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Dodge Intrepid 1999 3.2
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I bought this car 01/01/2021 for $1000. Said needed thermostat. Well. I've been slowly taking it apart. As I take off the hoses to the radiator, they are dry. Noticed the fans don't come on either. Not sure if ac works cause nothing happens with the buttons, but cool air comes out always. I bought the water pump, thermostat, and a belt. It takes 2. I bought a hayes book yesterday and getting that in like an hour. Because, I do not see water pump, or thermostat. Hoping the book helps. So... My question is... Why no fluids in the hoses? Could that be because of water pump and thermostat. I will be pricing radiator and fans when I pick up the book. Talk to me please. I really haven't a clue. Just diddling to fix this car. You tube isn't helping. And white smoke.
 

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The water pump is in the engine. Right next to the timing belt. Did you make sure that there was even engine coolant in the reservoir? Also, check the engine oil to see if it looks milky. That will tell you if it needs a head gasket. DON'T THROW MONEY AND PARTS AT IT IF YOU AREN'T SURE WHAT IT IS! However, getting the repair manual is a good call. The thermostat is under the intake manifold. If you decide to change the water pump, make sure to change the timing belt. The engine if I am correct is an interference engine. Which means that if the timing belt breaks, the pistons will hit the valves. That will be even more expensive to repair.
 

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THAT IS NOT THE THERMOSTAT.

The thermostat is on the driver's side of the engine below the alternator, and just forward of the oil filter. You can replace it from underneath, or from above by removing the alternator. I prefer from above after removing the alternator. There are some tricks to installing the thermostat, which we can post later.

Timing belt change interval is 105k miles or 7 years, whichever comes first.
 

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I always thought that the thermostat was under the intake manifold. Thanks Peva and Ronbo for clearing it up! You learn new things everyday.
 

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You're welcome.

I am guessing that the hose that I was pointing to is the line that brings the coolant back into the radiator.
The hose at center-bottom of the photo is the upper radiator hose - yes.
 

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Dodge Intrepid 1999 3.2
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The water pump is in the engine. Right next to the timing belt. Did you make sure that there was even engine coolant in the reservoir? Also, check the engine oil to see if it looks milky. That will tell you if it needs a head gasket. DON'T THROW MONEY AND PARTS AT IT IF YOU AREN'T SURE WHAT IT IS! However, getting the repair manual is a good call. The thermostat is under the intake manifold. If you decide to change the water pump, make sure to change the timing belt. The engine if I am correct is an interference engine. Which means that if the timing belt breaks, the pistons will hit the valves. That will be even more expensive to repair.
I got off the radiator and fans. Couldn't remove the harmonic balancer pulley. I did remove the panel behind and have visual of the water pump and timing belt. I will check the coolant tomorrow for milkiness. I'm done for tonight. Thank you for your suggestions. I'll write more tomorrow on where I am.
 

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The thermostat is on the side of the engine. Sorry, about giving you the wrong information. You should check the other posts for the correct location.
 

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I got off the radiator and fans. Couldn't remove the harmonic balancer pulley. I did remove the panel behind and have visual of the water pump and timing belt. I will check the coolant tomorrow for milkiness. I'm done for tonight. Thank you for your suggestions. I'll write more tomorrow on where I am.
Adance and O'Reillys have loaner harmonic balancer removers. It takes a newer type that has a pusher rod that inserts into a hole in the front of the crankshaft. You could have left the radiator in, but no harm in removing it - just a bit more work but gives you more room to work. Disconnecting the transmission cooler hoses and the screw and bracket that route the hoses on the driver's side end of the radiator can be a PITA. You may have to pull the driver's side headlight and work with a socket extension from inside the fender area to get that hose bracket and screw reinstalled.

Make sure you get the transmission cooler hose clamps tight when you re-install - they have a tendency to leak if not tight, and they're impossible to get to to re-tighten without removing the fan assembly. I found that a 1/4" socket was the only way to tighten those hose clamps - and, again, must be done before the fan assembly goes back on.

I recommend replacing the trans. cooler hose clamps with power steering hose clamps of the right size (NAPA). They evenly compress the hose all around, so they seal well with moderate tightening. The factory clamps are very uneven clamping, and you have to really crank down on them so they don't leak - risking hose cut-through:

41277
 

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Ok. Thank you for the advise. I replace the water pump, thermostat, and fan. I did have to take out the radiator to get out the harmonic balancer. I got everything put back together. Put in coolant and it is pouring out somewhere I think near the thermostat. I'm going to take a break and check where the leak is coming from. It's like a hose isn't connected. So I have to lift up the car to do a visual. Hmmm... All this was supposed to run smoothly. Haha
 

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Discussion Starter #17

The water pump is in the engine. Right next to the timing belt. Did you make sure that there was even engine coolant in the reservoir? Also, check the engine oil to see if it looks milky. That will tell you if it needs a head gasket. DON'T THROW MONEY AND PARTS AT IT IF YOU AREN'T SURE WHAT IT IS! However, getting the repair manual is a good call. The thermostat is under the intake manifold. If you decide to change the water pump, make sure to change the timing belt. The engine if I am correct is an interference engine. Which means that if the timing belt breaks, the pistons will hit the valves. That will be even more expensive to repair.
No milky substance in the oil from what I can see.
 

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That's great to hear! I don't know if the thermostat housing uses a gasket. If anyone knows then that would help a lot. You should make sure that all of the hoses are put on tightly and are secured. Make sure to update us on anything new.
 

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There is a gasket on the t-stat housing. It's difficult to install the t-stat cover while keeping the gasket and t-stat in proper position. I alluded to that in my earlier post. The t-stat tends to fall off center and wedges between the cover and base, then the gasket won't seal. That may or may not be your problem. A technique has been posted for that in the past - I'll try to find that to copy/paste to save me some typing.
 
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