How to Replace a Thermostat in Dodge Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Thermostats are devices inside the cooling system of a car that allow the water to circulate throughout the engine to cool down the various mechanical parts. An engine does not run optimally unless it is at a particular, regulated temperature. And a thermostat is a type of valve that is designed to open when the engine reaches a particular temperature. When that temperature is reached, the thermostat valve opens and the water circulates through the engine cooling it and regulating it. In the Dodge car a medium-sized pickup truck, it could be a devastating breakdown if the thermostat sticks or breaks as the entire engine may be destroyed from overheating. Changing the thermostat in a Dodge car is not difficult and could save you significant money and time in the long run.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace a Thermostat in a Grand Caravan

Disconnect the Caravan's negative battery cable. Drain the engine coolant into a clean container by removing the drain plug from the radiator, then at the engine block drain plugs. The engine must be cool before you do this.

Locate the upper radiator hose and follow it to the engine. This hose will be connected to the thermostat housing cover. Disconnect the hose from the fitting by loosening hose clamp. If the hose is stuck, twist it with adjustable pliers to break its seal.

Remove the housing cover from the thermostat by removing its fasteners. Tap it loose with a soft-face hammer if it is stuck. Expect some engine coolant to spill out as you remove the cover.

Disconnect the old thermostat from the engine. If the van has a V6 engine, a stock thermostat is "staked" in place with small bits of material in two places that you must remove. Clean the mating surface after removal and remove all traces of the old gasket.

Install your new thermostat in the exact same position that the old one was in, placing its jiggle pin at the 12 o'clock position and its spring end going into the engine. Install a new gasket on the thermostat, orienting it in the same way as the old one was.

Reconnect the housing cover, tightening its bolts to 21 foot pounds. Attach the radiator hose and make sure the hose clamp is securely tight.

Connect the negative battery cable. Refill the cooling system through the radiator filler neck until the neck is close to overflow, then refill the reservoir's level to between the "Full Hot" and "Add" marks.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable pliers

  • Soft face hammer

  • Thermostat

  • Thermostat gasket

 How to Change the Thermostat in a 2001 Dodge Stratus

2.0L and 2.4L Engines

Locate the thermostat by following the upper radiator hose if your car has a four-cylinder engine, or the lower hose if your car has a six-cylinder engine. The hoses are thick rubber hoses that run from the radiator. The other end of the appropriate hose attaches to the engine block at the thermostat housing. Place a drain pan below the thermostat housing, then disconnect the hoses from the housing. To remove the hoses, squeeze the tabs on the clamps with a pair of pliers. Make sure that the coolant drains into the pan.

Unbolt the coolant outlet connector from the thermostat housing to reveal the thermostat. It is held in place by two bolts. Remove and replace the thermostat and gasket underneath. Bolt the connector back in place and reattach all hoses you disconnected in the previous step.

Refill the coolant tank with the drained coolant. Run the engine with the radiator cap removed for at least ten minutes to bleed air from the system. Replace the cap.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan

  • Pliers

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket set, metric

 How to Change the Thermostat in a Dodge Durango

Disconnect negative battery cable from the battery. Use a jack and jack stands or wheel ramps to raise the front of your Durango. Locate radiator draincock at left side of the bottom of the radiator, facing the rear of the Durango.

Drain coolant into a suitable container. Allow reserve tank to empty, then remove radiator cap and continue draining. Save for reuse if coolant is relatively new and clean. For Dodge Durangos equipped with air-conditioning, remove the generator by loosening mounting bracket at the intake manifold.

Use a socket wrench to loosen automatic belt tensioner on Dodge Durangos with 3.9, 5.2 or 5.9 liter engines. Turn tensioner assembly clockwise to remove belt. Take out mounting bolts for generator. Leave all wiring attached except for 4-wheel drive indicator lamp wiring at the rear of the generator.

Follow the top radiator hose to the intake manifold if the engine of your Dodge Durango is 5.7 or 5.9 liter, and the bottom hose if the engine is 3.7 or 4.7 liter. Remove the tension hose clamp from the end of the radiator hose and pull hose off the thermostat housing.

