Help with new crate engine overheating - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 8:08 PM Thread Starter
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Help with new crate engine overheating

I recently purchased an ATK 383 stroker long block. I installed in with all of the recommended parts (Weiand Intake, Quick Fuel carb, TCI stall converter), as well as replacing the radiator (Summit aluminum 3 row), 180 degree bypass thermostat, transmission cooler, headers, starter, radiator hoses, water pump. The heater was removed by the previous owner so the heater hose on the water pump is plugged and the heater hose fitting on the radiator is capped. The temp sensor is positioned to the left of the thermostat and the other coolant fitting on the other side of the thermostat is plugged. It starts up great, but after 3 minutes the temp shoots up and pukes out coolant. I figured it was probably just air trapped, so I let it cool down filled it up again. Then, same exact thing. So, I drilled two 1/8”
holes in the thermostat hoping that may purge some of the air out of the system, but that didn’t work. So, I ordered a new Edelbrock Victor series water pump and put it on today. Same exact thing. I watch the temp gauge and once it hits 180 degrees it shoots up, so I turn the engine off because I don’t want to blow a head gasket or cause any damage and then the radiator shoots coolant out all over. I’m at a loss. I know the thermostat is opening, both hoses are hot, there’s no sign of coolant in the oil or leaks anywhere. When I pressure test it, it holds pressure. What am I missing? I’m starting to get frustrated and discouraged because I have spent a lot of time and especially money on this and cannot figure this out. If anyone could help me out with this, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 8:37 PM
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Re: Help with new crate engine overheating

Go to Autozone aND PICK UP A Stant Superstat 45358 180 degree. Sounds like your thermostat isn't opening until late, the water is boiling before the temp gauge sees the temp.

The Super Stat already has a bypass feature so no holes are necessary. When you pull the stat, fill the block with coolant then install the stat. This will help avoid the need to burp as will the bypass feature of the SuperStat. If it makes you feel better, you can still drill the bypass holes in the stat.

Run a 50/50 mix of coolant. This will increase the boiling point of your coolant. You should also run a 15psi cap to further increase your boil over temp.

What's the part number for your new water pump and are you running stock belt configuration or serpentine set up?
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post #3 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 8:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for your help! It’s the Edelbrock 8811. I’m running a v-belt setup. I will stop by Autozone tomorrow for the thermostat you recommended and more antifreeze. I’m so sick of cleaning up the antifreeze in my garage! Again, thank you so much!! I hope this solves the problem!
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post #4 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 9:08 PM
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Re: Help with new crate engine overheating

Does this have a full engine driven fan, fan clutch, full shroud, pulleys?

How are the ignition timing curves set up? Initial, total, vacuum advance degrees stopped down to what, which vacuum advance source, and total idle degrees????
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post #5 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 10:05 PM
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Re: Help with new crate engine overheating

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Originally Posted by JerseyDevil5 View Post
Thank you very much for your help! Itís the Edelbrock 8811. Iím running a v-belt setup. I will stop by Autozone tomorrow for the thermostat you recommended and more antifreeze. Iím so sick of cleaning up the antifreeze in my garage! Again, thank you so much!! I hope this solves the problem!
You're good there. I checked the pump and it is for a standard rotation system which is what you have with the standard v belt system.

Your thermostat should be installed as shown in the attachments.
Your water pump gaskets should be like the ones in the attachment. One has an open bypass hole.

I drill the 3/16 hole or 2 1/8 holes in all my thermostats including the Superstat.

Running timing too far retarded or too lean a fuel mixture will result in added heat into the system. We'll be asking you about those settings. I think your issue is due to the thermostat not opening correctly. Ensuring the block is full of coolant before starting by filling the block, then installing the thermostat will ensure your block is full of coolant and not causing a steam eruption when the thermostat finally opens. The addition of the bypass holes in the thermostat also helps in this regard.

I have seen a few cases where not running the heater hoses on a small block causes them to overheat. I can't explain it because the small block has an internal bypass system. Those guys might drop in and post.

Are you running a stock fan system or electric fans?

Were the heads installed by ATK or were they installed by you? If you installed them, what kind of heads and what gaskets were used?
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post #6 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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The heads were installed by ATK. I have the thermostat installed correctly and the correct gaskets for the water pump according to your pictures. It doesn’t look like the local auto parts stores carry the Stant thermostat you recommended. I did find a 180 degree Mr. Gasket high performance one that looks like the second one in your picture. Should I try that or order the Stant one?

I called ATK on Wednesday and they suggested replacing the water pump, which I did today. They also said it was fine to block the heater hose locations.

As far as timing, I have only been able to set the static timing due to the engine overheating so quickly. I set it at 12 degrees BTDC.

