My 26 Tudor runs only 60-70 degrees above ambient, which means I never get to a proper operating temp which is affecting both its power and fuel mileage. Has anyone found a way to use a thermostat with the thermo-siphoning system that will allow a T run in the 180-190 range consistently?
Thermostats are available from the vendors. The only way to tell if they will help your problem is to try one. they won't break your bank and if it doesn't work, its easy to change back.
I read years back of folks further North in Winter installing a large metal "washer" in the upper hose to slow down water movement and keep the engine warmer. I do not know if it is a practical solution....
PS- I hope you are not using a Motometer to get your water temperature readings. Some can be pretty far off the mark.
Short answer - no. Thermostats don't work well with the Model T cooling system.
I don't think you have a problem. You are interpreting the radiator temperature as if it were mounted on a car with a totally different cooling system. What you don't understand is that the water temperature in the engine cooling jackets is automatically regulated to exactly the right temperature. It moves away from the water jacket at near boiling temperature and is replaced by cooler water. It maintains exactly the sane temperature so long as the radiator is capable of supplying water that is cooler than boiling.
In cooler weather like springtime in Wisconsin, the radiator temperature will be towards the lower part of the moto meter. This isn't a problem. Raising the temperature won't help anything. It's not broken. Don't fix it.
The period correct way to get the motor to run warmer in cold weather is a radiator cover.
We all know you don't like thermostats. That doesn't mean they don't work. I'm running one in my T and it works just fine. Good even temperature from rear to front on the block. However, on cool days, my moto meter doesn't go very high, sometimes the red is just barely visable, but I'm running a new Berg radiator with flat tubes that cools very well. On a thermo siphon system there is no automatic regulation of water temp, as soon as water warms, it rises. There will be no regulation to a specific temperature as the rising temp is dependent on ambient temperature and how well the radiator cools the liquid.
My friend doesn't run a thermostats. On his engines the front plugs are always sooty and the rear clean. On my engine all plugs run clean.
If you are running thermo siphon, you want to use a 160 degree thermostat. The 180 would be too high. Use a 180 only if running a water pump, and on this I agree with Royce, if you have a good cooling system, you don't need a water pump.
Model T Fords were never satisfactory in Wisconsin in the early spring and few were sold. If only Henry had known about thermostats he could have easily out sold all other makes.
On this I fully agree with Royce. The thermosyphon system just does its thing without intervention.
When it needs to circulate faster, it just does, the opposite also holds true.
Reading between the lines which could be dangerous...are you also saying without saying that if the outside temperature is 80 plus or so it runs sweet but when the temprature is only 45-50 it runs like crap? If so, that is carbeuration to me...
Do you find the sweet spot on the needle valve based on 'today'? Or...are you one of those that leaves the carb set the same place all the time, starting, running, doesn't matter? If you are in the later category, therein may be your problem with the 'running crappy'. The comment that 'mpg goes into the toilet' is the clue. Says to me maybe running too rich for what the needs of carbeuration are under those circumstances and then not burning to the fullest. Just a thought.
I know many say they never touch the needle valve and get along quite fine under all circumstances and still get 20MPG or so. I'm the odd man out on that school apparently. NONE of mine will do that and maybe it is because of the way that I set them up. SOP for all of them is to open a bit for starting, then set for best at idle and warm, then in the first 1/4 mile or so do a final adjustment in high. Each and every time, each and every outing. I tend to think I get 'good' mileage but never actually measure but also feel that I never wind up in exactly the same place all of the time.
Up north we toured on January 1 regardless of the weather. A bit of cardboard over the radiator was our thermostat. Cheap effective and easily adjusted. There were times when almost the entire core had to be covered just to get a bit of red in the Motometer. I had 3 sizes. The smallest was 1/3 of the core the next was 2/3 of the core and the last one for zero degrees or less was 3/4 of the core. I sprayed them black to resist soaking up rain or snow and you had to look twice to see if they were there. My cars have brass radiators and thin cardboard or even oak tag slips nicely under the brass surround to keep it in place
"Automobile Engineering", 1920 .. The best part is the first half of pg 436:
The motometer measures steam at the top of the neck of the radiator. It does not give the temperature of the engine or the water in the radiator. One way to get a rough idea of the engine temperature is after running the engine for a considerable time you turn off the engine and feel the head. Careful, you could burn your hand. The coolant in the engine will be considerably hotter than that in the radiator unless the engine is nearly boiling and the coolant begins to create steam.
