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Old 07-16-2020, 01:31 PM   #1
Garagekulture13
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Default Where does your 53 Ford run?

I have a 1953 Ford Customline flathead V8 with a Fordomatic trans and from what I can tell is an original car. The temperature gauge lacks on the details. The picture I'm including is of the tempt while driving in a little less than a 100 day. At a red light the temp would quickly rise to H. If I put the car in neutral and rev the engine slightly the temp would come down. Once back on the road the tempt would come back to or a little less than you see pictured. I don't have an external tempt gauge so I am only relying on the factory gauge for info. What does your 53 Ford sit at while driving. The car is new to me so I'm still trying to get acquainted.

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Old 07-16-2020, 01:54 PM   #2
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

Sounds normal to me. So long as it's not boiling over. Can't rely on factory gauge for actual temp readings.
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:31 PM   #3
tubman
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

I don't have a '53, but I do have a '51 that uses the same tpe of gauge system. I have 180 degree thermostats and on a hot day, mine runs at about 5/8's on the gauge. I do have a backup mechanical gauge, which registers right at 180 under these conditions. If I stop and turn it off for a bit, the mechanical gauge goes to 190 before it starts dropping back (heat soak). Those early Ford-a-matics are air-cooled aren't they? If it is, it shouldn't add any heat to the cooling system, so I think the gauge going to full hot when you're at a red light is a sign of something. I'd keep an eye on it as the radiator may need some attention down the road. One thing, notice where the needle sits with the ignition OFF. If it goes that high at a red light, you don't really know how hot it is getting because the gauge is at it's limit. If it doesn't get that high, you're probably all right (for a while).
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Old 07-16-2020, 04:02 PM   #4
Garagekulture13
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

Tubman I'll see what it does when I turn it off the next time I'm out.

The coolant looks really clean but I did notice there is a 13lb cap on the radiator where I believe it should be running a 7lb.

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Old 07-16-2020, 06:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

IR guns are fairly cheap (and handy for a lot of things). I would get one and check several locations on the heads and top of radiator. The factory gauges are somewhat decoration as far as an actual temperature reading goes. They can give you a good indication of cold vs hot, but not much info as to the actual temperature.
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

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i have had 3 50s & 2 53s in the last 20 years and that driving temp seems normal. you should also find out what temperature thermostats are in there, if any. the higher pressure cap only raises the boiling point of the coolant. has nothing really to do with keeping cool or lowering the temperature.
just a observation here is that the top of your radiator does not have a fresh coat of paint so i would say that it may not have been cleaned in a while. pulling the radiator and taking it to a reputable shop and having the upper and lower tanks removed and having the core rodded (not flushed) will get all accumulated years of crud out of the tubes may well help slow the stoplight temp rise. and if you get the radiator rodded have the shop install a neck for a closed recovery system and then install a recovery tank on the drain line. also wont help keep it cool but will keep the radiator full.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

The 3/4 mark on your gauge most likely corresponds to 180 degrees.

Looks to me like you're in good shape.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

That's about where my '53 sits fully warmed up.

But yeah, one of those cheap IR temp guns will give you piece of mind. That's how I figured out the gauge on my '40 was about 15 degrees off.
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

Thats about where my 53 Merc gauge sits too when I drive it in warm weather. It doesn't puke antifreeze. My radiator is the original and not in the best shape. I just ordered a new 4 core radiator. I'm hoping it will run cooler.
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

My Courier runs in the same range. It's a 6 not a V8.
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Old 07-17-2020, 02:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

The only time the temp ran that high on my 52 Merc was just before the radiator tank blew open on the top tank seam. And it was in winter! I had the radiator covered to bring the temp up to normal. When it started to go a little higher I didn't think it would be a problem but guess the old tank seams were not up to the pressure. I've never run in any temps over the 80s but mine runs just over the middle of the heat guage. IR gun on the heads at that point shows right around 180 degrees both sides.
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

I've had two 8ba engines in Ford Victorias....both "seemed to run hot. Put 180 stats in with a 1/16 hole drilled in them & installed mechanicle gauge on each head.....both ran at 180 -190 in hot weather. Factory gauges are not very accurate. May hit 195 at idle.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

Drove the car in today. The picture is the temp driving in this morning with outside temps in the 70s. When I got off outside temps were mid 90s. I drove to my parents to pick my son up and I checked the heads with a IR gun. Both were over 200. The thermostat housing on the driver side was over 200 but the passenger side thermostat housing was 180s right at 190. Drove the rest of the way home pulled up in my shop and checked again. Now once stopped the tempt begin to creep up past the tick mark. Both heads were reading around 220 anywhere on the head. But the gauge wasn't into the H yet and the car was still running. However when I shut the car off it pegs out into the H on the gauge. My trip is only about 10 miles. It would seem a deeper look into things may be necessary.

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Old 07-17-2020, 08:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

Temp will up after you turn the engine off. This is called "heat soak" and is normal.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

Typically an engine overheating at lower speeds or at idle is an airflow problem,whereas an overheating problem at speed with more load on the engine is usually radiator (dirty) or coolant flow restriction. Yours sure sounds like it may be lack of air flowing trough the radiator at lower speeds.



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Old 07-17-2020, 11:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

Hi; I've owned my '53- 6cyl w auto for 20+ yrs ran hot until I had radiator checked-it was Bad. once fixed it stays at the end of the white arc always. Newc
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:28 AM   #17
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

Just some more info on my 1950 v-8 cpe i’ve had for 23 years when i first got it always ran @ 1/2 way on gauge or a little higher with 160 stats some years down the road radiator started to leak took it to the radiator shop found out the core was rotted out put in a new 4 row aluminum one and now it runs 1/4 on gauge and just slightly higher on 80+ degree days don’t remember what it ran at on the heads
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:53 AM   #18
tubman
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

One would think that the white bar on the gauge would be the normal operating range and that the needle should always be in it when the engine is up to operating temperature. As I posted earlier, mine reads above that area when fully warmed up, but (according to the mechanical gauge I have installed) the engine runs at 180 degrees, which matches the thermostats. The radiator in the car was recored 32 years ago, but should be in good shape since I have taken care to maintain the system with regular flushes and anti-freeze changes. The reason the gauge is reading high, I believe is either that the "normal operating range" shown on the gauge is based on using 160 degree thermostats, or perhaps my King-Seeley is just getting old and tired.

O/P, do you know what temperature thermostats you have in the car?
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Old 07-18-2020, 12:55 PM   #19
Garagekulture13
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

Tubman I do not know what thermostats is in the car. I work weekends but plan to open it up Monday and find out. I'm a bit nervous to drive the car as is. I'd sure hate to cook that motor. Also my local radiator shops have closed but do have some within reasonable driving distance. But with the cost of a new aluminum radiator being $300 https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Frost...ad,393022.html I'm not sure if it wouldn't be best to just buy a new one.

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Old 07-18-2020, 01:23 PM   #20
Ross F-1
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Default Re: Where does your 53 Ford run?

I would not buy a Speedway radiator, check out Champion. Many cheap aluminum radiators have epoxied tubes, totally unrepairable.

220 on the heads seems awful high to me. I took these readings with an IR gun on a 95 day, after a hard uphill climb in traffic, 160 thermostats. 4-row brass radiator.
Location.................... temp
Top tank ....................173-179
DS head (center).............183
PS head (center)..............183
DS thermostat housing .....173
PS thermostat housing.......179

I think your radiator cap should be a 4 psi?
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