1955 overheating in traffic summertime

zeroroadkill

Active Member
Do you have a problem with overheating in traffic or with extended idle on a 85° or hotter day??
I’ve improved the cooling a lot with a new improved radiator, large opening thermostat, 6 blade fan, new hoses, high output water pump, new shroud seal, fan in proper position, new fan belt, new fluid but she still doesn’t like stop & go traffic! I’ve seen the modified spacer but it cost about the same as an electric fan and if it doesn’t work I still have to buy the fan!

thanks
 

doug7740

Well-Known Member
I flush the cooling system on my Thunderbird every two years and use a larger opening thermostat. After I installed the high output water pump, I noticed that the engine ran considerably cooler in the 95 degree summer heat.

There are many factors that can cause your engine to run hotter in the summer heat.

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https://www.ctci.org/1955-56-57-thunderbird-overheating/

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 
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jack-in-sac

Well-Known Member
Make sure your engine is in good tune before you change things is the first step I recommend. Next is your distributor giving you full advance? In fact are you getting any advance. Is the exhaust valve in the passenger side exhaust free or stuck, if stuck hopefully in the open position. Secondly has your engine been rebuilt at some time? If so how much is it over-bored? 50's casting was not as exact as 60s and later casting of engine blocks. If there is much core shift then an overbore can result in excessively thin cylinder bores which result in over heating. Also about rebuilds; Are the head gaskets installed on the correct side., they have a front and a back to match the water jacket flow block-to-head. Do you have air-conditioning added? Running an air conditioner can raise the operating temperature. You say your engine is overheating. Are you losing coolant? Have you an aftermarket gauge in addition or instead of the original gauge? I f you aren't losing coolant or boiling over you don't have a real problem. In reference to engine rebuilds and distributor timing; Check that you have correctly timed your engine. If your engine has many miles The assumed timing may not be correct. A worn timing chain can be stretched and require different timing that what you think. In this case time by vacuum. Like-wise The "book" timing is not always what you need.
Good luck to you, J.
 

zeroroadkill

Active Member
Yup 6°BTDC
No coolant loss
Runs at “M” most the time just extended idle it will go to the end of the white scale.
Wondering if the modified spacer will work with the HO water pump?
 
I have the same issue with my 55. I have not yet installed the modified spacer nor have I installed the double sided water pump. To my understanding one can run both the improved spacer (check for flashing on the timing cover) and the dual sided water pump. My car already has the 6 blade fan. In AZ 100 degree temps my car will overheat at an idle but cool to 2/3 scale at 40 mph after moving again. Its the next car in line to receive some attention.
 

jack-in-sac

Well-Known Member
Everyone will have a different experience. Mine has been that I consistently run just at or under 195 degrees all year. Last year we drove from Sacramento California to Flagstaff for the CTCI convention. we drove a bit further to go to the meteor crater and Winslow AZ. WE returned via Riverside and then up through Paso Robles CA. This was about 2200+ miles. Consistently drove at 70 mph and often 75. We have a standard water pump and no aftermarket spacer. The radiator is a brass/copper radiator. The thermostat is a 180 and is just out of the box wth a minor mod for burping air pockets. We run distilled water and no antifreeze. Antifreeze reduces cooling temperature. I time the engine by light and check it by vacuum. The distributor is standard with Pertronix module. It gives full advance. The carburetor is one that is previously on my '57 Ranch Wagon, I need to look at the original T-Bird carburetor. An ignition issue that I thought was a fuel issue was my reason for the swap out. My 20 year old Pertronix began an intermittent fail. I adjust the valves with a P&G Valve Gapper to 20+ thou. cold. I hav only had a heating issue when running the AC on a very long grade. I have the original temp. gauge and a VDO extra gauge plumbed into the other head as a double check. In my humble experience many overheating problems stem from poor tune and or poor engine condition. I believe in checking all the basic things first and then investigating add-ons like a "high flow" water pump and aftermarket spacer. I would try the spacer having seen them and believe the smoother flowing volute makes sense. In another life I was involved in acoustic detection. I can see the harsh design of the original spacer volute could cause cavitation. Cavitation causes air bubbles and is counterproductive to smooth flow. Aerated flow is not efficient. As to the water pump It may or may not help you. Some engines notably like the Ford Cleveland engines suffer if the thermostat is removed. The thermostat also serves as a coolant flow regulator. If the coolant does not remain n the radiator long enough to transfer heat out of the coolant the engine can run hot. I also use a 13 # radiator cap. My radiator air flow is compromised by the AC condenser and a 16" pusher fan for parades and other extended slow driving. even with a multi-blade fan. It is a belt and suspenders item just in case of a problem. If you read my previous post on this topic you will find some of what I see as overheating causes. In closing; If you are not boilng over and losing coolant, you are not overheating.
 

zeroroadkill

Active Member
I ordered the spacer but have a question, since with the original spacer there is no water flow at idle does going to neutral and raising engine speed to 1000rpm’s help or just raise engine temperature? I’ve tried this and it doesn’t seem to help.
 

zeroroadkill

Active Member
It runs normally at about 60%-70% (M) on the gauge since I put in a new improved radiator core, 6 blade fan, and wide mouth thermostat it's just when extended idling she goes to the end of the long white line. I've ordered the modified spacer and will install it this winter.
 
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