He then designed an improved spacer that extends the volute that is already present in the timing cover forward into the spacer. With this new prototype spacer, he found significantly greater flow at low rpm... this info is available directly from the VTCI forum.
Chris then created the forms to have this spacer cast and machined in iron. From the outside, it looks completely stock... but inside it provides much better cooling flow. This is really good news for early Tbird owners in hot climates! When other members of my local club started getting these, I decided that I should have one. I called Chris... he's a great guy, knowledgable and enthusiastic about Y-Blocks! He mailed me a new spacer and I got in in just a few days.
Here's what it looks like after painting (stock on left, Ames spacer on right):
Replacing the spacer was fairly easy. I didn't have to remove any hoses. I drained the radiator and block, removed the radiator shrouds, fan belt, fan and spacer, unbolted the bypass line and removed the 4 bolts holding the water pump. Briefly prying forward on the suction side of the pump easily released it from the gaskets. Note the cardboard protecting the radiator.
Installing the new spacer was only slightly more difficult... I had to scrape the old gaskets off the pump and timing cover, "juice up" the new gaskets with permatex (both sides), and then put everything back together. I added some corrosion inhibiter to the coolant I had saved, and poured it back into the radiator.
It was time for an oil change, so I shifted back to Valvoline VR1 20W50. I've been wanting to lower the idle speed, but had been worried about cooling... even at 500 rpm, the 20W50 should keep reasonable oil pressure, and better coolant flow should minimize overheating. I can always bring the idle back up again if she gets too hot.
On a lark, I purchased a set of retro hod-rod style valve cover wing nuts. I'd been wanting these for a while. When I saw a post on Facebook, I couldn't resist!
There is just something about the look that makes me smile! Yes, it makes the valve covers marginally less secure at car shows, but I don't think that is going to be a problem. No one has stolen my air cleaner yet!