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Thermostat, race car, do those words go together in a sentence? I'm not sure how they're going to tell if you remove it.
Purpose of a thermostat is to restrict coolant flow through the engine to aid in warm up. Once the engine reaches operating temperature, the thermostat is open then it's the job of the rad and fan to keep the engine from overheating. If the cooling system is efficient and the temperature cools down, the thermostat will close enough to provide a restriction to bring the temperature back up again.
Your SCCA car will probably need a thermostat to maintain a constant warmer temperature so a 160* should work fine.
In a drag car, especially one with an electric water pump, you want to be able to keep coolant flowing through the engine when not in use to bring the temperature right down again. When you get back to the pit, you leave the water pump and electric fan on to cool the engine down between rounds. If you had a thermostat, it would close and prevent the coolant from flowing through the block. Drag racers normally remove the thermostat for this purpose. Trouble is, now the coolant flows through the block too quickly and doesn't have enough time in the block to allow heat transfer into the coolant and the engine runs too hot. They sell restricters that fit in where the thermostat is. A kit comes with 3 different size openings. Depending on what size is used, you can limit how fast the coolant flows through the block but still have unrestricted flow when the engine is colder.
Out of all the factory replacement thermostats on the market, the best one to buy is normally known as a failsafe. If the thermostat ever fails, it will fail in the open position so the engine will never overheat.
My alcohol engine has a hard time building any heat. My upper rad hose is a 1" heater hose and I use a rad from a Pontiac Firefly. I normally don't even turn on the rad fan until I'm ready to stage.
Follow my racing progress or check out the car on http://www.hardtail.com
87 IROC ET Bracket race car 540 alcohol big block
Best ET and MPH on a time slip: 9.348 @ 144.13
Best 60 foot: 1.293
Last edited by Stephen 87 IROC; 02-16-2006 at 08:54 PM.
It's not just drag racers that use restrictors. Road racers use them to illiminate the problems with thermostat's failing closed.
I believe the "intent" of the SCCA rule is to allow you to change the thermostat not actually modify it, i.e. you can not make it non-functional.
I usually drill a 3/16th hole in my thermostat in my racing engine. That way it acts as an air bleed, and also lets a small continual flow of coolant to the block. It helped out on my 355 dramatically with cooling issues.
I installed the new 160 therm today. It's a nice piece. A heavy duty one that I think will do the trick.
I hate having to take off the TPI to install it, but.... it wasn't too bad. now I know that I have some cleaning to do under there before I fire it back up.
Thanks so much guys, I'll keep it cool now and we'll see how that helps on the power front. Generally COOLER = POWER, but from what I've been reading on this board.... I can't believe you can be too cool from the power perspective... is that really possible?