Since you're now aware of the benefits from keeping that mill nice and cool, let's look at a few tricks that previously were thought to have been the product of sorcery and witchcraft. Many reputable Oil additives have lost their credibility thanks to the countless late night infomercials and "traveling snake oil shows." However, there are several excellent products that have been the life blood of many a Winston cup team and Nitro Funny car driver in the winners circle. These chemical additives claim to significantly lower fluid temperatures, and therefore increase performance and economy as well as durability and longevity.
Many engine oil companies have been already using this chemistry for many years now, just not in the maximum proportions needed to make a big difference in temperature changes. The very ingredient that makes a racing oil "racing", is the same ingredient that makes oil attract to hot surfaces. By increasing the levels of phosphorus and zinc, being major players in this process, will accelerate cooling by making fluids attract to the hot surfaces, rather than the natural response of 'boiling away" from them.
The Fountain of Youth
Pro-Blend makes treatments for engine oils, Transmissions, Transfer cases, Front and rear differentials and even the radiator and power steering systems. Their claims state "up to 52 degrees of cooling..." on several of their products, and they certainly came true. Our engine oil temperature dropped almost 49 degrees with an additional 5 degrees with Castrol Syntec 5w-50 synthetic engine oil, the radiator temp dropped 30 degrees and the trans lost nearly 44 degrees of heat. Incredibly, along with the addition of Torco 75w-140 synthetic gear lube the rear differential lost a whopping 110 degrees of warmth! Even the power steering dropped 17 degrees, which makes that all important underhood temperature lower, and in turn makes for more power and economy. All together we lost over 300 degrees of heat, combined. All by pouring in the appropriate bottle of Pro-Blend additive. Total cost around 100 bucks. Pretty decent results for increased power, mileage and durability.
(Photo of lubricants & additives): We chose our lubricants carefully and used the best possible additives we could to maximize our results. We tried several other types and used the ones proving the best results. 6 quarts of Castrol Syntec 5w-50 synthetic engine oil and 2 bottles of Pro-Blend #8080 engine oil additive went in the motor and 3 quarts of the amazing Torco 75w-140 synthetic gear lube along with Pro-Blend #8888 gearoil additive went into the rear diff, while standard lube went into the much less used front diff. Standard tranny fluid went into the transmission and transfer case along with 3 bottles of Pro-Blend #4000 trans fluid additives combined. Even the power steering got the cooling benefits from the wondrous Pro-Blend #4500 additive while the radiator gulped down two bottles of Pro-Blend #4032 "40 below" treatment as well. The Pro-Blend additives boast an increased cooling effect of up to 52 degrees. They did that, and more.
A Heated Debate
When dealing with the thermostat, the mainstream selection includes the commonly used OEM 195 degree version, along with the 180 and the so called "performance" 160 degree version. The only real reason to lower the thermostat setting it to intentionally lower the coolant level from 195 to either 180 or 160. This reason would be to reduce the potential for pinging at the warmer level, or to keep other radiator plumbed accessories cooled, such as the auto transmission, engine oil and under hood temps. Keep in mind that EFI computer controlled engines will remain in the much less efficient "choke mode" when at 160 degree temps, therefore in most cases some of the critical engine sensors are disabled such as the Oxygen Sensor. These are required for the maximum efficiency and economy.
Attempting to further cool an already overheating engine is a futile attempt at best, since the temperature is already reading over the pre-set of the thermostat, when it's completely open already. It doesn't get any better than that! Opening the thermostat sooner will only prolong the inevitable, all while accelerating engine wear during warm up at an exponential rate. The coolant will still eventually rise to the same 'overheating' level, while the cold warm-up will last longer. The first thing is to insure the thermostat is in fact opening when it should, by testing it in a pan of water on a stove with a thermometer. A high quality balanced thermostat will usually solve this. We found in out tests the typical stock thermostats ranged in 40 degrees between open and closing temps, while the balanced version was in many times consistent within 2 degrees.
(Photo of old thermostat, new balanced model and failed one side by side): Kenny Hatchel at Hypertech informed us that installing a lower temperature thermostat will make the engine run more efficiently with the new chip, and therefore produce more power and increase fuel economy. We selected Mr. Gasket's balanced-style unit (middle), where it's unique design not only operates more accurately (within 2 degrees), but also keeps high volume water pumps from forcing standard (left) thermostats closed, even when hot. The one on the right has failed completely, closing off the thermostat all together. Hypertech recommended lowering the thermostat to 160 degrees, and we also tried a 180 degree version as well. Lower temperatures also reduce potential pinging and reduce the need for a higher-octane fuel. Since they performed equally as well, we chose the 180 in order to decrease ring and cylinder wear as well as lower injector deposits with a warmer running engine. However, remember that during colder months the 195 degree OEM thermostat should be reinstalled to insure proper operating temperatures and cold engine warm up.