Pictures of how I changed the Thermostat on my 87-95 Nissan Pathfinder.
I buy a thermostat from Napa for $8.
How difficult can it be?
Pretty damn difficult, that's how difficult.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- Mechanical Thermostat
- This is a spring loaded valve. At a specified temperature, 180° F, the valve opens. This allows HOT water from the engine to circulate through the radiator to cool.
- Make a gasket paper
- Make a gasket RTV silicone stuff
- 12 mm socket
- Magnet on a stick
Drain radiator out of stupid leaky as hell drain COCK (I had to remove the skid plate to get to it)
Remove the upper radiator hose and fan shroud.
Unbolt the lower hose pipe, remove the pipe from the thermostat hose, and remove the hose from the radiator.
Before I remove the thermostat housing, it might help to mark which side is up - with liquid paper or something. Luckily, mine has this little "flange" or whatever on the up side. Also I was taking these pictures and that helped a lot.
Remove thermostat housing - 3 bolts, 12mm.
I actually did it with the fan shroud still in. Big mistake. The shroud is so easy to remove and install and makes a huge difference.
Use one of those telescoping magnet pointer things to find the bolts that held the thermostat. One of the bolts is in the pan of coolant under the car, one is behind the water pump pulley, and the third bolt is actually balanced on the main pulley behind a belt where I can not see it from any angle.
Remove the thermostat - I grabbed it with a pair of pliers. It came out easily, I just needed a grip.
Clean pipes with putty knife, sandpaper, wire brush
Make a new gasket - The guy at Napa said I didn't need a new paper gasket. He said the "Water Pump and Thermostat RTV Silicone" was all I needed. But darnit, there was a paper gasket and silicone in there originally, so I traced the old one and cut out a new one.
Install the new thermostat with the "jiggle valve" up.
- Goop up the housing gasket with RTV silicone gasket maker (no pic because I was trying to hurry (and I was covered with silicone)).
- Try to install the thermostat housing.
- Get the magnet and start looking for the bolts I dropped.
- Clean the semi hard silicone off the gasket and start over.
- Install the housing.
- Ice my back and curse the bastard who designed this nightmare.
Reinstall the pipe and the lower hose.
- Make sure all the clamps are on the hoses BEFORE I install them (oops).
- That "extra" bolt holds the pipe.
- Install fan shroud - gently, slowly, watch those nice radiator fins.
- Install upper hose - remember to route that little reservoir hose below the upper hose.
- The silicone says hardens in 24 hours. I waited 20 hours before I filled it up and started the engine.
- Then I finished my beer.
Donate to CharityIf this site has helped you, or even if it hasn't, please help care for abused and neglected children by making a donation to The Valley of the Moon Children's Home. That's right, abused and neglected children. Visit their website and try not to cry, you cold hearted bastard. Their site talks about how they achieved their goals and built a new home, but that was years ago. They still need cash to take care of all the kids there. Breaks my heart and pisses me off.
Think: Cars are expensive, powerful, and heavy. Before I start work, I face the possibility that I will destroy my vehicle, my own life, and innocent pedestrians' lives. If anyone messes with a 4000 lb machine capable of 100 mph, these are real possibilities. If I get in over my head, I call a professional mechanic. The information on this website is provided only for entertainment purposes, and it is not intended as advice on how to service a vehicle. For all you know I made this up. Don`t believe everything you read on the internet.
Disclaimer: The technical information in these documents is provided without any warranty whatsoever and at no cost. All information is in general terms and is not meant to apply to your particular situation, be current at the time you read it, or even be correct in the first place. Improperly maintained vehicles can lead to serious injury, death, or unavoidable accidents. The author is not responsible for any errors on this site, and does not make any claim at all about the validity, safety, or veracity of the information contained on this website. Any work you choose to do or not to do on your vehicle is done at your own risk. The information on this site is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional advice, professional workmanship, dealer service, union labor, or psychological counseling. The author disclaims any and all liability directly or indirectly arising from the application or use of any information or idea contained on this or any other web site. By opening this page, you agree to never sue anyone ever or allow anyone to be sued on your behalf. The appropriate professional should be consulted regarding your specific condition. BeerGarage.com does not take responsibility for the information posted on other sites to which it links.
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Last modified: 11/25/2013