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How to Change the Thermostat in a 2002 Altima

by Zyon Silket

When the thermostat stops working on your 2002 Nissan Altima it will fail-safe. This means the thermostat will fail in a manner that limits the amount of fluid flowing through the engine. The result of a failed thermostat is a lack of heat produced inside of the vehicle. During the summer, the impact is minimal; but during the winter, the driver will be subject to a very cold drive. The only way to correct this is to replace the thermostat by removing it from the intake manifold and replacing it with a new one.

Locate the thermostat housing by following the radiator hose from the radiator to where it connects to the engine. The metal part that the hose connects to is the thermostat housing. Remove the hose from the housing by squeezing the hose clamp's tabs together and then pull on the hose.

Remove the 10 mm bolts that secure the thermostat housing to the intake manifold of the Altima. Lift the housing off the intake manifold to expose the thermostat gasket and the thermostat.

Lift the thermostat gasket off of the intake manifold and discard it. If you do not see the thermostat gasket on the intake manifold, inspect the bottom of the thermostat housing. It may be stuck there.

Pull the old thermostat out of the intake manifold of the Altima and discard it. Place the new thermostat into the hole with the end marked "top" facing out of the intake.

Place a bead of RTV gasket maker on the bottom edge of the thermostat housing. The silicone in the RTV gasket maker acts as a seal between the thermostat housing and the intake manifold.

Bolt the thermostat housing back onto the intake manifold of the Altima. Do not over-tighten the thermostat housing. Doing so can cause the housing to crack. If the housing does crack, replace with a new one.

Remove the old clamp from the radiator hose and place a band clamp onto the hose. Push the hose onto the thermostat housing and secure the band clamp by tightening it with a screwdriver. The band clamp provides even pressure and will prevent leaks that may occur with the old pressure-style clamp.

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About the Author

Since 2006 Zyon Silket has been writing for companies such as SEOWhat, L&C Freelancing and T-Mobile Wireless. He has extensive experience working in supervisory roles within the wireless and Internet technologies fields. Silket is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in business management and network technologies at Lehigh Carbon Community College.

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  • radiator humor image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com