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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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1993 SL2 AT 155K "Also Gone but not forgotten"
2012 Honda CBR 250R 4.7K "She can't take this from me"

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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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