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Could New Thermostat Be Bad?


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tjdean01
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Feb 7, 2011, 10:33 PM

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Hey, guys. I was scouring "search" for the answer and although I didn't find it I learned some pretty interesting stuff! I just bought a 1998 Toyota Camry (4 cyl, 2.2L). Nice running car, quiet, clean, and only $900!

When I bought the car I was getting only a little heat and the temp gauge was at the lowest mark so I assumed the thermostat was stuck open. I completely removed the thermostat, entirely drained the coolant system, and flushed it out with garden hose while engine running and heat on. I shot the hose into all hoses and inlets and in all directions. Then I sealed up the system and ran it for a while with the heat on and 100% hose water as coolant (still no thermostat). The engine still didn't really heat up but I was getting a little more heat than before (probably because water gets hotter than coolant?). Then I drained the hose water and repeated this procedure two more times with distilled water (heat on, engine running, about a gallon of distilled water as coolant) and continued to get a little bit of heat.

Now the engine was completely clean and I added the brand new Duralast Thermostat from Autozone in the correct direction (spring facing engine). I drained all the distilled water and added 50/50 antifreeze, slowly, while engine was running with heat on. Problem: I got absolutely no heat and after a couple minutes the temperature gauge shot all the way up near "HOT." Could this state-of-the-art $7 thermostat be the problem?

Another thing: the original Toyota thermostat had a "jiggle-valve" which, according to the manual, is supposed to be in a certain position. The Duralast thermostat, however, doesn't have this valve, so I just threw it in without rotating it to any particular degree. I've read around the web and others have said that this doesn't matter, but I'm just putting that out here.

I'd truly appreciate any help anyone can give me. I'd sure hate to pay $200 to have a mechanic do it when I only bought it as winter beater.


tjdean01
Novice

Feb 8, 2011, 10:34 PM

Post #2 of 15 (4863 views)
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Well, I went out the next morning and removed the thermostat, figuring I could drive it like that for a few days. Well, the car still didn't get any heat, which was extremely odd considering I was getting heat the day before with water as coolant. I drove it around the block (4 miles) and I got no heat at all, and the temp was at about half but then it dropped and stayed at very cold. Where was the heat going? It surely wasn't coming into the car. And then, after about 2-3 miles, when I stopped, the engine's idle dropped WAY low, down to like 500. So much that it was about to stall.

So, that's where I am. I'm not sure what the problem is, but something definitely changed. I don't know how it was running fine with water but not with coolant.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Feb 9, 2011, 8:31 AM

Post #3 of 15 (4858 views)
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You keep trying to self medicate and keep removing those quality Toyota parts and replacing them with Chinese junk from Autozone and your problems are just beginning.
How did you conclude that your problem was originating in the engine to start with?




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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Feb 9, 2011, 3:57 PM

Post #4 of 15 (4853 views)
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LMAO - Autozone is for car wax or forget the place!

"Can thermostat be bad"

Never in decades but surely possible. Didn't read the whole thread but too many people think a thermostat is the whole problem and rarely is,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


tjdean01
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Feb 10, 2011, 1:21 AM

Post #5 of 15 (4844 views)
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The Toyota thermostat was the one that went bad. It was stock. The new one is from Israel; and Autozone, O'Reily's, and Advance Auto are my only choices, unless if I order online. I didn't know what the problem was so I checked what I thought, and indeed the thermostat was stuck open, but there's likely another problem.

Today the car worked fine (no thermostat). I don't understand how these things change overnight. And the mechanic said they won't look at it unless if there's a thermostat in it, which is weird, but I'll just put the old one in and take it in to them :(



(This post was edited by tjdean01 on Feb 10, 2011, 1:27 AM)


Hammer Time
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Feb 10, 2011, 7:32 AM

Post #6 of 15 (4836 views)
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No, it's not weird. You shouldn't be messing with the thermostat. It's not your problem and the car HAS to have a thermostat or you create a whole new set of problems.




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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Feb 10, 2011, 8:35 AM

Post #7 of 15 (4833 views)
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Do I have to poop my pants in laughter?

Tom


tjdean01
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Feb 14, 2011, 1:53 PM

Post #8 of 15 (4820 views)
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Do I have to poop my pants in laughter?

Tom

I'm sorry if I missed something. After reading through the threads I was under the impression someone who doesn't know much about cars could come get advice without being made fun of.


@Hammer: Thanks. I'll break or drill a few holes in the thermostat and put it back in and take it into the mechanic. If I put the new one in it will overheat before I get there :(



(This post was edited by tjdean01 on Feb 14, 2011, 1:54 PM)


Hammer Time
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Feb 14, 2011, 2:34 PM

Post #9 of 15 (4814 views)
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Quote
@Hammer: Thanks. I'll break or drill a few holes in the thermostat and put it back in and take it into the mechanic. If I put the new one in it will overheat before I get there :(


Real bad idea. The car HAS to have a working thermostat.
If it overheats too much, use a tow truck.




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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Feb 14, 2011, 2:35 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Feb 14, 2011, 2:39 PM

Post #10 of 15 (4811 views)
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Sorry tj - we are here to help.

Re-read first post and engine was running cold and not much heat would be expected. I'd guess thermostat was stuck open but you would feel warmth out to radiator way too early if so which would have helped with diagnosis.

