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Old 06-14-2018, 08:46 PM   #1
Deep6
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

Ok, so the other morning the ambient air temperature was 50F outside. I get in my car, let it run for a minute and drive off. I'm cruising down the highway during my normal morning commute and after about 6 miles of 40-55mph speeds, I glance down at my temp gauge revealing the needle having not quite reached the 1/4 mark. That struck me as odd, as normally by this time, the needle will be approximately 1/3rd of the way up the scale but not quite to the 1/2 mark.

I finish my 9 mile commute to work and I note by then the engine has now fully warmed. On the way home, I decided to get more accurate data. I plugged in my scanner and selected 'data graphs'. I then drove home with the unit sitting on my lap. About halfway through my commute, traffic stopped, so I checked the peak temp. It read; 161F. I kept driving and when I reached home, I checked the peak temp on the scanner again, this time reading 174F.

So this confirmed it, my temps are running too low and a cooler than normal June day teased this out. I'm glad that I discovered this problem now in June, rather than on a chilly November morning.

The other issue that is getting under my skin, when I first got this car in 2015, the original Thermostat was running too cool. So I paid my Mechanic to replace it because he warranted his parts and he discovered it during an inspection of other things. Then 16 months later it started running cool again. Even though the T-stat was out of warranty, my mechanic replaced it again. Now fast forward to 2018 and it appears that the 2nd thermostat is shot. I don't know what cruddy brand of thermostat that my mechanic is using, but this time, I just want to replace it myself.

So, while I was looking at brands, almost all of them show 180F temperature rating. But upon opening my Haynes manual, the specification is 194F. I searched out an earlier post on the topic and the consensus seems to be 180F. However, Fdryer indicates that it should be 195F. If possible, I would like to use the warmer T-stat because I know this engine gets better fuel economy when it runs warmer in traffic. I've also been noticing that over the past couple of years that I struggle to break 30mpg. Most of the time averaging 27 or 28 mpg with 70% of my miles being highway cruise control at 62mph.

So, what does everyone think?

...
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:18 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

I'm a little confused too. Checking thru several manuals covering model year '00-'04, descriptions; Thermostat
The thermostat is a coolant flow control component. It's purpose is to regulate the operating temperature of the engine. It utilizes a temperature sensitive wax-pellet element. The element connects to a valve through a piston. When the element is heated, it expands and exerts pressure against a rubber diaphragm. This pressure forces the valve to open. As the element is cooled, it contracts. This contraction allows a spring to push the valve closed.

When the coolant temperature is below 91C (195F), the thermostat valve remains closed. This prevents circulation of the coolant to the radiator and allows the engine to warm up quickly. After the coolant temperature reaches 91C (195F), the thermostat valve will open. The coolant is then allowed to circulate through the thermostat to the radiator where the engine heat is dissipated to the atmosphere. The thermostat also provides a restriction in the cooling system, even after it has opened. This restriction creates a pressure difference which prevents cavitation at the water pump and forces coolant to circulate through the engine block.


A check with rockauto shows only 180F t-stats. L200 owners will have to provide guidance.

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Old 06-14-2018, 10:45 PM   #3
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

The L200 takes a 180 degree thermostat. My last thermostat failed by having part of the rubber lip failing. This let coolant flow all the time but slowly. The gage read low and after a couple days the fans locked on high. I had to clear the codes and replace the thermostat now all is good again.

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Old 06-15-2018, 10:20 AM   #4
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2001 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

Do not go cheap on the T stat. Get an oem from GM.

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Old 06-18-2018, 10:43 PM   #5
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

Hmm, I have actually stumped Fdryer??

Well, this looks like a bit more research is required. My Haynes manual says 194F Thermostat, Fdryer's is also saying the same thing. Yet, all that appears to be available from Rockauto.com (which incidentally sells ACdelco OEM thermostats as well) is 180F.

I guess the more practicable question; would I even be able to *buy* a 195F Thermostat for this car anymore?

