Water temps on track

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Water temps on track

Post by Ted FM 13 on Thu May 19, 2016 11:51 pm

I came from a Formula Mazda where water temps rarely got about 200F with a 180 F thermostat. Even with 100F weather in central CA. But these were 13-B rotaries which may be more susceptible to heat damage.

I understand American piston motors are OK to 230 -240F. So, do you routinely see 220 + on track in 80+ weather? I did one track day in February in this Superstalker (75F air) and didn't get above 200F. But now on the street in traffic, loping along at 2000 RPM, with the fan on, I'm seeing temps creep up to 220 when the air temp is only mid 80's.

I'm going to a track day on Monday and wondering how I'm going to keep temps under 220 with the RPM's spooled up above 4000+

From my FM racing background, I'm using water wetter at 4 oz/gal. Should I try something different? I hear there's stuff like "40 below".

Or am I unnecessarily worrying about 230 F temps?
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Re: Water temps on track

Post by Ted FM 13 on Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:47 am

Well I'll answer my own question since the car is in the shop for a warped head or 2 and the answer turned out to be expensive. And the answer is: "No, you are not unnecessarily worrying about 230F temps. You need to find the problem and fix it." And the problem is partially that no one (out of 3 mechanics) would say that I should be seriously concerned about seeing those temps.

Turns out the warped head was blowing exhaust into the water jacket and progressively warping the head(s) more. After coming back from the last track day and knowing something was beyond reasonable (including lap times), I drove the car 4 miles to a mechanic. Leaving the garage at 7 AM with the air temp of 60F, I could only drive one mile before the water temp was up to 235 and the rad. fan on. Pulled over with the engine off and rad. fan running and the water temp was down to 180F in 10 minutes, clearly indicating the water was hot but not the engine block. Now the problem is obvious.

A tip I misread: I had noticed the water was black a couple of months ago even after flushing it 3 times. Duh. Yeah the reason is obvious now, and I wondered if it was exhaust leaking into the water but the car started and ran just fine, so I dismissed that theory until the heat became unbearable; a linear progressive process over more than 1000 miles.

The head(s) are being shaved .004 which I'm told is within the acceptable range up to .008.

So...........for anyone who doesn't know what acceptable temps are, be concerned. After the fix, I am pretty sure I'm going to see 200F -210F on track or on the street in Sacramento stop and go traffic even on a 100F + day.

Oh well live and learn. Oh and the 2nd thing I learned was I shoulda tried Scott to get his opinion. I didn't, thinking this was a standard American motor and the average mechanics' advice should be adequate. Didn't work that way for me..........at least not this time.
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Re: Water temps on track

Post by comled on Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:29 am

Ted,

This is good information and thanks for sharing it. Sorry it turned out to be a repair situation for you. From a purely selfish perspective I have no idea what sort of real numbers to expect from my L26 motor so your experiences at least give me some level of expectation. Hope the repair is successful!

-Dave

_________________
2015 Stalker Classic R/L26 in progress
2015 Nissan 370Z
2010 Triumph Bonneville T100
1977 MGB
1973 Norton Commando MkII Interstate
1960 Hammond A100
1949 Ford 8N
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Re: Water temps on track

Post by Ted FM 13 on Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:48 am

Well now the car is running cold;  in mid 80 weather, water temp barely got above 150F.  one strip of tape near the bottom of the radiator like I used to do on the Formula Mazda only got it to 160F.  Oil seemed to run about the same temp as before (about 180+ F I think;  I need more seat time to track the oil temp better;  I was staring at the water temp mostly. Embarassed Laughing )

Edit: this is on the street and freeway, not the track.
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Re: Water temps on track

Post by Ted FM 13 on Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:22 am

Update: the gauge was way off; I had the mechanic who did the head work look at it and he said it was not plugged in properly, so the gauge is now showing temps at and above 200F. But I fear I still have an overheating problem. Below is a copy of what I sent to Scott & Glen.

"Gentlemen, I'm casting about for causes of overheating and/or erratic gauge readings and just thought I'd ask if you guys have some general knowledge of this engine from your research or have heard of Super Stalker owners who have had overheating problems.

