Bad thermostat?

Do you think I have a bad thermostat in my Aerostar? It takes forever for the coolant temperature to heat up. When it does it tends to fluctuate a little. Also my heater isn't blowing much hot air.
Matt
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Sounds like a bad thermostat. Since an Aerostar is more than a few years old it probably won't hurt to replace it anyway. Not to be an alarmist but if your Aerostar has a 3.8L V6 have a pressure test done on the cooling system for piece of mind. Sometimes when a temperature gauge fluctuates it can mean a bad head gasket. Factory gauges aren't the most accurate and fluctuation doesn't always mean a head gasket problem but 3.8L V6's are prone to head gasket problems. I personally would have it checked out at a radiator shop, cost about $25.

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My engine is a 3.0, 145 horsepower.
Matt

for
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The 3.0L is a good workhorse! Change the tstat and you should be back in business. Make sure there is no air in the lines too.

a
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I just talked to my mechanic. He said that they'll have to run a thorough inspection on the engine first. But for a t-stat and coolant change, $170. Does that seem kind of high?
Matt

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Yes and no! It will take your mechanic about 90 minutes to do the coolant and tstat change and at $80 per hour that is $120 for labor. Figure $30 for parts and $20 for "shop supplies" and disposal of the coolant, you come up with $170. If you did it yourself you could figure $20 for parts, $15 for a haynes manual and a few hours of your time. This is considering you have the tools and area to do the work and if you consider yourself able to perform the job. If you want to check for leaks in the cooling system or at the head gaskets you will need more specialized equipment and you may want to have a shop perform these tests.

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Just got another quote at a shop right next to me, under $100 for both! Plus they specialize in radiators and AC's.
Matt

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go for it!!!

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I did. And I thought I was going to get out for a hundred bucks...yeah right. The thermostat was locked up so they replaced that. They also cleaned out the throttle body so hopefully it will idle better now. But the heater still wouldn't blow hot. They couldn't figure out why. Then they called me back and told me my radiator is clogged and barely any fluid is getting through it. They'll give me a price on that tomorrow. Do you think that would explain the heating problem?
This is Florida and I really don't need heat. But he said pressure would build up possibly causing more damage.

takes
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cleaned
=================Do you mean the heater core is clogged? Not the radiator? That would make more since. If the radiator was plugged that bad it would overheat the engine big time.....
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I asked him about the heater core, if it was bypassed and he said it wasn't. He said the radiator was clogged, and if anything my engine was running too cool! And is that true about the coolant pressure building up and causing damage?

heater
me
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Get your vehicle outa there asap, whoever you talked to doesn't have a clue. Find a different shop. Bob

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On Wed, 24 Dec 2003 03:40:06 GMT, Matt wrote:

That sounds backwards. The radiator cools the engine as the hot coolant flows from the block to the radiator. If the radiator is not functioning, the engine would overheat. The engine could run cool if the radiator is too effective, but a blocked radiator wouldn't be too effective.
-D
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Well that sounds backwards to me! Radiators cool the engine and a clogged one is bad news as your engine will overheat. Are you sure he didn't say the heater core was clogged causing the heat to run cool? Yes, a clogged radiator will cause pressure build-up because the coolant will boil and cause pressure when it expands due to boiling. The boiling is caused by the radiator not allowing the coolant mixture(antifreeze mixture) to pass through it to dissipate heat. This will cause an overheat condition that may or may not cause further damage. The damage it may cause will most likely be expensive. It is not something you would want to wait on. My best advice is if you can not or will not do the repair yourself find a competent repair facility and have the repair done ASAP. Overheating the engine can cause warped cylinder heads and blown head gaskets neither of which will be less expensive than the cooling system repair you now face. While you may pay more for the repair, the local Ford dealer may be the best equipped shop to properly diagnose and repair your vehicle at this point. What ever you do, do not wait on the repair. Like the old commercial said, "you can pay me now or you can pay me later"!

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wasn't.
too
=======================Like Bob said, I think its time you found another shop. The core being bypassed could mean a few different things. We want to know if it is plugged. There is alot of pressure comming off the water pump at high RPM, but not any more than if the t-stat is closed. If the guy said it will build up pressure and cause damage if we dont clean the radiator he is full of it. If the radiator is plugged it would overheat! Ask around for a recomendation for a shop. I cannot think of any engine/radiator configuration that will do what this guy said......Drive the thing home/see if the temp comes up to normal now and let us know how the heater is working. There are other things that affect heater air temp besides coolant temp and the core being plugged.
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Thanks for all your help Scott,
I ran over there this morning to get the car back. The engine idles nice now and the engine temperature is coming up now. The old T-stat was stuck closed. I said wouldn't it have overheated? He said no, there was still some fluid running through the engine. The issue with the radiator is that it's leaking like a sieve, I guess now there's fluid going through it that wasn't before. A new one installed is $220, which isn't bad. Maybe I could try that anti-leak stuff. He ran a pressure test and said my heater core and hoses were fine. Still no heat though. I said will a new radiator make my heater work. "He could give me no guarantees"
The van is sitting in front of my house, so far I haven't wasted any money.

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now
some
wasn't
that
money. =======================Forget the anti-leak crap. If nothing is plugged now it will be. Can you see anything leaking now? If so get a new radiator before you burn it up. we'll go from there.
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Alright, just got the car back. I had a new radiator installed and the coolant flushed. It's running nice. The heater is a tad bit warmer but not much. If it's a heater core or something I'm not even going to mess with it. This is Florida anyway.
Matt

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=========================Check the coolant level first.....then if it is ok t-stat time.
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I agree with Scott. If you do change the stat, get a "Stant" brand or one from Ford. Cheap stats are just that, cheap, plus unreliable.
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