Maybe, just maybe sometime after 00-04' L-series Ecotecs were out of production, enough warranty complaints (Blown head gaskets?) prompted the engineers to recommend the 180F Thermostat? Just speculating.

GM would probably rather deal with low-fuel economy complaints than actual engine damage...

...
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:27 PM   #6
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

I don't have 100% access to all service manuals. Since t-stats are 180F, the service manuals are incorrect. I have limited access to service bulletins that presumably would address this to correct the manuals. It must be pointed out that these service manuals are written for dealer mechanics/techs and dealers are always in the loop for all bulletins, software updates, etc. I'm not in the loop. At one time a few years ago, I had an all access pass to Mitchell data for almost any vehicle. The login and password was good until it was discovered then changed. No more access....

I didn't comment on attempting to use a higher temperature t-stat because of the dimensions of t-stats that vary. To adapt a higher temperature t-stat in my mind would be going thru a shelf of t-stats and examining each one for exact equivalent dimensions to fit in place of the stock one. An easier way, if a catalog of t-stats listed dimensions, using the stock dimensions and cross referencing against the list of every t-stat made would be a simple exercise. Easier said/written than done.

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Old 06-29-2018, 12:20 AM   #7
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
I don't have 100% access to all service manuals. Since t-stats are 180F, the service manuals are incorrect. I have limited access to service bulletins that presumably would address this to correct the manuals. It must be pointed out that these service manuals are written for dealer mechanics/techs and dealers are always in the loop for all bulletins, software updates, etc. I'm not in the loop...
Well, fdryer, my 2000 L-Series FSM doesn't help to clarify that either. Nothing there is mentioned regarding the temperature at which the thermostat is to open. A remark is made when diagnosing a cooling system problem while using a Tech II Scan Tool that one must wait until the coolant temperature reaches 194 degrees F. This could suggest the thermostat's setting, but it doesn't necessarily have to. The afforementioned temperature could merely be what the factory considers is its normal - perhaps minimal - operating temperature.

As has been previously mentioned, all thermostats available for the ECOTEC 2.2L are listed as 180 degree F. This includes AC-Delco and so one would reasonably expect that the OE brand part would likewise be the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
...An easier way, if a catalog of t-stats listed dimensions, using the stock dimensions and cross referencing against the list of every t-stat made would be a simple exercise...
These did exist in the past when I was an auto parts counterman and may still today - they were called "Buyer's Guides." Depending upon the particular product line (typically, a smaller one), that info was occasionally found in the regular catalog as well. The majority of Buyer's Guides tended to be separate catalogs of their own. The sizing specs. found in them were very useful to folks who needed to locate parts that would fit in cars for which direct replacement parts were no longer available. This was especially true for a Packard car restoring shop that used to business with my dad's store.

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Last edited by pierrot; 06-29-2018 at 12:27 AM..

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Old 06-29-2018, 09:41 AM   #8
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
2002 SL2
Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

My Haynes Manual for an L300 V6 shows opening temperature as 195 degrees, so it got me wondering. So I checked on Rock Auto, nowhere else, and there are in fact TWO different thermostats for the L Series depending on whether you have the L200 (4 cylinder) or the L300 (V6) engine.

ALL the L200 Tstats show as 180 degrees.

ALL the L300 shows as 195 degrees.

Does that help clarify things.

The original poster has an L200 (4 cylinder) so his Tstat should be 180.

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Old 06-29-2018, 11:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

Thank you guys for all of the assistance, but I am still kind of stuck.

I went to Autozone this evening in order to try and see if I could size up similar thermostats next to each other. Years ago I remember there were something like 20 standardized sizes and you could probably get away with something of a similar foot print in the water neck.

Now, they keep them all in the back. The guy was really helpful to me and showed me blow up diagrams of the 4-Cylinder thermostat and the 6-cylinder. Yes, the 6-cylinder is a 195F thermostat alright, but it comes welded to the water neck. Whereas the 4-cylinder one is the traditional spring loaded piece/flying saucer shaped thing.

