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TR4/4A Keeping your TR4 cool?


Jedi Warrior
Country flag
On my initial 30 mile drive my TR4 ran a little hot. Gauge was just below 3/4th. I believe that this affected the coil and towards the end of my drive my car broke-up while driving, losing power and stalling at the side of the road. My car would restart and drive fine. I have since taken my car out twice for short 5 mile trips with no problems.

When I rebuilt the car I purchased a new Moss radiator. I'm thinking that I would have been better off recording the old one with a modern core. I'm using a uprated TR6 yellow fan. Any thoughts on radiators, proper running temp for a TR4 before I consider an electric fan? I'm going to call Moss and ask them about their radiators, but my guess is that they are not three rows.


Jedi Knight
Do you have the correct thermostat installed as original? It is important for the bypass to be partially blocked when the thermostat opens. Some put a brass cap with a small hole drilled through it inside the bypass hose. As a side note did you flush the new radiator and engine prior to install. An electric fan with a manual on/off switch is a big piece of mind item for me. Let's hope you didn't expand a piston or ring temporarily to cause the shut down.


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Those gauges are famous for being inaccurate ... have you checked it in any way ? Checked that the "voltage stabilizer" is working ? (If not, that can cause the temp & fuel gauges to read way high.)

The coil should not have quit just for the cooling system being a little overheated, so you may have a bad coil or other heat-related ignition problem. Ignition problems can lead to overheating, so you might want to chase that first.

As long as the cooling system remained full of coolant and didn't boil, the engine should continue to run fine. Which is not to say you shouldn't verify and fix your cooling problem, if you have one; only that the losing power almost certainly had some other cause.

Simon TR4a

Jedi Knight
Randall and Harry have made a couple of good points, just wanted to add that my car has a recored rad and electric fan and I quite often drive for an hour or more without ever turning on the fan. It is only in town traffic that the guage starts to creep up.
My conclusion is that getting an electric fan is only going to mask the problem, you need to find out the cause, i.e. bad thermostat, coolant passages restricted etc.
Just a suggestion, Simon.


Luke Skywalker
Country flag
I'm always intrigued by talk of blocked cooling passages or galleys. How does one check for that? I really wouldn't want to pull the head or the block to check, and my drain plug on the block seems to work fine.

By the way, here's what I went through on the cooling issue: a)bad timing and too lean on the carb mixture can cause overheating; b) blocking the bypass helps a little bit. I unblocked mine after first blocking it, and I'm a few degrees higher, but not dramatic; c) two shops told me my radiator is fine, and used an IR gun, saying that water was leaving the radiator properly cooled; d) every single shop I spoke to said that in hot climates whether I install the 160 or the 180 thermostat will make no difference because I'm going to get hot quick (it's still 100 degrees in Arizona) and easily up to 180 at stop lights anyway. I really tried hard, but finally put an electric backup on the radiator and it stopped the overheating.


Jedi Trainee
I'd suggest you first hit the top radiator hose with an IR thermometer and see how that temperature reading relates to what the guage reads. My TR4's guage reads high. The yellow fan is very effective, however I do have, but rarely need, an electric fan (wouldn't be without it).


Luke Skywalker
Larry, I have a 56 TR3 basically the same as you mechanically. I live in Wickenburg, Az and often drive in 110 degrees plus for long periods and up/down major hills (thousand foot diff in elevation).
I've an original recored radiator without the starter opening and the TR6 fan. I also run a stock thermostat w/sleeve and no hose blocking or modification.
My temp gauge stays on 185 or less and will go up to 190 or so when driving uphill at speed (55 to 70 mph) in 110 degree heat.
I've a pusher fan but never use it unless the car is running stationary for long periods of time (tuning), it's just not needed when every other system is working correctly.
It sound like something isn't working to optimum or your gauge is wrong.


Jedi Knight
Slight Thread Piracey:
How have all of you mounted your aux. electric fans?
Anyone made actual metal mounting brackets that you would share the diagrams and photos of the set up and install?
I have a fan but am not interestest in the factory's suggestion of thru core cable ties mounting method.
Mickey Mouse way of doing it I say!

Don Elliott

Obi Wan
Here are photos of how I mounted the 12" kenlowe fan I installed on my Black 1958 TR3A back in 1992.

A white TR on e-bay a while back showed how the fan was done.


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Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Mine's not "auxilliary", it's the main fan. And after talking to my friends at the local radiator shop, I used the plastic ties through the core. Worked great for almost 20 years of daily driving.

So, Mickey Mouse it may be, but it's simple, cheap and effective.

My temp gauge will creep up a bit in 115F heat, but the driver overheats long before the engine does !


Jedi Knight
TR3driver said:
My temp gauge will creep up a bit in 115F heat, but the driver overheats long before the engine does !

LOL, I couldn't agree more! Early morning or evening rides the best for me during summer.


Jedi Knight
Mickey Mouse was not a slight even though he only has three fingers and a thumb on each hand. Just thought that there may be a better way


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
No offense taken, Tom. It is kind of Mickey Mouse, IMO, and I was concerned about it myself.

But Kurt at Mac's Radiator Shop told me that, although they would be happy to build me a steel fan mount, the plastic ties would work fine (as long as I was careful to position them away from the tubes). Seemed like it was worth a chance to me, and it worked out quite well.

Not sure what Kurt's relation to Mac's is, but I've been dealing with him for close to 30 years and he's never steered me wrong. Even sold me a second recore at his cost after I ruined the first one through my own stupidity.
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