Question about 1986 Lincoln Town Car

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What is the recommended thermostat temperature for a 1986 Lincoln Town Car (base) with a 5.0 liter (302ci) engine? I have found suggestions ranging from 160 to 195 degrees. The Ford Parts site does not indicate a temperature. Ever since Ford replaced my radiator hoses and a thermostat with a 195 degree thermostat. My temperature gauge indicates 60% in town and 75% at highway speeds. It will go higher in the mountains, but never has gone beyond the normal range. I am concerned.

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  • Lincoln Master
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  • smfw29a2 Aug 23, 2010

    Thanks for your posting. I see you found the same data as I. Unfortunately the data does not indicate Ford's recommendations. I.E. when a lower temperature thermostat is appropriate and its effect on my engines emissions in California.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Aug 23, 2010

    Sounds to me like it is working normally. Higher temps are OK and may even improve emissions (maybe that's why they use a higher temp in CA). Did the other thermostat help it run cooler up the mountians? If yes, you might consider switching back, but as long as the gage isn't pegging I don't see any reason to worry.

  • smfw29a2 Aug 23, 2010

    The original thermostat kept the heat indicator at the 25% mark most of the time. And, I was able to pass the California emissions test. What concerns me now is how close the indicator comes to outside the normal range at highway speeds, 65-75MPH. Because at highway speeds and under a load if it exceeds normal. I am concerned about the impact of the heat on the engine and hoses. Also, in the Sierras I would be miles away from any services.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Aug 23, 2010

    There is a margin beyond the normal range that the system can handle, so you're not really getting close to failure temps; however, for your peace of mind you can certainly go to a lower thermostat temp. It is a small job to replace the thermostat. Apparently your car will handle a range of thermostats and keep within the gage limits. Lucky you getting to drive in the Sierras!!! I'm from CA but have been living in the miswest for the last 14 years. ;-|

  • smfw29a2 Aug 24, 2010

    Then you know what loads I can put on the cooling system when tooling up over Donner Pass and the Mt Rose Highway. Where did you find the information about a margin beyond the normal range? And, what is your Ford background?

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Aug 24, 2010

    Have never worked in the indusrty, but I'm a mechanical engineer. Have been working on cars for 35 years and seen a lot of overheated engines. Never seen a steel block or head crack that wasn't majorly overheated. The margin is much less on an aluminum head, but you still have to peg the needle to get it to crack. There is no exact calculation for crossing mountains, because every system is in a different state of repair. Designers must assume your cooling system will degrade due to clogging, etc. Once the thermostat is wide open, the system temp is goverened by these factors ( as well as water jacket size and condition, water pump pressure, etc.) and independent of the particular thermostat installed. If you overheat in the mountains, you probably need to flush your system or possibly replace the radiator.

    If you want to know more, I know a couple guys that teach auto mechanics at the local community college--else maybe check out a book on engine system design.

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