Cold Running Chevette

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Cold Running Chevette

Postby Doive » 19 Nov 2004, 00:57

Now the wonderful British winter has started to set in, my Chevette has started running very cold. It did the same last winter but seeing as it spent all of that up on axle stands I wasn't too bothered! But this year it is more of a problem, the temperature gauge abrely moves past the blue bit of the cold mark, and as soon as the heater goes on it drops even further.

I was just wondering if anyone has any tips? Is there a warmer thermostat I can get from anywhere to up the temperature a bit? The one fitted at the moment is rated at 88 degrees C, but I may replace that anyway as its a bit tired I think. Was also thinking of fitting a radiator blind, been told cardboard would do my trick, but the question is what size and how to fit?!

The obvious one is to replace the viscous fan, but as I've said before I like originality and don't want to change it! I'm just concerned that with the engine never really getting up to temperature and causing blocked breathers etc. Incidentally my chevette has a warm heater within 30 seconds of starting - it takes the astra over 5 mins to get any heat at all, so much for modern cars being better!
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Postby Crum B » 19 Nov 2004, 01:09

I would suggest covering half of the front of the rad with Duck tape Mostly the top where most of the air gets to it.The more you put on the hotter it will get.
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Postby gs » 19 Nov 2004, 01:45

Hi there .If your heater is getting warm in 30secs them your engine stat sound ok to me.The problem may be that the temp gauge sender unit is faulty. to test this take the wire of front r.h.s. of cyl head switch ign on earth the wire (you won,t get a shock)keep it earthed and check the temp reading it should go to max if so change your sender transmitter unit.good luck.
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Postby Doive » 19 Nov 2004, 02:06

I'll check the sender, it does look a little grotty and could probably do with being replaced. Thing is, during the summer the gauge will happily sit between the two middle white marks and its only now in the winter that it dips so low. Sitting at a steady 60mph it can creep over towards the red, thats why I'm thinking the sender itself is fine and the problem really lies with the temperature of the coolant.
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Postby Neilyman » 19 Nov 2004, 12:07

McDoive, I wouldn`t mask the radiator at all,just change the `stat, that will usually cure it.
Don`t bother dipping it in hot water on the stove as per the `standard test` for `stats, stick a new `un in, they don`t cost much.
The fun bit could be getting the old one out though.
The 3 steel bolts in the housing like being there so much, they `become one` with the alloy.
I had to destroy my original housing to remove it. I then put Alloy hex bolts in the new one, with lashings of copper slip.

Modern cars with ECUs have to get the block to a certain temp. before water is allowed to the heater. It`s all down to emmisions etc., they don`t give a rats ass about you being cold, that`s why you can get `Electric Heated seats` as an option. Put your thermal long johns on under yer kilt ;)


I`ve removed my viscous fan, & replaced it with a `fixed` Brabham Viva one, all in the search for extra horses though. I heard viscous fans use 2-3 bhp, not a lot I know, but lots of not a lots added together makes quite a lot! :)
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Postby mint » 19 Nov 2004, 12:49

Had the same problem when i first bought my car. Only ever sat just at the top of the blue. Changed the thermostat and now it sits dead centre. Still takes too long to warm up in the morning tho brrrrr!
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Postby Doive » 19 Nov 2004, 13:50

Neily I'm not worried about the housing bolts corroding, the silly thing is I had the thermostat out last year to flush the block and I had the new one - why didn't I just replace it?! Methinks saturday morning will be a fettling session. Hopefully the new thermostat I have will allow her to run a bit warmer, if that doesn't work then I will just mask the radiator.

It was the first properly freezing morning of the year this morning, the oil in the dashpot had become very thick so the acceleration initially was a little pedestrian and the battery was almost flat! Thinking my alternator is on its way out but I'll just have to give the charging system a once over on saturday. Ah, winter + old car - don't you just love it?!
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Postby mint » 19 Nov 2004, 15:17

more likely to be the battery than the alternator.
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Postby Neilyman » 19 Nov 2004, 15:28

I agree...Battery!
Remove the oil in your dashpot & replace it with cooking oil, I use it all the time. It`s only there to stop the piston `fluttering` & `slamming shut`. It`s a shock absorber.
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Postby Doive » 19 Nov 2004, 16:58

In that case, add batteries to condensers! The battery in her at the minute is the one from the Kadett, nearly new by the look of it and heavy duty at that. The old one from the Chevette was knackered and refused to hold a charge. How does this battery withstand an afternoon of repeatedly starting the Kadett without complaint, yet on a cold morning struggles to turn over the Chevette? Anyone have any recommendations on replacement battery types?
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Postby Neilyman » 19 Nov 2004, 18:05

Cold is the killer for batteries.
They will perform all summer long, but come the cold....forget it.
The cheapo batteries have a life of a couple of years, no matter what warranty is claimed, best to go for Bosch or the likes. the only trouble is, I dunno if they do one with the silly little terminals anymore.
But you can always swap the clamps.

