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If the thermostat is broken in the closed position the engine would overheat rapidly. If it was broken in the open position the engine cooling system would not reach normal operating temperature and the heater would produce only warm air.

Take the thermostat out and put it in a pan of water on the stove. When the water gets to around 200 deg F, the thermostat should open. If it doesn't it needs replaced. Observe carefully that you have not installed the thermostat upsidedown. Spring-side to the engine

Comment: if you have it out, don't bother with the testing except for curiosity - just replace it for the extra $10 or less.

NEVER EVER REMOVE a radiator cap from a

WARM/HOT ENGINE!!

What to look for:

  • If the vehicle has a radiator cap - run the engine with the cap off and watch for coolant flowing past the opening. This is a good thing - the thermostat if fine

    CAUTION If the radiator is filled to the top with coolant and the engine is run without the radiator cap in place, the coolant will expand and spill over as the engine warms up. Be ready to put the radiator cap back on.

  • Feel the top of the radiator hose to confirm that the coolant is warming up. If the engine is overheating, but the top hose is still cool to the touch, the thermostat is stuck closed and must be replaced.
Procedures:
  1. Drain enough coolant (into a clean container) to get below the level of the thermostat housing
  2. Remove the upper radiator hose from the thermostat housing. See TIP below
  3. Remove the mounting bolts and remove the thermostat housing.
  4. CLEAN BOTH SURFACES of ALL gasket material! Any gasket left behind will likely cause a leak.

    NOTES:

    * Compare the size of the thermostat to the old one - make sure the new one matches up

    * Ensure the thermostat fits into the groove in the block or outlet housing.

    * The spring side faces the block - If the thermostat is installed backwards, the engine will overheat

  5. Install the gasket - DO NOT USE RTV sealant

    NOTE - When a paper gasket is used and the recess is in the thermostat housing, it is a good practice to position the thermostat into the recess and glue the gasket to hold it in place. If it falls out of its groove during installation, the outlet housing can be cracked or a coolant leak will result. Before tightening the water outlet housing, try to rock it back and forth to be sure it is flush. Housings are often cracked during this step.

  6. Reinstall the thermostat housing bolts - tighten evenly
  7. Refill the cooling system and run the engine, or pressure test, to check for leaks.

Follow the top radiator hose back to the engine. There is where the t-stat housing is.

  • Remove the hose,
  • remove the housing,
  • remove the old t-stat,
  • clean gasket surfaces
  • install the t-stat into the housing with the spring side sticking out toward the engine,
  • use spray adhesive to attach the gasket (DO NOT USE RTV),
  • reinstall hose(s)
  • be careful to evenly tighten the housing bolts until they are snug -DO NOT TORQUE HARD ON THE BOLTS
  • Fill the cooling system with a 50/50 mix of coolant and water, and burp the system.

I had to take the air cleaner tube\hose off to give me more room.

Your radiator has two big hoses, one on the top and one on the bottom. The upper radiator hose connects to the thermostat housing. On my 1996 Windstar it's a pain to replace it because there are many components in the way.

Tips

For anyone working on a car's cooling system, you MUST check out the MUST-HAVE tool for dealing with those spring-type hose clamps!!

This tool has a pinching device on the end to securely grab the 'ears' on the hose clamp - squeeze the handle to open the clamp, and then automatically lock it open.

The next awesome feature of this tool: the clamping action is on the end of a cable - you work it down to the clamp buried down underneath, or directly next to some part of the engine - minimal clearance required.

Sears makes one - check it out at a local store and linked below.

I don't know if this will help, but I am currently replacing the thermostat on my 2000 Windstar, and it is located where the upper radiator hose connects to the engine block.

You have to remove the two screws that hold the housing, and there it is.

I have found this to be true with a number of vehicles I have worked on.

Top right side of the engine.

Follow the larger sized radiator hose to it.

It is at the lower end of the top radiator hose within the water outlet on the engine.

Just below the throttle body where the Rad hose enters the block

Follow the upper radiator hose to the engine. The hose will be connected to the thermostat housing cover. It is very difficult to see due to the location. If you want to get a good look at it, remove the air induction hose in-between the throttle body and the air clean housing.

What needs to be removed to get at the thermostat

Other than the upper radiator hose and the 2 mountings screws, nothing else is needed to be removed to install a thermostat on a 1999-2003 Ford Windstar.

Steps:

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable. CAUTION

    Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is HOT. Serious personal injury can result.

  2. Drain and recycle the engine coolant.
  3. Remove the upper radiator hose at the thermostat housing.
  4. Remove the thermostat housing from the engine.
  5. Remove the thermostat from the housing with a counterclockwise twist.

Follow the upper radiator hose to the engine and that housing there contains the thermostat. It is kind of hard to get to but it depends on you.

Be sure to put the spring on the new thermostat TOWARDS the engine.

3 tools should be needed for this job..screwdriver (flat head), 8mm deepwell socket w/extensoin and maybe some pliers to rotate the radiator hose clamp away from 1 of the 2 bolts required to remove the t-stat housing.

  • Step 1. remove the airbox assembly. just loosen the clamp with a screwdriver at the throttle body, a pull back the airbox assembly and unhook all the electrical connectors. under the throttle body you will see the radiator hose leading to the t-stat housing. it's a little tricky to get to, but should not be a problem if the hose clamp is not in the way of one of the bolts. if it is, just rotate the clamp by squeezing it with pliers. (that's the hard part) but hopefully it won't be in the way.
  • step 2. remove the bolts with an 8mm deepwell socket. you'll need a deepwell cuz the bolt on the left is also used to hold a clip for the spark plug wire holder otherwise known as a "stay". REmove the plastic stay to get to the bolt. then remove the 2 bolts and pull the housing back with the hose still connected.
  • step 3. remove t-stat and any gasket material so that both surfaces are clean.
  • step 4. replace t-stat and gasket. use gasket sealer with the gasket that comes with the t-stat.. re-assemble everything and you are done.
  • check for leaks after a test drive.
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Q: Where is the thermostat located and how do you replace it on a Ford Windstar?
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