Question about 2002 Dodge Caravan

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New water pump, new thermostat, new thermostat housing. 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan. Everyone tells me that the spring ALWAYS faces the engine. That is how the mechanic put it in. I watched him. However the person that was helping me initially said the old one was in wrong, spring facing the radiator. Wish I had seen that myself. The thermostat had never been changed before. Have had the van for 6 years. After new installation, the engine does not overheat and the heater produces heat. However, as soon as you get on the highway in single digit temperatures, the engine temperature gauge goes all the way down to cold and the heater kicks out cold air. Thermostat stuck open? Thermostat on backwards? I'm baffled. Which way should the thermostat go?

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  • Renee Spencer Jan 03, 2011

    That's what I'm thinking. The friends who took out the old one said it was the reverse of how it is now. They thought it was in backwards originally. If that was the case it would have had to be backwards for 6 years.

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  • Master
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The poity head goes outside to hose the big part goes in engine. how is the level of antifreeze ?

Posted on Jan 03, 2011

  • Renee Spencer Jan 03, 2011

    antifreeze level is good

  • Fernand Luc Bergeron
    Fernand Luc Bergeron Jan 03, 2011

    your thermostat is probably upside down

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  • Master
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It sounds as if the thermostat is installed correctly --- and it sounds like you have good water flow. what is happening is that when it is cold outside ( single digits ) that when you are driving down the highway, the wind from the outside air plus the fan pull is very cold and is chilling the water in the radiator very fast,, faster then the car is heating it up. I live hear in Alaska and when the outside temperature gets down in the single digits and lower, the heaters here do suffer a bit -- the way that we solve this issue is to obstruct the flow of air through the radiator by installing a radiator ' bra ',, this vinyl piece is installed on the outside grill and has snaps that allow you adjust how much air flow flows through, this bra helps the radiator coolant stay warmer thus giving you more heat at the heater core,, the bra's are not very expensive and they work GREAT,, and as the weather outside warms up you can open the bra up more and more and then remove when spring comes and store for next winter.
here in Alaska there are also people that go to the total extreme and just tape up a piece of cardboard to the radiator ( between the grill and the radiator ) with a small cutout where the fan suction is and this works in the same way. not as nice and pretty as the bra -- but cheap and effective.

this bra idea will fix your heater problem without a doubt.

c...

Posted on Jan 03, 2011

  • Jeremy Hettwer
    Jeremy Hettwer Mar 09, 2013

    Hey Chris, where can I find one of these radiator "bras"? website?

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CA16DE, CA18DE and GA16i Engines Fig. 1: Always make certain the jiggle valve is facing upward when installing the thermostat 88163g33.gif
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