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Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 31 Jan 2019, 01:21 am
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Default Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

A couple of months ago, I was driving in town. I was waiting for the traffic light to turn green. I noticed that the needle on the coolant temperature gauge was between the middle and red mark. I was like: "oh s#!+". So I turned the heater on max and then pulled into the O'Reilly's parking lot since it was literally right there. I opened the hood and felt the upper radiator hose to see how hot the engine was and it was stone cold as if I hadn't been driving at all. I was like: "huh, that's weird". I got back in my car and kept driving and everything seemed normal. The next day, I went to Sonic for lunch. I left the car running while waiting on my food to see if it over heated again and it did. After I got my food and went back to work, I opened the hood and the radiator hose was cold. I bought the most expensive thermostat for $10 at O'Reilly. The service manual says to "place the new thermostat assembly into the coolant outlet connector, aligning air bleed with the location notch on outlet connector." So basically, they want you to put the thermostat on the plastic filler neck before installing it on the vehicle. The problem is that the thermostat won't stick in the housing. First, I tried putting some dielectric grease on the thermostat gasket to hold it on the housing. It didn't work. Then I thought to myself: "how can I get the thermostat to stay on the housing until I put it on the engine". I grabbed some dental floss, put it through the top part of the thermostat, then held it against the thermostat housing until I got the 2 bolts threaded in. After running the bolts down by hand, I pulled the floss out and everything was perfectly aligned. I replaced the thermostat when I did the timing belt 30,000 miles ago along with a bunch of other stuff as preventative maintenance. I got the thermostat from Chrysler and the thermostat said Motorad on it. I figured whatever I get from the part store is the same as what Chrysler sells. I think its weird how that thermostat only lasted 30,000 miles when the original lasted 100,000 miles. The factory timing belt also said Gates on it. So basically, alot of the parts they sell at the stores are the same as what the dealership has. I think the last time I did the thermostat, I looked at the way the notch of the gasket was lined up and then just put the thermostat on the engine and then set the housing on top of it.
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Last edited by Slowrider; 31 Jan 2019 at 01:39 am.
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Old 31 Jan 2019, 02:52 pm
soonercruiser's Avatar
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Thumbs up Re: Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

Nice trick!
Did you save the dental floss???


I am having the same periodic overheating problem on the Panel Van.
And after reading a recent thread, I am convinced that it is the thermostat or the high speed fan/relay.

I've already got the thermostat, and waiting for the heat sensor.
I did see where aligning the air bleed notch is important!

I will use your trick!
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Old 31 Jan 2019, 04:09 pm
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Join Date: May 2016
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Default Re: Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

I would throw the T-stats in a pot of boiling water to confirm the new one works and the to see if the old one, in fact doesn't.
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Old 31 Jan 2019, 04:37 pm
Fk5 Fk5 is offline
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Default Re: Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

Nice tip.

My tip is to pack rags around the housing when you go to pull it out/put it in. Those nuts and bolts can fall into the black hole that is the engine compartment and take forever to find. Even when you can see them they aren't always easy to extract.
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Old 31 Jan 2019, 06:34 pm
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Default Re: Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

After taking out and installing thermostats into the PT a dozen times over the past 2.5 years, I've learned these tricks:
  1. Remove the radiator cap so you can see down the neck
  2. Drain the coolant into a bucket so you can replace it later.
  3. Drain enough coolant until you see the thermostat completely. The coolant and air will flow past the jiggle valve and will equalize the level on either side of the thermostat.
  4. Loosen the bolts but don't try to remove them. Remove them from their resting place with a telescoping magnet. No matter how careful you are there's a 10-90% chance that one or both bolts will fall down into the abyss. There is a shelf above the P/S pump where they tend to land and you can't get to it without removing the front grille and radiator.
  5. Check the new thermostat to ensure it opens at 195F
  6. At this point you can fill the coolant back up to the top of the metal housing to minimize the "burping" needed.
  7. Slip the new thermostat into the plastic housing from the bottom. You can clock the thermostat notch with the notch in the housing by feel pretty easily. The notch points toward the center of the engine. Make sure the thermostat is in there snug so the gasket isn't pinched.
  8. Line the housing back up with the bolt holes.
  9. Use the telescoping magnet to insert the bolts into the holes. Again, if you try to put the bolts in by hand there is the chance of dropping the bolt into the abyss and cursing yourself.
  10. Start the bolts with finger twists so that you don't cross thread them
  11. Torque the bolts to 65 inch pounds or about the pressure of your thumb and index finger opposing each other on a 3/8" socket wrench.
  12. Slowly refill the coolant. Since you caught all the coolant in the bucket, you know how much needs to go back in. If you fill-wait-fill, this can take 5-20 minutes. Or you can open the bleed valve which can speed things up but for me, getting to the valve is a PIA.
  13. Go out for a drive and keep an eye on the coolant temperature. If you didn't fill it up, you could start overheating within 5 minutes.