I have driven my T's in pouring rain at 38 degrees in Cincinnati, heavy snow in Virginia at zero degrees, 115 degree days in Tuscon at high altitude in the mountains overlooking the city. Parades on the fourth of July in Dallas at 110 degrees.
Never a problem with overheating or fouling plugs. Never. No reason to screw up the original design - it has worked perfectly for over a century.
".. the water temperature in the engine cooling jackets is automatically regulated to exactly the right temperature. It moves away from the water jacket at near boiling temperature and is replaced by cooler water. It maintains exactly the sane temperature so long as the radiator is capable of supplying water that is cooler than boiling."
Yes, as if by magic.
However, in an engine, science trumps magic. What motivates Thermobarf (thermosiphon) is the difference in density.
chart from wiki
Notice the slope of the change in density is near the same at 50C as the slope at 90C. Therefore, the water will circulate at near the same rate. It doesn't matter whether at 30C or 90C. Cold water in; cool water out.
Actually it is not magic. It is physics. The thermosyphon system works perfectly. Installing pumps and thermostats lowers reliability and improves nothing.
I'm reluctant to get into this conversation, but I also had a thought. Given the operation of the thermo-syphon system (no pump or thermostat) would it be correct to think that when the water in the engine boils the steam, having no where else to go, assists the flow as it head up to the top of the radiator? It sort of seems that the steam moving up the outlet path would push water with it thereby increasing flow/cooling.
Anyhow, just a thought......
Go to Radio Shack or some such place and get yourself an infra-red thermometer. It's a neat little thing that you point at an object, push the button, and it gives you a digital readout of the temperature, correct to a tenth of a degree.
Use this to find out what's really going on. Ignore the Moto-Meter, except as a reference point once you know what its reading really means.
I carry mine in my tow car, and check the tread and hubs of all wheels at every stop. A few degrees rise in a tire's tread will signal low pressure. A few degrees rise in a hub will signal a need for grease. (All this is relative - all treads should be the same, and all hubs should be the same, whatever the actual temperature).
Using the device on the T, I find a marked difference between the temperature at the top of the radiator and the bottom, when the engine's running. That, of course, is normal, and it signals proper operation. The engine itself is usually several degrees hotter than even the very top of the radiator - I don't know why. I also check the hubs and treads on the T after a long ride, just to be sure.
Best $29.99 you'll spend!
The thermostat is not necessary in a Model T, but one reason it has been used in more modern vehicles is to warm up faster so that the heater which uses coolant to warm the passenger compartment.
The engine will run more efficently after it has reached normal operating temperature, which will happen sooner with a thermostat. One problem is where to place the thermostat. If it is at the water inlet, it won't open when the engine needs to be cooled, and if it is at the top hose, it still might not open at the best time. The later cars have a bypass so that some coolant can circulate when the engine is cold. They also have a water pump which keeps it circulating through the bypass. Then as the engine warms up the thermostat opens allowing the more unrestricted flow. The model T was not designed to use a thermostat, and works as it was intended to work without one.
Ricks will disagree, but he doesn't use a fan either and I think he uses a water pump. He might also have some modifications to the engine. Anyway, this is not worth arguing about. If it makes you happy, then by all means use a thermostat. I live in the mountains and we have 100 degree weather at times and with a good radiator, I have no problems using a fan but no thermostat. A thermostat will not keep the engine cooler, but might help in very cold weather. I have little experience in very cold weather because I live in California.
Is there any way you could sell me some of your excess cooling capacity? ;o)
The piston rings may need replacement, because they may no longer be creating the necessary friction to up the optimum temperature of the engine temperature. So, check the piston rings.
I run an old aftermarket honeycomb radiator on the ol 24, no fan belt and it still runs below the circle in the motometer. I don't worry about it and have no issues with preformance. If you shoot the temperture with a infra-red on a hot day and the engine running it will scare you but don't hurt a thing. I drive a lot and personaly don't think a T engine can run to cool. If it runs to hot it will let you know by percolating over when you stop. KB
Hey guys: Thanks for the input. The wife and I had the T out today and after 85 miles, the motometer ran between showing nothing to showing a 1/4" of red. Most of the time it showed an 1/8" of red. This evening, I checked the meter against my wife's candy thermometer and 1/8" equals 115 degrees. 1/4" = 125 degrees.
