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Discussion Starter #1
I got the infamous "---" on my DIC for engine temp the other day, then later threw a code for "coolant below thermostat operating temp" and knew for sure I had a thermostat stuck open. Since I don't see where anyone here has done a walkthru, thought I'd add one.

It's a simple job on the 2.4, and only costs 20 bucks for the stat, and 10 bucks worth of dexcool.

Don't try this on a GXP, as the manual shows you need to pull a vacuum on the coolant system, (GE-47716 method), before refilling it or else you'll get air trapped in the system.


Here is the manual description for this, copied from a post by JR,

1. Drain the cooling system. According to the manual, you need to do the block drain for the thermostat.
1. Remove the surge tank cap.
2. Raise and support the vehicle.
3. Place a drain pan under the right side lower radiator mount.
4. Open the radiator drain cock.
5. Drain the cooling system.
6. If a complete block drain is required, place pan under the water pump drain.
7. Remove the water pump drain plug.
8. Drain the cooling system. After draining, tighten the drain bolt. 22 N-m (16 lb-in)

2. Remove the air inlet grille panel.
Prelim: Remove wiper arms.
1. Remove washer arm nut cap. use small flat tip screwdriver/tool
2. Remove washer arm nut. Hold the blade when applying torque. 32 N-m (24 lb-ft)
3. Remove washer nozzle hose from wiper arm.
4. Use slight up and down motion at the hinge to remove the arm.
5. When re-installing, position wiper blade at top edge of the windshield blackout.
1. Air inlet grille retainers (remove all 10)
2. Disconnect washer pump hose at the outer edge of the air inlet grille panel.
3. Remove air inlet grille.

3. If engine oil cooler perform following steps, otherwise proceed to step 8.

8. If vehicle is not equipped with engine oil cooler, reposition the radiator outlet hose clamp at the thermostat housing.
9. Remove the radiator outlet hose from the thermostat housing.
10. Remove the radiator outlet hose clip form the outlet hose bracket.
11. Remove the thermostat housing cover bolts and cover. (JR - the bolts are a bit of a pain to get to. Use a long extension and push the hoses aside to get on the bolt heads. I think it's a 10mm. Torque 10 N-m / 89 lb-in when re-installing)
12. Remove the thermostat.
13. Remove and discard the O-ring.
14. Install new thermostat and put it all back together!

Now, I'll show pics of me doing most of these steps.

Allright, the draincock is easily accessible and opens by hand.



The waterpump drain plug was not where I've seen it in drawings of the waterpump. This may be because my car is an early build. The plug was on the bottom of the waterpump, facing downward. You can't see it in this picture, but you can feel it on the bottom and it's easy to get a socket on.


Next is the wiper arms. Removing the cover and nut was easy. I was stumped for a couple of minutes on removing the arm though. The "slight up and down motion" description in the manual should read, "grab it at the hinge area, and yank up and down fairly hard" I had been babying it.


Then remove the screws on the inlet grill panel, along with the 3 plugs on each end, 2 of which are here:


and one of which in inside the door area:


Then just lift up the panel, watching out for the water squirter tube on the drivers side.


Unhooking the water squirter tube was proving a pain, so I just positioned the panel out of the way.


Here's the thermostat housing on the back passenger side of the engine.


The instructions call for removing the hose, but as the clamp was awkward and stubborn, I just removed the housing bolts and voila..


Now, my high-tech method of raising the surge tank to refill


You can see the thermostat inner gasket is what failed.


Make sure you have an assortment of socket extensions for the thermostat housing bolts. It's awkward and cramped back behind the engine. And if you drop something, it probably will wind up on the transmission crossmember, requiring you to jack the car up. (don't ask me how I know this) ;)

The thermostat housing bolts are also not cranked down tight at all. Make sure you don't overdo it, or you might cause a leak at the o-ring.

There you go. Hope someone finds it useful.
 

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Great info, post this on the other forum please... Thanks
 

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AztekzRpurty said:
The waterpump drain plug was not where I've seen it in drawings of the waterpump. This may be because my car is an early build. The plug was on the bottom of the waterpump, facing downward. You can't see it in this picture, but you can feel it on the bottom and it's easy to get a socket on.
Here is the drain location below the water pump.

 

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Nice right up and pics :thumbs:.
 

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Excellent! Now, could someone do this to mine? :D
 

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How much Dexcool?

This post is awesome because I just drove my wife's car yesterday and have all the symptoms of a stuck thermostat.

I am wondering a couple things.

1. How much Dexcool do I need to refill the system?
2. Is raising the surge tank required as a method of not getting air in while refilling?
3. Does the O-Ring usually come with the thermostat? I found the thermostat, but couldn't find an o-ring listed. Perhaps I need to get from dealer?

I think that should cover it. Thanks for a great post.

Now I guess I fix this and just wait to see what breaks next on this car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Since several people on the forums have told me this thread helped them, I thought I'd give an update.

