Is your late model Ford Taurus overheating? Perhaps it’s running hot or not warming up as fast as it should. Either way, you could be faced with a thermostat problem. At one time, my vehicle had similar issues. Thankfully, the problem wasn’t terribly expensive, time consuming or difficult to rectify. With that said, here are the basics on how to fix the problem yourself:
Warning and Analysis
Before you grab your tools and start ripping things apart, do yourself a favor. Make sure that the vehicle’s engine has been shut off for at least three hours. It is important to do so because the expansion reservoir is pressurized in some vehicles. At least it is in mine is. If you don’t let it depressurize, you could get blasted with hot fluids.
Once the engine is cold, take a moment to do a bit of an analysis. Doing so could save you a few bucks and some scraped knuckles. Begin the analysis by looking at the amount of coolant that is currently sitting in your vehicle’s reservoir tank. If it’s low, check the tank, hoses and hose connections for damage. They could be leaking or in need of replacement. If you are short like me, an inspection mirror may prove helpful in that regard. You’ll also want to look for damaged cylinder heads, head gaskets and pistons. If they exist, you’ll need to fix them as well.
When you are finished with that, check the sensor and wiring that control your vehicle’s temperature gauge light. It could be burnt out or faulty. Then inspect the drivebelt tension and make any adjustments as needed. Should all of those tasks turn up nothing, you’ll want to go ahead and replace the thermostat.
In order to replace it, you’ll need to drain the existing fluid from the radiator at least until the thermostat is exposed. In my vehicle, the drain fitting is located on the driver’s side, bottom corner of the radiator. Yours may be in the same spot. Wherever it is in your car, place an empty kitty litter box or pan under it before removing the fitting with pliers. Trust me. The last thing that you need is the fluid running all over the place.
Once that’s done, you may also want to consider draining the fluid from the engine block. In order to do that, you’ll need to remove two, additional drain plugs. They are often located above the oil pan rail. If your car is like mine, they’ll have internal hex heads. Thus, you’ll need to grab more tools and two other drain pans. Put one under each plug. Then remove the plugs. The remaining fluid should just pour out.
As it does, go ahead and disconnect the hose that is attached to the thermostat’s housing. Afterward, remove the bolts that hold the housing in place. Then ease the housing off of the lower intake manifold and note the location of the thermostat. I have found that the best way to do that is to make hash marks onto the housing with a pencil. Once your hash marks are in place, remove both the gasket and the thermostat.
Replace and Refill
Continue by inserting a new gasket and thermostat into the housing unit. They should be in the exact position as the old ones. In my vehicle, that means placing the thermostat’s spring away from the radiator hose. Once the new parts are into position, reassemble the housing, re-attach the hose and re-plug the three drain holes. Then refill the reservoir to the max line with coolant. Later, crank up the engine and let it run until you hear the idle drop. Once it does, shut the vehicle back off and re-inspect the reservoir. If needed, add any additional fluid. At this point, your vehicle’s thermostat issue should be resolved.
Source: Personal Experience
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