What may have happened is it still wasn't properly full of coolant when replaced which could/would overheat if low enough and produce little to no heat. That jiggle valve is to be at the top if positioned vertically and is really there to help let trapped air out when filling. It can take quite a while even with that feature. Some use a notch some nothing.

Even the zone can sell ok parts - you just need to know what stuff to avoid. Israel does make a lot of parts and so far I find them ok for stuff made there.

Right now the guess is it had quite an air pocket when replaced or could really have been a bad one?

Trouble is how hard did this overheat? That could have caused more problems then you want to know about and a boiling cooling system won't throw heat either as the bubbles don't throw heat like hot coolant.

I'd test old one or just look at it to see if it's open when cold. New one could be tested in a pan of water with a thermometer which some people used to do all the time.

Just hope that the overheat didn't cause problems now,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


tjdean01
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Feb 14, 2011, 3:39 PM

Post #11 of 15 (4807 views)
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Wow! Thanks! My plan was to try a new thermostat with a bleed hole in it or else to drill a hole myself. But at the hardware/auto parts store the guy said he could order a more expensive thermostat with the jiggle valve and have it within 2 hours. So I might as well at least try because the little valve will help bleed the air bubbles, if indeed that's the problem, but unlike the hole will only allow it to flow one way when thermostat is closed. I hope this is it!

About the overheating, it didn't actually overheat, it just started to. So, if you picture a gauge with 1-10 on it, and a normal car usually runs at around 3-5, right? Well, I'm ultra careful because I don't know much about how long it takes to overheat so I sat there watching the gauge. So, after I put that new AutoZone Israel thermostat in with coolant and bled air as best as I could, it didn't get any higher than a 7. And the red doesn't begin until 9. It was rising but I killed it at 7 (and then stomped into the house angry and gave up for the night). So, I'm pretty sure I'm safe there. Let's hope! If so all I have left to fix is that pesky interior clock. Never knew how handy a clock in the car is until you don't have one!

Will let you know what happens with the new t'stat!


(This post was edited by tjdean01 on Feb 14, 2011, 3:41 PM)


Hammer Time
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Feb 14, 2011, 4:03 PM

Post #12 of 15 (4802 views)
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You don't have a problem unless it goes into the red. Today's cars run a lot hotter than the older cars and that is by design. Most of the cooling fans don't even turn on until 224 or higher.




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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Feb 14, 2011, 4:18 PM

Post #13 of 15 (4799 views)
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You need to tell me as I just don't know set up of every car by the year. Is the radiator pressure cap on the radiator or on a recovery tank? Ones with the cap only on the recovery tank are a pill to fill enough the first time. Just watch the gauge, feel heat of upper hose but don't burn yourself. Shut it down and let cool again which sucks coolant back from a recovery tank.

Sometimes you can fill thru a high hose as much as you can or some have a bleeder bolt. By the time heater works you should be getting close to absolute full. Watch it every trip for a while till level stays stable like a couple days or so.

Some are such a pill and I don't know first hand on this one that you either pull tricks like jack the car up so cap is the high spot or they have a vacuum machine that puts cooling system under vacuum and then switch to fill it up. I'm long retired now and don't have one of those as I never needed one but my friends still in biz got one of those as they are so busy they can't take hours messing with knowing a system is all set and no air in there.

If you are giving another shot don't drill a hole as it would have to be just right and so small it would mess it up.

Hope you caught it before things like head gaskets can't take it. Spend the time, go slow - touch, feel hoses and things and you can tell it's close enough to let the last quart get sucked in from recovery tank when it cools off.

As HT said - don't drill holes or go without a thermostat - the engine needs it,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


tjdean01
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Feb 14, 2011, 6:05 PM

Post #14 of 15 (4792 views)
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I went to Car Quest, which looks like an old crappy building. I never thought to go there because I was sure the newer places were more high tech. More high tech? Nope, more made in China and Israel! $18 as opposed to $8. Came with the o-ring too. A hefty, beefy thermostat. And made in Japan this time, with the proper temperature stamped right on it. And not only did it have the hole, but the jiggle valve as on the original. Gonna go there from now on!

I drove the car up a hill like Mr. Greenleaf suggested. I opened up the housing and put the Japanese thermostat in. The pressure cap is on the radiator which is pretty much the high point (except for one hose which I had to keep squeezing. And it was getting warm again (gauge up to 70% before I killed it) so as you said I started and stopped the engine a few times. Sure enough it did suck it back down from the reservoir. I kept massaging the hoses to help it. And guess what?

It worked! Heat extremely hot! I'll keep checking it to make sure it's full for the next week or so. I'm going to drive somewhere tonight 30 min one-way and I'm pretty sure she'll hold up. And burn off some of that anti-freeze I spilled all over everything! Wink


Tom Greenleaf
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Feb 14, 2011, 7:22 PM

Post #15 of 15 (4788 views)
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As said - it needs a few cycles or more and will purge OUT air and as it cools suck back the coolant. Temp gauge should stay pretty near one spot once all is perfect.

There's a CarQuest near me with a great reputation and knowledgeable parts people but I mostly use a NAPA which is closer and have so long I want to give them the little biz I still do. Cool and smart at parts (can't say for every place by name) and will tell you this line of part stinks right up front. Nothing like having a good parts place and people who know what they are selling.

You may have lucked out with this but do keep an eye on it for a couple days at least which will prove it's all stable - I hope.

Silly how much grief a stupid thermostat can beCrazy

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now




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