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Old 04-25-2015, 11:32 PM   #1
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Engine Temps on an 86 Pace Arrow 454

Hello everyone. This is probably been asked and answered many times here, but I took my new to us 86 Pace Arrow, 30 ft, with a 454, out on a test run here in East Texas today. Kind of a semi warm day for Texas, with temps running in the low 90's. I have a mechanical temp gauge on this rig and it was running at 210 at idle and running up to 220 to 225 while climbing hills at a speed of 65mph. Is this normal or am I mistaken in thinking that is too hot? I have two electric fans that are hard wired to a switch in the dash, they work and I did have them on while driving today. The coolant is clean, the radiator fins are not clogged and there are no leaks.
I am going to dig into it more in the next few days to verify that the fan clutch is working or not, and am considering a cooler thermostat with the addition of some water additive to bring the temps down. It is only going to get hotter here in Texas as it is not even May yet.
Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-26-2015, 01:11 AM   #2
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First, fans are actually pretty useless above 45mph, the forward motion is actually faster wind than the fans can make.

210* at idle is too warm, I'm suspecting your thermostat isn't fully opening.

Check the radiator fins, make sure they're nice and clean, that all the baffles are in place just to make sure.
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:10 AM   #3
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Fans are useless, above 45 mph?
Have you driven an early V10 Ford.

The wife and I try to guess how far we get up the hill, before the roar of the fan starts cycling.

To the OP,

Have you drained down some coolant, to look at the inside, of the radiator tubes. Any buildup will make it run hot.

Is there a way to confirm your temp gauge readings , before digging in?
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:55 AM   #4
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I'd have my radiator flushed and pressure tested before running it much longer. You may need a new core and ot might not hurt to replace the hoses depending on their condition. Th thermostat is another likley culprit. Good luck and let us kno what you find out.
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:07 AM   #5
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mine runs cooler even pulling 5500 lbe. is the rubber material above the radiator still there forcing air through the radiator
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talbott357 View Post
Hello everyone. This is probably been asked and answered many times here, but I took my new to us 86 Pace Arrow, 30 ft, with a 454, out on a test run here in East Texas today. Kind of a semi warm day for Texas, with temps running in the low 90's. I have a mechanical temp gauge on this rig and it was running at 210 at idle and running up to 220 to 225 while climbing hills at a speed of 65mph. Is this normal or am I mistaken in thinking that is too hot? I have two electric fans that are hard wired to a switch in the dash, they work and I did have them on while driving today. The coolant is clean, the radiator fins are not clogged and there are no leaks.
I am going to dig into it more in the next few days to verify that the fan clutch is working or not, and am considering a cooler thermostat with the addition of some water additive to bring the temps down. It is only going to get hotter here in Texas as it is not even May yet.
Thanks in advance!
Welcome to the forum, if your not aware, there is a Workhorse / Chevy forum. Go to the top of the page, RV forums, Workhorse, pages on pages of help there. Good luck, the temps you are talking are not crazy hot, but worry-some. I would pull the thermostat and replace it with a new 160/180 as a first try.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:09 AM   #7
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I have a 91 454. I live in AZ, always hot here. Mine runs 195 according to my crappy gauge during normal operation. If i push it hard climbing a 6% grade, pulling a toad it will climb to 225 or so and then cool right down after the hill. I have found a sweet spot climbing hills at 35 - 45 MPh ( depending on hill) at 2800 rmp with less temp increase. I think you are asking for trouble pushing to 65 uphill. You have a carb, I have TBI which is a little better. I am going to start with a real gauge, radiator flush and go from there. I had an old 72 chevy truck with a big block in it that always ran a little hot, even after a rebuild. I do not believe that your symptoms are life threatening but should be monitored and addressed.
Reading material:
454 running too hot?
Seems the consensus is they run hot. Makes me paranoid.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:35 AM   #8
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I always started with the radiator and A/C coil inspection, when I had a motorhome come in for overheating. Check both for bent fins and blockage. I have found Grass,hay,pine straw,And a lot of crap that looks like dandelion fluff, blocking the fins. (make sure you check between the two coils, that is where most of the crap was.) Next I would change the thermostat. Your temps are not real bad for a chevy. A lot of my customers reported temps. of 245 or so when pulling a hill. Many of the chevys of this time period ran 205 or so at idle. So you can see that you are not that bad.
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:25 AM   #9
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I have a 99 32 foot Itasca with a 454, my dash temp gauge never goes over 210 while climbing hills but there is an aftermarket oil temp gauge on the dash that was there when I bought the MH. Yesterday while climbing the big hill out of Panamint Springs going into Death Valley at 7am (air temps pretty chilly) the oil temp went to 250 before I reached the top, then cooled right down going into Death Valley. Didn't seem to do any damage because I'm in Vegas now and running fine. Just thought I'd throw my $.02 in...
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:27 AM   #10
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Engine running warm...

