How to Remove and Replace a Thermostat in a Saturn

by Cassandra Tribe
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Toyota Nation

The thermostat in a Saturn acts as a valve to control how much of the coolant reaches the engine, to keep it operating at an even temperature. If your thermostat fails, it can cause your entire engine to overheat and potentially create thousands of dollars in damage. If your Saturn seems to be running hot, or the temperature gauge is not moving from a cold position, change the thermostat immediately. Fortunately, a thermostat in a Saturn is both inexpensive and relatively easy to replace.

Step 1

Park the car on a level surface, turn off the engine and let the engine cool a minimum of 2 hours before beginning to remove and replace the thermostat.

Step 2

Place the bucket under the driver's side corner of the radiator beneath the radiator draincock (located on the bottom of the radiator). Remove the filler cap from the radiator.

Step 3

Shape a large piece of aluminum foil to form a funnel or channel from beneath the draincock to the bucket, Pinch high side walls in the aluminum foil so it will direct the flowing coolant into the bucket and not allow any to spill on the ground or into the engine.

Step 4

Turn the draincock clockwise to open it and drain the coolant from your radiator and hoses. Close the draincock when you have finished draining the system.

Step 5

Locate the thermostat housing. The housing will be on the top of the engine; you can find it easily no matter what model year Saturn you have, by following the main hose coming from the radiator to the engine block. That hose will end at the thermostat housing and there will be one or two houses coming off the housing as well. Disconnect the hoses from the housing.

Step 6

Using your socket set, remove the bolts holding the thermostat housing in place. Put the tip of your paint scraper between the housing and the engine block and pry up gently to remove the housing. Once the housing is free, remove the gasket that was between the housing and the block. If necessary, use the paint scraper to scrape off any old gasket that is stuck to the metal.

Step 7

Pull the old thermostat from its seat. The thermostat has a circular steel top with what looks like a raised handle. Simply lift the old thermostat out and place the new one into position.

Step 8

Lay your new thermostat housing gasket into place and re-install the housing. Tighten the bolts down. Re-connect the hoses and refill your radiator with new coolant.

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