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Old 11-13-2020, 10:15 PM   #1
95KingCab
 
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Default Truck wont come to operating temp. Please help!

Good afternoon,
I would be forever grateful if someone knows what my cooling system issue is!

My 1995 king cab, ka, 2wd 5 speed doesn't come up to operating temp and stays around 1/4 on the temp gauge all the time. Heat in the cab is pretty good measuring at around 130 degree with my meat thermometer. I had a shop put in a new Nissan OEM stat, I tested the gauge by grounding the wire and it's good, had a new fan clutch put in, made sure there is no air in my cooling system by cracking the bleeder valve and running the motor with the radiator cap off and filling. The shop told me some BS like- "that's just where the gauge wants to sit"...

Just now I ran the truck around town, came home and carefully took the radiator cap off. Only a little bit of coolant came out. I stuck meat thermometer in the radiator and it reads around 155-165. I blocked the radiator with cardboard until the temp gauge read 1/2, the meat thermometer read about 195 in the radiator at this point, and it was then I saw the coolant level in the radiator drop and the coolant start to flow. I added more coolant.. This makes me think the stat is operating correctly?

When I pulled the carboard away, the temp when back down to 1/4. Any advice or info would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-13-2020, 10:35 PM   #2
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Opinions vary on where the temp needle should sit when everything is working properly. My experience says about a needle width below half scale. Others have said 1/4 and some say 1/3. You’ve got an OEM thermostat which is the best choice.

If we go with the assumption that it’s a faulty indication, you can try removing the temp sensor and cleaning it with a wire brush to ensure there’s no corrosion adding resistance which will lower the indication on the gauge. You can do the same with the ground cable from the battery to the fender to the engine. Corrosion there would also cause a lower indication through added resistance.

Beyond that, I’m at a loss to think of a cooling system issue that would exhibit lower temperatures as opposed to higher temperatures. Usually problems cause a temperature increase. You’ve filled the system and bled it well. Leaks or flow restrictions would show up as higher temps. The same with a bad water pump. It leads us back to the thermostat. It could possibly be bad. It’s almost a sure thing with aftermarket thermostats lol.
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Old 11-13-2020, 11:00 PM   #3
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I'd clean the connection at the temp sensor, but I'd say that's pretty normal. Normally mine would sit about 1/3 of the way up but it would also go lower, particularly if I was cruising on the highway on a cold day. I think these things are practically air-cooled once you get above a certain speed. As long as you're getting good heat out of the vents I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 11-13-2020, 11:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95KingCab View Post
The shop told me some BS like- "that's just where the gauge wants to sit"...
I agree with that. If you start it cold and it gets to the 1/4 mark relatively quickly, I would think that’s where it sits. You could try a warmer stat, but I think your truck is probably fine. My truck (V6) sits at 1/3. My little Mazda 323 sat at 2/3. Whenever people saw my gauge they thought I was overheating. No issues.

Think of the gauge like a barometer. It’s not necessarily the number that’s important. It’s the change. You sit at 1/4. If ever that changes you have an issue

Last edited by rbourgeo; 11-13-2020 at 11:24 PM. Reason: Grammer
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Old 11-13-2020, 11:45 PM   #5
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Best stat I got was from advance auto got 2. I boiled them in water and compared how much they open with a temp guage.


I had 2 others that ran way too cool. They open real wide at 160 in the pot.





Once got an adapter and with some practice I can change the stat pretty fast.


I liked the carquest ones- very accurate
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Old 11-14-2020, 02:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbourgeo View Post
Think of the gauge like a barometer. Itís not necessarily the number thatís important. Itís the change. You sit at 1/4. If ever that changes you have an issue
Good point rbourgeo. My truck only gets above 1/3 if I idle for 10 minutes with the A/C running on a hot day, 95King, you stated the cabin heat is ok? What more do you want? If I repaint the marks on your dash gauge, or bend the needle to the right, would you feel better about your cooling system? You did not mention any operational issues with the truck at these temps. Runs OK? I think cool IS cool. I am pretty sure no one ever blew a head gasket from running too cool. You also base your "problem" on readings from a meat thermometer. If you wanted to test the thermostat from your truck would you bolt it to a nice rib roast, maybe? Testing temps at the top of your radiator only gives you a small snapshot of how WELL your system is cooling. Perhaps sampling temps with an infrared thermometer at different places on your engine, hoses and radiator could give a more complete picture. Consider the difference between "TEMPERATURE" and "HEAT". The 72 degrees TEMPERATURE in a cup of water vs. the 72 degrees TEMPERATURE in a lake does not describe the amount of HEAT in either. If your cabin is not hot enough, THEN I would look for a hotter thermostat for the winter. Truckers "zip up" their radiators in colder climes, much like your cardboard experiment. Running TOO cool might adversely effect gas mileage, maybe performance a little, but IN has smarter guys than me to address those things.
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Old 11-14-2020, 03:20 AM   #7
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I merged the two different threads.
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Old 11-14-2020, 05:33 PM   #8
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Thanks very much for the replies. I have a new sending unit on order along with a couple different OEM stats... I'm gonna give it one more try with a new stat and report back. Really appreciate the help!

Last edited by 95KingCab; 11-14-2020 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 11-15-2020, 08:21 AM   #9
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Maybe the shop installed a low temp thermostat. I would ask them about that.
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Old 11-15-2020, 01:36 PM   #10
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Im having the same issue on my 95 King cab 2.4. I had a coolant leak from the bypass under intake manifold that I fixed then I ran the truck parked as I bled the system via the radiator and my filler got plugged by the plunger that slipped down. The needle started to clime and I was like okay it works, then I noticed the coolant fill funnel being plugged and I unplugged it. I then added water and the needle dropped. now it barely moves even after being ran parked for over 30 min. I am thinking of dumping the coolant and water and buying new coolant and make sure its mixed properly for the winter here in massatwoshits.
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