Looks like a very nice installation job.
As to what temperature, the answer is "it depends."
If you want to go as fast as possible, your objective is to get the car cooled down as much as possible between runs. The 160 thermostat and fan switch will help you a lot. Basically whenever the car is hot, you want to run the fans as much as you safely can w/o running your battery dead. If this is the way you decide to go, carry a set of jumper cables to be safe.
For bracket racing where you want your ¼-mile times to be as consistent as possible, you want to keep your temperate as consistent as possible. It doesn’t particularly matter what you pick as long as it’s the same each time. The fan switch is also very helpful in managing your temp as long as you watch your gauge.
However, the factory water temperature gauge is a totally worthless piece of crap. I had heard this before but never realized how bad it is until I installed a digital gauge last week. Until last fall, I always ran as cold as possible but switched to running at full temperature after I replaced my valve springs because CompCam’s instructions had very emphatic warnings not to exceed 4,000 rpm’s until after the car has been warmed up.
My prior observation had been that the stock gauge gradually rises from cold until it reaches operating temperature at which was point it settles in pointing very steadily slightly left of straight up. I figured that was about 180°. WRONG!!! What I now know is that it reaches straight up at about 170°. After that, it doesn’t matter what the real temperature is. The needle will continue to sit in the same spot for anything up to 230°. As an addicted bracket racer I was really pissed. My car had been very consistent until this year and now I know why my times have recently been all over the place.
So, I would suggest keeping the temp below 170 (where the stock gauge has some value) or else investing in an aftermarket temperature gauge if you want to run warmer.
Last edited by Mr Ed; 07-07-2006 at 02:39 PM.