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Old 10-18-2012, 10:41 AM   #1
rcw3586
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Default Thermostat Reliability?

When I bought my 93 SL2 last October the first thing I did was replace the thermostat since the car would never really warm up. A new Stant unit from Advance auto did the trick to get it to warm up in just over a mile of driving.
Well, now Ive got the same problem again. It takes 4-5 miles to get warmed up. I assume it is the thermostat again.

My previous 94 SL had a similar problem a number of years ago. I replaced it's thermostat and everything was fine for about a year. Then it had the same problem - it took forever to warm up. I refused to believe it was the thermostat at the time because I had just replaced it. I just lived with the problem.

Now that I see a pattern I'm wondering if others have experienced this short thermostat life? What is the most reliable thermostat to use these days? As you all know, replacing it is somewhat of a pain!

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Old 10-18-2012, 11:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Check your ECTS if you haven't already. Unfortunately, thermostat reliability is a big issue with s-series. Stant is your best bet, though. Many are too cold. NAPA has a 195 degree one (correct temperature) but its the exact same product as the Stant and costs a lot more.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Thermostat can have little to do with warmup time depending on other variables. I find the SOHC takes forever to warm up in the bitter cold, no matter what.

Has it been considerably colder lately? I can remember 2 winters ago on really cold nights driving my 96 SL2 home in January and it would take about 7-10 miles before I got full operating temp with the heat on, super cold nights. Same stretch of road in the summer and it would be up to temp in a mile.

The gasket could be bad on the thermostat yes, it does happen, but warmup time also varies greatly depending on conditions.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

No, the temperature hasn't really changed much here yet. It's still in the 50's and 60's. I first noticed the problem a month ago when it was still in the 70's.

Actually, I changed the ECTS shortly after the thermostat last year. It's been running well, getting ~40mpg since my conversion to man transmission.

Extended warmup time is the only issue.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

If your t-stat uses a rubber washer for sealing, this may have softened and pushed out to cause less sealing and longer warm up times. The housing may be corroded and contribute to less than perfect sealing too. The only way to find out is when you remove the t-stat.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

I was hoping for a flurry of replies relating a similar experience but I guess not.

I see the Stant T-stat is still available from Adv Auto for $12.99 but Rock Auto only lists an ACDelco unit for over $37! Is it really 3 times better?

Looks like I'm going to take another chance on a Stant.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

3-4 minutes is not too bad. Do you otherwise run over 3/8s?.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcw3586 View Post
I was hoping for a flurry of replies relating a similar experience but I guess not.
My first stant didn't last long...
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...postcount=1032

there was a flurry of short-lived stants - issue was with the rubber seal, as fdryer mentioned above
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
My first stant didn't last long...
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...postcount=1032

there was a flurry of short-lived stants - issue was with the rubber seal, as fdryer mentioned above
Do yourself a favor, go to Autozone and get one with a lifetime warranty. It comes with the housing. I'm not quite sure if they still have them, I got mine back in 2006.

I actually find it decently easy to remove (with new hose clamps), so I have no problem having to get a new one every two years.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yerboogieman View Post
Do yourself a favor, go to Autozone and get one with a lifetime warranty. It comes with the housing. I'm not quite sure if they still have them, I got mine back in 2006.

I actually find it decently easy to remove (with new hose clamps), so I have no problem having to get a new one every two years.
They only have a 1 year warranty (now, anyway), and unless you special order the "Alternate Temperature" one, you will end up running too cold all the time (it's rated at 180 degrees--you need 195 degrees).

Running too cold (180 degrees is definitely too cold) will cause poor gas mileage and significantly increased engine wear (yes, warmer=less wear, assuming you don't overheat).

Furthermore, if you need to replace the thermostat in the future, you need to get theirs, because an OE type thermostat will not fit the non-standard housing (which is probably used so they can re-purpose a thermostat designed for a different vehicle, instead of making one that actually fits the Saturn). If that version is no longer available anymore, it could be quite a pain.

If you do go this route (and virtually everyone on here agrees that you should not), at least be sure to save the old housing.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:25 PM   #11
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticCarsRock View Post
They only have a 1 year warranty (now, anyway...

If you do go this route (and virtually everyone on here agrees that you should not), at least be sure to save the old housing.
I stopped there on the way home to check it out. You are absolutely right. It's a DURALAST thermostat and is only warranted 1 year. So, I walked out.

However, The Adv Auto / Stant unit I have in there now is warranted for 1 year which makes it still in warranty by a few days (I hope). I got a new one at $15.99 tonight and will do a search for the old receipt later.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:28 PM   #12
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticCarsRock View Post
If you do go this route (and virtually everyone on here agrees that you should not), at least be sure to save the old housing.
Yea rookie mistake by me right there. I had my satty for about 3 years before I found this site and by then I had already replaced my stat with the one from autozone and tossed he old one right in the recycle can. I have been running with that stat for a good 5 years though and the gauge on my 95 rides just below the half mark. Every time I go to a JY I forget to grab another OE housing probably because the stat is working properly. If it ever fails, a JY trip will be first job on the list.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

I purchased my thermostat from Autozone 4 years ago (maybe longer) and have not had any issues with it. FWIW
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticCarsRock View Post
They only have a 1 year warranty (now, anyway), and unless you special order the "Alternate Temperature" one, you will end up running too cold all the time (it's rated at 180 degrees--you need 195 degrees).

Running too cold (180 degrees is definitely too cold) will cause poor gas mileage and significantly increased engine wear (yes, warmer=less wear, assuming you don't overheat).

Furthermore, if you need to replace the thermostat in the future, you need to get theirs, because an OE type thermostat will not fit the non-standard housing (which is probably used so they can re-purpose a thermostat designed for a different vehicle, instead of making one that actually fits the Saturn). If that version is no longer available anymore, it could be quite a pain.

If you do go this route (and virtually everyone on here agrees that you should not), at least be sure to save the old housing.
Well that's the thing. They did discontinue it. But I still had the lifetime warranty on my record there. So they have to honor it. It's a 195 one. I make sure. I am told there are virtually no gains, and usually worse when you put in a lower or higher temp. I still have my original.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticCarsRock View Post
Running too cold (180 degrees is definitely too cold) will cause poor gas mileage and significantly increased engine wear (yes, warmer=less wear, assuming you don't overheat).
Code reader says ECTS shows 165f, calculation shows 34 mpg highway, EPA says 33mpg max. This is also with a holy exhaust, in multiple places in front of the catalytic converter. Poor gas mileage what? lol
I plan on redoing my crappy ECTS harness splice and a thermostat as it was showing ~15f warmer before I replaced the autotragic and the sub-frame.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:06 AM   #16
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

I would just go with the OEM Thermostat yes it costs more but its made for the car and the housing the part number is 21006335 I bought two of them and did the two Saturns with new coolant and all and have had ZERO problems with heat or heat up times...
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:01 PM   #17
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Default Re: Thermostat Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Code reader says ECTS shows 165f, calculation shows 34 mpg highway, EPA says 33mpg max. This is also with a holy exhaust, in multiple places in front of the catalytic converter. Poor gas mileage what? lol
I plan on redoing my crappy ECTS harness splice and a thermostat as it was showing ~15f warmer before I replaced the autotragic and the sub-frame.
Yes I know... old thread is old, but I never saw this before.

When my car would barely register on the gauge when the OEM unit failed (no scan tool or manual reading taken) MPG didn't change much in the short time unit I replaced the thermostat.

And since using the new NAPA warmer running unit, MPG trend has gone down, not up as often stated on this forum. If I need to change again I'm going to go cooler if available within reason....
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