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Finally got the job done.
Time to do the job.... 4.5 hrs. Why so long?
I looked around and was trying to figure out how some on here claim they didnt have to remove the alternator. I tried to stick my hand in the areas around the wire looms and alternator- and theres no way I was going to get in there without messing with all the wires- and possibly damaging. So I chose to loosen the alternator. I soon realized that I was going to need more space to work comfortably. I have small hands- so if you have large hands- I recommend you remove the alternator. To do this I found it easier to remove the black bracket right above the alternator.
Also- I dropped 1 bolt 2 times- Each time I had a heck of a time locating the bolt. It was well hidden. This added to my repair time. (the bolt is one of the ones that holds the black metal bracket).
Also-had a major hiccup. Put in new thermo and o-ring. I put everything back toghether again. Including serpentine belt. I then opened the radiator cap- and soon after I started to hear dripping antifreeze.
Turns out that the o-ring had moved. and got pinched. I had to take it all apart again. I ended up reusing the old o-ring which was in good condition. But to make sure it didnt move around like the other one, I put 4 small dabs of gasket maker. just a small little spot to hold the ring while I maneuvered it around.
The problem was I started seeing the engine temp about 2 hash marks below the 210 mark (it would go a little lower on the highway)- when it used to be right at the halfway mark.
A few days later the SES light comes on.
The items youll need are a new thermostat- yes thats the whole piece. And a bottle of DexCool. I bought the premixed 50/50 bottle. Ready to pour.
Youll need to remove the serpentine belt. Here I used a rachet and a metal pipe I had laying around- to make it easy to move the tensioner.
Once I decided I would remove the alternator- I decided to loosen this clamp that holds that wire bundle in place- in case I need to move it out of the way. I did end up moving it slightly to get to a bolt.
Here is a side view. You can see the neg battery connection (I did end up disconnecting it once I knew for sure I was going to be moving the alternator around) You can see the socket extension I used to get to the bolts in the area.
here is another shot of the socket extension- and one of the easier to get to bolts for the alternator. Its visible in the pic, towards the bottom of the alternator I left a wrench so you can see where the 3rd bolt for the alternator is. THis bolt was the one that was the hardest to remove since theres a hose (AC I think) right next to it. Its also visible in the pics.
Here the black bracket has been removed- Its held in place by 3 bolts.
2 are at the front of the engine- very easy to remove. The 3rd one is right in the area where other alternator bolt is (previous pic where the socket extension is) Note that I also removed the screw to that metallic bracket for the black pipe/hose.
heres the alternator moved a bit forward. Now you can see the thermostat.
also note the alternator has 2 electrical connections. 1 is that clip on connector. easily removable by lifting a plastic tab. The onther is the thick + battery wire. I think its a 10mm socket I used to loosen the nut. Note the 2 shiny bolt holes- this is where the 2 bolts for the black bracket go.
In this image you can see the thermostat housing. 1 bolt is visible, the other is at the bottom. in the picture you can see the + battery wire I removed. Its right at the point where the hose clamp is on the thermostat housing. Also note on the upper right hand corner of the picture. 3 bolt holes. 2 are for the alternator and the highest one is the 3rd bolt for the black bracket.
At this point youll have to get some pliers and squeeze the clamp so that you can remove the hose. Youll have to maneuver the pliers to loosen this. (unless you have some special tool).
Once the dexcool spills into a pan (and the floor) I proceeded to reach the 2nd thermostat bolt from underneath. I crawled under and ws able to maneuver my hand to be able to loosen that bolt.
Here are the old and new side by side. Note the old one had NO gunky buildup on anything......NONE!!!! Note the O-rings. Also note the engine block opening, its super clean!!!! I can still see the design on the engine block from the styrofoam casting. No gunk whatsoever. And this is on a 110,500 mile + engine with Dexcool!!!!!
after I put it back toghether..... during the tigheneing process the o-ring moved. I put EVERYTHING back toghethe- as in I was ready to start engine and then found a leak when I removed the rediator cap. The removal of the cap- allowed fluid to flow and I started to hear fluid leaking into the pan I collected the used dexcool. Note how the new o-ring was piched in 2 locations.. Now worthless. I used the old one- It was still in good condition.
So I used a bit of gasket stuff to hold the o-ring in place. I mean very little. Just to make the o-ring stay in place.
I put everything back toghether. The clamp is a bit hard to put back in place. I recommend trying a few different arm positions to see what works best for you. Also- I placed a little oil on the outside of the hose so that the hose clamp slid over the hose. I did this after trying countless times to slide it. Make sure youre very careful putting the 3rd bolt for the black bracket. Thats the one that was dropped 2 times- It fell and was a pain in the butt to find. Im guessing it added about 30 min to the repair. Youll have to put back the + battery wire. then screw the alternator back in. Youll have to experiment/fumble around with the 3 bolts to get the bottom one in. It was the most troublesome to get in of the 3. Dont forget to reconnect the other clip on connector. Put Serpentine belt back on. Reconnect battery (I didnt want that + wire on the alternator to touch ground)
I then turned the engine on and let it run for a bit- while refilling with Dexcool.
I used up the entire bottle to refill the radiator and a bit of the overflow bottle. Im sure that as I drive it some- air pockets will be removed. Ill refill as necessary.
Heres the end result. After driving about 15 miles at 70 MPH- the needle now sits slightly above the 210 mark.