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How hard to change thermostat? - 1996 Pontiac Sunfire

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Follow the upper radiator hose to the top of the engine. There should be a cast housing with two bolts at the end where the hose is attached. Remove the two bolts and gently pry up the housing off the engine. Once removed, you will see the thermostat and this can easily be removed with a needle nosed pliers. Clean the housing and intake manifold of all old gasket material as this is necessary for proper sealing of new gasket. Next, insert new thermostat. Now you will be ready to put the gasket on after you have coated both sides with a gasket sealent. Any kind of heat treated rtv will work. Tighten both bolts equally being careful not to crank down too hard on these bolts as the housing is generally made of an aluminum cast alloy and will crack under extreme tightening.

Posted on Apr 06, 2011

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It's not hard, just a bit messy. Follow the top hose that runs from the radiator to the engine. Where it stops is the location of the thermostat. You will need to drain the coolant out of the radiator before you begin taking things apart. Be prepared to replace the coolant with new coolant mixed 50-50 with water when you are done.
Go to the parts store and get a new thermostat for that year/engine/model combination. Remove the hose from the thermostat housing, remove the housing and pull the thermostat out. Note how the spring on the thermostat faces. Clear out any gasket material that remains with a soft scraper -don't damage the area where the housing goes or it will leak. Put the gasket and thermostat in, put the housing back on and remember not to over-torque the bolts or when the engine gets hot bad things will happen. Replace the hose (is it time for a new one anyway?) and then refill the cooling system with antifreeze. Start the car and check for leaks.

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