We live in Phoenix and have owned our ’56 Thunderbird since 2003. Driving our T-Bird over the first 13 years was frequently a struggle with engine cooling system. While Classic Thunderbirds are excellent parade cars, even driving in our Thanksgiving Day Parade that starts at 9:00 AM and only takes 20 minutes was a challenge. In 2014 we had the engine rebuilt which launched a project that resulted in the redesign of the water pump spacer and ultimately the manufacturing of that spacer. I detailed the effort in an article titled Eureka Moment with Engine Cooling published in the January-February issue of Classic Thunderbird Club International’s Early Bird magazine. Refer to the download section of a copy.
In this illustration, an OEM spacer is in-place on a timing chain cover with a water pump in relative position above. With the water pump installed on the spacer, the center of the impeller vanes is approximately at the point of the flow arrow. Centrifugal force keeps the fastest moving coolant to the outer circumference of the spacer chamber. Coolant departs the impeller vanes and impacts the offset portion of the interior surface, perpendicular to the surface. The spacer does not channel the coolant to the volute opening in the timing chain cover.
Here, a patent-pending A-432 spacer is in-place on a timing chain cover. With the water pump mounted on the front of the A-432 spacer, again, the center of the impeller vanes is approximately at the point of the flow arrow, and centrifugal force keeps the fastest moving coolant to the outer circumference of the spacer chamber. Coolant departs the impeller vanes and contacts the volute extension at approximately a 30-degree angle. The volute extension channels the coolant flow rearward into the volute opening, reducing turbulence and increasing flow. And the A-432 is cast iron with the same external contours and sand cast finish as the OEM version.
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Technical articles on Classic Thunderbirds engine cooling system