Is the stock air cleaner with thermostatic controls considered "smog equipment?" I though I read somewhere that the air cleaner temperature controls are set to close/open the snorkel doors to keep the incoming air warm enough to help the engine run on the calibrated lean mixture. Is there any truth to this? If it is, can the air cleaner temperature sensor be re-calibrated to run on a de-smogged engine?
With all the smog equipment gone, do I go back to a cooler 180 degree thermostat like was used before the smog era, or is the hotter 192 degree thermostat better for an engine?
I just answered the 2nd question on Shortblock2000's thread, not realizing you weren't the OP. But, the short answer for the 'stat is stay with the 192 if it is working properly.
As for the air cleaner, what you were told is correct about the intake air temp and lean mix. But, that function is actually good for any engine, not just smogged ones, as a carb works better with warm air, and you get a more constant air/fuel ratio with a constant intake air temp. So, if your air cleaner and the two hoses leading to it are in good shape I would retain them as well as the vacuum plumbing that goes with it.
Yes, you need heat to the carb to make it run correctly. My own ideas on the subject are; They seemed to reconfigure the heat to the carb, putting spacers under the base of the carb, and warming the air incoming to the carb. If you look at some of the late 50's early 60's cars that did not have the hot air snorkel, they seemed to have cast iron carb bases, with exhaust heat coming in direct contact with the base or very near the base through the intake manifold.
If you do not like the factory setup, you can take it off in the summer, and re-install it in the winter. If you take it off and try to drive it during a cold rainy day in the winter, you will start you hate your truck.
Your engine will run better with colder air coming in. The factory air cleaner housing is fine though. The thermostatic valve pulls warm air from around the passenger manifodl when the engine is cold. This is good, it helps it warm up faster and prevents carb icing in really cold weather if you live way up north. Once the engine it up to temp and engine bay warmer the valve closes off the tube form the manifold and it pulls cooler air from the engine compartment. If you want additional benefit run a hose from the snorkel part of the air cleaner to somewhere with cooler fresh air.. next to the radiator, in the wheel well, or somewhere cooler that won't be submerged. The factory air cleaner housing performs well, it is enclosed and keeps water and mud out. For higher RPM higher HP engines it may hinder power slightly but this can be negated by adding a second snorkel on the drivers side so it was twice the incoming airflow if needed. Unless you have a higher HP big cube engine this is likely unnecessary.
I don't know if they all had it, but my 80 actually had a factory flexible plastic duct that attached to the firewall beside the radiator, and attached to the aircleaner snorkel that drew in cool air from the grille area in front of the radiator. It went between the battery and the pass side of the radiator.
Dad's 81 has the hose to the radiator support, as did the '82 I sold. Neither have the metalic tube/hose that comes up from the passenger's side exhaust manifold, but I will certainly put one on Dad's. Ford did a good job of designing the air cleaner system, and it really should be retained.
And, I've seriously considered doing what Cadunkle suggested and run two snorkels. I actually have one of the larger HO cleaner assemblies and another snorkel saved back for that use. If I build up a 400 that's the plan.
I have the preheater hose on my air cleaner and I notice a big difference if I forget to hook it back up after I messed with the carb. That extra bit of warm air on a cold morning is a lifesaver at times.