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SBC optimal tempurature

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 64sled, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. 64sled
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 292


    Hey guys
    Question is what do think the optimal running temperature should be for a small block Chevy be ?

    i have a 66 c-10 with a 350 running at 160-170 degrees and some UTI drop out said that it was running way to cold :mad:

    Opinions please :cool:
  2. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,519

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    You will get as many different answers on this as there are HAMBERS :eek:

    But I have mine running 195 degree thermostats ... and that is what the engine temperatures run. I do have a 4 core Walker, a shroud and a big mechanical belt driven fan.

    All the Chevrolet crate engines I have ever bought or been around came with a 195 thermostat. The NASCAR engine builders say that engines make more HORSEPOWE and get better mileage at the 200 / 210 temperature range. My new Chevrolet Silverado and my wifes new Cadillac DTS both run in the 205/210 temperature range ... so I would agree with the guy ... 160 is too cool.

    The oil will lubricate better ... and not have water moisture at 180/190 as much as it does at 160.

  3. Eryk
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 920


    Yeah Tony, you don't want your engine running that cold. Its actually pretty bad for it. The oil can't heat up enough to reach maximum lubrication, so theres alot of friction at those cooler temps. Optimal temp is around 190. Some say between 190 and 220. Change your thermostat to a 195 and you should be good to go.

    Dude, why didn't you ask on our board? Your club brothers do know some shit too, ya know. ;) Haha.
  4. sir
    Joined: Oct 8, 2005
    Posts: 467


    I have the same set up you have and a 180 deg stat and it runs perfectly.....

    Attached Files:

  5. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,162


    Check your gage.....they're not always super accurate.
  6. wristpin
    Joined: Aug 31, 2009
    Posts: 48


    isn't it true that whatever temp thermostat you run just opens at that temp , then
    picks up about 20, 30 degrees from there. i have a 160 thermostat in my sbc 400 motor, it opens at 160 then runs all day long @ 195. been like that for 3 or more years. even in this 100 degree heat wave we are going thru now she runs 195 during the heat of the day and 175 180 at night. ain't nothin wrong with that!
  7. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,519

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    That is because ... the 160 is OPEN ... all the time ( after reaching operating temperature ) :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    IF ... you had a 180, it might only go to 180 ... maybe not.
    IF you have a very efficent cooling system ... and a properly tuned engine ... it will run on the thermostat.

    Now I know that 400 SBC do tend to run a little warmer sometimes but I had a 400 SBC ( bored .030 over = 406 ) in a 1970 El Camino ( factory 454 big block ELKY ) and it ran 180 with a 180 thermostat. The ELKY had a big 4 core radiator, a factory shoud and a big clutch fan :D It would run 150/160 with no thermostat.
  8. slimpick
    Joined: Aug 4, 2008
    Posts: 97


    160 degree thermostat is for drag racing. It is to keep the manifold as cool as possible. Like the posts above said, your engine will wear slightly more. It is not the "optimal" temperature to run at.

    BTW, if your water temp is higher than your thermostat, some other factor or factors is in play. ie, not enough air through the radiator, not enough cores or area in your radiator, build up of scale in your 40 year old radiator, etc, etc...
  9. Relic Stew
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,142

    Relic Stew
    from Wisconsin

    Lower temp = more power

    Higher temp = better efficiency (gas mileage) and longer life (unless it's hot enough to cause detonation or scorch the oil).
  10. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash

    I run at 190 degrees, and the engine runs great at that temp. Currently I don't have a fan shroud or electric fan, so when I sit in traffic on a hot day, the engine warms up rather quickly. When it starts pushing 210, you can tell the engine starts to struggle.

    My 2004 Yukon runs at 210 degrees all day long. Not sure what the difference is... Fuel injection vs. carburation?
  11. Toast
    Joined: Jan 6, 2007
    Posts: 3,885

    from Jenks, OK

    Check your gauge before you change anything, I agree with most of the opinions but it could be your gauge.
  12. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    from KCMO

    port injection is less effected by higher manifold temps. You have a plastic intake anyway. plus the LS is a studly motor.
  13. 64sled
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 292


    Thanks guys, i guess i'll install a 190 thermostat in there and cruise.

    And Eryk, the UTI drop out i was talking about was little eric haha

    Can't always believe what he's screaming about haha

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