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Old 05-16-2013, 05:45 PM   #1
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Why the 160 degree thermostat?

Why do people often have the 160 thermostat on their mod list? What is the benefit of this mod?
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:31 PM   #2
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t-stat opens sooner so the coolant stays at a lower temp.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:36 PM   #3
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t-stat opens sooner so the coolant stays at a lower temp.
I think he asked why, not how. I too would like to know what benefit a 160 T stat gives.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:38 PM   #4
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I think he asked why, not how. I too would like to know what benefit a 160 T stat gives.
That is why.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:52 PM   #5
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That is why.
No that is how, not why. What is the benifit to a 160 T stat?
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:53 PM   #6
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No that is how, not why. What is the benifit to a 160 T stat?
Your coolant will not get as hot, so less heat soak.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:55 PM   #7
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No that is how, not why. What is the benifit to a 160 T stat?
wow...really?

The 160 T-Stat, as OneSlow said, allows the T-stat to open sooner. This lets the engine coolant circulate through the heat exchanger soon. This leads to lower coolant temps, which leads to lower running engine temps which leads to reduced heat soak which leads to better engine performance.

ALSO reduces the risk/chance of overheating.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:56 PM   #8
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coolant still gets the same temp, only opens the FLOW sooner, however most stocks are rated at 180, so not much of a benefit at all.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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Because it adds 25hp and 30 lbs/tq

This is what I found on a quick search:

The Function of the Thermostat & Cooling System Basics

The biggest misunderstanding about thermostats is that people believe they make the engine run cooler. They don’t necessarily do that. The cooling system and load on the engine determines how hot the engine gets, the thermostat fully open will still be the mercy of the coolant system’s ability to remove heat.

Most engines run slightly above the thermostat’s minimum opening temperature under normal loads. Under high loads, they will run at or above the thermostat’s fully open temperature – in other words, under hard driving, the thermostat’s opening temperature is completely irrelevant.

The thermostat can only determine when the cooling system is allowed to start cooling the engine. It sets a floor, not a ceiling on engine temperatures. The thermostat basically behaves like the hot and cold knobs in your shower, if the water is too hot, it turns the cold on a little more and if the water is to cold, it turns up the hot water.By regulating the flow through the cooling system it speeds up and slows down the flow of coolant into and out of the engine block.

In liquid cooling systems, the ability to cool is determined by a number of factors, but the basic keys are the surface area of the radiator (how big/how many small fins), the air flow through the radiator (fans on/off, speed of car), and how quickly or slowly the cooling fluid goes through the radiator. If the coolant spends a small amount of time in the radiator, it loses less heat. If it spends a lot of time there, it loses far more heat. Therefore you don’t want the flow to be too high as the cooling system’s ability to cool the engine will be reduced, not increased.

The thermostat is there primarily to help the engine warm up in the morning. As we discussed in a previous article, the engine is designed to operate at it’s operating temperature. Most engine wear occurs when the engine is cold, once it’s warmed up there is very little wear in a healthy engine. Thus, we definitely want to run a thermostat to allow the engine to warm up as quickly as possible until it reaches our desired and designed operating temperature.

If the engine is below operating temperature, the bearings, rings, and other components are not yet expanded in size and therefore they “bang” against the other metals in the engine more than they would at operating temperature. No good.

So if we don’t run a thermostat at all, it takes a lot of constant load to get the engine properly warmed up and to keep it up to temperature on cold days. We also in some circumstances may experience overheating if flow through the system is too high as the coolant has to spend a certain amount of time in the radiator to actually cool down.

Some race teams do choose not to run a thermostat, but they are the minority. They usually run at least a restriction plate in place of the thermostat to slow down flow and allow some warm up to occur. The reason that they may not run one at all is usually to remove a point of failure in endurance type races. In other words, if the thermostat fails and sticks closed, it could cause a pit stop or end the race. By removing it, they tolerate possible engine wear since they know they’ll be at high loads throughout the race. Their cooling system is usually tuned to compensate for the lack of a thermostat as well.

Running the factory thermostat will on the other hand ensure that the engine comes up to the designed minimum temperature very quickly. Until the engine is up to temperature, there is no cooling occurring. The factory thermostat will not however change how the engine runs under load because the thermostat will be fully open when under load. It effectively isn’t there under load.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:09 PM   #10
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AND THIS:

What they’re used for

So what then would a low temperature thermostat accomplish? Not much.

Around town and in the pits, you warm up faster than no thermostat at all, but you will take a while to warm up from 160 to 180 for example. You will get there however, especially on warm days, the only difference is you’re trying to cool the car off as it’s trying to warm up. As a mater of fact, if you sit there at idle, the temp will go up until the radiator fans kick on since radiators are poor cooling devices without air flow. In other words, sitting still, the thermostat opening temperature doesn’t matter much at all.