I think I need to fill in some details first.
The temp today ranged from 42- 51.
I run a 50-50 anti-freeze mix always.
I have an older mid 90's 4 row flat core radiator.
My road cruising speed is 40 mph.
My motometer has been verified as 100 at the bottom of the sight glass to 195 in the middle of the clear hole at the top.
The engine has an aftermarket Ricardo head.
My running mixture for the carb is 3/4 turn open hot and start mixture cold is 1 1/4 open and no choke needed. Now for your comments.
Royce, I respect your opinion, but it runs counter to what I have learned about gravity feed cooling and heating systems. I find it hard to believe that the coolant against the water jacket would vary so far from what the meter is telling me. The heat should radiate away from the casting walls and into the coolant at a much faster rate than what you say it is.
The engines of the day were designed to use water as their coolant and were never intended to run at more than 150 degrees due to the need to prevent the water from boiling away at too fast a pace. The cooler you ran the longer your coolant lasted.
Nowadays we have antifreeze and that brings a new dynamic to the equation. It allows us to run our motors at a much more efficient temp of 180 - 190 degrees without boiling away the coolant. The higher engine temp is also necessary to more efficiently burn the ethanol laden fuels we have today.
As for Norm's comment about the need for a bypass to help equalize the temp through out the engine during warmup and keep coolant flowing over the actuating thermo pill, a cutout in the regulator plate of the thermostat should solve these issues by allowing some coolant to run to the radiator before the thermostat actually opens.
The problem I wish to solve is how to interrupt the 100 degree temp differential rule and get a thermo-siphoning coolant system to 180 degrees and keep it there consistently. I am of the opinion that there is a way to control the coolant flow to achive this goal, but it can't be done with a typical thermostat. They are too restrictive for the free-flow that a thermo-siphon system needs.
I believe the solution requires finding or creating a thermostat that is big enough to allow the necessary flow and still fit in the area between the output at the head and the radiator inlet.
Until I find such an item, I shall probably resort to some form of radiator blanket or cover to reduce the cooling area of the radiator.
As for Bud's question. I can only recommend a good flat tube radiator filled with 50-50 antifreeze mix and make sure that you have your coolant passages in the block and head as clean as possible. There is an incredible amount of rust and lime in these old blocks and heads from years of running water only and it makes a very good insulator that inhibits the proper transfer of heat to the coolant.
That's it for now.
When comparing the maximum operating temperature of a Model T to modern cars the biggest difference is a pressure system. 50-50 antifreeze will add 11F degrees to the boiling point and 15 psi will increase the boiling point by 45F degrees.
Water with antifreeze is a poorer transfer of heat, so maybe if you want it to run hotter you should add more antifreeze. That is if you compare the heat transferred with pure water as 100% then 50-50 mix is about 86% as efficient at heat transfer, a 65-35 antifreeze mix is 77% and all the way to 100% antifreeze is only 64% efficient at heat transfer. The more anti-freeze you use, the hotter it will run.
Dave, the vendors sell a 160 degree thermostat for use without a waterpump: http://www.modeltford.com/item/A-TH60.aspx
I haven't used it myself so I can't testify how it works, but as so much else with T's it will likely vary with the individual car, how it is used & the local climate
The Moto meter tells you the temperature of coolant in the RADIATOR not the ENGINE.
We see the result of doing what you propose on tour. Thermostat stuck. engine wildly overheated, moto meter still reading cool. I carry a spare head gasket and water outlet gasket under my back seat to help people like this.
Don't "fix it". It's not broke.
The SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!
I have driven 50-100K miles in my two Ts, each with a 180 thermostat that I bought from Langs in 1997. In fact, the only thermostat ever to fail in one of my cars was in an old Corvair. Those fail open.
Thermostat failures are as rare as hen's teeth.