2 years after replacing the thermostat, I got the --- temp reading again while on vacation. Something else I found out, your AC compressor is disengaged when you get this code. Bummer when you forgot your scanner and you're in west Texas.

Anyway, the replacement thermostat that went bad was an autozone 30 dollar version made by Motorad in Israel. Here's a pic.

IMAG0270 by Halwaldrop, on Flickr

As you can see, the inner seal just fell out of place. I decided to use a different brand this time, but this is all autozone and o'reilly carry, so I had to make a 20 mile trip to get a 20 dollar Stant brand at PepBoys. I can tell the core isn't as high quality as the motorad, but it looks like the weak link in all these is the rubber.

By the way, there is no o-ring as mentioned in the earlier instructions, just the black rubber parts attached to the thermostat itself.

After draining the radiator and the engine block, I was able to get almost a gallon of 50/50 dexcool back in by elevating the reservoir. Then I got a little more in by tilting the reservoir so fluid could go in through the smaller upper hose. After that I put the reservoir back in place, started the engine, and added more fluid as it went down. All in all I put in a gallon and a half.
 

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As a side note...this procedure on an '06 Solstice with an oil cooler attached to the back of the engine is MUCH more difficult (as I learned), and requires the assistance of someone with VERY small hands!
 

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I think the autozone tstat I installed is set for a good 15 degrees more than the factory. i don't have the part number but I don't hear it kick on until around 215.

Definitely used this how-to... thanks!



As a side note...this procedure on an '06 Solstice with an oil cooler attached to the back of the engine is MUCH more difficult (as I learned), and requires the assistance of someone with VERY small hands!

Yeah, i dropped one of the housing bolts back there and still have never found it. I don't know why such a disposable part was stuck in such a crappy location.
 

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I had the same issue about 11 months ago with my 06. Thanks to diagnosis through this forum, I had the t-stat replaced at the dealer. It had failed in the usual way. Now I have the same issue again and suspect the t-stat is bad again. Does anyone have any insight as to why this failure is occurring? I hate to install another GM t-stat only to have it fail again in a year or 2, whether they agree to warranty this one or not. I'm sure GM has made zero effort to redesign the thermostat, so this problem will just go on and on.
 

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If the problem is intermittant, you may wish to consider changing the coolant temp sensor. The 3 --- will come and go and when you can see temps, they may change wildly- which a thermostat cannot do. If so, its an easy fix. Good luck and let us know what happens.
 

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Diamoney - It is intermittent, usually on cold morning start-up once fall arrives, goes away, then comes back at random. I tried the temp sensor a year ago, it did not fix it, but the t-stat did. I have been seeing the wildly fluctuating temps issue lately as well, which is new, so perhaps THIS time it is the temp sensor. The dealers usually "shotgun" repair this issue by doing both at the same time. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

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Dealer claimed THIS time it was the sensor. I could have given them $100 for diagnosis and replaced it myself, but if they were lying then I would be out $100 and still have to replace the t-stat myself, so I told them to fix it. Total cost $250. At least the problem is corrected.

(Before anyone accuses me of dealer paranoia, you should know that I sold GM parts to the service department at 2 large GM dealers for twelve years and I have seen all the games they play to turn a warranty job into a customer pay job. Believe me, your worst paranoid fantasies don't come close to the reality!)
 

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Hi there!

Dad and I just changed the coolant on my '06 (5 years old, so it was due). I bought a Gates thermostat from Amazon (free shipping for Prime members) and it was a pretty easy job. I disconnected the washer hose at the fitting by the front fender. It was stiff but came apart without damage.

We mixed a new, full-strength gallon of coolant with distilled water ($0.83 for a gallon of distilled water at Wally World, so why not?) to make 2 gallons of mix. We used most of that 2 gallons in the change.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thought it might be a good idea to add how to diagnose thermostat vs. sensor. If you get the 3 dashes on the temp gauge, use a scanner and clear the code. Then go for a drive at highways speeds and watch the temp. In both of my thermostat failures, the temp stayed around 165 while moving at highway speed. According to previous posters, if you get wildly varying temps, then your sensor is bad. I would imagine that your temp would read the standard 190-200 at speed, but have 'glitches'.
 

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Thought it might be a good idea to add how to diagnose thermostat vs. sensor. If you get the 3 dashes on the temp gauge, use a scanner and clear the code. Then go for a drive at highways speeds and watch the temp. In both of my thermostat failures, the temp stayed around 165 while moving at highway speed. According to previous posters, if you get wildly varying temps, then your sensor is bad. I would imagine that your temp would read the standard 190-200 at speed, but have 'glitches'.
The problem I have is the --- comes and goes. I have found that when it is warm outside, above 60 degrees or so, it works just fine and my temp reads normal. When it's cold outside it will work at first startup, then go to --- and cause the cooling fan to kick in. Any ideas?
 
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