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I need help with an overheating issue. I have a mildly built 1979 302 that I pulled from my dad's shop it was sitting for a year maybe. I have an aluminum radiator 19"x21" 3 core 3/4" cores with an electric fan pulling air. No shroud. I've tried 160, 195, and no thermostat. With the 195 I would be driving down the highway and see 200 degrees no problem. But when I stop and turn around. by the time I get back on the highway it has already climbed to 215. And all the way back it doesn't go down and when I cruise down a back road with fan on it slowly climbs to 230 by the time a shut it off and it's boiling over. I removed thermostat and drove the same route and it eventually got up to 210. It was about 75-80 degrees out and I was moving the whole time. Head gaskets are in correctly because I can see the tabs in the front. One thing I might suspect is my radiator has inlet and outlet on the same side so it's not dispersing heat. I'm almost ready to pull the engine so any help would be great before I do so.
 

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IMHO, dump the e-fan 1st,install the original fan and test and then if that fixes the issue. If not, then dump the (current) aluminum radiator. Let me explain in more detail.

In the aftermarket world 99% of the e-fans are junk in terms of design & quality IMHO. The OEM units flow anywhere from 50% to 200% more CFM than the "Hi Perf" aftermarket units, last for years in real world daily, all weather use and are quiet- and are less expensive in most cases!

I bought (5 years ago) a replacement assembly for my wife's 1997 Cougar Sport (V8) (the bearings in the e-motor were starting to whine).....the entire assembly including the shroud was $120 with tax (I bought the entire assembly because the motor itself was $80).

You will also hear/read about people having issues/concerns with their engines running warm/hot, once it is really verified and there are no mechanical issues, 99% it can be traced right to these HP Aftermarket fans.....those using oem units- I have never in 20+ years heard of an issue related to them in any way in regards to cooling.

There are many on the market to choose from…..the V6 Ford Taurus fan (90-95 3.8L), If space is tight, the 95-00 V6 Ford Contour, 99-02 V6 Mercury Mystique, 99-02 V6 are flatter in design IIRR but if you don’t mind making your own shroud…..

With regards to the radiator.....

I know many seem to be under the impression (marketing) that aluminum construction by itself will enhance cooling, there is a little more to it than that...and in many instances buyers are actually comparing apples to oranges when comparing a copper core spec to an aluminum spec radiator. US Radiator has a nice vid on their site that yeah, it does talk about the company a bit, but also talks about Copper vs aluminum & gives a good presentation of design limitations. US Radiator has been around for 40+ years.

U.S. Radiator | The Difference Is In The Tooling

Properly maintained, the oem systems are more than adequate, what has changed is the high flow water pumps etc which reduce the time the cooling system has to absorb heat and dissipate heat.........if the flow is slowed back to OEM spec's, you will see (typically) temp reduction- and the ability to maintain operational temp range greatly increased.

many of the aftermarket radiators all Chinese made.......now I’m not going to say just because it's Chinese made its junk...it’s not, but there are a lot of issues with them including properly welded seams, corrosion issues, etc. Cooling is more than the number of tubes or material, its number of fins versus number, size of tubes and flow pattern....i.e. rate of flow and the amount of heat that can be exchanged in a specific amount of time.......many times these units are cheaper because they are of an inadequate design.

US Radiator is a fairly high end unit but there are other very good options out there such as...

Radiator Express
www.radiatorexpress.com
Irvine, CA
866-723-3977

I purchased a replacement radiator for my wifes 97 Cougar Sport about 6 years ago...I was very pleased with the product, it was built exactly to the oem specs. What I liked about this place is when I spoke to their support staff, the person I spoke with had definitely experienced getting their hands dirty on a car.......when I asked questions, I got answers....no hesitation. What I also liked is they track installation issues that both mechanics & customers have so when you place your order, they order the brand/mfg that has the least amount of reported issues.


But my gut instinct is that once you scrap the e-fan you will be ok!
 

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+1 on checking the rad cap. I worked at a Freightliner dealership in my youth and one day the parts truck started overheating. They put a young mechanic on it. He changed pretty much everything you could, thermostat, rad, water pump, in turn, all to no avail. One of the older guys asked him if he checked the rad cap (he hadn’t) and upon testing it it held about as close to zero pressure as was possible. Replaced the cap, no more overheating.
 
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