[DML] how hot is too hot? Coolant temp questions
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[DML] how hot is too hot? Coolant temp questions

This weekend, I took 3231 on a reasonably long trip out of the Bay
Area to Gold Country to visit my in-laws in the hills north of Nevada
City, CA. Aside from having an absolute blast driving the winding
mountain roads, something cropped up that I thought I might ask the
group. Now, the Sacramento valley is notoriously hot this time of year
and this weekend was no different. Now my cooling system has been
flawless for the time I've owned my car. Two years ago, it got new
hoses, new otterstat, new thermostat, John H's auto air bleeder tube,
and a stainless header bottle. I've never experienced an overheat
thusfar. When I drive the car in normal weather, the needle usually
fluxuates between just above the first white line and right below the
220 line when the fans come on. With the AC on (most often outside
temperatures above 78 degrees), the needle typically stays just below
the 220 mark.

This weekend was a little concerning. Once I hit highway 80 and the
outside temperature was 100 degrees, I found that with my AC on and
cruising at roughly 70 miles per hour, my temperature began to creep
higher than normal. First it was right on the 220 line, then as I
began to climb the hills outside of Roseville, the needle crept a
third of the way to the red line. Fearing potential problems, I kicked
off my AC and the needle stayed slightly over 220, but didn't get any
higher even with heavy hill climbing. I stopped in Auburn and checked
to verify that both of my fans were running and they were. Once I
passed through Auburn and the outside temperature began to fall, my
coolant temp came down to it's normal spot slightly below 220.

Coming back today was much easier. It was still just as hot out, but a
third of the trip is all downhill. I found today that cruising on the
flatlands at 70ish and AC on the needle would hover just a sliver
above the 220 mark. If I slowed to 55mph after about 5 minutes the
needle would drop directly on the 220 mark.

So here's my question? Was I up against major engine problems with my
cruising temp slightly above the 220 mark? Do you think my cooling
system is functioning correctly? I do still have an original OEM
radiator with 10600 original miles on it.

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