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Old 03-14-2014, 07:29 PM   #1
66Submarine
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I-6 really weird "overheating" story

Just got done chasing this over the last couple days. I swapped the 283 in my truck out for a 250 I-6 I had. Used the same temp gauge; worked fine when I drove the truck into place to pull the engine, and didn't do anything to damage it.

Got the 250 in, filled it up with coolant and drove it maybe 1/2 mile down the street and back; it wanted to peg the 250 temp gauge. Winding it up to 3,000+RPM would cool it down a bit, and it seemed like it would hold something like 210-220 IIRC; idling or slow driving and it would shoot right up. Damn it all! So much for a victory lap.

I'd never run this engine in a truck with the cooling system hooked up, only with an old spare radiator loosely attached leaking water everywhere (adding as needed), and only for a minute or two. So, a few thoughts came to mind. The first was that thermostat was stuck; the second that the head was cracked by being run without water too long before I bought it; the third that it was full of some crap rats packed in there, and not flowing water.

Changed thermostats; same result. Head didn't seem to be cracked, as there was no bubbling visible running it with the waterneck off and waterpump unhooked. For kicks, I left it out after that; seemed to act somewhat normally, and would idle at 172. So, must be a problem with the flow, right? Something that restricted flow enough that it wouldn't work with the thermostat in, or something. I could see the flow through the radiator with no thermostat.

So, I took everything apart and flushed it all out with a hose. Some rust came out, but not much, and no evidence of rats. (The heater core was more plugged than anything else.) Flow seemed just fine. WTF? Put it back together, same deal.

So, maybe a bum waterpump or something? Nope. Wiped some aviation sealer and the old waterpump and put it right back where it was. I also repeated the "flush", and probed around with a hooked wire; no evidence of plugged cooling passages.

So, maybe somehow the exhaust is doing something? Grasping at straws here, but the muffler was somewhat plugged by rats when I put everything together. So, being confused and frustrated, I pulled the exhaust off and ran around the block without nothing off the manifold. Louder, but otherwise unchanged. Really getting frustrated at this point.

It doesn't seem to be overwhelming the radiator, so I decide to plug the exact thermostat I ran for over 5K miles in the 283 in there. Same. Damn. Thing.

So, everything is OK, but it can't get out of the driveway without pegging the temp gauge!?!

So I just let it sit there to see how high it would go idling. Only got up to 210 or so; the other stuff I had done showed slight improvements for whatever reason. But I had a revelation when feeling around; I could actually hold my hand on the head! No damn way that thing is 210 and I can touch it! I also then noticed that the gauge needle would move a little if I moved the truck (getting in it, for instance).

So... you can guess where this led. I pulled the gauge for another one that that seemed to work OK when it was pulled; the truck was "fixed" at that point! The old gauge seemed to work/act normally, but it obviously didn't.

Just thought some would enjoy a long, rambling story of stupidity, and maybe I could save someone else some trouble. Moral of the story; if the gauge says it's overheating and it shouldn't be, make sure it actually is!

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Old 03-14-2014, 07:38 PM   #2
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

"Just thought some would enjoy a long, rambling story of stupidity, and maybe I could save someone else some trouble. Moral of the story; if the gauge says it's overheating and it shouldn't be, make sure it actually is! "

I like the moral of the story and actually the whole story.
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:57 PM   #3
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

I enjoyed it to! Makes me wanna double check my temp gauge.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:12 PM   #4
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

Good thing it wasn't the oil pressure gauge, I almost pulled my motor because it said my oil pressure was really low
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:16 PM   #5
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhippinSaw View Post
Good thing it wasn't the oil pressure gauge, I almost pulled my motor because it said my oil pressure was really low
that woulda been a bummer especially if you'da torn it down and no problems
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Old 03-15-2014, 06:13 AM   #6
aerotruk63
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

Seems most issues are diagnosed as major issues before discovering the simple solution. Went through a over thought starting issue that came down to dirty battery post connections, but they looked clean!
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:33 AM   #7
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

I bought an infrared thermometer with laser pointer, just because of this exact same problem once. it's an investment that will let the hair remain on your head and the dents out of your forehead!

Great job of discovering the source, tho!
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:48 AM   #8
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

Your tale would be the EXACT situation I would be in. Glad it worked out without too much headache for you.
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Old 03-15-2014, 10:30 AM   #9
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

Unfortunately we tend to believe our gauges first and not check them causing much work. I say we because I have done the same thing LOL
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:19 AM   #10
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

I wouldn't say "stupidity". I've been there, It feels that way when you spend a day when I could have been an hour. You know more about your truck now than you did before.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:39 AM   #11
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

Don't feel bad my friend. I did the exact same thing when I put a 250 in my 1951. New aluminum radiator electric fan the works. The factory gauge had always worked with the 235 I figured it was good.
An infrared heat gun is money well spent. Mine never rattled, lost water, lost power or any of the normal signs. I replaced a factory radiator that I believe to this day was perfect. I kept it but I had already ordered the new aluminum one so I put it in. Funny how we are all so much alike at times.
God love crazy things. I guess that kinda proves where we are. Lol
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:53 PM   #12
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

I just ran into this last week. truck ran fine and all gauges worked. All of a sudden the temp was pegged. shut it down and popped the hood. No sign of overheating? Hmmmm
unplugged the electric temp sensor and hooked up my old trusty manual temp gauage. Started the truck up and discovered. it was not running hot. either the sensor went out or the gauge.
Keeping a manual temp gauge and fittings in the garage is a good starting point for trouble shooting overheating. Next is to absolutly make sure you didnt install the thermostat upside down.
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:16 AM   #13
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Re: I-6 really weird "overheating" story

Glad to hear you all liked the story. I've actually been meaning to get one of those infrared thermometers for a while now; it certainly would be useful for stuff like this!

And yeah, it was nice that there wasn't really a problem with the engine; although by the end I was about ready to pull it and drop a different one it anyway.
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