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Old 02-20-2015, 11:20 AM   #1
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Can't maintain running temp

I'm in the Philly PA area so it's like 0 degrees right now but anything under about 30 degrees outside, the temperature of my car will not go above about 140-150. I know this is better than overheating but I'm just curious if its really healthy to be running this cold all the time especially since I do some spirited driving a lot. Should I partially cover the radiator to keep it closer to that 180 mark?
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:13 PM   #2
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the temp sensor is located by the alternator. I dont have any experience with driving in weather below 35 degrees, so i cant say too much, but im surprised that the engine is unable to get the right temperature.
Based on what I've learned: If the engine isn't up to "operating temp" (not sure where these markers are) then it will run rich. Your oil might be very marginally too thick if its not reaching the right operating temp. especially if you are off by 40 degrees. I read an article somewhere, i wish i remember where it was, but someone talked about oil thickness at different temperatures and gave examples of 5w30's thickness across different temperatures. that would give you some insight of what your oil is like at that temperature.

Other than all that, I would check your coolant to make sure that it is still good and mixed properly. Maybe if there is too much antifreeze or too much water, it will make it harder to regulate the temperature. Im curious to hear other responses about this, if its normal for such low temperatures.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:22 PM   #3
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I do have an oversized coolant tank which is about 3/4 full. So that might be contributing towards it. While it's idling it will go up to almost 200 after like 15 or 20 minutes but as soon as I start driving, it drops rapidly to 150 and stays there. It doesn't bother me a whole lot, I'm just not sure if it's the best for the motor when I'm being hard on it
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:29 PM   #4
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i wanna say that if your idling up to 200 degrees, then the drop might be normal. the only reason i could imagine movement causing the drop is because of ice cold wind cooling the radiator, or a turbo charger attatched to your water pump. and i seriously doubt you turbocharged your water pump.
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:22 PM   #5
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It sounds like your thermostat may have failed and isn't closing all of the way.
They are inexpensive and easy to replace so I think that I would try a new one and see if that helps any.
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:29 PM   #6
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Definitely sounds like a stuck thermostat. Its most likely stuck partially open, which is why when you are idling the temperature starts to climb (no cold air coming in and low coolant flow). Once you begin to move the cold air compensates for the lack of flow and cools the motor. I would change it before spring comes otherwise you might start having overheating issues.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:19 PM   #7
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I have to agree with the thermostat diagnosis.
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Old 02-21-2015, 08:27 PM   #8
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Idk why I forgot all about the thermostat. But yes a thermostat that wont close can definitely cause issues with warming up. Stuck closed would cause overheating even while driving and cooling the radiator.

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Old 02-22-2015, 10:33 AM   #9
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is there any way to test if my thermostat is staying open? or are they cheap enough that I should just go ahead and replace it?
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:27 AM   #10
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They are less than ten dollars but you can test it by putting it in a pot of hot water and using a thermometer to determine if it is opening and closing at the correct temperatures. Chances are, that when you remove the thermostat from your cold engine, it will be in a partially open position.
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:56 PM   #11
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DELCO

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Old 02-26-2015, 03:38 PM   #12
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Can't maintain running temp

Perfectly normal. I'm in Chicago and it happens to mine every winter. During warmer weather it will get to operating temperature again and if it doesn't then you know your thermostat is stuck open. Also if you wanted to swap it out for a new one just in case they aren't very expensive and easily accessible on these cars.


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