I had a test ran, and it says I need to replace the thermostat, years ago I replaced one in my Mustang but I am well aware a lot has changed since then. Is it a lot tougher to change one in a newer vehicle?
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My first question is make model and year. Second, are you saying the engine is boiling over into the overflow tank and onto the ground ? Is the tank about half full when the engine is cold ? Have you run the engine with the thermostat removed to test ? Usually when you can hear the coolant moving around, you have air in the system and it is not full of liquid coolant.
this could be a number of problems , firstly with engine running remove radiator cap see if large bubbles of air appear, blown head gasket. second depending how long engine is running before temp rises to overheating, thermostat. third, O2 sensor could be damaged this will cause rough running and slight increase in engine temp.(unlikely if idles well) fourthly damaged valves (inlet/exhaust)
No replacing the cooling fan would not require replacing the thermostat although a good mechanic would have recommended you have the system serviced. At 80,000 miles you need a complete cooling system service. Drain, flush, replace thermostat, fill with a 50/50 mix of antifreeze & distilled water, and bleed air from system. Also have them check the function of the water pump and replace if it is suspect or has any play in the shaft.
The only way to replace the thermostat housing is by replacing the entire Intake Manifold. One of Fords wonderful design defects that they used for many years, in order to lighten the weight of the car. The intake manifold is made entirely of ABS (black plastic), while the replacement manifolds are made of ABS with the exception of the thermostat housing and this is made of Aluminum.
There was a class action lawsuit against Ford around 4-5 years ago, but for us that were unfortunate enough not to notified of such a problem, we end up getting stuck flipping the bill on our own. About 3 years ago when I had to replace mine, I had about $300 into the parts and a full days labor involved.