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How to Change the Thermostat on a 2.8 VW Engine

by Joshua Benjamin

It shouldn't come as too great a shock to find out that the thermostat on your VW is one of the more crucial parts when it comes to monitoring and regulating the internal temperature of your engine. It is essentially a heat-triggered valve that allows coolant from your radiator to flow into your engine once a certain operating temperature is reached. The hotter your engine gets, the wider the thermostat opens, and the more coolant gets pumped into your engine to cool it back down. Because of wear and tear--and because it has liquids flowing around it almost constantly--thermostats will have to be replaced periodically as they break down or become rusty, otherwise you risk overheating your car.

Locate your thermostat housing. This can be done by starting at the large hose connected to the top of your radiator and following it to where it connects to the engine. The housing on the other end of the hose can be removed, and you will find the thermostat underneath.

Use your wrench or your ratchet and socket to remove the thermostat bolts securing down the thermostat housing. Bolt sizes will vary depending on the model and year of the vehicle in question.

Pull back the thermostat housing to expose the thermostat. Note how the thermostat is oriented, and then remove it from the engine. Once you have the thermostat, you may discard it.

Use your razor blade or scraper tool to remove the remains of the thermostat gasket from the engine and from the housing.

Coat the bottom of the thermostat housing with a light layer of gasket sealant. Place the new gasket--it will have come with the thermostat when you purchased it--on the sealant, making sure that the gasket is oriented correctly to the housing.

Place the new thermostat into the engine block and orient it the way you noted in step 3.

Re-set the thermostat housing over the thermostat and screw the bolts back in to tighten it down.

Tips

  • If you want to make your thermostat last as long as possible, use the recommended 50/50 ratio of coolant and water in your radiator. This will cut back on the chance of the thermostat rusting or becoming damaged.
  • Some repair texts suggest that you should drain your radiator before preforming this repair, but that is not necessary. Just keep the radiator hose attached to the housing elevated, and you should not loose more than a small amount of radiator fluid.

Warnings

  • Make sure your VW is completely cool before you start this operation.
  • Some coolant may leak out of the radiator hose when you disconnect it from the engine. If this happens, be sure to fill up the radiator again before starting up your vehicle again.

Items you will need

About the Author

Joshua Benjamin began as a professional freelance writer in 2009. He has successfully published numerous articles spanning a broad range of topics. Benjamin's areas of expertise include auto repair, computer hardware and software, firearms operation and maintenance, and home repair and maintenance. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration from California State University, Fresno.

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