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Joined: Jan 2003
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DSVW Offline OP
Shade Tree Mechanic
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Shade Tree Mechanic
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Hi,

I do not see the recommended thermostat temp. in my original manual.

I was recently sold a 195 degree thermostat but my gauge is almost to highest temp. now.

What is a good year round thermostat temperature?

Car is a 1956 Bel air 6 cylinder with an automatic trans.

Last edited by DSVW; 10/25/21 04:24 PM.
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Shade Tree Mechanic
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With the original V-Cell, I run a 180 thermostat and a 7 lb radiator cap. A 195 is a bit too high for an original set up. I actually believe these cars came with a 160 before they figured out the benefit of running them a little hotter and because I believe they charged extra for antifreeze (coolant).


I've driven my car almost 30,000 miles
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Oil Can Mechanic
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Hi DSVW

The thermostat will only affect the "minimum" temperature the engine runs at.
So if your engine is already running at 195 or higher, a 195 thermostat won't make it run any hotter.
What's in it now?

Your heater will certainly work better with a 195.
And condensation in the valve cover etc will be less of an issue with the 195, if that is a problem.

Otherwise, a 180 would be just fine also.
Personally I would never go as low as a 160 as I've had condensation issues in a 292 six with a thermostat that cold.


Ole S Olson
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Oil Can Mechanic
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PS to above

I run a 180 in my 216 in my 1946 3/4 ton.
My brother runs a 190 in his 1946 2 ton with a 235 pulling 1200 gallons of water.

Both work well and have had no issues.


Ole S Olson
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The 1956 cars came with a 170 Deg. thermostat when new. The 170 is no longer available but you can chose from either a 160 or a 180. I have always used a 160 in my 1957 because it is only driven in the summer.

When the 195 was first used a 15 pound cap and over flow tank was used.

Last edited by Chev Nut; 10/25/21 05:14 PM.

Gene Schneider
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DSVW Offline OP
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Thank you. I think I will go with a 180.
I expect my temperature gauge will run to the right of center?

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Oil Can Mechanic
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I'm not familiar with that gauge and it appears it has no numbers or "red zone"??

Maybe Gene can tell you where his gauge runs with his thermostat, and you could expect to be a bit to the right of whatever that is.

If I had to guess though, I'd say yes to a little right of center.

Last edited by Stovblt; 10/25/21 05:49 PM.

Ole S Olson
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There are no visable numbers or red zone. With a 160 mine runs about 1/3 up, with a 189 just past center. I the gauge is remover you wil se line 244 Deg printed on the to hot area dot.


Gene Schneider

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