Once you’re moving, on the highway, with a 160 degree thermostat on a cooler day you could be cruising at 160-180 degrees (opening temp->designed operating temp). This is possible because the load on the engine is low and the outside temps are low. Therefore, the thermostat opening temp maters somewhat here. If you’re coasting down a mountain, it will be a certainty that your coolant will reach the thermostat minimum if you coast long enough.

The problem with a low temp thermostat then for regular driving is that there are times when the car will be running at a temperature lower than it’s design intended. The result is increased wear on the engine’s internals. It’s essentially the same as if you assembled the engine with clearances tighter than designed for because you didn’t follow the directions or your tools were not calibrated properly.

As for the intake temperature argument, while cooling the intake manifold down could be useful, there are a few problems with the argument. The first is that very little heat is transferred from the intake manifold to the intake charge, period. The intake charge is moving very fast and there is a LOT of air flowing through. The surface area of the intake system is very small and the temperature differential in real terms is not that high. There is already very little heat being added to the intake charge by the intake system regardless of what some ads claim. If the new thermostat DID bring the temps of the intake manifold down 20 degrees, the actual change in intake temps would be negligible to 0 on the road.

Regardless, it would take literally a second or two before temps would be regulated by the cooling system, not the thermostat anyway since under load the engine is going to run well above the thermostat fully open mark anyway.

Remember that the thermostat is fully open pretty much any time the engine is under full load because the coolant temperatures spike pretty quickly.

In a race car, the floor (opening temp) of the thermostat is completely irrelevant unless you are running a very efficient and large radiator. Once you’re out on the track for half a lap or so, your coolant temps are going to be in the 200 range anyway so the thermostat is fully open regardless.

You can use a low temp as a “band-aid” at the track sometimes. For example, if you know that your coolant temps are hitting the opening temp of your current thermostat at points the track and you’re experiencing mild overheating, you might be able to patch this up by using a lower temp thermostat, especially if you’re willing to run your radiator fans manually to help.

Why? Because during low load parts of the track you allow the coolant system to cool off more which means it will cope with higher load sections a bit better and may chase of mild overheating problems. This is acceptable on a race track as a temporary solution as wear is usually an acceptable compromise to get through the race. However, the right solution is to upgrade the radiator or check for possible malfunctioning sections of the cooling system. It is also more acceptable here because load is high during a race. On the street, even on hard drives, it’s usually reasonably low.

Conclusion

So if you want to test this, the best thing to do is get an OBDII scanner and go out in an OBDII car and monitor the ECT sensor and watch how coolant temps regulate and spike as load changes.

The bottom line however is that in a street car, you’re increasing wear and getting no benefit. In a race car, it’s a band-aid but not one that you should plan to rely on.

If you’re having overheating problems, check the cooling system thoroughly and if all is well, upgrade the radiator, fans or even the water pump — not the thermostat. If your coolant gauge never goes above normal then your cooling system is adequate for your use of the car.

If you’re chasing more power, this isn’t a place to look. Any power gain would be circumstantial (ie, only under certain conditions), incredibly negligible, and at the risk of accelerated wear on your expensive engine internals (especially in street cars).
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:14 PM   #11
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coolant still gets the same temp, only opens the FLOW sooner, however most stocks are rated at 180, so not much of a benefit at all.

Actually due to EPA efficiency and emission regs most OEMs are rated around 203°

the higher temp makes for better engine efficiency, aka more MPG's

the lower temps make the motor run richer which produces more HP but less MPG.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:13 PM   #12
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is this something that is DIY?
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:36 PM   #13
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All you are doing is making the engine take longer to get up to temp and by doing so increasing engine wear in the process. At best it's a cludge for cooling system problems.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:43 PM   #14
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is this something that is DIY?
yes...5min swap. just refill coolant. Drain first via petcock but it will still make a mess when you swap them.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:43 PM   #15
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Should be easy to change, but I think in a previous post that a tune is necessary to prevent throwing a code. Hopefully someone else will clarify this.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:48 PM   #16
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Actually due to EPA efficiency and emission regs most OEMs are rated around 203°

the higher temp makes for better engine efficiency, aka more MPG's

the lower temps make the motor run richer which produces more HP but less MPG.
I would have to check the actual thermostat for sure, I read somewhere 180, in the service manual states;
  1. Use a J 24731 - Tempil Stick in order to find the opening and the closing temperatures of the coolant thermostat.
    1. The 188 tempil stick melts at 87°C (188°F). The thermostat should begin to open.
    • The 206 tempil stick melts at 97°C (206°F). The thermostat should be fully open.
  1. Replace the coolant thermostat if it does not operate properly between this temperature range.
http://www.motorward.com/2012/10/joh...ro-zl1-hpe700/#

Link to Hennessey.....most shops do use the 160 temp thermo, however they are also programing the cooling fans to come on earlier/lower temp...
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:13 PM   #17
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one thing people always forget about switching T-stat is if you do not alter your fan setpoints you don't get full benefit.

