1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
David Stribling
June 23, 2014

Too Hot Oil

I love the magazine, and have been a subscriber for quite a while. We are running a 351W (2.75-inch mains) in an oval track race application, sustained 6,500-7,200 rpm and oil temps are getting out of hand. Class rules prohibit an oil cooler. I have read about heat dissipating coatings. Could a coating on the exterior of the oil pan help? We've used about every method we know of to help the problem but need more cooling. Our oil pan is a rear sump, baffled unit, with 7-quart capacity, and we run a windage tray. If these coatings are helpful, who offers them?

Gordon Harms

There are so many things that can affect the engine oil temperature, and I would need to know a lot more about your application on the oval track to really help you out, so some of my answers here will be general in terms and not to your specific need. Oval track engines can behave very different depending on track (paved vs. dirt), body (Sprint Car vs. full-bodied car), length of the track, and number of laps. A dirt Sprint Car on a 5/8-mile track is probably not letting off the gas in the corners where a full-bodied asphalt car is braking hard in the corners. Apples and oranges.

I talked to several of my race team buddies and they aren't experiencing oil temp problems and they aren't running coolers either. I think your problem really won't be solved with special coatings, I think something else is going on that is causing your problem.

What you didn't mention is any problems with the engine coolant temperature. If your engine coolant temperature is running at a nominal level but your engine oil is running hot, that sounds like engine oil breakdown. Of course your primary cooling system is also cooling the oil at the same time through heat transfer. Even if you are running good oil, breakdown at those rpm happens very quickly. One key note to remember as well—all the additives in your oil that help the engine run better break down beforethe engine oil does. That black oil is straight oil—the additives are gone. My friends who run a Sprint Car on oval with mid-sized V-8s say after three races of 30 laps they change the oil, and they're slightly pushing it at that. They run 5/8- to 1-mile tracks on asphalt. Some of my buddies who drag race say that as they get farther into the rounds and they are having to jump right back into line to run again—they are actually changing the oil right there in the lane. They all recommend one thing—use a good quality, name brand racing oil and change it frequently.

If that is not your problem, then here are some other things you might take a look at or try to reduce the engine temperature. Not to say that it is all of these, but could be any number of them.

1. Dirt track: Sucking all that dust into the engine, keep good filters clean and ready.
2. Carburetor tuning: A lean carburetor will increase the temperature of the motor.
3.Timing: It can be everything.
4. Tolerances: Get the plasti-gage out and make sure your engine tolerances are correct for your application. One of my frustrations lately has been Holley guys rebuilding carbs like a race motor, and by golly they run horrible on the street. Make sure your race engine has race tolerances. Friction is not your friend.
5. How about an 8-quart or bigger pan? Is it allowed? Remember how we used to put cooling tubes in the pan and it would flow over them during the race?
6. Cerakote: (www.cerakotehightemp.com) sells heat-dissipating coatings, and it would probably help with some of your temp issues.

Most of your heat-dissipating additives are working in the single-digit efficiency range and while they are OK, I really think that if you look at the problem there is something breaking down the efficiency of the oil. Please feel free to let me know exactly the specs on your car and perhaps we can come up with a targeted solution.


Spoiler Alert

When I bought my '69 Mustang Mach 1 over forty years ago, the trunk lid would stay open. I added a spoiler and now the lid will no longer stay up without a prop rod. I finished a complete restoration and many modifications two years ago. At that time, I replaced the hinge springs. The lid still needs a prop rod to hold it open. Is there any fix for the problem other than a prop rod or replacing the hinges for new ones of the same design?

Joe Artale
Solon, OH

The '69 Mustang Sportsroof used a rear spoiler that was made of plastic. It was lighter weight and didn't require a prop rod—but just barely. They were pretty cheap, flimsy things and they sagged in the middle after awhile. In 1970, Ford changed to a fiberglass spoiler, which was heavier and required the use of a prop rod. This prop rod can be purchased from all the major parts suppliers. Most of the reproduction spoilers are modeled after the '70 design.

Unless your car is an all-original stock show car, run the prop rod. It works and is acceptable when you run a spoiler. If you don't want to run a prop rod, you'll need to find an original '69-style spoiler that's lighter weight and not bowed like and old plow horse. They are hard to find and very expensive. If you just don't like the looks of the prop rod, there are some aftermarket gas charged shocks that you can use to prop open the trunk lid. Mustangs Unlimited sells one PN TLK1 01.


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