Over Cooling An Engine Is An Energy Sink
If you are in your mid Sixties as I am, you might recall a good many conversations that spring from BS sessions in the Lunch Room, some are so memorable, you’ll carry them to your grave.
I remember we were talking about new cars at the break table, might have been the 70s? One guy, (a salesmen type) said he had just bought a new car, and on the advice of a good mechanic friend, he tossed out the part that had caused him so much grief previously! He went on to explain that the typical coolant thermostat in a car was nothing but a restriction, it could stick; cause serious over heating and all you need to do to assure your engine runs cool, is remove it!
I thought this was a great example of a man unwilling to apply an easily learned skill.. ‘critical thinking’. Notice I didn’t say he was too stupid to do so.
- Why is it the manufacturer of my car paid good money to put it in the car?
- Why is it EVERY manufacturer does the same?
- Can I find a water cooled engine where they don’t use a thermostat?
I have written about the destruction of a Chevy V8, a good year that did easily go 200,000 miles with a little care. The one I bought failed with low mileage due to the fact the thermostat had been stuck wide open for a good many miles BEFORE I had purchased it. The number one cylinder was found with so much wear ‘taper’, the rings could no longer do their job, and just a modest request for power filled the street with smoke! Yes, cylinder number one, was cooled right out of the water pump, and it was tortured most, and first to fail.
Understanding how a cooling system works is not something most of us accomplish in one bite, as there are a thousand ways to design the system, and it can degrade rapidly without the proper care.
We need reflect on those stories told to us, a very popular one is the advice to pull the stock thermostat, and replace it with a 160F, because cooler is better..
Considering the combustion process itself, we know there’s typically problems when we start a ‘cool’ engine, and some will not start at all without a pre heat. We know too cool can lead to problems from this observation alone.
So where is the point of best efficiency? I suggest that’s a topic of another conversation, as this short post is only about running an engine too cool. If our combustion chamber is surrounded by over cooled coolant, the fuel air mix is likely to get quenched, its possible it’s ignition point will be delayed, and when the exhaust valve opens, there may be far more un burned fuel that exits with the other products of combustion.
Stationary Engines enjoy so many advantages, we are not so concerned about weight and space, We can build coolant systems optimized for our use, but in order to accomplish that, we need define our goals carefully. Where is that point where we might use the coolant as a source of heat and NOT over cool?
We might try and answer this getting into a lot of topics, engine design, coolant types, the temperature at which the coolant can turn to a gas or steam and interfere with the ability of the coolant to maintain reasonable temperatures in and around the combustion chambers. The type of lube oil, what temperatures it can tolerate, engine materials, and more. Then it comes to us, this simple thermostat device can allow the engine to run in a loop at our chosen optomized temperature, AND open to transfer excess heat to our point of storage/use withotu the worry of drawing the temperature in that loop too low.
We best apply critical thought BEFORE we design things different. The root question, why did others design it this way?
Simple hopper systems are worth your time to study, how do these engines cool, and what is the operating temperature. Stop now, and write down your answer.
To provide a best answer, you need know the elevation, and yes, we might quickly realize that our engine is likely to be far less efficient at 7000 feet elevation for several reasons, one, we have a less dense air charge, and two, our engine will likely be running at a lower temperature and actually ‘sink’ away more of our energy in the way of steam.
How might we raise the operating temperature in a hopper system? Modify the boiling point of the coolant might be one answer, adding an anti freeze, even adding table sugar to the hopper might raise the boiling point and therefore the operating temperature.
Plenty to think about, but the thought that over cooling an engine does little more than transfer energy to the coolant, and likely causes it to run less efficiently should give you pause in designing a system that cools with uncontrolled bleed water from a pump or stream.
As I have said, Energy and Finance have a lot in common. recently Nancy Pelosi was lecturing that one of the great ways to get the US economy going is to print money and give it to the needy to spend. She only need ask herself, “If what I am preaching is really true, why not print 100 times as much?” Of course, a next question might be, why is it we work at all, can’t we just print it and take care of all our needs?
And why do I need mention politics again? don’t I realize what a big turn off it is? My answer.. Never has there been a time when it is more important for you to do your own thinking! Nancy Pelosi truly is one of the best examples we’ve seen in the last 50 years as to why you can not allow others to do your thinking,
Here in the State of Washington, there’s an ad on TV, a Soccer Mom makes a big pitch for why we need legalize marijuana here. There’s folks in the Media telling us all how effective this ad is, and how likely it is that we will make it legal. Soccer Moms say, we’ll tax it, and control it, take it out of the hands of the Gangs.
I remember when our State wanted to run the Loto, to entice people who can’t afford it to gamble, and then the state can spend their money. Some useful idiots said it might be so lucrative, we’d have no other taxes at all. Of course the way it worked out was totally predictable, the State quickly finds a use for any added revenue and is often threatening us that they are on the verge of collapse without additional sources of revenue.
Marijuana money will quickly be used to assure more people are dependent on the State, and of course they’ll vote to remain dependent. I’d bet my Senators have wet pants thinking about adding another dependency that people can vote to keep! Here in Washington State free lunches are offered all summer long at parks, play grounds, and even apartment buildings, not to the needy, but on a first come first serve basis, and those who are forced to fund the effort? I know a few who are on the verge of losing their houses, as they can no longer make the property tax payments, yet alone the payments.