At low speed when you need your fans to maintain temp if they come on too late you 160 t stat does not help at all. you will just gain temp until you get to your fan on point and your fan will only pull it down to the off point.

Many people do not implement the lower temp thermostats correcly because they don't want to tune. If you not willing to tune you need to take manual control of your fans to really get the benefit of it.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:16 PM   #18
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Should be easy to change, but I think in a previous post that a tune is necessary to prevent throwing a code. Hopefully someone else will clarify this.
That is correct. It will throw a code "if" the ecu doesn't see coolant tempsof at least 167 degrees after ~7 minutes of runtime. I had to let my car idle for 5 minutes before driving it in the mornings or it would throw a code (and disable the a/c). This was in Texas, in the summer. I finally got tired of having to bring my laptop with me every morning just to clear the code so my a/c would work, so I put an 180 degree thermostat in.
Just an FYI.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:22 PM   #19
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I agree with everything ********** said but would add this. The hot mod to do when the factory thermostats were 195 deg to get better emmisions in the late 70's thru the early 90's was to swap in a 180 deg. thermostat. Then the reverse cooled LT1's came in '93 and they had 180 deg. thermostats from the factory. Because they are reverse cooled they needed a cooler thermostat to warm up to 190 deg at the valve head. So then everyone started putting 160 deg thermostats in the LT1's because that would make the car run at 180 deg at the valve head. Now emmissions are better controlled on the LS engines since '98. And they came with 180 deg thermostats from the factory. Which is as cool as you really should need.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:51 PM   #20
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wow...really?

The 160 T-Stat, as OneSlow said, allows the T-stat to open sooner. This lets the engine coolant circulate through the heat exchanger soon. This leads to lower coolant temps, which leads to lower running engine temps which leads to reduced heat soak which leads to better engine performance.

ALSO reduces the risk/chance of overheating.
Nice sarcasm with the "wow really"...lol. Read further in this posting and you are basically wrong on all accounts. A T stat that opens sooner makes a motor get to operating temp slower, which has zero to do with lower coolant temps, lower running engine temps, and reduced heat soak...none of which has anything to do with reduced risk of overheating..Thanks for the lesson

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Old 05-17-2013, 12:49 AM   #21
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just get some wetter water... I had a tuned setup with a 160 t stat and after a lot of back and forth on this site I don't think it is a good mod for these engines... you can search... plenty posting on the subject by some really smart engine guys.... the debate is split right now the middle some swear by em some think they actually cause premature engine wear problems
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:29 PM   #22
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On A zl1 you will also benefit from having the cooling fans turn on soomer which will help to cool the heat ex-changer better. FYI you HAVE TO RETUNE to see the gains here. Also if you dont tune you will get a ses light after 3 drive cycles of engine not at operating temp.
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:40 PM   #23
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Yep this is a HOT Topic here in the SouthWest

In hot climates like AZ and with the AC on the radiator fans are always running anyway. The key to cooling I've found is flow both air and water. Fan shrouds are a must. The shroud system has to be efficient for idle or low MPH air flow with baffles allowing for more airflow when the fan itself becomes an obstacle at higher MPH.

In a heat exchange flow system a lower T-Stat can make the water always flow and always be hotter than what you'd want. Systems are engineered to be more efficient by allowing the T-stat to restrict water flow. This restriction will suspend the water in the radiator allowing it cool down before it returns to the engine. Generally this engineered restriction efficiency is why it's never a good idea to pullout the T-stat completely.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:32 PM   #24
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I would have to check the actual thermostat for sure, I read somewhere 180, in the service manual states;
  1. Use a J 24731 - Tempil Stick in order to find the opening and the closing temperatures of the coolant thermostat.
    1. The 188 tempil stick melts at 87°C (188°F). The thermostat should begin to open.
    • The 206 tempil stick melts at 97°C (206°F). The thermostat should be fully open.
  1. Replace the coolant thermostat if it does not operate properly between this temperature range.
http://www.motorward.com/2012/10/joh...ro-zl1-hpe700/#

Link to Hennessey.....most shops do use the 160 temp thermo, however they are also programing the cooling fans to come on earlier/lower temp...

no I wasn't talking specifically about the Camaro, it might be a 180° I never actually checked, I was speaking in generals, the majority of vehicles, especially the grocery getter 4-bangers are 203° - 225°

your original statement was "most stocks" I took that to mean most cars in general.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:49 AM   #25
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no I wasn't talking specifically about the Camaro, it might be a 180° I never actually checked, I was speaking in generals, the majority of vehicles, especially the grocery getter 4-bangers are 203° - 225°

your original statement was "most stocks" I took that to mean most cars in general.
no worries
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