I'm going to check out GMpart.com possibly seeing if I can get an old part # or something.

I mentioned my little "theory" to the parts guy about GM making a quiet change to the 4-cylinder operating temperature to reduce warranty complains regarding cooling system issues. He nodded in agreement that this sort of thing is very common and he sees it all of the time.

Well, if I cannot find anything else through my other searching, it looks like tomorrow I'll be picking up a 180F T-stat.

Though of course since I'm wondering out loud, since my Ecotec now operates at these icy-cool temps - getting a spark advance and fuel trim re-map would seem like the prudent thing to do, don't you think?

...
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Old 06-30-2018, 08:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

Yes the L300 V6 Tstat is an all in one unit. I had to pay out for that when my son's V6 sprang a coolant leak in the valley of the V. Time to bite the bullet I am afraid.

If you have not dismantled the components in the V to get to the Tstat, then I think you will find that your costs will not stop at the Tstat. The oil cooler is in there as well and you will likely find as we did that you will have some gaskets to replace too.

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Old 06-30-2018, 02:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

Don't worry floridasl22002 - I don't have a V-6, just a 4 banger.

I was attempting to substitute the V6 thermostat, which just so happens to be a 195 degree unit for the 6 cylinder. For the 4 cylinder I can only obtain 180 degree thermostats. The problem with the V6 Thermostat is that the thermostat unit appears to be welded to the water neck and comes as it's own unit. So it would NOT fit the 4 cylinder.


At any rate, I found this GM part # - 12622410 - it is supposed to be a thermostat for not just for our 2.2L Ecotec, but also for the other generations of Ecotecs (Later model 2.4L, 2.0L Supercharged/Turbo etc.)

I'm going to possibly take a ride to the Chevy Dealer to see if they have the part in stock so I can examine it and determine what it's temp rating is...

...
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2000 LS1 AT 283K "Served us well since 2000"
1993 SL2 AT 155K "Also Gone but not forgotten"
2012 Honda CBR 250R 4.7K "She can't take this from me"

Last edited by Deep6; 06-30-2018 at 02:31 PM.. Reason: Bad Grammar

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Old 06-30-2018, 04:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

Deep6, In L300's the t-stat isn't fixed to its housing. It separates like most t-stats. The S-series and L300 t-stats use a bayonet style t-stat where the t-stat is manually pressed into the housing and turned about 60-90 degrees to remove it. The reverse is done and most t-stats (S-series) come with a toilet paper type cardboard tube to apply force, compressing the t-stat spring as it sits in its housing while turning it to engage a pair of ears to hold the pretensioned t-stat in place. Mine comes apart using needle nose or other tools.

Selecting a different t-stat would require dimensions from the original one and finding the same in a 195F t-stat.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg L200 t-stat.jpg (77.7 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg L300 t-stat.jpg (64.3 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg L300 t-stat housing.jpg (131.6 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg SL2 t-stat.jpg (106.8 KB, 3 views)

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Old 06-30-2018, 11:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: Stock Thermostat Temp? 180F or 195F?

Thank you for those side by side images! I got really excited when I read that you can remove the T-stat from the V6 housing but looking at the "core" and comparing the V-6 T-stat and the 4-cylinder T-stat side by side - there is no comparison.

I couldn't find a 195 degree T-stat anyway in the 4-cylinder style. I ended up at the Chevy dealer to visit a friend and spoke to the parts guy there. He suggested that the Haynes manual that I have might only be posting the specs for the V-6 as far as temps are concerned. He had the stock ACdelco T-stat in stock. It doesn't even specify a temperature on the box or on the part itself.

Most likely it is a 180degree stat. I decided to just get it because it has a 2-year, 24 month warranty. Which is double compared to everything else. I'm getting sick of having to replace this part on the car. This will be the 3rd one.

...
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1993 SL2 AT 155K "Also Gone but not forgotten"
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