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How to Change the Thermostat in a Toyota Tacoma

by Contributor

Toyota introduced Tacoma in 1995. Since then it's been a favorite in the compact pickup market, especially among used-vehicle shoppers. The 2001 Tacoma debuted the double cab body style with lots of room and four doors. Toyota continued to add to Tacoma's impressive options list through the end of the first generation in 2004. The following steps detail the installation of a new thermostat on the 2RZ-FE and 3RZ-FE engines.

Step 1

Make sure the engine and radiator are completely cool, then drain the coolant from the engine. Store the coolant in a suitable container.

Step 2

Take off the lower radiator hose, then remove the two nuts as well as the water inlet. Lift the thermostat and its gasket from the water pump.

Step 3

Remove the used gasket from the thermostat and discard it. Clean the gasket mating surfaces of any gasket material or dirt. Set a new gasket on the thermostat.

Step 4

Line up the jiggle valve on the thermostat with the protrusion of the water inlet housing. Set the thermostat in position in the water inlet housing.

Step 5

Put the water inlet in place and secure it with the two nuts. Torque the nuts to 20 ft. lbs. Reconnect the lower radiator hose.

Step 6

Refill the engine with coolant to the recommended levels. Use the recommended coolant and mix.

Start the engine and allow it to run for a few minutes. Check for leaks and make the necessary adjustments. Turn off the engine and add coolant as needed.


  • No special tools are required to remove or reconnect hoses.
  • Label the hose and its connectors before separating.


  • Ingesting coolant is often fatal in small pet and animals. Drain coolant into a sealable container. You can reuse the coolant unless it's contaminated or old.

Items you will need

  • Mechanic's toolset, including a full socket set, wrenches and screwdrivers
  • Replacement thermostat, new or rebuilt
  • New gasket for thermostat

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