It used to be said that you had to drive about 7 miles to put back the `power` used to start your car.
Add to that the fact it didn`t crack up first time, the rear de-mister, wipers, head lights etc, heater fan, Oh & the all important radio, & the miles needed is more like 25!
I`m lucky in the fact that I have a 150 amp Charger/starter trolly, so it ain`t a problem for me, just a pain in the ass `cos all I ever do these days is short journeys.
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Postby Doive » 20 Nov 2004, 03:04

Me too, all I ever use the car for is popping back and forward to work, and for around the city - she never gets a nice long run to blow out the cobwebs. Having said that, I'm free all day tomorrow and the weather is cold and dry, road trip perhaps?! Think I may change the oils first before the winter really sets in.
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Postby Crum B » 20 Nov 2004, 03:23

You could try plugging in the block heater at night that way the motor would be somewhat of preheated.That is if your car has a block heater cord i'm only familiar with north american chevettes.
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Postby Neilyman » 20 Nov 2004, 09:38

We don`t use block heaters in the UK, It`s only `really` cold for about 4 weeks in a year anyway, well where I live it is!

Quite a few `new` cars now have insulated batteries. The battery has a jacket on it, a bit like a home hot water cylinder jacket only it`s not bright red ;).
Doive, do you have a blowlamp?
You could try gently `warming` the battery before you start the car!
Be careful though that you don`t scorch the paintwork :O Chevette toast anyone....LOL
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Postby chris(not) » 20 Nov 2004, 12:10

Surely a viscous fan must use less power than a fixed one of the same blade dimensions 'cos the whole point of the coupling is that it slips (either when the engine's cold or when you reach a given load provided by the amount of air being moved) whereas a fixed one goes as fast as the engine and will absorb more power / shift more air than needed at high revs.

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Postby Neilyman » 20 Nov 2004, 13:57

You`re right Chris (not), I`m getting mixed up with my fans.
A fixed/viscous belt driven fan uses about 8% of the engines power. Take either off & fit an electric one gives the bhp gain.
I took mine off `cos it squeaked alot as the coupling was knackered.
I`ve got an electric Kenlowe but no `stat for it, so I fixed it up in the garage roof as a cooling fan for me during the Summer!!

Viscous fans slip at high revs/speeds like on the motorway doing 80mph when the air flow force is greater than the engine force through the coupling. I think it`s to reduce the noise level from the howling fan when it`s not really needed. The forward motion gives plenty of cooling.
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Postby Doive » 21 Nov 2004, 00:06

80 - you maniac! My Chevette would never see 80. Most I've had is 75 and it really was screaming its guts out at that - I hate hearing an engine strained, so 60 is a nice comfortable speed for me. Just dug the new thermostat out from the cupboard, so I'll have a bash at fitting it on Monday.
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Postby Neilyman » 21 Nov 2004, 09:17

LOL :)
I`m sure the specs for a Chevette 1256 says top speed is 93 mph or something like that, on the odd time I venture on the Motorway, mine will do 80-90 all day long. It`s just the constant drone of the exhaust that `does my head in`
At the moment, I couldn`t tell how fast I`m going as my speedo stopped working yesterday :(
It`s still connected at the head end, but I`m not crawling underneath in this weather to check the G/box end. I had a quick look under & the cable isn`t hanging down. Is it possible for cables to break?, I`ve never known it on any car I`ve had, or seen it at work etc. I`ve seen `frayed` cables that make the needle bounce about.
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Postby chris(not) » 21 Nov 2004, 10:46

Yes, the cable inner can break! Took me about two years once to get round to finding a way round the back of the speedo to get at the top end!

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Postby Neilyman » 21 Nov 2004, 11:05

Thanks for that Chris, you`ve really made my day now! :)
I`m in no rush though !!
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Postby mint » 21 Nov 2004, 11:30

60mph! i've had over 100 outa mine WEEEEEEEEEEEE BOOM!
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Postby JOCK » 21 Nov 2004, 17:35

Get yourself under that car the Speedo Cable is a sinch to fit it screws into the side of the Gearbox and you just undo the old one top and bottom pull it out feed the new one in and reattach. Dead simple, best time to do is in the snow with a gale blowing!
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Postby JOCK » 21 Nov 2004, 17:42

Oh and if you dont know how to get the clocks out to get at the back of the Speedo then this is how, First undo the nut that secures the Steering Wheel try to do this with the front wheels straight, then you get hold of the Steering Wheel and Pull on it HARD! Careful not to smack yourself in the face when it finally comes off! Then you grip the clocks on either side from the front and if possible get your arm round the back to push aswell and the clocks will come out with a bit of persausion, they are located with a kind of spring clip. Then you twist the Speedo cable like a bayonet type light bulb kinda thing and off it pops leaving you to tackle the Gearbox end.
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Postby JOCK » 21 Nov 2004, 17:57

Oh and another thing, yesterday me and my mate took my Yellow saloon Chevette and his Metallic Blue hatch to go and see the First Stage of the Roger Albert Clarke Rally and on the way we both hit a tad over the 100 MPH both on standard 1256s and both with cars full of lads. Ther were 2 Kadett Coupes going round both GTEs which broke the boredom of the countless Mk1 and MK23 Escorts that you always get in Historic Rallys. Major disapointment was that the Manta 400 that was supposed to be there didnt show.And no Chevette HS or HSRs either! I think that this was a real let down by the GM boys, whats going on? This was the first rally i been to that didnt have at least one Chevette or Manta in it, thank goodness for the 2 Kadetts.I just hope there will be a better show next year. At least i got to see Penti Arrikala in a Chevette HS at the Historic Motorsport Show at Stonleigh in February this year, and I met Bill Blydenstein. I recomend that show to you all for next year, also got to see Baby Bertha too.
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Postby Neilyman » 21 Nov 2004, 19:04

Thanks for that Jock! but I already know how to do it ;) I just can`t be assed!
Here`s a tip in return....
If you leave the steering wheel nut on the thread a few turns, it won`t smack you in the mouth when it releases!
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