I have SS kit #154 and live in Sacramento CA. I got the car from Gray Fowler in the hot region of AZ. He worked hard to sort out problems both on the track and in traffic. He didn't have any cooling problems that the manually switched fan couldn't handle.

What typical water temps should I be seeing? I have asked many mechanics and drivers and have not heard a definitive answer other than "245 is too high." Today for example, it was clear and mid-70's. Cruising down the freeway at a steady 70-75 in 5th gear (~3000 RPM) I was seeing 200, then 210, occasionally 190 then up to 220 and back down. I would expect a really constant temp (say 195F or so). Sometimes it would stay at 200 or 210 then go up or down, but was never steady or predictable for more than a mile or 2. I have a manually operated puller fan and wasn't able to correlate any temp changes to the fan being on or off. I fully expected this to be a loose belt problem and tightened that up to little or no avail.

I had a warped head fixed recently and the radiator checked/rodded and it was pronounced to be in very good shape. Before that work was done, I was seeing temps up to 235 in ambient air temps as low as mid-80's. This occurred both on the track at high RPM and in City/freeway driving at very low RPM's. What is troubling now is that the shop did not find the root cause of the overheating. I'm assuming that the heat concern now is the same as the cause of the warped head.

Some random questions that you may have some knowledge of with this engine and radiator size and position limitations.

1. Is heat a typical challenge for many SS owners due to the radiator size limitations or how it's positioned relative to the engine?

2. Does thermostat temp make a difference? I would guess not for my 200+ temps. I have a new 195F in now. Previously a 180F thermostat was in there.

3. What is the downside of no thermostat in this engine? Is a thermostat necessary to keep the flow rate/velocity at optimum? I had a Formula Mazda for years that typically ran at 170 to 190F (maybe up to 200 if air was 95F+) I had to have a thermostat to maintain that cooling or the water would move too fast to get cooled properly. Some guys ran without a thermostat under the apparently false assumption that would cool the car better.

4. Coolant. I understand that water boils at 250F at 15 psi and that Water Wetter or equal is better than anti-freeze for cooling when water temp is below the boiling point. I used WW religiously at 4 oz./ gallon of water in my FM and have continued that practice. What have you found to be best?

5. Is there some peculiarity in the radiator/engine positioning that creates air pockets? Could air in the lines be causing the water temp reading to jump around? To fill the radiator, I jack the front end up and open the bleed valve on the thermostat housing. I checked today and it's all the way full.

6. Could erratic readings just be a funky gauge?

7. There is an overflow bottle that had the overflow (or return?) line open to atmosphere. It was plugged by the shop who did the head work. Does that need to be open?

Anyway, I know you're not engine mechanics but thought I'd share this with you. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you."


Oh, I should have clarified that I got the car back from the shop with just water and have not added any Water Wetter. At 75F air temp and low RPM's I didn't think it would make that big of a difference. I was sure the tightening of the serpentine belt would show greatly reduced temps; but that was not the case today.

Anyone have some thoughts?
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Re: Water temps on track

Post by Ted FM 13 on Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:50 am

Let's put this thread to rest;  here's the cliff notes for over heating; at least mine as noted above.

*  As Scott told me these motors should be running on the "cool side."  Not sure what that means but definitely not in the 210-230 range.

*  Funky variable gauge readings means insufficient coolant and air bubbles going by the temp sensor.  Duh Rolling Eyes

*  Filling the radiator and burping the car correctly is necessary to have full coolant.  The shop that did my head work didn't and I was driving around about 2 1/2 quarts low.  Here's the proper way that I should have done from the beginning:  with the car level on the ground, fill thru the radiator top with a 18" long clear plastic tube that is a press (leakproof) fit into the radiator.   Open the bleed valve on the top of the thermostat housing until coolant comes out.   Don't think that jacking up the front end or filling on a 14 degree uphill grade will get the air out.  

* I went back to a 180F thermostat, not that it is a big deal.  

* A manually operated fan may be  necessary for very hot days and stop and go traffic.  

All my other questions above should be inconsequential.  I'm quite happy now to be seeing the gauge pegged at 180F on a 90+ deg. day while driving as hard as I want or sitting in Sacramento traffic.
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