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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 donít 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 systemís ability to remove heat.

Most engines run slightly above the thermostatís minimum opening temperature under normal loads. Under high loads, they will run at or above the thermostatís fully open temperature Ė in other words, under hard driving, the thermostatís 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 donít want the flow to be too high as the cooling systemís 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 itís operating temperature. Most engine wear occurs when the engine is cold, once itís 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 ďbangĒ against the other metals in the engine more than they would at operating temperature. No good.

So if we donít 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 theyíll 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 isnít 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 203į

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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