your Name to find your Other Post first in another Window (Tab).
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner


        • #5
          The gauge is reading exactly in the middle of the normal range. That is where you want to be.
          RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

          17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
          10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
          10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
          4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
          5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
          56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
          60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


          • #6
            Post edited.
            Please remember to choose a Topic when posting Tech Talk questions. Thanks.

            Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" |