Not that anyone will ever experience it, but a boiling T engine with a blocked outlet will push hot coolant backwards into the radiator, and show up on the motometer. The only time I see any red in my motometer is when the engine is running at less than 5 mph for over 5 minutes, due to the lack of a fan.
I have no water pump or fan on my T.
I think that for the average user, no thermostat is really needed. Having said that, I have been experimenting with thermostats (mainly for my own amusement and enlightenment). I have been running a 180 thermostat in my daily driver T, and it works nicely. I have a temperature gauge in the head outlet and a motometer. It is fun to watch the interplay between the two. The thermostat does help the motor warm up quicker and has never caused any problems on hot days. In fact, I believe that it may help on hot days by maintaining a reserve of cooler water in the radiator.
Do like Peter Claverie suggested and get yourself an infa-red thermometer and check the engine temperature.
Do you have a part # for the stat you are using?
Actually - The Motometer tells you the temperature of the gas above the coolant in the radiator unless you have it over filled.
Fred, I don't know the number. I may have used a Model A one, but I probably used some stat from a box of stats and just stuck it in the hose. It has been in there for a couple of years now.
You could use a Bridgeport thermostat, Model 5 Standard, 160 degrees, with the rubber grommet. It makes it 2" in diameter and should slide inside the upper hose. The "high temp" is 180 degrees. These come with a hose clamp to hold them in place.
These are for the Model 18's, '32 to '36, 21 stud flathead. I run these in my '35 Cabriolet. At 75 ambient, the car will not warm up without them.
Don't see any reason to use them on a T unless you live where the white stuff is on the ground. When ambient reaches 60 degrees F, they would have to come out. Sort of a pain I would think.
I have followed this thread for a week. So Saturday backed my stock '14 into the driveway, 0 wind, 75 degrees ambient, mechanical thermometer (that is correct):
started @ 9:00 am, 75 degrees in water top of radiator w/cap off,
9:15 am 155 degrees,
9:30 am 195 degrees and,
turned it off at 9:50 am and it still was at 195 degrees.(I was going to run for an hour but Miss Happiness made me go to the store for ice)
I can pull 120 degrees and that is about it. Brassworks Flat tube and 50/50 on the coolant. However, it could run the whole tank out just sitting there in the driveway. I am not sure how many other T's can do that....and not boil at all.
Royce, tell me if that is about normal. I know the question was about "too cool" but I was curious just the same.
I am not sure how you can pull only 60-70 degrees over ambient is where I am going with this.
Ken in Texas
Ken: Thanks for the stat info. We got close to the white stuff last night. Woke up this morning to frost on everything.
The 60-70 degrees is a moving number. As I am moving much more than standing still, that is the number I am concentrating on. The last time my sedan boiled over was when I lost a fan belt while waiting in line for a parade. Normally when sitting still, I don't even see vapors from the overflow tube, even with the brutal temps we had last year. As we are going to 85 tomorrow, I will try your experiment to see what happens.
I'm wonder if the cooling capabilities of the brass radiator vs. a high radiator and the difference in fan sizes might explain the lower temp difference.
What temp does your 35 run with the stats in place?
The '14 T has a new Brassworks flat tube I put on in September. The fan is the stock four blade the brass cars use, low head, Kingston 4-ball, aluminum intake, coils and Anderson. I would imagine the high radiator setup would be cooler all other things being equal.
I have a '25 T that will get a new flat tube next month. It runs fine around town but a constant 40 mph causes it to need water. Old round tube. The brass car with the new one doesn't need coolant so I will just change radiators.
The '35 runs 155 degrees in the top tank sitting still. I don't have a mechanical temp gauge to check it moving but the dash gauge is setting more or less at the same place moving or still. I guess more heat is generated moving but there is more air flow over the radiator. Net, same place on dash. Drove it to my office today and the '14 yesterday. Real pretty here now but the heat will arrive here soon enough.
An easy way to see what your car really does is to get a mechanical (not electric) temp gauge with the sensor that goes in the head/water outlets. Those can be had for about $20. Mount it in the top of the T radiator with the cap off. Put a rag around it to keep water from coming out of the tank and put the gauge inside the windshield. Drive it. You then can see car temp in relation to speed and ambient temps. Easy way to check the effect of covering the radiator, etc if you are really curious about it.
Ken in the part of Texas with no white stuff.