Thermostat for my buick skylark custom
Your car has what is called a transverse-mounted engine/transmission. In a 97 Skylark, your engine is a V6, either a 3.1 or 3.8 litre. I know this is long, but since you are inexperienced, and I've been doing this, and teaching other people to do this for thirty-five years, trust me--this is not that hard; just read it all the way through before you begin. Print it and take it to the car with you.
To find the thermostat, the engine must be cold. Look at the front of the engine compartment where the hood latch is. The first thing you will see inside the engine compartment is the plastic radiator cover with all the identification labels on it. Concealed by this cover is the radiator. On the left side of the top of the radiator, you will see a large (1 1/2") black rubber hose. This is called the upper radiator hose. One end of this "S"-shaped hose attaches to the radiator; the other to the engine. The end that attaches to the engine actuallay attaches to what is called the "water neck." This weird-looking thing contains the thermostat within. There is a hose clamp around the upper radiator hose which keeps the hose attached to the water neck since this hose is under pressure while the engine is running and hot. If this is the factory hose clamp, it is going to look like a big bread-wrapper twist-tie, without the twists. It's just a big piece of spring wire. If this has been done to this car before, the clamp will probably be what is called a "screw clamp" and looks just like what is on most dryer hoses, only smaller.
This part gets messy, and do not let your pets anywhere near the antifreeze: it is both deadly poison to animals and smells and tastes very good to them.
With a 3/8" ratchet and ratchet extensions if necessary, and using a 10mm socket, remove the tow bolts which hold the water neck to the engine block. Gently pry (if necessary) the water neck from the block. When it comes off you are going to get a big gush of antifreeze from the engine. That's okay. Pull the upper radiator hose with the water neck attached to it away from the engine; tie it off with some string if needed to keep it out of the way. The thermostat may come off in the water neck or it may stay in the engine block, either way it doesn't matter.
Gently pry the thermostat away from whichever one it stayed in (and it may just fall out all by itself). Now look at the bottom of the radiator; there is another hose like the first, called the lower radiator hose. With your hand, squeeze this hose as hard as you can several times, until the antifreeze in the engine block quits coming out of the block where you detached the water neck. This gets the antifreeze level low enough for you to move on to replacing the thermostat.
Dry off everything as best you can--the block and the water neck. Then clean them with rubbing alcohol. Next, using a thin flexible putty knife, gently scrape off the ole gasket material from both surfaces, the block and the water neck. Get ALL of it off.
Next, using what we mechanics call "Indian Head" gasket compound, sold now as brown gasket shellac, and using the brush built in to the bottle cape, paint a thin, even coat of this gooey stuff (don't get it on you--it is very sticky and hard to remove!) on both the engine block and the water neck, making sure to go around the outside of the bolt holes, too. Take a break and allow this to dry for about 30 minutes. Then, following the instructions on the thermostat package, and making sure to point the thermostat in the right direction (it matters, and almost all replacement thermostats has "toward engine" or "toward radiator" stamped on them somewhere) place the new thermostat gasket and thermostat into the engine block, pressing it all together firmly. Finally, carefully line the water neck up over the thermostat and the bole holes, and put the bolts back in. If you can get a torque wrench, you will tighten the bolts to 13 pound feet of torque each. The parts guy should loan you a torque wrench and show you how to read it. If you can't get a torque wrench from the parts guy, just tighten them as equally as you can judge, tight, but not as tight as they were when you took them out. Take another break, this time overnight to allow the gasket sealer to do its thing.
In the morning, remove your radiator cap, and add pure antifreeze to the top. Do not put any antifreeze or water into the coolant bottle at this time. Put the radiator cap back on tightly all the way, and start the car. Let it run for about 30 minutes with the hood up and check the water neck for leaks. By using Indian Head, there should not be a leak. If there aren't any, you are almost done. Turn the car off, let it cool all the way down, then check the coolant bottle. If it is low, add pure antifreeze to it until it reaches the "cold" mark.
Close the hood, because now you are done!
Feb 20, 2010 |
1997 Buick Skylark