How to Install Dodge Caravan Thermostat

by Dan Ferrell
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Photo courtesy of IFCAR at Wikipedia.org.

A bad thermostat on your Dodge Caravan may cause the engine to overheat or prevent it from reaching operating temperature. Either way, costly repairs may result if the thermostat is not replaced on time. You can install a new unit using some common tools you may already have in your toolbox. Follow this guide to change the thermostat, whether you have a 2.4L, 3.3L or 3.8L engine model.

Removing the Thermostat

Step 1

Place a drain pan under the radiator valve.

Step 2

Remove the radiator cap and open the radiator drain valve to remove at least half a gallon of coolant.

Step 3

Close the radiator drain valve.

Step 4

Disconnect the upper radiator hose at the water-outlet housing, on the engine side. Use a Phillips screwdriver, rib joint pliers or ratchet and socket, depending on the type of clamp used on your particular model.

Step 5

Remove the two water-outlet housing bolts using a ratchet and socket.

Lift the water-outlet housing off the engine and remove the thermostat and gasket.

Installing the Thermostat

Step 1

Clean the sealing surfaces on the water-outlet housing and engine using a plastic scraper to avoid damage to the surfaces.

Step 2

Remove bulged metal on the thermostat engine-mounting surface if you have a 3.3L or 3.8L engine. Dodge stakes the thermostat in place using extra metal to make a perfect fit, which is not necessary after you replace the thermostat. Use a metal scraper to remove the extra metal if necessary.

Step 3

Douse the new thermostat gasket in clean water if you have a 2.4L engine model.

Step 4

Set the new thermostat in place. If you have a 2.4L engine, the bleed hole on the thermostat should point upward. If you have a 3.3L or 3.8L engine, align the two notches on the thermostat with the small bumps on the mounting surface on the engine.

Step 5

Set the water-housing outlet in place along with the new gasket and start the two mounting bolts by hand to avoid damage to the threads. Then tighten the bolts.

Step 6

Install the radiator hose on the water-housing outlet and tighten the clamp.

Refill the cooling system with 50 percent water and 50 percent anti-freeze and replace the radiator cap.

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