Join Date: May 2004
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Lots of people feel otherwise but in my view the penalty for overheating your engine (risk of warped head, seized engine, or fire) is much worse than the penalty for underheating (slightly fouled plugs--which in my case has not diminished engine performance at all).
Ten years ago I removed my thermostat and placed a short 1/4" stainless bolt in the bypass hose next to where it attaches to the thermostat housing. This forces the vast majority of cooling (raw) water through the block.
My engine runs at about 115-120 degrees by the temperature gauge, there is one less thing to troubleshoot if something goes wrong, and I have 100 degrees of safety in case an impeller fails or a plastic bag gets sucked into the cooling intake.
Forcing the water through the block also makes the engine much easier to winterize. I don't think there is a reliable way of doing this with the thermostat in place, and it is a pain in the neck to take out just for the 45 seconds it takes to run antifreeze through it.
I would probably feel differently about the absent thermostat if I had freshwater cooling installed.