If you want to look under the thermostat plastic housing, after removing the bolts, you can first disconnect the upper radiator hose at the radiator, then pull the housing toward the passenger side to expose the clamp from under the intake manifold to disconnect that side of the hose.
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Last edited by rsrocket1; 01 Feb 2019 at 07:41 am.
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Old 03 Feb 2019, 08:02 pm
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Default Re: Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper77 View Post
I would throw the T-stats in a pot of boiling water to confirm the new one works and the to see if the old one, in fact doesn't.
I put my old thermostat in boiling water to see if it opened but not the new one. It opened but I'm not sure how far it's supposed to open. My car overheated twice before I determined there was a problem. The needle only got between the middle and red mark so I'm sure no damage was done. So far, the new thermostat seems to be working just fine.
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Old 03 Feb 2019, 08:14 pm
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Location: Texas
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Default Re: Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsrocket1 View Post
After taking out and installing thermostats into the PT a dozen times over the past 2.5 years, I've learned these tricks:
  1. Remove the radiator cap so you can see down the neck
  2. Drain the coolant into a bucket so you can replace it later.
  3. Drain enough coolant until you see the thermostat completely. The coolant and air will flow past the jiggle valve and will equalize the level on either side of the thermostat.
  4. Loosen the bolts but don't try to remove them. Remove them from their resting place with a telescoping magnet. No matter how careful you are there's a 10-90% chance that one or both bolts will fall down into the abyss. There is a shelf above the P/S pump where they tend to land and you can't get to it without removing the front grille and radiator.
  5. Check the new thermostat to ensure it opens at 195F
  6. At this point you can fill the coolant back up to the top of the metal housing to minimize the "burping" needed.
  7. Slip the new thermostat into the plastic housing from the bottom. You can clock the thermostat notch with the notch in the housing by feel pretty easily. The notch points toward the center of the engine. Make sure the thermostat is in there snug so the gasket isn't pinched.
  8. Line the housing back up with the bolt holes.
  9. Use the telescoping magnet to insert the bolts into the holes. Again, if you try to put the bolts in by hand there is the chance of dropping the bolt into the abyss and cursing yourself.
  10. Start the bolts with finger twists so that you don't cross thread them
  11. Torque the bolts to 65 inch pounds or about the pressure of your thumb and index finger opposing each other on a 3/8" socket wrench.
  12. Slowly refill the coolant. Since you caught all the coolant in the bucket, you know how much needs to go back in. If you fill-wait-fill, this can take 5-20 minutes. Or you can open the bleed valve which can speed things up but for me, getting to the valve is a PIA.
  13. Go out for a drive and keep an eye on the coolant temperature. If you didn't fill it up, you could start overheating within 5 minutes.

If you want to look under the thermostat plastic housing, after removing the bolts, you can first disconnect the upper radiator hose at the radiator, then pull the housing toward the passenger side to expose the clamp from under the intake manifold to disconnect that side of the hose.
I did in fact use a magnet to get the bolts started and then used a socket and extension to run them down by hand. I sure am glad I didn't drop the bolts. I didn't even think they'd be that hard to retrieve.
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Old 03 Feb 2019, 08:54 pm
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Thumbs up Re: Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowrider View Post
I did in fact use a magnet to get the bolts started and then used a socket and extension to run them down by hand. I sure am glad I didn't drop the bolts. I didn't even think they'd be that hard to retrieve.
Sometimes I will even start a hard to reach bolt by hand with a long socket extension and tape around the bolt and socket.

But, when I was reassembling the air intake runners last week, I dropped the throttle body gasket TWICE!!!
(Old arthritic hands!)
Second time it fell backward on top of the tranny.
BARELY was able find or reach it!
So I appreciate the tips!
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2003 PT Cruiser GT Panel Van Conversion as new day driver.

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Old 04 Feb 2019, 06:40 pm
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Angry Re: Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

Yup!
Looks like I'll be doing the thermostat tomorrow!


Today again, while cruising the hood on security patrol....I can hear the high speed fan working like it should when I make stops....she all of a sudden spikes up hot!

Pop the hood and....the upper radiator hose is stone cold!
Thanks to the folks on the other thread with this diagnostic test!
I was worried it might be something bigger.

With the Cruiser's service history (previous owner) of thermostat replacement in 2015 and 2016 by non-Chrysler service centers...I can only surmise that some regular auto techs DO NOT KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY INSTALL THE THERMOSTAT!
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2003 PT Cruiser GT Panel Van Conversion as new day driver.

Have now owned 6 PT Cruisers = Me PT Crazy!
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Old 05 Feb 2019, 07:33 pm
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Default Re: Here's a tip for replacing the thermostat

So, today I did the plugs, wires, and replaced the thermostat!

Thanks for all the good tips!

But, when I placed the new thermostat into the housing, aligning the peep hole, the "Premium" stat that I got from NAPA already had a nice thick rubber gasket with a notch that aligns with the notch in the housing.
That made it easy.

But, since the thick rubber gasket "stood up" a little from the surface of the housing, I decided to just place a little black silicone gasket material on the edge in 3 small places to hold it.
I stuck that up on a shelf close to my garage heater.
And, by the time I had changed the plugs and wires the silicone had set pretty well, allowing me to invert the housing without the thermostat dropping out!


After about 10 minutes running, the upper radiator hose started to get warm. And she is now "reading" slightly below center...better than before.
Both old a new are 195 degree stats.
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2003 PT Cruiser GT Panel Van Conversion as new day driver.

Have now owned 6 PT Cruisers = Me PT Crazy!
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