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Pinto Cooling System


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There are many threads on here regarding plumbing so I just wanted to get a clear idea of what is required. I am about to refit my engine it have now removed the heater as it did not work and took up too much space behind the dash. I have a new header tank to fit and am after some info on plumbing. My thermostat housing just has the one 32mm outlet, rad top and bottom outlet with a small I let/outlet at the top for header/expansion bottle.


Am I correct in thinking I need to do the following


Bottom hose to lower water pump

Top Hose to thermostat

Blank off small water pump outlet (used to go to heater)

Small top rad outlet to top of header tank

Bottom of header tank t'd into lower rad hose?


Any advice is welcome





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A lot depends on what header tank you're using and what type of cap on the radiator. If the rad cap is a pressure cap (double acting) then you don't want the header tank to be pressurized, so if the header tank has a small hose take off under the cap, and another connector at the bottom of the header tank, the bottom one goes to the radiator leak off, and the top one goes to waste. With this type of system, the pressure is restricted to the engine & radiator, the water will flow into the header tank when the rad cap releases pressure, and will return back through the double acting cap when the system cools down.

If the header tank is plumbed into any part of the cooling system that would be under pressure when warm, then it must have a pressure cap fitted ie 13lbs, with the radiator having just a free flow cap, this type of header tank is often better mounted higher than the top of the radiator.

The first method of plumbing is the most common used on our cars.


The original plumbing for the heater was taken from the inlet manifold to the heater, then back from the heater to the small connector on the bottom hose, the hot water flowed from the inlet manifold through the heater, cooled, then back down to the bottom hose, so the heater works as soon as there's warmth in the water, not just when the thermostat opens, providing you plumb it in correctly, There's not usually a problem with air locks.

Not fitting a heater, you then join the manifold outlet to the bottom hose connection.

Edited by Big Jim
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The small hose 16mm I think from pump to inlet is used to equalise block temp on warmup particular the head

I know people block this off

I don't Ford did a lot of work designing the cooling and this pipe is part of it

Very very high power Pinto's even run a feed system through the rocker cover into the head to get more flow.


Blanking the pump to head pipe can cause head heat issues and head gaskets can be compromised


Now this is not a "don't do it" post it's just a cautionary note

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That diagram is very useful and clear, thanks for the advice. Perhaps I will link the 2 to retain the original flow. After 4 months of rebuild finally fired the engine up yesterday and so far so good!

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  • 5 years later...

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