Lets get started.

First is simple stuff that is considered maintenance things.

Clean out cooling system via old school.

This takes some time and water...

Do this after worry of freezing.

Get a can of 2 part flush from parts house.

It has acid on one side and neutralizer on other.

Read whole process before starting...

Have water hose with adjustable nossle.

With engine warm open rad cap

Open rad drain valve

Add water to rad at same rate it is draining to keep it full.

Start engine and turn heater to high.

Idle and watch to keep full and when it runs clear shut engine off and close drain.

Pour in acid and fill to a bit below the rim.

Drive it someplace for about 30 minutes minimum with heater full.

Repeat flush then add neutralizer and repeat drive.

Repeat flush and fill with plain water.

You will not put in coolant until you are finished as you may need to remove a hose and not want to waste coolant.

Next step in next post
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:50 AM   #11
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Temperature readings for troubleshooting

Get an IR thermometer as they are cheap and handy.

Play with it on a few things so you see how it works, get one with the red laser target indicator as it helps a great amount.

with RV COLD just measure everything in the cooling system, this is practice so you can get good angles, top and bottom tanks, hoses and places on the engine.

Next get under and look for mufflers and cat converter as well as any joints like where the 2 sides come into one.

Once you have your path determined start it up and repeat the process as it warms up.

For the tailpipe parts you are looking for differences in temperature, and this needs to be done before it gets hotter than the IR device can measure.

The cat converter will get real hot and what you do is scan the pipe in front of, at and after the area of concern.

For the muffler the whole area should be about the same, same for everything else but the cat converter.

It should be maybe just a bit cooler on the out port, the pros can answer this better as I have been away from that too long.

If the input is real hot compared to the output it may be clogged causing engine to run hot and have loss of power.

Once finished here go top side and measure the rad and hoses

Still looking for hot and cold spots, rad needs to be hotter at the top than bottom by a bit depending on flow

Remember you are list non-intrusively looking for hot and cold spots.

Report what you find for more advise from the group.
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:00 AM   #12
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Tune up troubleshooting

Tune up items also can effect engine temperature.

If timing is too late the energy of the fire is directed into the cylinder walls and not the piston.

Not sure if timing is adjustable on yours so you should get a cop of a service manual for the chassis so you can be sure.

There could be adjustment or loose vacuum hose that has shifted the timing.

Get a timing light so you can check it but review the manual for details first.

Bear in mid the spark on those are quite healthy so old style non clip on unit could bite you.

Remove the dog house and wait until dark and then start it up ad look for sparks.

Put it in gear while standing on the brakes and give it some gas to make it grunt a bit and look again for sparks as old wires leak sometimes.

at a time when it is cool pull a spark plug or 3, just do a couple that are easy to get to so you can see what they can tell you.

Connect a vacuum gage and see what it tells you.

You now have 3 directions to review as well as what others will provide.

Good luck and report what you find!

Also make sure the parking brake is not on...;-)
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Old 04-26-2015, 02:23 PM   #13
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Radiator. Check to see if the fins are separating from the tubes. On my 90 I had the radiator recored back in 2006. I went from running around 210-215 on the flat with a 180* degree stat in it, to actually running at 180*. The radiator shop said that the radiator core was a car core sized up to fit the motor home. They went from 3/8" tubes to 5/8" tubes and stayed with the 4 core set up. Some of the best piece of mind I've spent on the motor home. Alsomake sure the rubber dam is in place over the radiator. One other thing I did was to seal up anywhere the air could go after it came through the grill so all of the air was to go through the radiator. As far as the fans are concerned they are to help the air conditioner cool at slow speeds. They don't do crap to cool the engine.
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Old 04-26-2015, 02:38 PM   #14
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Is your fan clutch coming on? You will know because it will sound like an airplane is taking off under your hood- they really roar when they kick on. The clutch fan is a MAJOR source of cooling at temps over 210. About $50 and easy enough to replace.

Old 454s run hot; above 195 is pretty normal, but you still want to check your cooling system; they were really marginal for these engines. A new 4 row radiator is a good investment, or recoring the old one. You also should fabricate an air dam to direct cold air at the radiator instead of letting it slip around the sides. Makes a big difference.

The electric fans are for speeds under 35- stop and go traffic, mostly.

The old 454s have a lot of junk around the radiator; oil or transmission coolers, the electric fans and so on; easy to get the fins gunked up with west texas caliche dust or east texas red clay. Do a good rinse from both sides.
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