Thanks for everyone’s help!
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post #7 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, it has original fan shroud and full engine driven flex fan. No fan clutch. Thanks!
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post #8 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 10:54 PM
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Re: Help with new crate engine overheating

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Originally Posted by JerseyDevil5 View Post
The heads were installed by ATK. I have the thermostat installed correctly and the correct gaskets for the water pump according to your pictures. It doesnít look like the local auto parts stores carry the Stant thermostat you recommended. I did find a 180 degree Mr. Gasket high performance one that looks like the second one in your picture. Should I try that or order the Stant one?

I called ATK on Wednesday and they suggested replacing the water pump, which I did today. They also said it was fine to block the heater hose locations.

As far as timing, I have only been able to set the static timing due to the engine overheating so quickly. I set it at 12 degrees BTDC.

Thanks for everyoneís help!
Pass on MR gasket. If you need to order go with the SuperStat. It has a good rep so far. If you want to give it a shot tomorrow, just buy a regular thermostat and drill the holes in it. If you can wait, order the Superstat.

I recently purchased a new EMP / Stewart Components thermostat that didn't want to open and when it did the temps would fluctuate. It was glitchy to say the least. It's similar to the MR gasket thermostat so it gives me bad vibes. I recently switched from the EMP which I have successfully used for at least 10 years, but got a dud and switched to the Superstat which has been flawless.
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post #9 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 10:56 PM
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Re: Help with new crate engine overheating

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Originally Posted by JerseyDevil5 View Post
Sorry, it has original fan shroud and full engine driven flex fan. No fan clutch. Thanks!
What's your distributor ? Does it have vacuum advance and is it connected to manifold vacuum ? It will run cooler if it is.

Good luck
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post #10 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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I have an MSD Pro-Billet vacuum advance. I have it unhooked and plugged right now because I was planning on setting the base timing before I set total timing. Would timing cause the puking of coolant from the radiator or just overheating?

I may just buy the Mr. Gasket one tomorrow, try it and order the Stant one. I just want to get this figured out so I can drive my Chevelle. It’s been very disappointing because I was so excited to finally get this engine and spent so much time and money on it. I hate seeing it just parked in my garage.
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post #11 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 11:33 PM
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Re: Help with new crate engine overheating

I use the balanced sleeve thermostat as shown in the photo above. There is an arrow stamped into the side of the t stat which is pointing in the opposite direction it should be. I can only imagine how many have installed the t stat upside down as per the arrow. I called the mfg and told them to look at it, they did and agreed it is wrongly stamped. Just a FYI
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post #12 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 11:36 PM
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Re: Help with new crate engine overheating

Your thermostat may not be defective. I just feel better from here to spend under 10 bucks to verify. You could also pull it and get a pot of water up to temp to see if it opens. A cooking thermometer will help see the temp it opens.

What I see happening here is the block is not full of coolant. When the thermostat opens the coolant that was in the block has turned to steam or the entering coolant turns to flash steam and the pressure is blowing out the fill cap. So the recommendation to prefill the block while the thermostat is out may eliminate this from happening.

Your thermostat may not open soon enough and the existing coolant in the block may turn into steam when the thermostat does open, the pressurized steam blows out the radiator cap along with copious amounts of coolant.

The short amount of running time puts the other factors that could cause overheating down on my list of things to check. I'm assuming that the coolant temp in the radiator has not reached operating temp when the coolant explodes from the fill cap.

Go ahead and hook up your vacuum advance. The added advance will help the engine run cooler and won't affect start timing.
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post #13 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 19, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Tomorrow, I’ll get the Mr. Gasket 180 degree thermostat (just to give it a try while I order the SuperStat), fill the intake with coolant before I install it and give it a shot. What you are saying makes total sense. I wouldn’t think I’d have a blown head gasket, cracked head or block with the minimal amount of time the engine has actually run. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that it works. I’ll give everyone an update tomorrow. Thanks again!
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post #14 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 19, 12:22 AM
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Re: Help with new crate engine overheating

Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyDevil5 View Post
Tomorrow, Iíll get the Mr. Gasket 180 degree thermostat (just to give it a try while I order the SuperStat), fill the intake with coolant before I install it and give it a shot. What you are saying makes total sense. I wouldnít think Iíd have a blown head gasket, cracked head or block with the minimal amount of time the engine has actually run. Iím going to keep my fingers crossed that it works. Iíll give everyone an update tomorrow. Thanks again!
You said you pressure tested the system. That would reveal a cracked head, block or blown head gasket in most cases. Since you held pressure, I don't think this is your issue.
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post #15 of 148 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 19, 8:50 AM
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Re: Help with new crate engine overheating

Or just try it without the thermostat.
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