Remove two bolts from the thermostat housing cover and take off cover. Take out old gasket and thermostat. Clean residue from around the inside of the thermostat housing cover. Slide new thermostat into housing with spring side down. Place new gasket over thermostat.

Replace the thermostat housing cover and reattach radiator hose. Reassemble belt tensioner and reattach generator. Add reserve or new coolant to the radiator. Run the Durango until the engine gets warm and check for leaks.

Items you will need

  • Jack and jack stands or wheel ramps

  • Container

  • Socket/wrench

  • Clamp tool

  • Thermostat and gasket

 How to Change the Thermostat in a Dodge Intrepid

Raise your Dodge Intrepid with a jack and lower onto jack stands, or use wheel ramps. Disconnect the negative cable from the battery. Open the drain plug at the bottom of the radiator and drain the coolant into a suitable container. Reuse the coolant if relatively new and clean.

Follow the upper radiator hose to the thermostat housing in all engine types except the 2.7L. In Intrepids with 2.7L engines, follow the lower radiator hose to the thermostat housing. Loosen the hose clamp at the end of the radiator hose with a screwdriver and pull the hose off the thermostat housing.

Unbolt the two bolts holding the thermostat housing cover on and pull off the cover. In 2.7L Intrepid engines, it is easier to gain access to the thermostat housing behind the alternator by working from beneath the engine.

Note the position of the old thermostat and remove. Install the new thermostat with the spring-side facing into the engine. Clean any old gasket residue from inside the thermostat housing cover. Install the new thermostat gasket.

Reinstall the thermostat housing cover and tighten bolts to 105 inch/pounds. Reattach the radiator hose and tighten the hose clamp. Refill the radiator with reserve or new coolant. Reattach the negative battery cable.

Start your Dodge Intrepid and allow it to run with the heater on high until it reaches normal operating temperature. Check radiator hose for leaks and tighten the hose clamp to stop any leaks, if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Jack and jack stands or wheel ramps

  • Container

  • Screwdriver

  • Socket or wrench

  • Thermostat and gasket

 How to Change a Thermostat on a Dodge Dakota

Crawl under the truck and locate the radiator drain plug at the lower passenger side corner of the radiator.

Use the socket set to remove the drain plug and let the radiator fluid drain out into the catch pan.

Locate the thermostat. On the 4.7-liter engine it is located at the end of the hose coming out of the radiator. On the 3.9-liter and 5.9-liter engines it is located at the top radiator hose where it goes into the engine. Follow the radiator hoses until you find where the thermostat is bolted in.

Use the screwdriver to remove the bolts and slide the hose off of the thermostat.

Place the new thermostat in its place. Screw the bolts back in to mount the thermostat securely.

Fill the radiator with a 50-50 water to coolant mixture up to the recommended amount.

Start the truck up to see if the thermostat is opening or not.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver (flathead)

  • New thermostat

  • Socket set

  • Drainage catch pan

 How to Change the Thermostat in a Dodge Ram

Park your Dodge Ram facing downhill, if possible. Disconnect the negative battery cable. Loosen the drain plug on the bottom right side of the radiator. Attach a piece of garden hose to the plug to drain the coolant into a container. Reuse the coolant later if it is relatively clean and new.

Follow the upper radiator hose to the top of the engine block to find the thermostat housing if your Dodge Ram was manufactured before 2004. In later models, the thermostat housing may be located at the end of the lower radiator hose.

Use pliers or clamp tool to remove clip holding the radiator hose to the thermostat housing. Loosen bolts attaching the cover to the thermostat housing and remove.

Note the position of the old thermostat and remove. Install the new thermostat in exactly the same position. Scrape old gasket residue from the inside of the housing cover. Install the new gasket.

Reattach the thermostat housing cover and upper radiator hose. Fill the radiator with reserve or new coolant. Run your Dodge Ram with the heater blowing on high until the engine warms up. Check for leaks.

About the Author

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