How to Change a Thermostat in a Ford Expedition

by Dan FerrellUpdated November 07, 2017
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Photo courtesy of IFCAR at

Items you will need

  • Drain pan

  • Slip joint pliers

  • Ratchet and socket

  • Ratchet extension

  • Thermostat O-ring

  • Anti-freeze

The thermostat in your Ford Expedition keeps cold coolant from circulating until the engine reaches its operating temperature. For the most part, thermostats are very reliable regulating units. However, after a period of service, the mechanism fails and may keep the engine out of its temperature operating range. This may drastically affect engine wear and performance.

Put a small drain pan directly underneath the radiator drain valve.

Open the radiator drain valve, using a pair of slip joint pliers if necessary and remove at least two quarts of coolant.

Close the radiator drain valve.

Take the upper radiator hose off the thermostat housing on the side of the engine. Depending on the type of clamp used on your particular vehicle, you may use rib joint pliers or ratchet and socket to remove the clamp.

Disconnect the upper mounting bracket holding the power steering reservoir in place. On some Expedition models, this is necessary to gain access to the thermostat housing.

Remove any other hoses attached to the thermostat housing if you have a 5.4L engine model. Use pliers or a ratchet and socket to disconnect the hoses.

Unscrew the two mounting bolts from the thermostat housing using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Lift the thermostat housing and thermostat unit. Discard the thermostat O-ring.

Install the new thermostat in place, along with a new O-ring. Make sure the thermostat spring points towards the engine.

Set the thermostat housing in place and start the two mounting bolts by hands. This will prevent damage to the threads.

Tighten the two thermostat housing mounting bolts using the ratchet and socket.

Connect the upper mounting bracket that holds the power steering reservoir in place if you had to disconnect it.

Hook the upper radiator hose to the thermostat housing and tighten the clamp using the rib joint pliers or ratchet and socket.

Connect any other hoses you disconnected from the thermostat housing if you have a 5.4L engine model.

Add 50 percent water and 50 percent anti-freeze to the cooling system. Pour the coolant through the radiator neck using a funnel, if necessary, and make sure the coolant reservoir level is between the "low" and "full" marks.

Turn on the engine and let it idle for about four minutes to bring the engine to operating temperature.

Check the coolant reservoir and add more coolant to bring the level between the "low" and "full" marks if necessary.

Turn off the engine.


The sweet taste of ethylene glycol in antifreeze may attract pets and young kids with fatal results. Store coolant in a closed container in a safe place. Never remove the radiator or coolant reservoir cap in a hot engine. Hot coolant may blow out and cause severe burns or injuries.

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