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160 degree thermo.? is it worth it?

This is a discussion on 160 degree thermo.? is it worth it? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; i recently upgraded from a 1999 v6 camaro to a 2001 z28. I have a few upgrades like flowmaster exhaust ...

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    everyday is race day! 2fast4u_99's Avatar
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    Red face 160 degree thermo.? is it worth it?

    i recently upgraded from a 1999 v6 camaro to a 2001 z28. I have a few upgrades like flowmaster exhaust and slp cold air intake and was wondering if it would be worth it to but the 160 degree thermo in it. I have reviewed past threads about it and have mixed feelings but i kinda need to know the pros and cons and also how hard it is to put in. I have a hypertech programmer coming in pretty soon so i can set my fans to 160 degrees but i would like to have opinions on both sides of the tracks...

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    Member Empatho's Avatar
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    its worthles without a tune in trafic but it keeps the car a little cooler in the highway, I did it because it only takes like 5 minutes or less to do it
    2002 Z28 Auto (3.23 gears)
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    Lid, UD pulley, Shift Kit, 160 Thermo, Y-pipe, Panhard, TB bypass, Bellow, K&N, Strut Brace, Flowmaster, weight reduction.

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    Junior Member TwiSSter418's Avatar
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    Ive found it's a pretty good mod... I usually flush the disgusting coolant out at the same time, and refill with water wetter or something... did a 180* on the Z28 (otherwise bone stock) and it stays consistently cooler than my SS ever did.

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    Member Mr. Hyde's Avatar
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    I bought one when my original water pump went out.Got it from SLP. Had it installed so can't tell ya how difficult it was...hey, I'm old and lazy, and can afford to pay someone else to do it okay , but seriously, you will see the gauge come down a little when you drive it. No performance gain, but I only had it in there for about 1100 miles before the motor broke a rod which is another story, but most of the 1100 miles was freeway anyway. You may notice something. Matter of fact, I still have it, and that water pump with only 1100 miles on it. If you decide you want to do it, I'll sell you the whole package deal for $175.00 plus shipping. That's a almost new water pump, and a almost new SLP 160 Stat for $175.00 and you pick up the tab for shipping. (Both the pump and the Stat have 1100 miles on them) Let me know if you're intetrested, and I'll give you my cell # and we can talk details. I'm sure you're wondering why there aren't in my car right now for starters.....long story....

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    I run the SLP 160 in my 02 SS, and it works okay, with only one complaint.

    It doesn't really open and close at 160 degrees, best I can tell with the scanner hooked up the thermostat starts opening around 170-172 degrees.

    I have found the LS1 thermostat is not capable of anything colder than that, as it will hang open and never fully close.

    All of the cooler thermostats that you buy for the LS1 are simply modified stock thermostats with a small 1/8 inch bushing installed. A larger bushing would make it open sooner but like I said, it will then not fully close.
    There has been a ton of write ups on this, how to modify your stock thermostat to function cooler, for the cost of a .25 cent bushing, rather than spending $60 for one already done.

    Anyway, with that said, I could not program the fans to come on until about 182 degress and off at about 180 degrees. If I tried any cooler settings the fans would run continuously and never shut off, since the thermostat won't let the engine get much colder than that anyway. You really need a scanner to see where the engine is running at temp wise while moving down the road and get an idea where the thermostat is operating, as they all seem to vary a little, and then program the fans accordingly. Otherwise you may have fans that never shut off.

    Eventually I may look into thermostats a little deeper and see if there is a fix for this, as I would like mine to run about 10 degrees cooler. Hope that helps. Larry.

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    with a LS1 2MuchFun's Avatar
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    all a thermostat is is a dam to stop the coolant flow. When the coolant hits 160F, the wax ball inside expands and opens the thermostat. Thats all it does, it dont mean the car is gonna run at 160f, it will tipically run 170-190. If you change your fans to kick on sooner, then they just wear out sooner. Also, engine temp influences gas usage, belive it or not.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2MuchFun View Post
    all a thermostat is is a dam to stop the coolant flow. When the coolant hits 160F, the wax ball inside expands and opens the thermostat. Thats all it does, it dont mean the car is gonna run at 160f, it will tipically run 170-190. If you change your fans to kick on sooner, then they just wear out sooner. Also, engine temp influences gas usage, belive it or not.
    Actually on all my other cars,,,,(which I run 160 in about everything),,,,they all operate almost exactly at 160 degrees,,,,and never go over 165 degrees, this is on 3 454 cars I have, and a pair of small block (gen1) engines I have as well.
    It's the design of the LS series thermostat that doesn't allow it to open any sooner. When I see a thermostat advertised at 160 I expect it to operate at or very near that,,,,which has been my experience in everything but LS series thermostats.

    Like I said, With my laptop scanning, the thermostat doesn't even begin to open unti around 170-172 degrees on my LS1 car,,,,and doesn't fully open until 175 or 176 degrees, a far cry from the 160 advertised thermostat setting. Which is why I have the fans working in the low 180 range. As long as the car is moving the fans are not even used.
    Actually it should start to open around 155 degrees and be fully open around 160 degrees,,,,,thats how my other cars operate,,,,but the LS series thermostat is not capable from what I have seen on several LS series cars. These cooler thermostats for LS series motors simply have a bushing installed that allows it to open a little sooner, been many writeups explaining how these thermostats are limited to about 168 degress at best,,,anymore and the thermostat will hang open and never close. Just the nature of the design. Now whether or not someone has come out with a new design that has cured this so the thermostat will actually open at 160 I couldn't say,,,but it's possible, I just haven't bothered to keep up on the aftermarket.

    Using more gas with a cooler running engine is hogwash. Mine has consistently gotten 21 mpg driving around town for the last 10,000 miles I have put on it,,,,with a cooler thermostat for the last 7-8,000 miles in it. There are perimeters that can be adjusted but it hasn't been necessary on mine, as it goes into closed loop very very early and stays there not long after it's started according to Hptuner scanning software.

    The fans won't wear out sooner either. They will cycle in the same manor as they did with the stock setup as long as you have the fans working in a reasonable temp range,,,,which is why I mentioned it's important to see where the thermostat is working with a scanner before you program the fans.
    My wifes daily ride is an 97 LT1 Z28 vert, and it's had a 160 thermostat in it since the car was almost new,,,,with the fans programmed to come on at 176 degrees and off at 170 degrees,,,,,and the fans are still original and going strong after 10 years so far. But the 160 thermostat in this car actually works in it's "advertised" range. On the scanner it starts opening around 158 degrees and when fully open the engine settles in at about 164 degrees and stays there unless not moving of course. This is another car that consistently gets 27 mpg as well.

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    everyday is race day! 2fast4u_99's Avatar
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    thanx you guys, you really helped me out on this... I just recently got an slp cold air induction package on my car so that will help my car breathe a little better but i still really havent decided what i'm going to do with the thermo yet....

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