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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Right now I am debating whether or not to replace the thermostat in my 2002 300m. I'm getting a trouble code P0128 (coolant not getting up to temp as soon as it should). It still gets up to operating temp. I usually start the car up and drive about a mile thru town before getting on the interstate on my way to class. Normally my temp gauge will be at the first bar (1/8) after driving about 3 miles. It doesn't get up to operating temp, 3rd mark (or 3/8) on the gauge till I've driven about 11 miles on the interstate.

I've heard that it is a major pain in the a** to replace the thermostat on these 2nd gen 3.5s because they're located in the lower radiator hose. My brother Mike (Micholob) said that if it were him then he wouldn't worry about it, but with the colder season coming up, I'd like to get some other opinions and also any suggestions from members who have already replaced theirs.
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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How many miles on it?

I'll confirm it's a PITA in general. If you have the cable-style hose-clamp tool, you'll save your knuckles and a BUNCH of time.

If you've got access to a lift, even better.
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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Well, block out a bunch of time and prepare to cuss. LOL

I did mine from the front/top, since I had the radiator out for replacement. Still cussed up a storm.

Hardest part is getting the hose clamps off. Again, if you can borrow a set of the cable-style hose-clamp tools, you're golden there.

FSM has good diagrams of what goes where, IIRC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
at the moment I can't remember if there is only a lower radiator hose going to the thermostat housing, or if there are any others. but I did replace the factory hose clamp with one of the screw style ones when I did the timing belt so that shouldn't be so bad
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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The thermostat housing has a line that runs to the back of the engine (heater) as well as the lower hose.

Oh yeah - take off your oil filter to give yourself more room too. :D

 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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Don't forget to get the gasket for the t-stat too... doesn't come with one. I went Felpro. And watch the torque specs on the 2 bolts - they don't get tightened super tight.
 

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thanks for the info. looks like that heater hose clamp might be a pain (if i HAVE to remove it). if i don't have to, i won't
Please let us know about that heater hose clamp, I need to do my '02 sometime soon and I really hate gotcha's.

The 2002 FSM doesn't make it look like the posted pic - and we all know the FSM is always right :icon_wink
 

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...I did mine from the front/top, since I had the radiator out for replacement. Still cussed up a storm.

Hardest part is getting the hose clamps off. Again, if you can borrow a set of the cable-style hose-clamp tools, you're golden there...
I just did mine also with a rad. replacement. I tell you what - I've been talking about getting a set of the cable-type hose clamp pliers - I finally did get a pair for this job, I just wish I had bought them years ago. I thought they might be a good investment, but they surpassed my expectations. I got them at AZ for $35 (part number). Worth every penny!

I prefer the spring type (factory original) hose clamps because they maintain an even squeeze on hoses even with the hose material relaxing over time.

I also agree about doing the t-stat from the top (remove the alternator). Working standing up is so much better than lying on the ground.
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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It's possible that the 02+ cars have a different routing for heater connections... I haven't seen the FSM pages for anything other than my model year.
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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One other thing - the OE t-stat will be 'staked' into the housing - will need to persuade that rascal out of there. You'll see what I mean once the housing is off of the car.
 

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x2 on going at it from above...remove the alternator.

You can try leaving the heater hose on the housing, but it doesn't allow the housing much movement. Makes it a PITA to get the housing, t-stat and gasket assembly back onto the block in the right position.

Also, be sure to put the new T-Stat in the right direction (coil side into the block IIRC). It fits into the housing either way.

Also, I believe the relieve valve on the t-stat is supposed to be positioned at 12:00
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Once again, thanks for the info. At the moment my plan is to replace the thermostat on monday when I start the oil change.

I've been leaking a little oil everywhere I go and I've found a small crack in the rear of the pan. I don't know how it developed but I do know a certified welder who has experience with aluminum. So, my plans are to remove the pan on monday, have it taken to the welder on tuesday, and hopefully have it back together tuesday night - wednesday at the latest.
 

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Also, be sure to put the new T-Stat in the right direction (coil side into the block IIRC). It fits into the housing either way.

Also, I believe the relieve valve on the t-stat is supposed to be positioned at 12:00
When I changed mine recently, the thermostat could only be positioned correctly. It was impossible to install backwards. Check me, perhaps it depends on the brand of thermostat?

Oh and x3 on the difficult install. I thought that everyone was exaggerating the pain, however I discovered for myself -- the pain is REAL!
 

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When I changed mine recently, the thermostat could only be positioned correctly. It was impossible to install backwards. Check me, perhaps it depends on the brand of thermostat?...
I was thinking that it depends on the brand of thermostat. Darn it - I just changed my thermostat a couple of days ago - I had intended to see if it could be put in backwards (with the Gates one that the dealers now sell as OEM) and I forgot to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
UPDATE:

AND NOW I REMEMBER WHY I CHOSE DIESEL MECHANICS OVER GAS!!!!

As far as the thermostat goes, I am installing a Stant brand replacement that I got at advance auto. It IS possible to install that one backwards, and it has a small half moon shaped cut-out in the bottom part of it to align it correctly. I have almost finished the thermostat replacement (without needing to remove the heater hose).

What I thought was a small crack in the pan upon closer inspection looks to be a scratch that was covered in oil which caused it to look more like a crack. I need to get the oil pan off so I can figure out if it was the pan gasket that was leaking or if there is some other problem. I have yet to fully remove the oil pan from the engine because I am having trouble removing the dipstick tube.

That being said, Can anybody give me any helpful suggestions as far as removing the dipstick tube? the mounting bolt behind the compressor has been removed, i have tried using pliers to pull the tube out of the pan, and i have tried to pry up on the little lip that seats against the top of the pan (with no success). I sprayed it with Kroil a couple hours ago and I plan to attempt to remove it again tomorrow.
 

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I think I'm going to attempt this as well this weekend. I should have done it when I replaced my radiator last month. Can it be done from the bottom on jack stands? I plan to order from advance auto:

35631 Felpro Gasket
14358 Stant Thermostat

Is the hose clamp tool really necessary due to the tight fit, or should I pick up hose clamp pliers? Was considering Astro Pnuematics AST9409A.
 
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