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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

This is my first post here.... I'm really not a car buff guy but I'm tired of paying outrageous amounts of money to mechanics (mine's a nice guy).

I started having an issue 2 days ago... the gauge never reaches it's normal temperature. Usually it sits almost half way up... now it only gets to the first little line. Also, if I turn on the heat, I notice the temperature goes back down.

Based on everything I've read... I think it might be:

- low on coolant (I checked and it's fine)
- Air pocket in the hose
- need to change the thermostat

I'm not sure how to do the last 2. Is this something I can attempt? If so, can anyone explain the procedure? Maybe even with a picture or diagram? I read about the goose neck but I can't find that.

...or should I just forget this and go to the mechanic? I'd really like to give it a shot if possible.

Thanks in advance.

Nelson Cardoso

P.S.

Would this be the part?

Stant Thermostat - Dodge Grand Caravan 1988-1992
Brand: Stant 13789
Vehicle: 1988-1992 Dodge Grand Caravan
Part Name: Thermostat
Fits Years: 88, 89, 90, 91, 92STANT REGULAR ENGINE COOLANT THERMOSTAT -- Original Equipment Replacement
Fits:
2.5L, 4 Cylinder, VIN "K" SE
3.0L, V6, VIN "3" LE
3.0L, V6, VIN "3" SE
 

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I've never done a thermostat on the Caravan, so I can't give you the specific location, but I can give you some decent general information. The thermostat is going to be in a metal housing that bolts to the engine, and has one of the big hoses from the radiator attached to it. You should be able to follow the two big hoses from the radiator back to the engine, and figure out which one attaches to the thermostat housing.

Generally, the job is done as follows. Let the engine cool down completely (over night is best). Drain as much fluid from the radiator as possible by opening the petcock (valve) at the bottom of the radiator, and draining fluid into a bucket. If there is no valve at the bottom of the radiator, you can remove the lower radiator hose to drain it. When you are done draining, close the valve, or replace and tighten the hose.

Next, remove the hose that is attached to the thermostat housing. Then, unbolt the thermostat housing. If it won't come off, tap it with a deadblow hammer, or use a stick to pry it off. Make note if which direction the thermostat sits in the engine. Carefully scrape away any gasket material left on the engine, and thermostat housing. Apply a small bead of RTV sealant to the thermostat housing, and spread it smooth with your finger.

Install the new thermostat being careful to put it in the same orientation as the old one. Place the thermostat housing in position, and finger tighten the bolts. Torque the thermostat housing bolts to factory specification (look in a service manual, or perhaps someone here will post the correct figure). Replace the radiator hose, and tighten the clamp(s), refill the radiator with fresh coolant. Start the engine, and watch for leaks. Top off the radiator as needed, then put the cap on, and make sure the overflow tank is full to the line.

Over the next couple of days, keep an eye out for leaks, and also top off the coolant overflow tank as needed (as air is purged out of the cooling system, it will draw coolant from the tank).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow!! That was some great detail. Thanks so much for the advice. I'm almost feeling like I can do this.

I'll give things a visual inspection to make sure I can see what you've explained. Then maybe I'll give it a shot.

Thanks again

Nelson
 

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Buy a Haynes manual at AutoZone, Pep Boys or the like. It's only about $16 and will give a step by step with pictures. You'll find it useful for other stuff too if you want to get into some basic repairs. (For bigger repairs, you'd want a factory manual.)

Anyway, it's well worth the money.
 

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Rick is 100% right about that. Note that he said Haynes, NOT Chiltons. I've used both in my days, and have found that the Haynes manual is generally much better than the Chilton's. That is money well spent. I've honestly never purchased a Factory Service Manual for any of my cars, I've always gotten by with the Haynes. I didn't get one for the Caravan yet though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys... I will do that. The book sounds like a great idea.

For anyone wondering...

I did end up going to the mechanic. It was the thermostat... and the housing was cracked so it was leaking. I might have figured out the thermostat problem, but seeing as the housing was also an issue, I'm glad I went to my mechanic.

Thanks for all your responses.

Nelson
 
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