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GM says a 180 deg thermostat...and make sure it IS a GM for your engine, not any old 180 thermostat off the shelf at the store.

If the radiator is in good condition, shroud clutch all good...and these should be treated like a oil pump is when an enhine is rebuilt....manually clean and or replaced....the only time it will get around 190 is if tuned at sea level then get above the snow line.
 

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I've got a 2.5" dual core aluminum radiator, dual 13 inch 2500 cfm electric fans, and a Flex-a-lite Variable Speed Control Module for the fans. I can set the fans to maintain any temperature I want. Currently my thermostat is a 160 and I can maintain 160 even with the AC running full blast. I'll replace it with a 195 i guess and go from there.
 

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GM called for a 195 degree thermostat for the 396.
Not according to Themost manfactures spec manuals here, and my manuals include Glens manual dated 1974...They do show several engines do run 195 for late model chevs...which I believe has something to do with emissions...like ported vac dizzys after about 72 or 74.
 

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1968 Owner's Manual and Motors Manual, 1974 & 1969, all state 195°F.
I had to check for myself just to be sure.
 
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