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Thermostat?

This is a discussion on Thermostat? within the External Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; so it seems like nearly everybody has a 160 degree thermostat, should i get one? what are the benefits? will ...

  1. #1
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    Thermostat?

    so it seems like nearly everybody has a 160 degree thermostat, should i get one? what are the benefits? will i pick up any HP? better times at the track? what about a trans cooler? what good will that do me?


    thanks for the help, mike

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    Firebird Encyclopedia 9T8W66's Avatar
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    160 Stat won't do anything for you unless you alter the cooling fan on off temps in the comp.
    I run a stock Stat and use an SLP Fan control switch and have no problems with keeping the engine cool.
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    The trans cooler will double the life of your transmission with all things being equal. For racing it will benefit you the most. When ATF reaches 260 degrees Fahrenheit it begins to form varnish. Staying below that threshold is critical.

    You can modify your present thermostat to become a 160 by placing a small spacer behind the valve shaft. However, without lowering the turn on limit to your fans, a lower temp thermostat will do little other than cause your engine to run in open loop longer. Which waste gas and pollutes more. It will then open fully to hold the old higher temperatures because the PCM will not command the fans to keep the coolant temps down.

    edit: I was running behind 9T8W66 and didn't see his post as I was composing mine.

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    Knight of Chaos xzaero0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01Z28M6 View Post
    The trans cooler will double the life of your transmission with all things being equal. For racing it will benefit you the most. When ATF reaches 260 degrees Fahrenheit it begins to form varnish. Staying below that threshold is critical.

    You can modify your present thermostat to become a 160 by placing a small spacer behind the valve shaft. However, without lowering the turn on limit to your fans, a lower temp thermostat will do little other than cause your engine to run in open loop longer. Which waste gas and pollutes more. It will then open fully to hold the old higher temperatures because the PCM will not command the fans to keep the coolant temps down.

    edit: I was running behind 9T8W66 and didn't see his post as I was composing mine.
    So If i am running an electric water pump with a 180 thermo, with a heat extractor hood I should use my predator to turn my fans on @180, to be most fuel and power efficient?

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    i thought adjusting the fan would be neccesary, but when i do that, what will the benefits be?

    is a trans cooler a difficult install?

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    Quote Originally Posted by '00T/A View Post
    i thought adjusting the fan would be neccesary, but when i do that, what will the benefits be?

    is a trans cooler a difficult install?
    The trans cooler is relatively easy. The kits are remarkably cheap and mine came with everything I needed. Instructions are so easy that they can be just written on the box. An hour or two is usually enough time to do the installation with a minimum of hand tools.

    The way a colder thermostat works is simply that it opens sooner and gives your cooling system a head start on keeping the temperatures from rising further. Without the fans, the temperature will still go beyond the lower threshold and you will have no benefit from the early opening of the stat. If the fans come on earlier, cooling starts sooner rather than later. The engine will simply not reach the old higher level of heat under most circumstances. The 160 stat and fans jumping in early will keep the lower the operating temperature stable. The exception would be unusually high outside temperatures, a stifled air flow or the engine being under an extreme load for extended periods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xzaero0 View Post
    So If i am running an electric water pump with a 180 thermo, with a heat extractor hood I should use my predator to turn my fans on @180, to be most fuel and power efficient?
    I think you will have to experiment with the correct fan turn on and shut off with your predator. The problem with turning the fans on too early is that they may never shut off after the engine has warmed. You need to find a happy medium and for every driving style and situation that will be different. People in hot climates or conjested traffic will have different fan levels than those who travel open roads.

    I prefer to use a manual switch for my fans AND adjusting the turn on/off thresholds in the pcm. For example, it is beneficial to have the manual fan switch when in the staging lanes at a track and have a little higher fan threshold for street driving.

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    Senior Member JonB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xzaero0 View Post
    So If i am running an electric water pump with a 180 thermo, with a heat extractor hood I should use my predator to turn my fans on @180, to be most fuel and power efficient?
    If you do a search you should be able to find the proper on and off settings for a 160 t-stat. Sorry im lazy and don't feel like looking it up, but I know its out there.
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    great thanks alot guys

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    stock is 195 right? i heard that 160 was too cool for DD so i was thinking about 180

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    I had a 160 stat in my LT1 camaro and in Chicago on cold nights the heat was not warm enough. I would go 180 depending on where you live.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    On the LS1 from my experiences, the 160 thermostats do not exactly work at the 160 degrees threshhold. They are basically modified thermostats with a small 1/8 inch spacer as mentioned above. The same thing can be done with your stock thermostat. Problem is though, this method only allows the thermostat to open at around 170 or so,,,,spacing the thermostat further to open sooner simply causes these stats to hang open and never close. It is all this design of thermostat is capable of.

    With that in mind, buying a 160 thermostat,,,you are assentially getting roughly a 170 degree stat (or thereabouts)
    I am not sure if the aftermarket has come out with a completely new stat to cure this problem or not,,,but I do know that the SLP stats are simply modified stockers and don't work at the 160 degrees area.

    With that said, I used my laptop and HPtuner to get a good idea where the thermostat was working,,,,and it wasn't opening until around 169-170 and the engine would settle in at about 173-174 and stay there while the car was moving and only 50 degrees outside. With this information I programmed the fans accordingly. I chose on temp of 182 degrees and off temp of 180 degrees,,,,that is as close as an off temp as I could get and have the fans still cycle in a normal mannor. Any closer and the fans never shut off because the thermostat simply is not letting the engine get any cooler. There is also a setting to have the fans run after the engine is turned off for 2 minutes,,,and you can set that temp anywhere you like,,,I have that set at 190 degrees, so anything over that the fans run after the engine is shut off,,,doesn't do a whole lot since the water pump isn't turning, but it does help to blow some of the hot underhood heat out of there for a couple minutes.

    Bottom line is,,,you need to scan first and see where the stat is working before you set the fans,,,every LS1 seems to vary a little.


    With these settings the fans never run while the car is in motion,,,,but they will cycle sitting in traffic. That is until I installed this damn underdrive pulley, now everything has changed but thats another story. Hope that helps

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    Quote Originally Posted by ApexVIII View Post
    stock is 195 right? i heard that 160 was too cool for DD so i was thinking about 180
    stock is 187.. i chose to just adjust my fans with HPTuners and it has worked out brilliantly.

    160 is too cool, my old v6 ran a lot better when i swapped 160 out for 180.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    I run 160 in all 8 of my cars, even winter time with no ill affects for the last 30 years. Another benifit of a cooler thermostat is fighting detonation,,,with todays crappy gas getting crappier, it's getting harder to tune these cars aggressively (new and old).

    I run a few of my cars with over 10:1 compression on cast iron heads,,,I couldn't do that if the engine was running around at 200 degrees all the time.

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