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Old 06-21-2006, 10:56 AM   #1
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changing water pump and thermostat

I've got a Chevy 366 with an AT545 trans in my bus, on hot days the motor get's overheated. In fact last week we had steam come out. I'm guessing either the water pump is shot or the thermostat is not working. I'm just going to get it done with and replace both of them. Question is, where is the thermostat located on this engine? I have not had a chance to look for it yet so if any of you know where I might start looking that would be great, also ever change a water pump on one of those motors? Looks to be fairly straight forward, pump is easy to get to.
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Old 06-21-2006, 11:17 AM   #2
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Chevy big block

Big block engines need a big radiator. I think your radiator is not doing a good job of getting rid of heat. Sounds like you are just guessing on how to solve a overheating problem. Do not throw money at an engine repair. Some times ya gotta spend a few dollars to determine the overheat problem source. There are lots of good radiator shops on the net.
The symptoms for a bad water pump would be the unit leaks, makes noise or the unit does not circulte any water. The thermostat can easily be removed to check the operation in a pan of boiling water to notice part opening completely. The fan belts that power the fan are also very important. Removing the radiator for just a cleaning is sometimes, money very well spent. With a IR temp gun, after engine warmed, check top and bottom radiator connections and note temp difference. The art and skill of engine repair is not often learned on the net. Frank
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Old 06-21-2006, 11:33 AM   #3
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Wow! What a great post!
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Old 06-21-2006, 12:54 PM   #4
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Yes, Frank has the right idea. I just went through this last week with my 1966 Tiger which was getting over 250 degrees F after just a few miles. It was a fresh engine and shouldn't be having problems. I took out the radiator and took it to a rebuilder who took it apart and dipped it in a solvent. He said the core was only 10% blocked but that is enough to make it worthless. He tried to rod it (which hopefully is all you will need) but it was really blocked good.

I had an extra core sitting at home which he also dipped checked for leaks and blockage (there was no blockage in this one). I put the radiator into the car and viola no more problems. The engine hovers around 200 but that is very good for a small british car with a small block Ford.

If you can take out and put back in the radiator on your own it will probably only cost you around $150 to get it rebuilt. NOTE: It will need painted afterwards, use the special Radiator paint (I buy mine from Eastwood.com) because if you don't your paint may work as an insulator and ruin all the work you just did.
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:30 PM   #5
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Off topic

Hey Steve, many moons ago, I put a Ford 289 v8 into a 1963 Austin Healey, an english small sports car. The can would really accelerate rapidly. The engine was just stock with a few speed goodies. The car would go like hell but not much stopping. The owner, a your guy, did a huge fast top end run on a city street. The car was going about 125MPH and ran accross an intersection and ran over the curb and side walk. The oil pan and auto trans were immediately removed. The car was junked. The car had a special radiator made that was about 5.5 inches thick, a very tight fitting fan and shroud, and the grille opening was enlarged with new entry farings. Just another spoiled rich kid. Ahh yes te youthful learning curve. Frank
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:33 PM   #6
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Don't forget to check your radiator cap! If it's weak, it won't allow pressure to build up in your radiator properly. Therefore, the coolant will boil at a much lower temperature and you can get steam. I still agree with the other posters about the dirty radiator, but just replace the cap while you're at it.
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Old 06-21-2006, 04:54 PM   #7
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Ahh yes the infamous radiator cap

Todays radiator cap is just another method of tricking the laws of physics.
Water at level on a normal day will boil at 212 degrees F. If the water is placed under pressure, theboiling point is raised 2 degrees for every pound the water cooling system in under. If a 15 pound radiator cap is used the boiling point will now be 242 degrees F. Raising te boiling point of a cooling system with a defective radiator will only make any problems greater. I advise folks with a bad radiator to NOT tighten the cap complely, so no pressure will build that will blow out any water. Filling any overheated cooling system should only be done after engine is allowed to cool for a while then water may be added while engine is running. The best coolant for most engines is 15% coolant and 85% distilled water. Every large vehicle should have a coolant filter, and diesels require special additives. Tap and well water are not good for cooling systems because of the mineral content in the water. Humans love hard water, but cooling systems become encrusted with minerals and the cooling of the radiator is affected. Frank
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Old 06-21-2006, 05:33 PM   #8
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I should mention that last summer the engine was getting hot and finally sprung a leak around the water pump gasket, I was on RAGBRAI and I needed the bus so I went and bought a high priced bottle of stuff to stop the leak, I never got around to fixing the leak properly.
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Old 06-21-2006, 05:46 PM   #9
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I think that is another reason to get your radiator core cleaned up. It probably affected the water pump far less than the tubes in your radiator.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:27 AM   #10
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Last night I took the belts off the water pump and found no play in the pump, it appears to still be in good condition. I was then going to check the thermostat so I went to drain a little water out of the radiator via the drain plug, nothing, no water came out, just some sticky white crap and some sediment that resembeled sand. It's barely a trickle coming out the drain valve. It looks like the radiator is plugged. I found a guy here in town that said he can work on it, hopefully he can rod it or re-core it.
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